More Route 66 – through Tucumcari (love that word), photographing signs and decrepit buildings. We stopped for lunch at the Midway Cafe, which marks the midpoint of Route 66 between Chicago and LA. On to the Blue Hole, in Santa Rosa, a Chrystal clear swimming hole that we want to make time for on the way back.
Driving toward Albuquerque the mountains loom across the plains, and we could see huge rainclouds forming above them. Rain streaked down toward the mountains, visible from 10 miles out. Suddenly the streaks vanished and we were in the midst of a hard shower; the temperature dropped from 97 to 63 in three minutes. We passed on through and the temp climbed up to a comfortable 87 by the time we arrived at the motel.
A word about the “new 66”, or “Fabulous 40”. It’s not so fabulous. Yes, I love all the kitch and I have a special interest in photographing modern ruins. But replacing 66 with an interstate that winds around each of these towns, rather than through them, as the old route did, has brought ruin and poverty to all of these small towns. Each of these towns we’ve driven through is picturesque – yes – but also desolate and decrepit. Boarded up motels, one after the next, dead businesses, whole streets of barren buildings and faded signs with little new development, if any at all, to replace them. These towns seem destined to be modern ghost towns, made so by the re-routing of the highway, and possibly helped along by the internet and big-box stores, though, even those are nowhere in sight along this highway.