New Mexico

New Mexico

October 31, 2019

New Mexico to Arizona – Day 17

New Mexico to Arizona is our start and end for today. We spent the night in Gallup, and tonight we'll be in Arizona. Charly is in for a treat today.

New Mexico to Arizona is our start and end for today. We spent the night in Gallup, and tonight we'll be in Arizona. Charly is in for a treat today.

New Mexico to Arizona is our start and end for today. We spent the night in Gallup, and tonight we’ll be in Arizona. Charly is in for a treat today.

New Mexico is great if you’re in to Native American art and turquoise jewelry. I get the impression a good portion of the state is Native American reservations. I love their laid-back way of talking. It’s kind of relaxing to hear the locals (mostly Native Americans) talk.

Petroglyphs are all over this area. We stopped at a couple of them. We also stopped where there are cliff dwellings. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why?

New Mexico to Arizona Cliff Dwellings
New Mexico to Arizona Cliff Dwellings

“Hey, Charly?” I shouted as we got out of the car, “Are you a sleep walker?”

“What? Why do you ask that?” she said with a confused look.

“Imagine your bedroom being on top over there,” I said as I pointed to the structure with a ladder leading to the top.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“That’s where people used to live. See that ladder? Imagine that being your bedroom up there,” I said.

“Whoa! No, I don’t sleep walk, but if I did, I wouldn’t want to have my bedroom up there,” she said with a gaze of amazement.

We studied the cliff walls as we walked around at the base.

“I have this strange feeling like I’ve been here before,” I said, “yet, I know this is my first time in New Mexico… that I know of. Perhaps we took a family trip here when I was a young child and I don’t remember. Unfortunately, my mom isn’t around to ask.”

“Maybe you did,” Charly said.

“Maybe, but this all seems strangely familiar, but here’s the weird part, I feel like I, as an adult, took my Boy Scouts here,” I said.

“That’s really odd. What do you think it means?” Charly asked.

“I have no idea, but this is beyond any déjà vu I’ve ever experienced before,” I said as I looked at places within view and had very distinct memories of a time I was there.

“That’s spooky,” Charly said with her eyes opened widely.

“No, it’s actually kind of intriguing. It’s not creeping me out, or anything, I just feel very familiar with this place. I remember the dinosaur, the fence, the wishing well… it’s all like I’ve been here and have vivid memories of the place,” I said.

(Note: This is really how I felt on my first visit here. I even walked around to see if there were things I expected to see, and there were. And, no, they aren’t memories of Internet photos.)

The Border New Mexico to Arizona

This place is right on the border between New Mexico and Arizona. The line runs right through the gift shop and is marked outside by this little sign.

Charly at the Stateline
Charly at the Stateline

One of the nearby shops had a sign for Buffalo Jerky (which I’d imagine is really American Bison Jerky, but who knows.) They were closed, and a local told us they already sold out for the season.

Buffalo Jerky Anyone?
Buffalo Jerky Anyone?

We managed to find another place, purchased some and it was quite good.

October 22, 2019

Red Rocks and Rockets – Day 16

Red Rocks and Rockets headline the drive today. Before hitting the road, we finished our walk through Albuquerque.

“So, Charly, do you have something in your wardrobe that’s kind of outer space looking?” I asked, not letting her know I had something up my sleeve.

“Yeah, I think so,” she said.

“Go change,” I said looking for a chance to make my break.

Earlier, when Charly was off doing something, I found this cool Rocketeer Suit. (Halloween is just around the corner.) I changed in to it and stood waiting for her return.

“WHAT THE… THE… HECK?” she was at a loss for words.

“Jenny, prepare yourself for a shock: I’m the Rocketeer,” I said quoting the movie.

“Why are you calling me Jenny?” she was perplexed.

“Haven’t you seen the movie?” I asked.

“What movie?” asking more confused.

“The Rocketeer,” I said sticking my chest out and pointing to the sky. “Come on. It came out in the early 1990s.”

“Oh, before my time,” she said.

” Oh, for crying out loud, haven’t you read the papers?” I quoted the next line.

