Forgotten Historical Route 66 09 May 2016

May 9, 2016

A bittersweet start to the day as I bade Jeff and Berenika a fond farewell.

I began the journey today by taking the Pre-1937 Route 66 out of town. This is also the Original El Camino Real dating back to the 1500s.

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This route sent me down Isleta Blvd into Isleta where there is the ancient Isleta Pueblo.

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Route 6 and 66 are the same through to mix of farmland and residences to Los Lunas. There is a beautiful 1881 historical ‘Luna Mansion’ that appears open for business as a hotel/restaurant. The older pre-1937 Route 66 ends at Mesita where it joins post-1937 routing of Route 66. 

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One really nice thing I like about taking Route 66 is the lack of traffic. It seems that I have the road to myself the majority of the time to let my imagination run wild. The sign states that ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ is ahead and then I see a painted rock on the side before entering the curve.



I looked into the hills and could just imagine the Indians hunting, gathering food and building a village. Such a beautiful and rugged terrain, one that inspires my imagination as I pass through small towns like Laguna, Paraje, Villa De Cubero and San Fidel on my way to Grants and Gallup before leaving New Mexico and entering Arizona.


This is referred to as the ‘Owl Rock’


On the Indian Reservation I took this photo. Notice the church?

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Providing a background is Mt Taylor and then a side trip that I did not take would have taken me to Acoma Mesa and ‘Sky City’ termed the oldest continuously inhabited city in the country, perched hundreds of feet above the valley floor and the site of the San Esteban Del Rey Mission.

In Grants I found this Church for a photo op but I elected not to visit the NM Mining Museum where a typical uranium mine had been recreated one story underground.

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Next along the route was more rough territory where my imagination again got caught up in what kind of earthquake or volcano or ?? caused the upheaval of the earth this way.

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I had an unusual shopping experience at the Continental Divide. Exit 47 was closed for the folks on I40 to exit so only the Route 66 travelers could access these shops. I did say that I hardly ever encounter fellow travelers on 66. So I was quite alone as were the two store clerks.

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Gallup appeared to be a town catering to the tourist with many downtown trading posts to lure you away from your vacation money.

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Gallup even sports a historical museum.

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And of course another oddity to be seen along the way is the car perched high at a junk yard.

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The Tee Pee Trading Post near the Arizona state line.

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The Yellowhorse shop. Look on the cliffs to see the plastic animals that are pretty much out of place and out of reality!

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I was looking for a place to sleep for the night and thought that the Petrified Forest National Park might have a camping ground. I was wrong there but once I left the interstate I-40/Rte 66 at exit 311 I was provided a map to traverse the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest to have camping provided on the other end by a museum and gift shop. So off I go on the adventure!

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First up is the Painted Desert. Mary Eileen this will remind you of the Bad Lands in South Dakota. The geograhpy isn’t restricted to the Painted Desert Park. The entire area of Northern Arizona is a painted desert and there are ample amounts of petrified wood on both public and private lands. Of course some of these pieces are exceptionally heavy!

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Views of the Painted Desert from various overlooks.

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I think this crow was checking me out as I saw a crow several times.


This is the Pained Desert Inn now a National Historic Landmark.

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 A 1932 Studebaker sits where route 66 once cut through the park.





There is just so much to see in the park. The Puerco Pueblo and petroglyphs like Newspaper Rock. The Blue Mesa has more colorful geology.

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This large rock formation just juts up from the ground. What caused this formation to remain when all else has disappeared?

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There are many dramatic rock formations throughout the park that caught my eye.

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A petrified log spanning a gully. I found it amazing that in 1917 concrete was used to help support this petrified log.


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This is Jasper Forest, an area within the park that has a high concentration of petrified wood.


A large petrified log.


Crystal Forest.


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I was able to spend the night at this campground. Notice the petrified wood just laying around. Trust me, no one is going to haul it away without a backhoe or something similar.



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