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!

 

Awesome Arizona Adventure: Consider Us Enchanted!

I woke up on Day Two of our cross country road trip, took a look around the hotel room and saw that MaMa, Pop, and Levi were all still sawing logs. I couldn’t believe I was the first one awake! But then again, I was so excited to hit the road and see so many new things today. It was dark when we got to Amarillo the night before, but there was just a smidge of light in the sky now, and I was ready to get back out there and make the most of the day!

I laid there for a few more minutes and when nobody made a move to get up, I decided to take matters into my own paws. So, I jumped on MaMa’s chest and started licking her in the face!

“Oooph, GiGi, get off me!” she proclaimed, but I would have none of that.

‘Come on, come on, come on, I’m ready for some more adventures!’ I barked at her.

“Okay, I’m getting up, geesh.”

At this point, the boys began to stir too, and I knew once Levi got up and did his morning shake, that things would finally start moving.

‘Hey Levi, get up, get up! We’re on vacation, remember? We have lots of exploring to do!”

‘How could I forget GiGi? This is exciting stuff!’ he woofed back at me.

Finally everyone was up and moving, and soon enough we were back in the car. I wish I could tell you about the sights and smells in Texas, but to be honest I slept through most of it. Waking up so early to wake everyone else up is tiring stuff!

Nap Time!
Nap Time!

Amarillo is in the panhandle of the state, so even though Texas is HUGE, the part we were driving through was pretty narrow, and we only had about an hour of driving to do before we reached New Mexico. This is about all I remember of Texas.

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Just as I was settling in for a good snooze, I heard Pops proclaim, “We’re crossing the border into New Mexico!” and I looked up just in time to see the Welcome to New Mexico: Land of Enchantment sign.

Prepare to be enchanted!
Prepare to be enchanted!

With a state nickname like that, I knew I better pay attention to the scenery. I figured we would be delighted with some good sights on the road today, and New Mexico didn’t disappoint! It wasn’t long before the landscape began to change and we started seeing some really cool stuff.

Beautiful New Mexico scenery.
Beautiful New Mexico scenery.

After a few hours on the road, it was time to make a pit stop, and as we were coming up on the outskirts of Albuquerque, Pops asked MaMa to look for a park where we could walk around and stretch our legs. She found a cute, little park where we saw some trees already in bloom with their Spring flowers. We sure didn’t have any blooming trees back in Illinois, and it was so exciting to see!

Yippee, flowering trees!
Yippee, flowering trees!
This looks like a cool place to check out!
This looks like a cool place to check out!
Taking a break from the car!
Taking a break from the car!

After our walk around the park and before getting back on the road, we stopped for lunch at a fast food joint. MaMa and Pops were hoping we’d eat, since we hadn’t eaten dinner last night or breakfast that morning (it seems like the lady at the Jack in the Box we’d stopped at in Missouri knew what she was talking about!).  Luckily we both were hungry enough to eat our food, but not before I spotted my very first Road Runner! Meep Meep!

Can you see hit just to the left of the tree?
Can you see him just to the left of the tree, next to the curb?

When we got back on the road, we headed out on an alternate route instead of staying on I-40. Pops had driven to Arizona with Levi Pitboxer and he knew a more scenic route south down I-25 over to Highway 60. Even though this route would take us an hour longer, he promised that the scenery both in New Mexico and Arizona would be worth it. He wasn’t lying!

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Beautiful mountains of New Mexico!
Beautiful mountains of New Mexico!

Not long after getting on Hwy. 60 in Socorro, NM, we drove through a portion of the Cibola National Forest. We didn’t plan it this way, but the historic marker we stopped at was a tribute to Ada McPherson Morley, who among some other awesome things, formed a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Levi and I thought that was pretty cool!

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Thank you Ada McPherson Morley!
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Beautiful stretch along Hwy. 60.
Cibola National Forest
Cibola National Forest

After leaving the Cibola National Forest area, we drove through some really cute and quaint towns with names like Pie Town, where the local pie shop opens on 3/14. Can you figure out why? We also made a couple more stops, and even took some awesome pictures on our camera of Levi and I in front of an old church in Quemado, NM. Unfortunately, our memory card decided to go bad, and we lost all of the camera pictures we took that day! Luckily I was able to find a picture of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church on another blog, www.papamikeonatrike.com, so you can see how unique and beautiful it is! The only thing that would have improved this picture is if Levi and I had been in it!

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Sacred Heart Catholic Church

The drive along Highway 60 was truly beautiful and the landscape was absolutely something to gawk at. I sure was glad that Pops took us on this minor detour!

Stunning New Mexico Mountains!
Stunning New Mexico Mountains!

Just as we were about to leave New Mexico and cross the border into Arizona, I had a very important task I had to attend to. I thought I’d lost something special to me!

Luckily I found it and we were able to carry on with our trip. I’d have really hated it if we’d had to retrace all our steps in order for me to find my Levi toy!

Onward to Arizona!