Superlatives

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Superlatives

Superlatives

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it?

Well, let us list them.

Best & Worst

Friendliest

The friendliest state was New Mexico.  I’ve never been to New Mexico before, but every single person we met was friendly.  We’re not talking about the tourists, but the people who live and work in New Mexico.  They score a 10 out of 10 for being friendly.

And Not So Friendly

California.  Yup, California.  I had one guy walk up and call me a “scum bag”.  Okay… that’s a first.  While we met friendly people, many of the businesses there could use a course in customer service.

Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise along the way is the Los Angeles Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is right on Route 66.

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A Family of L.A. Dodgers Fans Visiting the Temple Grounds

Best Food Superlatives

This is a very tough one.  I found it not too surprising that the beast meals were comped meals.  I guess when you are providing a complimentary meal to two journalists, you want it to be the best.

That isn’t to say the non-complementary meals weren’t good (well, some weren’t), we noticed a trend.

Burgers

I love a good burger.  The best burger is a tie – Santa Fe Grill in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner in Kingman, Arizona.  Their onion rings… the same – a tie.

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Mr. D’z Diner Staff

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Santa Fe Grill Burger

Mexican Food

Best Mexican food was at Jerry’s Cafe in downtown Gallup, New Mexico.  The food was good, authentic and they are the friendliest people you’ll meet.  If you like sopaipillas with honey… mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.  This is the place.

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Sopaipilla

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The Staff at Jerry’s Cafe, Gallup, NM

Funniest Place

The funniest place on Route 66 is in Seligman, Arizona – the Snow Cap Drive-in.  Just ask for half a cone and see what I mean.  You don’t go here for the food, you come here for the entertainment.

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Inside the Snow Cap

Saddest Place

I remember the Oklahoma City bombing vividly.  Any news like that is sad, however, I was not prepared for the emotions I felt when I visited the site. Consequently I cried a lot while visiting this memorial.

I wasn’t sad for the slain, I was sad because of the evil that exists in the world today.

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Sad Reminders

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Jesus Wept

Happiest Place

Oh, there are lots of happy places along Route 66.  It depends on what you’re in the mood for.  For me, it would be the nicely restored Corvairs this couple have.  Or, maybe it was the fun people we met along the way.  Well, it could have been the tongue-n-cheek humor in Uranus, Missouri.  Therefore, there are MANY happy places on Route 66.

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The Axe Hole at Uranus

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Young Couple Enjoying Frozen Custard

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Fully Restored Corvair Monza Wagon

Road Conditions

To say there are superlatives with road conditions on Route 66 is an understatement.  Hence, I’ll just share a few of photos that tell the story.

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Cobblestone Brick

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A Dead End Section

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A Big Drop Off (this was actually closed to cars)

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Washboard and Potholes

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Unexpected Road Closures

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Winding Mountain Roads

Hotels and Motels

We stayed at many great places.  All of the hotels who provided complementary lodging were clean and nice.  I can’t say that about all the paid rooms.

It’s best in this category that I thank those who comped us roomes:

  • Comfort Suites in Rella, Missouri – Clean and friendly staff and right on Old Route 66
  • Enlight Inn in Joplin, Missouri – Charming Cottages, I want to go back.
  • Fairfield Inn in Tulsa, Oklahoma – Clean
  • Broadway Inn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Off the beaten track, but close to everything
  • EconoLodge, Elk City, Oklahoma – Elk City is the middle of nowhere, but here’s the place to stay.
  • Quality Inn, Tucumcari, New Mexico – Treated us like family (in the good way).  The pool was ultra clean!
  • Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, New Mexico – Another clean hotel on Route 66
  • Ramblin Rose, Kingman, Arizona – Best Value for your money near the Grand Canyon!  Clean too!
  • Hilton, Pasadena, California – Best place to stay in Pasadena.  Service is top-notch
  • Special Mention
    • Fairmont, Santa Monica, California – Amazing view.  It’s a couple blocks off Route 66, but you can see it from the rooms that face south.

