Day 6 Miles: 166

Tucumcari, New Mexico to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ahhh, Santa Fe, my little sorbet! The 1937 alignment of Route 66 bypassed Santa Fe, so there is very little remaining Mother Road here.

Leaving Tucumcari, I traveled west to the little town of Santa Rosa, New Mexico, because I heard there was a cache of neon there. I stopped for a meal at the Route 66 Restaurant, which has been owned for 30 years by the same owner.

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Her sister and my waitress, Sylvia, a wonderful and charming woman, snapped a photo for me inside:

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As I ate breakfast Sylvia and I talked about her mother’s declining health and whether Sylvia should bring her home to live with her, or leave her in the nursing home. No matter where you are, people’s troubles, concerns and worries are the same.

The state of Santa Rosa’s  Route 66 landmarks is more dire than Tucumcari’s. Seeing Santa Rosa, I knew that Hazel in Shamrock, Texas was right: Many of the sites will not be here in another 10 years.

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The gas prices are good clue to what year this station shut down

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I skipped Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole and continued on to Santa Fe. The drive was beautiful! I must admit that New Mexico is a much prettier drive than the hard tack panhandle of Texas.

I set my sights on an Eagles Aerie in Santa Fe listed in the little yellow book, which stated that RV parking was available. I held my breath as I drove into town, given some less than stellar experiences I had in other cities. Some of the aeries are shut down. Some of them are now located in questionable parts of town as the cities have grown around them. Well, what a nice surprise!

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Aerie 2811 is robust and going strong! It is open every day of the week, which is uncommon for many aeries. Last night there was a pool tournament. Wednesday night there will be dinner. Everyone was so welcoming. There are antique shops and restaurants and residences all around the property, and it was very quiet last night. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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Making New Friends

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One of the best things about the Santa Fe Eagles parking lot is that it is minutes away from the historical area of Santa Fe, where one would not want to drive a large RV. Santa Fe has been here since the 1600s, and the streets can be quite narrow and curvy. It feels very European. Well, I guess it feels very Spanish. I lived in Santa Barbara, California, during college, and Santa Barbara feels like a bad counterfeit of Santa Fe.

I drove in and around the Plaza, then settled for dinner in the Canyon neighborhood of Santa Fe. The building housing El Farol restaurant has been continuously operating as a bar or restaurant since the 1800s. The bartenders, Parker and Kai, introduced themselves by name and shook my hand. The Spanish tapas and the margaritas were superb. I struck up a conversation with the couple next to me, who are visiting from Louisiana. Santa Fe is one of their favorite towns. We are having dinner tonight.

Ahhhh, Santa Fe! I really like it here.