Day three is complete! After two long days in the saddle, I’ve decided to have a shorter day and take a break so I’m already parked up, having had a feed at Wendy’s (because they serve square burgers and I’m sick of looking at my round steering wheel) and gassed up for tomorrow. Suffice to say I did not make Amarillo.
The day began in Gallup, New Mexico where I discovered that I’d not only crossed the Colorado River and the Arizona/New Mexico boundary, but I’d entered a new timezone. This I found out when I got going at 9 am, only to find out Mountain Standard Time was an hour ahead.
Undeterred, I filled up (leading me to the knowledge I’m getting less than 8 miles per gallon – so another BIG THANK YOU To Plasticolor for their fuel allowance donation) jumped on the I-40 (which is a designated Route 66 road so I wasn’t cheating) and followed it east. My plan was to carry on until Mesita and then jump on Route 66, but seeing a sign for the Continental Divide and not wanting to pass up a photo opportunity (there wasn’t one as it turns out), I pulled off the highway and found myself on good old Historic Route 66 and heading towards Grants.
And what a pleasure Grants was. Stuffed with Route 66 nostalgia I found myself pulling over every block to gawk and take photos. Time was getting on by this point so I jumped back in the motor home and took off. Interstate 40 got me to Mesita where I managed to get sidetracked at Pueblo Laguna, an Indian village with traditional pueblo, that had a backdrop that looked like Geonosis. While I was stopped there getting a few snaps I took a call from the Star Wars Show team at Lucasfilm, who probed me to see if I wanted to take part in a video series of Star Wars fans at Celebration.
Getting back on the interstate, because the road connecting Mesita to Historic Route 66 was a mess, I drove for a short while until the Los Laguna turn off and followed the best road surface I’ve ever been on in my life. It must have only been a week old, and for 100 miles the motor home practically glided over the New Mexico landscape.
By this time of the day the weather had warmed up and my hat and jacket were on the empty passenger seat next to me.
Down in Los Laguna, I continued on Route 66, which was also the much older El Camino Real. They took me into Albuquerque and on through a series of small rural suburbs of the city, and on to the high plain (which, had it been in South America, would have been labelled an altiplano) of New Mexico. Trundling over this hilly land brought me to a wide, flat valley in which Sante Fe has spread out in.
And here I am, wrapping up this post and ready to settle in for a lazy night of snack food and catching up on some TV shows, in Santa Fe where the wind is picking up and the temperature is set to drop to just above zero tonight. Maybe snow tomorrow?
Footnote: I found out today that there are now two Route 66 designations. Historic Route 66 follows the pre-1937 route while the more common Route 66 Highway follows (to the best of its means) the re-designated corridor used in the 1950s when the interstate network was being established.
Jeremy is the sole driver, writer and photographer on Order66RoadTrip.com. He has plenty of experience doing all three having toured the US, Europe and North Africa searching for Star Wars filming locations, written about Star Wars for several books, magazines and websites, as well as providing photographs for a numerous Star Wars websites and publications over the years.