Not So Good

On the not-so-good side, I would not recommend Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois.  And, I would not recommend Budget Host Inn, Williams, Arizona.  The Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois, is filthy, and the Budget Host Inn in Williams is very over priced for what you get (or don’t get).  Don’t be fooled by Budget Host’s “free breakfast”.  It was a gallon of milk sitting on the counter, two sugary cereals and a couple of boxes of mini doughnuts (boxed, store bought kind).

More to Come

There is more to come.  Check back often for updates as we review our trip.

Thanks to Sponsors

Also, a very heartfelt thanks to all those who sponsored our trip…

  • Bay Photo Labs
  • Republic Wireless
  • Warner 5 Color
  • Walworth Animal Hospital
  • Alien Skin Software
  • Anthropics Software
  • ACDSee Software
  • Topaz Labs
  • On1 Software
  • Nataliacha Doodley Do
  • Fine Art by DB (Yeah, I personally put a lot of my business money in to this trip)

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Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Today we passed through the Painted Desert.  It makes me wonder what early auto travelers thought when they had to drive through Arizona.  It’s pretty desolate.

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Painted Desert

For the first time today we hit an area where there was NO CELL COVERAGE.  Of course, you couldn’t see any cell towers and civilization.  Besides, it wouldn’t make much sense for cellular companies to put towers in the middle of a desert where nobody lives.

Unknown Destination

Our destination was unknown today.  We didn’t know if we would be in Winslow or Flagstaff or some other city.  Because we couldn’t communicate to Elizabethe (who has been handling our lodging arrangements), we didn’t know how far to drive.

We finally made contact when we started getting a very faint cellular signal.  She said she kept striking out on the hotels and motels along Route 66.  She finally made a paid reservation at one in Flagstaff.

Elizabethe commented that she now starts with the highest rated and highest prices.  From a marketing standpoint, this all makes sense.  More successful businesses understand the value of marketing and advertising.  And, that’s one thing we are doing on this trip… marketing and advertising.

Our Best Products – Our Best Advertisers

Bay Photo

is one of the top photo labs in the nation.  While many people rank a certain Midwest lab #1, my experience is they are not as good as Bay in most aspects.  Bay Photo saw the value of our trip and jumped on the opportunity.  Paul and I hope our efforts send business their way.

We met a guy in the Painted Desert near Old Route 66 who was taking photos.  We talked a bit about photography, and I showed him the Bay Photo image of a rusty old car (like the one we had been photographing) printed on maple wood.  He was VERY impressed.  I then showed it to his wife.  She too was very impressed.

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This would look nice on a Maplewood print from Bay Photo

Winslow, Arizona

I went to Winslow, Arizona, about 9 years ago with my daughter Natalie and a bunch of photographer friends.  Someone since told me it has changed a lot.   It hasn’t.  It is just as I remembered it from my last trip to Winslow with one exception – an additional statue of an older Glen Frey.

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Standing on a Corner

While there we met a couple from the Netherlands.  We talked to them, took pictures together.  It was fun.  We also met a man from Manitoba, Canada, who is riding Route 66 on his motorcycle.

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Nikki and Pablo from the Netherlands

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View From Her Flatbed Ford

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Bob from Canada

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The Corner Intersection

Twin Arrows at Sunset

We ran out of daylight quickly.  We stopped at the abandoned Twin Arrows at sunset and took pictures as the sun went down.  It’s only a few miles from Flagstaff.  As a result, it didn’t impact us too much.

Because it was dark we used our tripods, and took some long exposures.

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Twin Arrows

 

All of the images on this page were processed with ACDsee Ultimate 10 Pro.


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Continental Divide

Continental Divide

We crossed the continental divide this evening.  It was golden hour, and guess what?  We took pictures of it as the sun started its final descent.

I’m going to start off with shout-outs to our partners and others…

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Hawthorne Suites, Alburquerque

We spent a great evening at the Hawthorne Suites in Albuquerque.  They treated us very nicely.  The rooms were clean and nice.  There are many services, restaurants and stores nearby.  They provided us with a very nice room.

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Tonight’s Hotel – Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, New Mexico

Tonight we are staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Gallup, New Mexico.  We’ve been treated like royalty since arriving here.  They provided us with a great recommendation for dinner.  We thank them for the room.

