My early start in Sante Fe paid off and by 7:30 am I found myself heading northeast up Route 66 to the old town of Las Vegas, New Mexico. The place has a fascinating history but I didn’t get to stick around long enough to enjoy more than its picturesque town square and original storefronts.
I had originally intended to skip this town but I’m glad I didn’t because, I have to say, the drive there was fantastic. While the road I was on paralleled Interstate 25, I didn’t feel jealous of those doing 75 mph while I pottered along at 55. The road I took mimicked the landscape, rather than ploughing through it, and I really enjoyed the driving. Being in a manual car would have been awesome.
After visiting Las Vegas I took myself south and east through some pretty forests and open grasslands, eventually debouching on that old favourite, I-40. This, again, was on top of the old route and where the occasional snippet of Route 66 still existed – generally through some small township – I found myself glad that the modern freeway network had superseded the old.
Unlike my drive to, and from, Las Vegas the older Route 66 covered the exact same flat terrain but in a more potholed and uneven fashion. That said the drive had its moments, particularly when the open landscape gave rise to some huge wind gusts.
And the longer I drove the flatter the terrain got and I remarked to myself that the Texas Panhandle should be renamed the Texas Pancake. “Shame no-one was around to hear my quip” a voice in my head said. Shut up voices.
Breaking out of New Mexico and into Texas I noticed an increased number of police patrol cars along the edge of the interstate. Not wanting to raise the ire of the Lone Ranger I minded my speed and driving habits, cautiously cruising just under the 75 mph speed limit until I reached Adrian, TX.
Adrian is the exact halfway point along Route 66 and while the town has seen better times the Midpoint Cafe does a great job of holding the place together. I got there just at the start of the tourist season and the diner was pretty quiet, which meant my midway meal was snappy and the gals (I’m in Texas so it’s obligatory) were happy for a chat.
The diner itself is of a bygone day and has been well maintained, and its menu is well worth pulling over for. Given I’m on a whistlestop tour of Route 66 and have very little time for the frivolities of sightseeing then you should know how much I mean it!
From the middle of Route 66, I headed to a graveyard – the Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo, TX. Here a couple of artists half-buried ten Cadillacs in a field, with their rear ends sticking out at an angle. Then they invited people to come and spray paint them. I can’t pretend to understand why but the number of people there with spray cans put me in the minority. They were pretty colourful and it was a nice chance to stretch my legs, so I didn’t mind the deviation.
It was to be my last break of the day as I drove four straight hours – oblivious to crossing into Oklahoma – to complete my 10 hour/500 mile driving marathon.
I’m parked up on the edge of OKC, tuckered out, ready to get tucked into the chocolate cream pie I bought at Midway Cafe, and keen to get tucked into bed
The next few days should be more leisurely. I don’t have any desire to do any more long days behind the wheel and with around 800 miles to go and four days to cover them, I can afford to be a bit lazy from here on in.
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.