Started out this morning to find the Route 66 Diner in downtown Albuquerque. There was a ton of vintage 66 and 50’s memorabilia inside and out and the waitresses wore 50’s style uniforms. Jazz couldn’t resist ordering old fashioned “pan fries” (aka home fries) and we shared them as we admired the largest Pez dispenser collection we have ever seen.
We decided to backtrack a bit to visit the one of a kind Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, which is located on the historic Turquoise Trail in New Mexico. A total labor of love, the museum was established by artist Ross J. Ward and includes hundreds of hand carved miniature figures and dioramas. Several displays were interactive and we had fun making these elaborate scenes come alive. The museum also houses lots of antique style games and an automated one man band machine that rocked! Tinkertown was an inspiring and entertaining place and definitely worth the short drive off course to see it.
Going back through Albuquerque and on to McCarty’s, we stumbled upon a short side trip to the El Malpais National Monument.” El Malpais” (bad land) has the largest contiguous lava flow in the US. We didn’t get to see the lava but we did see the Southwest’s largest free standing arch, La Ventana. It was an amazing sight! Got some great pictures and took a few beautiful panoramic photos on my phone.
Our next stop was Grants, NM where we saw some vintage signage and then pressed on towards Gallup. Gallup, NM is known for the world famous El Rancho Hotel & Motel, which is right on the 66 strip. This location is still in operation today and all the rooms are named after famous people who stayed there while in town. They called Gallup the “Hollywood of the Southwest” and dozens of stars, such as John Wayne, Clark Gable, May West, and Humphrey Bogart frequented the hotel. The lobby looked great filled with Southwestern-style décor, with a player piano and a fireplace, while the grand staircases revealed several autographed photos displayed on the second-floor walls.
Gallup was our last stop in New Mexico and we could not leave without having ourselves an authentic burrito. On the way out of town, we stopped at El Charrito restaurant and had a bean burrito with all the sides. It was very good and just what we needed to complete our journey through this gorgeous state.
We just stopped at the Arizona border and will spend the night at the Arizona Welcome Center in Lupton. Tomorrow we will continue our adventure on America’s main street. It’s hard to believe that we only have two states left until our Route 66 journey comes to an end. We are enjoying the road more and more each day and we hope it will only get better!
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