Jenny Gets with the Program

After the Fun

We left Albuquerque and headed west on Route 66. Charly was driving while I navigated and looked for things to shoot.

A Nice Touch on Route 66 in Albuquerque

Just outside Albuquerque are some old Native American Pueblos. It’s like a little ghost town. I had to tell her to pull over so I could get some pictures of this.

Home, Sweet Home - Red Rocks and Rockets - Route 66 Photographers
Home, Sweet Home

Westward and Onward Red Rocks and Rockets

There are some red rock formations in this part of New Mexico. These buttes conjure images of cowboys and Indians in my mind. Growing up near Fort Hall, Idaho, playing cowboys and Indians was the thing to do. Today’s kids have their video games, we had our cap guns or bows and arrows.

We stopped and Charly got out for a stretch.

Red Rocks and Rockets - The Red Rock portion
Red Rocks and Rockets – The Red Rock portion

“You look nice against this background. It goes with your hair,” I said to Charly.

“Thanks. I feel like dancing,” she replied.

“Hey, there’s no cars for as far as I can see. Go for it,” I responded.

“Put on some music!” she demanded.

Digging through my folder of CDs (yes, I brought CDs) I pulled out some Eagles. Popping the CD in it started off with Hotel California.

“That’s not dancing music,” Charly responded, “I want something… something graceful. This place reminds me of soaring eagles.”

“That’s why I put on the Eagles,” I said smugly.

“Huh?” was all she said.

“The Eagles. They were THE band back in the late 70s. That’s who’s playing.” I explained.

She rolled her eyes, only as Charly can do, and said, “No, something with a smooth, ballet like theme.”

I dug around and found some Bill Withers, and put on, “Ain’t no Sunshine When She’s Gone.”

It must have been okay, because as a result Charly started to dance. The rhythm of the music fit in with her moves and I sat back in the car and enjoyed watching the show.

Red Rocks and Rockets - Dancing
Red Rocks and Rockets – Dancing

Next Stop

It’s dinner time, and the big question, “Red or Green?”

Red? Green?  How About BOTH?
Red? Green? How About BOTH?

October 18, 2019

Albuquerque City – Day 16

Albuquerque City was interesting. It wasn’t quite what I envisioned. Because of its proximity to the mountains and Colorado, I expected more of a western feel. Tucumcari was more of what I expected Albuquerque to be like.

We woke and I went downstairs for breakfast; Charly stayed in her room getting ready for the day. Too often complementary breakfasts lack the protein I want. In this case, I was pleased they had the makings for a breakfast sandwich loaded with ham, egg and sausage.

Albuquerque City breakfast
Albuquerque City Breakfast

Downtown Albuquerque City

After breakfast we headed downtown Albuquerque City. I wanted to see this “Route 66 Bus Stop”. It sounded intriguing.

We finally found it. I was expecting something much older, but either way, it has a cool retro feeling anyway.

Massive Route 66 at Bus Stop - Downtown Albuquerque City.
Massive Route 66 at Bus Stop

The Roarin’ 20’s (now closed, and the sign is gone) made me think…

“Hey, Charly?” I began.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Do you have something that looks like a 1920’s flapper outfit?” I asked.

“Huh? Flapper?” she asked in a confused voice.

“Yes, that’s what they called girls who dressed in a trendy fashion in the 1920’s,” I explained while pulling up a photo on my phone.

“Oh, I get it,” she said, “I have something that might work.

Charly rolled her hair and braided it and wrapped it around her head to make her hair appear shorter, and then disappeared in to the lady’s room at a local fast food joint. She emerged in a pleated skirt and sweater.

“I guess that will do. I don’t think we’re going to get any closer no planning to speak of,” I responded. “You look great.”

A Modern Flapper - Roarin' 20s
A Modern Flapper

As we drove down I-40 in places, we had to watch for decommissioned sections of Route 66. Charly was navigating and had me pull off. Soon, we found ourselves at a dead-end. Not only was it a dead end, there were directional arrows point only in ONE direction – to the dead end.

Getting out of the car, I pointed and said, “I think we should have got on the frontage road back there.”

