-- Ray Bradbury, "Yes, We'll Gather at the River"
Running through New Mexico from its eastern border with Texas to its western border with Arizona, U.S. Route 66 served as the "Mother Road" for Americans driving to California between 1926 and 1985. Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, as well as many vacationing families (including mine in the 1950s), traveled Route 66.
Gradually, however, the Interstate highway system overtook the old two-lane road, and bypassed many towns whose livelihood flowed primarily from the traffic that ran right through the middle of town. (BTW, the Ray Bradbury quote above is from his wistfully sad story about the townspeople on the night before the bypass opens.)
The weekend of January 4-5, I went on a photo expedition with about 15 members of Albuquerque's Enchanted Lens Camera Club to shoot landmarks and scenery from the old (now dubbed "Historic") Route 66. We shot in the ghost town of Cuervo and in the existing towns of Tucumcari and Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico, where we saw faded glory and glory restored.
There were abandoned houses in Cuervo . . .
an empty schoolhouse and a locked-up church . . .
and derelict cars . . .
But not all was desolation. There was a lovingly restored classic Route 66 motel in Tucumcari with a vintage Pontiac out front and a Model A Ford in the garage . . .
a lively roadhouse in Santa Rosa . . .
colorful local characters . . .
and classic neon . . .
We also photographed the beautiful Santa Rosa de Lima church in Santa Rosa, NM, named for the first person born in the Americas to be canonized by the Roman Catholic church . . .
and the abandoned Santa Rosa de Lima chapel and cemetery outside of town . . .
For larger versions of these images, and more, you can visit the "Historic Route 66" gallery at my website, Todos Juntos Photography, by clicking here.