Route 66 from Phoenix to Santa Fe

From Phoenix, my Little Blue Truck headed north to pass through Sedona, one of my husband’s favorite places on earth. At one time Scot and I had played with the idea of moving there. I said I needed a University or college near by, just for the intellectual influence it might offer. So I Googled colleges near me, and we both had a good chuckle at ourselves. At the time the only things that came up were spiritual and metaphysical focused schools. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, but I guess it did fulfill my requirement. We never moved there…

I began following Route 66, the famed highway of the 50s and 60s that ran from Chicago to the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles. My late sister Kathryn had a passion for Route 66 so I always have her in mind when I catch sections of the historic route. And it always make me sad that she isn’t with me seeing the sights. Route 66 is no longer continuous, but a person can follow many parts of it, and it happens that the original 66 ran up to Santa Fe. This route was later cut out and shortened, but I worked at following the route to my next destination which was Santa Fe, NM.

There are the “must sees” along the route. I drove through Holbrook to see the Wigwam Motel, past the corner in Winslow, Arizona where Scot stood on the corner so I could check him out; past the Petrified Forest to stay the night in Gallup, New Mexico. Of course after I checked into my trusty Gallup Econolodge, I discovered the Route 66 motel of the stars was called El Rancho, and I had turned a block or two early so I missed it. The next day I explored Gallup a little, driving old 66 past Zimmerman’s Western store where I had to stop, even though I couldn’t find a thing to buy; Went into the El Rancho that was indeed fabulous old timbers and a very cool staircase in the lobby and an equally cool old map of the trails that crisscross the area. I also stopped at one of the Harvey built railroad hotels–one of several I had seen–the one in Gallup is known as La Posada Hotel, built in 1930. Harvey built the hotels along the railroad with young single gals who were the waitresses in the restaurants.

Zimmerman’s Western Store in Gallup. I tried to buy something but I had reached my consumer limit.

I ended up in La Luna, a town south of Albuquerque, don’t ask me exactly how. I was following Route 66 and that’s where the map took me. I had some false starts, with the roads leading me to pueblos that were closed to the public but I had the luxury of time on my side, so I wandered my way to Santa Fe.

I was captivated by the cultures I kept crossing. In Los Lunas I came saw a road sign that said I was on the same path Francisco Vasquez de Coronado had taken in fall of 1540! There’s clearly Native American influence all over, as well as the Hispanic that went back to 50 years after Columbus “discovered” America. I loved the pueblo style architecture—adobe bricks covered with mud stucco.

In Albuquerque I jumped on the freeway for a short distance to take Hwy 14 to Madrid, NM. Cathy of the Skijourn Sisters had told me to visit the community, so I did. It was a lovely, windy road up a mountain side. Madrid was an interesting artsy community, clearly a tourist destination, and likely a popular day-trip site for locals.

Late afternoon I rolled into Santa Fe and found my Worldmark home for four nights. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found my condo was in the pueblo style! I was feeling right at home.

I had never spent much time in Santa Fe—always coming or going somewhere else. I had decided to spend more time to find out what the buzz was about. I was in for the time of my life!

The Solo Ski Sojourn was continuing but clearly the end was in sight. But I had miles to go, and all of Santa Fe awaited me, including one more day of skiing.

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