Rt 66 - Tucumcari, NM

Visited September 24, 2014

As soon as I drove into Tucumcari, it was plain to see that this town must have been one of the premier towns of old Route 66. There are traces of those glory days on each side of 66, all through town. From neon signs to old cafes and motels, it's definitely a photographer's dream. But I'm going to start this post with a spot I stopped at a little west of town, south of I-40 at Exit 321.

I had spotted the Stuckey's/DQ sign from off in the distance and was hankering for a blizzard. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the station, all I found was a burned-out shell station. It's amazing how many places along the road burn down.

Since I couldn't get my blizzard on, I deployed a munzee on pump #8, returned to Old Blue and commenced driving to Tucumcari.


Tucumcari is another Route 66 town that owes its beginnings to the railroad. Back in the very early 1900s, the Rock Island Railroad had a work camp in the area, which later became known as "Six-Shooter Siding," which later came to be known as "Douglas" and eventually the town was renamed after Tucumcari Mountain.

The railroad, ranching and Route 66 kept Tucumcari prosperous over the years, and still does today. It's home to some 6,000 residents and is the county seat of Quay County, NM. There's a five-mile-long stretch of Route 66 (Tucumcari Blvd.) running through town, and a drive along it is almost like going back in time fifty years. Here are some of the places I stopped at to take some photos.

I'd like to drive through town at night, all the neon signs must be pretty cool to see. Although now that I think of it, many of the signs are probably for businesses that are no longer operating.

Probably the most well-known and most photographed spot in town, the Blue Swallow Motel.

Tee Pee Curios was my last stop while in Tucumcari. It's a pretty neat souvenir shop, with shelves and cases filled with curious curios and treasures. It's definitely worth a visit.

From here, I continued east on Tucumcari Blvd and in a short while it reconnected with I-40 and I was on my way, on the road again.

Next stop? San Jon. I was almost to Texas.