Awesome Arizona Adventure: Return to Route 66

Waking up in Albuquerque, we were super excited to get on the road and explore the beautiful state of New Mexico. We had to get an early start, since our motel reservations for the night were in Joplin, MO, eleven hours from Albuquerque. The earlier we hit the road, the more time we’d have to explore. We quickly ate breakfast, checked out of our super sweet La Quinta motel room, and got a move on.

GiGi Maltese fits perfectly in MaMa’s arms, perfect for a road trip!

About an hour into our drive, we came upon Cline’s Corners iconic trading post, restaurant and filling station. This Route 66 attraction was moved more than once by its original owner, Roy Cline, but found its permanent home along Route 66 (now Interstate 40) in 1937. It is home to New Mexico’s largest gift shop, so MaMa and Pops each took a turn looking around the store for souvenirs. There were no dogs allowed inside, but we did get a good look around the outside and even met some friendly tourists who asked to pet us, and said how much they missed their own dogs at home. We are so lucky that MaMa and Pops take us with on all of their adventures!

GiGi on the Scene at Clines Corners, New Mexico.

After leaving Clines Corners, we drove another 100 miles or so before making another stop in Tucumcari. We got off Interstate 40 and hopped onto old Route 66. The main strip through town has a lot of Route 66 memorabilia and vintage motels that make you feel like you took a step back in time to when Route 66 was a bustling road with tons of tourists. Nowadays, its not nearly as crowded, but we found many reasons to make it a worthwhile stop.

Our first stop on old Route 66 was at the relatively new Route 66 sign (dedicated in 1997) outside of the Tucumcari Convention Center. It looked like a great place for a photo op.

First, Levi had his picture taken looking all happy and sort of sappy!

Levi Pitboxer at the Tucumcari Convention Center Route 66 monument.

Then I said, “Enough of this nonsense! Let me in there for a pic!” Of course, we couldn’t agree on which way to look, only agreeing that neither of us should look directly at the camera.

GiGi Maltese and Levi Pitboxer at the Tucumcari Route 66 monument.

At last it was my turn to shine all on my own! Clearly that made me extremely happy, and I readily agreed to smile for the camera.

GiGi Maltese and the Route 66 monument in Tucumcari.

Further down the Mother Road we stopped at the Motel Safari, an iconic Route 66 motel, providing accommodations in Tucumcari since 1959. The camel sitting atop the motel’s sign is a nod to the camels which were brought to America from Tunisia, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Egypt in the 1850’s. Since they could survive for days without water, could carry heavy loads, and would nosh on forage that mules wouldn’t touch, camels were chosen by the US Army to traverse an area of land from New Mexico to California. This Camel Corps. enabled the creation of a 1,000 mile wagon road, which would later become part of Route 66, the Santa Fe Railway and Interstate 40.

GiGi Maltese at the Motel Safari in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Just a short stroll down the road we stopped at the Blue Swallow Motel so Levi could get a closer look at a beautiful vintage Hudson Hornet parked out in front. I don’t know much about cars, but I do know that Levi thought he would look pretty good sitting in the front seat. He had to settle for standing in front of it though.

Levi Pitboxer loves the vintage Hudson Hornet in front of the Blue Swallow Motel.

Fun fact, there was a character in the movie Cars (which took place in a town on old Route 66) named Doc Hudson, represented by a Hudson Hornet car. How crazy that we ended up seeing one of those very same cars on our return to Route 66!

Speaking of cars, the Blue Swallow Motel, which was built in 1939, was designed so each sleeping room has a garage unit, some of which are still in use today. Have you ever stayed in a motel with your own private garage?! How cool! It’s no wonder that such a unique and iconic motel was added to National Register of Historic Places in 1993. There is a ton of history in this vintage motel, and I wish they allowed dogs so I could stay there one day!

No dogs allowed at the Blue Swallow Motel but maybe a tiny maltese dog could sneak in!

Pretty soon it was time to go, but first MaMa had to make a stop at the Route 66 Welcome Center and Gift Shop to buy some turquoise. She could hardly believe she hadn’t bought any yet, seeing as we were out West, and that’s the best place to buy it, I guess! While she was in there making her purchase, she mentioned to the owner of the store that she was traveling with her two dogs. It turned out the owner was a dog lover, and she allowed us to come inside and have a look around. Unfortunately we were all so excited by the invitation, that we didn’t take any pictures inside, but did get one outside before we left. Oh, and MaMa did buy a pretty flower pendant with turquoise in the center, and wouldn’t you know the name of the owner who sold it to her was Flora! Funny how things work out like that.

Levi Pitboxer and GiGi Maltese at the Route 66 Welcome Center and Gift Shop in Tucumcari.

And just like that, MaMa and Pops said it was time to get back in the car and boogie on down the road to the next town. It sure had been fun seeing another stretch of Route 66. There are many stories and adventures to be had on that historic road. I’m sure we will be back again one day!

Route 66 in Tucumcari is scenic and historic!

Stay tuned for our next stop in Amarillo, Texas!


Route 66 Road Trip: Even Explorers Need to Sleep!

We’d been on the road all day and explored a half dozen historic Route 66 attractions, so we were more than ready to take a load off and unwind. We briefly considered stopping at one last place on MaMa’s map, but it was getting late, the sun was starting to set, Pops missed the turn off (because MaMa wasn’t helping him look), and we ended up going to a wine store instead so MaMa could stock up on libations for the night! As it was, we had another hour or so to drive (with traffic) before making it to the Country Inn motel in Livingston, Ill. where MaMa had made our reservation.

We were super lucky to find this motel, as it not only allowed two dogs for a minimal charge, but they allowed dogs of any size or breed. I’m pretty easy to travel with, seeing as I’m only about 10 pounds and as far as we know, there are no restrictions on Maltese dogs in any towns or counties in America. Levi, on the other hand, is part Pitbull, and as it turns out, there are some towns you can’t even drive through, let alone stay in, if you have a Pitbull breed with you. I think that is sad and unfair, since I know what a good dog he is, and I’ve met so many other Pitbulls that are a lot nicer than I could ever be!

Walking into our motel room was an experience I will never forget! I’d never stayed anywhere like it before. Up until then, the only places I’d slept were my first owner’s house, the tobacco store that I was forced to live in for four months when my first owners didn’t want me anymore, and of course MaMa and Pop’s homes. I didn’t even know there were such things as motels, with everything you need all in one room! We had two beds, a desk and chairs, a nightstand, lamps, a phone and TV too. Also, we had a big window that looked out onto the parking lot and which provided excellent viewing for me and Levi anytime someone walked by or slammed a door! Luckily, we didn’t bark too much because we didn’t want to cause any problems or get kicked out of the room.

Livingston Hotel
Living large with Levi in Livingston!

One really convenient thing about the Country Inn motel is the attached café which is open until 9:30 for dinner, which meant MaMa and Pop didn’t need to stop for fast food, and we could all eat together in the room. When you’ve been traveling all day, it sure is nice to have a meal that is as close to home cooked as you can get when you’re on the road, and to be able to eat it with your dog begging by your side…just like home! And since MaMa already had her bottle of wine, she was good to go!

There were so many things to sniff and suss out. MaMa was worried that I would get into something, so she followed me around the room for a while. When she was finally satisfied that I wouldn’t get into anything, she sat down and let me have my space. That woman can really cramp my style sometimes!

After sniffing the entire perimeter of the room, under both beds, and all around the bathroom, I was able to finally sit and relax. MaMa said we needed to go to bed early because we had another fun-filled day planned on Route 66. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to do or see, but chances were it would be another memorable day on the Mother Road!