Charly stood there with a look on her face as if to say, “Yeah, right,” as she rolled her eyes.

Charly slipped back in to the car digging around in behind the seat.

“I’m hot. It’s hot out here in the desert,” she whined.

The next thing I knew it I felt this hot, heavy burden on my shoulders and back.

“What the heck are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m hot and thirsty and I can’t find any water in the car,” she said in an even whinier voice.

I’m Hot

“Gosh, get off my back… literally,” I said.

“How can you stand wearing that jacket in this heat?” she asked.

“It’s actually keeping the heat from hitting my skin. It’s acting like insulation,” I explained.

“You’re nuts,” she said stomping back to the car.

I jumped back in to the car and said, “Let’s go find something cold and wet to drink. There’s a service station just across the road.

Grants New Mexico

We came to the town of Grants. The main attraction here is a Route 66 drive-through sign-shaped structure in a local park. We drove by it the first time, and had to have our GPS tell us where to go. It’s not very noticeable from the road, but we found it.

As I drove through it I heard a scraping sound on my side of the car. I immediately maneuvered the car away from the sign.

Charly jumped out as quickly as I did. I went to survey the damage, and Charly stood there with a look of shock as she said, “You scratched my baby!”

“It’s not bad. I think it is just some paint transfer from this very NARROW opening. I can rub it out and you won’t notice it.

“I’m holding you to that,” she said sternly.

“Hey, I have insurance… I think,” I said as I chuckled to let her know I was only kidding about the ‘I think’ part.

October 1, 2019

Hello Albuquerque – Day 15

Hello Albuquerque and goodbye Tucumcari.

We made one last stop to grab some food before leaving Tucumcari.

“Hey, Charly!” I said, “Since I’m driving, will you go see if they are open? The sign says, ‘Open’, but I don’t see anyone around.”

Hello Albuquerque - Forgot to Turn the Light Off
Forgot to Turn the Light Off

“Sure,” she said as she leaped from the car to go check.

Pulling on the door, it was obviously locked. Charly then placed her face against the glass to get a better look inside.

“Nope,” she yelled back, “Not a soul in sight.”

She hopped back in the car and gave me the look.

“What?” I asked.

“It’s 10:30 in the morning. Do you expect them to be open for lunch already?” She said in a lecturing tone.

“Well, I’m hungry,” I retorted.

As we drove around the building to leave the parking lot, a man in a white white apron was out back throwing something in the trash. At this point I wasn’t willing to stop. My pride had been bruised and I figured I’d drive a little longer before satisfying my urge to eat.

One Last Stop

We made one last stop as we left town. What drew our attention was this cool sculpture paying homage to Route 66.

Tucumcari New Mexico Convention Center - Hello Alburquerque
Tucumcari New Mexico Convention Center

It was pretty quiet and empty, but we did find there’s a small museum inside. We wandered around, bought some drinks and snacks, and had a nice talk with the volunteer working at the desk. (A short, but well worth-it place to stop on Route 66.)

Hello Albuquerque, We Finally Meet

I had never been to New Mexico before which meant I hadn’t been to Albuquerque either. I big monument sat at the entrance to town. We stopped.

Not the Monument, but Next to it
Not the Monument, but Next to it

“Hey, Charly,” I said, “let’s see you immediate that monument with a pose.”

My request didn’t even phase her. She walked over it it, and struck a pose, holding it until I said I got the shot.

Hello Albuquerque New Mexico Monument
Albuquerque New Mexico Monument

Lunch, Check-in and Dinner

We grabbed lunch. Nothing memorable, just some fast food, found our hotel, and then headed to a Route 66 diner for dinner.

Route 66 Tribute Wall
Route 66 Tribute Wall

Wherever you go on Route 66 you’ll find walls and fences decorated with Route 66 memorabilia. Anything to do with travel on Route 66 when it was a U.S. Highway gets thrown on these walls. From hubcaps of era automobiles, to advertisements and logos from businesses along Route 66 adorn walls, fences and buildings.

Does This LIght Make My Hair Look Red?
Does This LIght Make My Hair Look Red?

