270 miles; $3.39/gallon gas; pulled into the Sandia Peak Inn in Albuquerque at 10pm.
Great morning saying a leisurely good-by to La Posada, which has quickly become very homey to me. I really think I could live here (in La Posada, not Winslow). When you venture out into the town further than a couple of blocks from downtown, the poverty slaps you in the face. Every time I went out, even to my car in the hotel parking lot, someone asked me for money. This doesn’t even happen in LA, so it was surprising and sad.
First stop of the day was in Holbrook, where I did a quick u-turn when I saw a cute little dog park with GRASS! And a shade tree! A man with a long gray ponytail was playing with his German Shepherd, who loved Colby (OK, who doesn’t?). He was originally from North Carolina and had moved out here to work at the Navajo reservation. I also met Leslie & Matt, a cute couple in their 20’s who were traveling Route 66 east to west, from Champagne, Illinois, so we exchanged notes. That’s one of the great things about traveling with your dog…you meet the nicest people.
Holbrook is home to the famous Wigwam Motel (811 W Hopi Dr, Holbrook, AZ 86025, 928-524-3048). It’s one of only 2 of the original 7 that remains open — the other is on Route 66 in Rialto, California, http://wigwammotel.com. Earlier post about that one — “Sleep in a TeePee”. Both ask the question “Have you slept in a Tee Pee lately?” and try to entice travelers with nostalgic props on the properties. In Holbrook there are great old vintage cars scattered around the place and when you see only one of those cars in front on a teepee, it’s easy to imagine a 1950’s road trip when Route 66 was in its hey-day. I wanted to stay here, but it didn’t work out timing-wise, so I just drove through and then headed on out towards Albuquerque.
Just east of Holbrook, I got distracted for HOURS of photo fun at I-40/Route 66’s Exit 303. The most fun was STEWART’S ROCK SHOP, as already reported, but I can’t imagine a single exit along Route 66 with more nostalgic kitsch, camp, rocks, and quirky, eccentric fun. First up was the PAINTED DESERT INDIAN CENTER, 13 miles east of Holbrook, on the southwest side of Exit 303…
AND THEN THE ROCK FACTORY, just down the road from the Indian Center…
Then some fun with motorcyclists, a cool hippie bus/van/camper, another major photo distraction at Fort Courage (crusty old billboards…more later), a disappointing stop at the run-down/mostly abandoned Continental Divide, a quick run through Gallup, New Mexico to see the famous El Rancho Motel, rain, rainbows, and…rolled into Albuquerque at 10:00pm. Long day!!!