09 May 2021

RAPEA - Day 24 - Tucumcari NM to Gallup NM via I40

We began our day with a blast from the past. Yes folks, that is an actual working phone booth in Tucumcari NM at the Conoco Gas Station. It would have been nice if Tucumcari had held on to a little more of the past...like one of these vintage credit card machines. While trying to obtain a receipt at checkout this morning, I was explaining to the two young girls at the desk that if they had one of these last night they wouldn't have had to turn away all the customers with no cash last night because the system was down. Insert deer in the headlights stare with crickets in the background here.


Our first stop on today's itinerary was the Blue Hole of Santa RosaThe Blue Hole was used by nomadic tribes as a reliable water source in the arid plains that surround the area. Cowboys on cattle drives across the Pecos River would also stop by the pool. When Route 66 came through the city in the 1920s, the original alignment brought it right past the property of the Blue Hole. The pool became a popular stop and tourist attraction for motorists on the new highway. In 1932, it became a hatchery for the National Fish Hatchery. Afterward it became the Blue Hole Recreation Area in the 1970s, then the Blue Hole Dive and Conference Center. In the current era of the Interstate, the pool continues to be a popular destination with both locals and divers from around the world.

I was happy to see that the large public swimming, fishing and picnic areas just before the Blue Hole were full of families enjoying the beauty of the area...without a mask in sight even though we're still in NM.

Next up was the Musical Highway. It's a short stretch of highway that plays America the Beautiful if you drive on the rumble strip at 45mph. On the internet they show that there are blue signs but we didn't see a one. We had actually pulled over because we didn't see any markers for the spot Google Maps directed us and while we were sitting there a car passed and I heard it. It's so amazing how they were able to achieve this. I made an attempt to record us but I'm afraid my audio didn't pick up much and I was afraid to dangle my phone any further out the window. It can be seen and somewhat heard here.

The Travel Gods were definitely with us today. Along I40 between Albuquerque and Gallup NM we passed three massive traffic jams that were backed up for miles. Lucky for us they were in the Eastbound lanes and we were headed West.

Our last quick stop was at the Continental Divide which is located on the original 1926 alignment of Route 66. Other than a couple tourist traps and a sign there was nothing much there.

We made it to Gallup, checked in, dropped off our bags and decided to take one more quick trip to end the day. So we headed up what the sign indicated was the devil's highway in search of the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park and Veteran's Memorial. And of course it was closed. But with a loose interpretation of the signs and a good zoom I managed to get a few shots anyway.

And this, my friends, is where we say goodbye to New Mexico, for tomorrow night we'll be in AZ. Well technically we were in AZ today but only for a short time. The Code Talker Memorial is in AZ.

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