We got up early this morning and headed out of Shamrock, TX. Between McLean, TX and Alanreed, TX we hopped on a super old alignment of Route 66 known as Dirt 66. It’s pretty much all dirt with a little gravel. All our guidebooks cautioned that you should only drive it in dry weather. Of course, we decided to take it. It was a great old stretch of road and we only got almost-stuck one time. I will tell you though, if you ever plan to drive this stretch, keep in mind that does take some time. It’s only a few miles long, but you have to drive super slow. It was totally worth it though!
On our way through Conway, TX, we took a few minutes to check out Bug Ranch . It’s a site right off the old road where 5 Volkswagon Beetles are buried halfway in the ground, nose first. It’s supposed to make fun of Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, TX. The kids enjoyed the old cars and I only wish I had known to bring spray paint. We could have immortalized our names on the cars if I had.
Our next stop was Amarillo, TX with lots of good neons to look at. Right outside Amarillo, we headed out to Cadillac Ranch. Now, don’t be fooled by the name. It’sot actually a ranch as one would imagine. It’s just a bunch of Cadillacs buried halfway in the ground and sticking up. The kids thought they were neat, but most of all, they had a blast playing tag in the field right by the site.
Heading into Adrian, TX, we were so excited to grab dinner at the Midpoint Cafe. You see, Adrian is halfway between Chicago & LA. And, the Midpoint Cafe is known for their “ugly crust pie”. I don’t know what the heck that is, but I sure wanted to try some. Imagine our dismay when we pulled up outside and they were closed. Now it didn’t look permanently closed like some of the other places we had hoped to visit. Just closed for right now. What a bummer. I mean, when’s the next time I’m going to be in Adrian, TX?
We ended up grabbing a pizza at the gas station on the other side of I-40. I wasn’t sure what Josh was thinking, but it turned out to be awesome pizza!
After dinner, we headed to Glenrio. It’s technically on the border of Texas & New Mexico and my map says that the town is actually partially on each side of the border. There’s pretty much nothing left in Glenrio now; its just a ghost town. We really wanted to drive the old alignment from Glenrio to San Jon, NM. We started down the dirt road and then I noticed that it was 19 miles to San Jon. That’s a long way to go on a dirt road at 20 miles an hour!
So, we headed back to the newer alignment along the I-40 frontage road and picked up the tail end of the old dirt road outside of Bard. As we headed through San Jon to Tucumcari, NM, I couldn’t help but notice scenery change. It’s almost crazy how Texas (well, at least the panhandle) is mostly flat farm land. Then you cross over into NM and almost immediately, the landscape changes to more of a barren land. We started seeing more desert-looking plants and rock formations.
A ways down the road, we arrived in Tucumcari, NM. We had planned on staying at the Blue Swallow Motel, as it is a very cool historic landmark. But, Lia threw up on her blankie on our way into town. And, they didn’t have laundry facilities at the Blue Swallow. So we ended up at the EconoLodge instead. So, after we dropped off our suitcases, we headed into downtown Tucumcari to take some pictures, get some ice cream (at Ken’s Ice Cream) and check out some neons lit up at dusk.
Tomorrow, we are heading for Albuquerque, NM.
Things I learned today:
1. Staying in a motel is actually kind of nice because the kids climb into our bed for a family snuggle when they wake up.
2. Lia loves omelets. As in, ‘I’m not going to eat my food until I eat all of your omelet first’ kind of way.
3. There is really not much to do for kids in Texas along Route 66. Luckily, my kids can have fun anywhere as long as they can run around and be wild.
4. Even though we have at least 10 games for the leapsters, Max and Ava will still fight over the same one, Pet Pals. Note from Josh: He thinks it’s because they miss Banana and they can take care of Banana on Pet Pals.
5. Josh will do almost anything to avoid having to eat a turkey sandwich from the cooler. I don’t know if it’s because he secretly hates turkey sandwiches or if it’s because he is secretly still mad at me for packing sandwich stuff.
6. I heard it just snowed in Flagstaff, AZ the other day. That snow better be gone when we get there. I’m hoping for some warmer weather.
7. My kids associate wind with being cold. Even if its 80 degrees outside, they cry about being cold if there is any wind at all.
Reviews:
Bug Ranch, Conway, TX 3 stars – There wasn’t much to this roadside attraction, but it was cute and easy to find right on the old road.
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX 3 stars – Not really what I had in mind when I heard the name, but okay nonetheless. The kids got a kick out of this and it was also easy to find. It was a bit of a walk, but it was nice to stretch my legs.
Ken’s Ice Cream, Tucumcari, NM 5 stars – Umm, how could an ice cream place not get 5 stars from the Solars?! Anyway, this was a cute little place, they were very friendly, and of
EconoLodge, Tucumcari, NM 4 stars – The place was nice and clean. And fairly spacious. And the WiFi is fast!

Sorry for the “drag to change route” box on the map, it’s late and i’m lazy and tired.

Views from Dirt 66.

Bug Ranch

Cadillac Ranch

Freeze Tag 🙂

More old Route 66.

Portraits in Tucumcari.

Getting their punches out.

3 Comments

  • Flagstaff nothin’ – we got snow UNLOADED on us in Gallup night before last! We’ve been taking old dirt alignments left and right, but I *WILL* warn you: Be careful on western New Mexico’s dirt roads – they’re actually a really soft clay; we’re experienced mudders, and it took everything we had to get us of of one road (I think it may have been Laguna Tribal Road, but maybe not)… anyway, I’d stick to paved roads between Albuquerque and the Arizona border… but definitely take the old Road 66 past the Painted Desert Trading Post near the Petrified Forest. It’s packed hard, and that is the loneliest ruin on the Route.

  • FYI – We passed through Flagstaff today. No snow in sight. Whether or not that will last, I do not know.

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