Above Photo: Vintage Postcard of Route 66 Through Albuquerque

Day 9 Miles: None

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post is the kind of RV park I would run myself. There are vintage trailers to rent, and 30 and 50 amp sites for big rigs. There is a cute gift shop, propane on site, and a seasonal pool, where the bathrooms are labeled “Guys” and “Dolls.”

imageimageimage68aimageimageimageimageEnchanted Trails is on the I-40 frontage road, which once was Route 66, but you are well on your way west out of town by the time you reach the place. As I found my way to the park at Exit 149 on I-40, two signs gave me pause: 1) “Next Rest Stop 50 Miles;” and 2) “Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers – Prison Facilities.” Note to self: Google Map and Street View a site before making reservations.

It was bone-chillingly cold when I awoke with the plan to: 1) get an extra key for the toad; and 2) buy a new sewer hose before exploring the town. This was the first day since I have been living in Nellie that the temperatures were at or below freezing, and I was greatly concerned. I immediately went to work researching what I needed to do to make sure the pipes and holding tanks did not freeze at night. I also researched the temperatures of the Arizona towns up ahead, worried that Gallup and Flagstaff were predicting nighttime temperatures into the teens and 20s. I was very glad I squirreled away some sweaters and my big puffy coat.

Driving to Camping World and to a local Honda dealership, it was quickly apparent to me that the drivers in Albuquerque are not aggressive; they are downright angry. Everyone speeds and tailgates. Chores completed, as I began getting in and out of my car to take photos on Route 66, drivers did not keep a safe distance or slow down. They revved their engines and sped up the minute my toe was in the crosswalk.

Albuquerque has an 18-mile stretch of Route 66 through town, now known as Central Avenue, and the vibe changes depending upon the neighborhood you are in. In trendy Nob Hill and by the University of New Mexico, everything old is new again. But, east of downtown and west of the University District, things get a bit more dicey.

After breakfast downtown at Lindy’s Diner, an Albuquerque institution since 1929:

imageI visited the Kimo Theater:

imageimageand the only intersection on The Mother Road where Route 66 runs in both directions!

imageAlbuquerque understands and successfully exploits its connection to Route 66. Many of the motels have been lovingly maintained, while others have been turned into apartments.

imageimageimageThe new signs, neon or otherwise, blend with the old aesthetic.

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imageThe old Tradewinds Motor Hotel may be gone, but the sign has been saved in part for the new shopping center:

imageimageRoute 66 is still a major tourist attraction in Albuquerque, and they get it.

It took me hours to photograph all the wonderful old signs, and if you don’t follow me on Instagram you can find me here. Instead of reposting them all on the blog, here are a few, together with a corresponding vintage postcard.

Only the sign remains at the Zia now:

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According to the security guard on site, the De Anza has been closed for decades:

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The Hiway House is still in business:

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And so is the Tewa, although less successfully so:

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And the Bow and Arrow is hanging on:

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