2013 NY to CA on Route 66, Cross Country Drive

Route 66 Day 10 – Tucumcari NM to Albuquerque NM

Total distance: 423.66 km (263.2 mi) / Total time: 11:06:33 / Moving time: 7:26:59
Average speed: 38.14 km/h (23.7 mi/h) / Average moving speed: 56.87 km/h (35.3 mi/h)
Max speed: 138.54 km/h (86.1 mi/h) / Average pace: 1.57 min/km (2.5 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 1.06 min/km (1.7 min/mi) / Fastest pace: 0.43 min/km (0.7 min/mi)
Max elevation: 2276 m (7466 ft)

As we were packing the cars, the owners of the Safari Inn asked us to pose our cars under their sign for a few photos. Perhaps in years to come we will be part of some advertising material?

Before departing this fairly desolate motel town we enjoyed a authentic Mexican inspired egg breakfast then posed the cars before one of the towns several wall murals. Seems when a town is really in the dumps, they call in the mural artists to save them.

Our first RT66 roadside attraction of the day was the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa NM. The outside lot is littered with rusting jalopies and the inside is populated with about 40 nice condition but not so special 50s and 60s American autos. Any large town cruse night would bring out much more variety and similar quality.

On 66 westward again the terrain is really noticeably different now. This truly is the west as mountains start to appear and the vast open sky fills the windscreen and the road stretches endlessly before you. The heatwave we were warned about a few days back has been broken by some well needed rainstorms. Now a stiff and cool breeze pushes the little Giulia around as it blasts along at the open country speeds of 80+ mph.

A sharp turn north to Las Vegas NM showed us it is not a sin city the Nevada version is. This time it’s an historic town filled with hundreds of buildings listed on the registry of historic places. For us, the small bar inside the towns largest building; the Plaza Hotel, was our real interest. A local New Mexican pale ale was very nice.

Educational time arrived as we explored the Pecos National Historic Park. Here we learned about the Indian tribes that lived in this area that were “convinced” by invading Spanish soldiers that christianity was the way to go. Several pueblos still exist as does the remains of the Spanish monastery. Our Indian adventure was cut a little short with some impending weather moving in bringing dark clouds, wind and heavy rains. We jumped in our Italians and beat it.

The town of Santa Fe was next and was quite a stark comparison to the actual Indian pueblos just explored. This town full of trendy people and an air of fake pretense was not worth the trouble to visit. The Loretto Chapel is located deep in a touristy shopping district. Their “claim to fame” is a free standing circular staircase built by a mysterious carpenter. As you exit the chapel you are confronted with all manner of cheesy souvenirs to purchase with images of the wooden staircase. The craft beers we had at Marble Brewing did nothing to make up for the cheap experience of the town and its hipster shoppers.

Fortunately upon arrive in our last stop of the night – Albuquerque – we were able to cleans our minds with some fine craft beer and country music at the IL Vicino Brewing Company.

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