Day 3 - Get your kicks on Route 66

 “If you ever plan to motor west,  Travel my way, take the highway that is best.  Get your kicks on route sixty-six.”

—Songwriters: Troup Bobby

We got up this morning at 5:00AM, mostly because I forgot to turn my normal weekly alarm off, but this got us on the road early and out of Oklahoma City before it got busy.  We grabbed breakfast at a 24-hour McDonalds about a half hour outside the city limits. 

We also started driving on and paralleling old Route 66, since part of the old route has been merged with I-40 starting in Oklahoma City and then parallels outside of Oklahoma.  We didn’t stop at any of the Oklahoma Route 66 attractions as they were all still closed while we were in Oklahoma.  


Normally when you cross into a new state the welcome center is either right there or a few miles down the road, unless you are Maryland about 25 miles into the state.  However, Texas puts them all to shame, we cross into Texas and I’m expecting a big welcome center, nope I get a sign saying it is 100 miles down the road.  Really, Texas, how am I supposed to get my state map if I have to exit the interstate before then?  We did stop at the welcome center in Amarillo, exit 76, where a very nice lady gave me a map and a side quest.  We took a short side trip from our main route to visit Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the US. Unlike the Grand Canyon which we are on our way to see, you can drive down into the Palo Duro Canyon along a 16-mile loop road (8-miles in and 8-miles out).  We just drove the loop and had lunch in the canyon, no hiking today.  After that side trip we got back on our main route and continued on our way to Albuquerque.  We did not stop and do any of the Route 66 items in Texas like stop at the Big Texan or see Cadillac Ranch because the side trip circled us past those items by the time we got back on I-40, we will stop at them on the way back home.  However, we did see the leaning water tower of Groom, didn’t stop, just drove by on the interstate.

Palo Duro Canyon

You be in Texas without seeing a longhorn

Leaning Water Tower

We crossed into New Mexico, who’s welcome sign crosses the interstate, and I was disappointed again by the welcome center.  While their welcome center is located just past the state line, it was closed for the holiday.  Again I don’t think someone thought this through, a major travel day when people are probably looking for information and the information center is closed.  So I couldn’t get my map.    

One thing I am noticing about the  southwest states is the lack of rest stops along the interstate, I feel like they are relying on gas stations.  A note about gas stations, most have been nice and relatively clean.  We got gas for as low as 3.99 per gallon and we have seen prices as high as 4.89 per gallon but mostly it has been going for about 4.19 per gallon.

I was also hoping to get some nice pictures while we were driving but it has been very hazy, and not very scenic.  I’m hoping as we get into Arizona tomorrow I’ll start seeing some more interesting items along the road. However I need to be quick since the speed limit is 75 mph so I don’t have as much time to react when the speed limit is only 65 mph. 

Tomorrow we head into Arizona, through Flagstaff and then up to the Grand Canyon.


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