We took the front desk’s advice at the Holiday Inn Express and went to Jerry’s downtown Gallup.  The gave us a wonderful meal.  I had chili rellenos, enchilada and a taco plate, and Paul had pork covered with green and red sauce (Christmas, as they call it).  They brought out a basket of sopapillas and a bottle of honey.

I was in food heaven.

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The Staff at Jerry’s Cafe in Gallup, New Mexico

Thank you to Bay Photo Labs.  We met several photographers today and provided them with press printed book marks, and highly recommended Bay Photo Labs.

Republic Wireless came through today too.

Geology

Today we saw more geology than we did old wrecks and abandoned buildings.  It is a nice change.  Some of the country Route 66 passes through is beautiful.  We saw buttes, cliffs, mesas, mountains, rivers, lava beds and high plains.

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New Mexico Landscape and the Continental Divide (with train in the foreground)

New Mexico

While I was disappointed in Albuquerque’s vagrant problems, overall, the people of New Mexico are very friendly.  There is a scam going on here.  A man comes up and tells you he was on his way to ___ and from ____ and his truck broke down.  He then asks for money.  We’ve seen this twice in 24 hours.

Other than that, once we got away from the big city, we got away from the drug pushers, prostitutes and scammers of Albuquerque.  Somewhere along the way, we stopped at a small burger joint and everyone said, “Hi”, to us and welcomed us to their restaurant.

The people at the Holiday Inn Express and at Jerry’s Grill have been especially friendly.

 

 


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Reunion

Reunion

I had a sweet reunion with a cousin whom I haven’t seen in years.  Living near Route 66, her and her husband met us at the Route 66 Diner in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We had dinner and caught up on old times.

We were trying to figure out the last time we saw each other.  It was probably sometime in the late 1980s.  It was a fun reunion on Route 66.

Leaving Tucumcari

I honestly hated leaving the Quality Inn in Tucumcari.  The room was nice, clean and comfortable, and the swimming pool was impeccable.  I could have stayed there just to go swimming all day.

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Quality Inn Pool

The breakfast was good.  True to New Mexico, there was green and red chili sauce next to the eggs.  Plus, they had cheese, onions, jalapenos and chopped tomatoes available to put on your eggs.

If you are traveling Route 66, stay at the Quality Inn when you get to Tucumcari.  Tell them Brent and Paul sent you.

As we headed west on Route 66, we noticed Tucumcari has a lot of motels, some out of business.  We stopped at the museum on the other end of town.  We noticed in an old picture of Route 66 in Tucumcari that at one time it was a bustling place.

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa, New Mexico, was my favorite part of the day.  We visited another car museum there, and then we spotted a diner.  Both me and Paul said, “Nah… let’s wait.”

We then saw the Santa Fe Grill. It looked clean from the outside, and so we went in.

After meeting the owner, we were promptly seated.  Our waitress, Anna, was very attentive to our needs and provided excellent service.

I had the BBQ Bacon Cheese Burger and it was a perfect burger.  The onion rings were also perfect.  Paul had the turkey sandwich and love it too.

The things that made my burger perfect were a) the bun was toasted, b) it had a slice of onion (not diced onion), c) a slice of tomato, d) the burger was cooked just right, and e) it had ample lettuce too.  The onion rings – crisp on the outside and moist in the middle.

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Perfect Burger and Onion Rings

The place was clean and has a nice southwest feel.  They are located at 2249 Historic Route 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435.  Pay them a visit as you motor down Route 66.

Car Museums

We visited two car museums today.  One in Tucumcari and one in Santa Rosa. The one in Tucumcari is a general museum with lots of cars.  The other, a car museum.

In the Santa Rosa car museum I found the ultimate photographer’s road trip vehicle.  Here it is…

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Ultimate Photographer’s Road Trip Vehicle

Photographers in the cab, and equipment in those back doors.  It’s the perfect road trip vehicle.

The other must have come from Rochester, Buffalo or Syracuse…

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An Edsel Made for Western New York