Before we entered the restaurant, Charly stopped and asked, “Does this light make my hair look red?”

Laughing, I replied, “Your hair IS RED.”

I deserved the sticking out of the tongue that followed.

Tomorrow we’ll see the rest of Albuquerque.

September 23, 2019

Leaving Tucumcari – Day 15

Leaving Tucumcari today. We’re heading west to Albuquerque. I get the impression it is hot here in the summer. I’m glad we’re at the end of the summer and not here in July or August.

Tucumcari has a lot of rundown buildings. It’s sad. It really has some neat Route 66 features. When you see this sort of “rust-belt” you have to ask what are all the factors that turned it in to a rust-belt. Taxes? Business environment/regulations? Lack of traffic? Etc.

Before Leaving Tucumcari

Charly saw this cool steam-powered chopper. (Because this is a fictional story I can create fictional items.)

She looked at me and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

An old guy stood close by. He was dressed in brown leathers from his head to his toes, had a long ZZ Top beard and a handlebar mustache. His goggles looked like welding goggles, and his helmet was nothing more than an old leather flight helmet.

Charly returned wearing leathers and began sweet talking the guy. Before I knew it, she hopped on the chopper.

“Does this thing drive like a normal bike?” she asked the guy.

“Sure does,” he said in a gruff voice, and added, “just don’t dump it because it takes a crane to upright it again.”

At this point, I was getting real nervous.

The old guy looked at me and said, “She earned it. Any chick who travels with a get-up like that was born to ride a steam chopper.”

Dirt flew, and gravel too. The sound was that of a Harley crossed with a steam train. It rumbled like a Harley, with the sound of a hiss as steam escaped the cylinder.

I could hear the bike as Charly disappeared from view. While I lost sight of her, I never lost hearing that rumble-hiss-hiss-rumble-hiss-hiss sound.

She soon returned, sweat pouring down her forehead and chest and said, “You should give this a try.”

“No thanks, my bike riding days are over,” I said with a smile.

The old guy chimed in with a tone of disbelief, “You used to ride?”

“Yup,” I replied.

“What did you ride?” he asked.

“A Kawasaki KZ-440LTD2,” I responded.

I could read his mind by the look on his face as if he were thinking, “Oh, a rice rocket guy.”

“The KZ-440LTD2 was one of the first Japanese cruiser style motorcycles to have a belt-drive as well as a bit of a rumble sound,” I said to ease his mind.

“Ah,” was all he said as he took the keys from Charly and said to her, “You have a great day and let me know if you ever decide to go to Sturgis.”

He then winked, and rumble-hiss-hissed down Route 66.

September 16, 2019

Red or Green – Day 14

Red or Green on Day 14. When you order New Mexican food, a question often asked is, "Red or green?"It is a reference to the chili sauce they put on your enchiladas. I personally like them both.

Red or Green on Day 14. When you order New Mexican food, a question often asked is, "Red or green?"It is a reference to the chili sauce they put on your enchiladas. I personally like them both.

Red or Green on Day 14. When you order New Mexican food, a question often asked is, “Red or green?”

It is a reference to the chili sauce they put on your enchiladas. I personally like them both. The green has a smooth hatch chili pepper flavor, and the red has a more robust and smoky flavor.

Glenrio Visitor Center

Our first New Mexico stop was the Glenrio Visitor Center. Charly couldn’t resist putting her feet in the fountain. She said the cool water felt good in that New Mexico dry heat.

Glenrio Visitor Center - Red or Green
Glenrio Visitor Center

It’s about the first thing you come to on I-40. It’s on the same exit you take to get back on the drivable part of Route 66 on the New Mexico side of the New Mexico/Texas border.

Visitor Center in Relation to Route 66 - red or green
Visitor Center in Relation to Route 66

New Mexico is a state with lots of Native American history and resources.

Red or Green or Cars

In Tucumcari, New Mexico, there’s a darling motel where you can park your car in a garage. The inside of the garages are painted with various themes. Of course, Pixar’s Cars is one of those themes.

Pixar Cars Theme Garage
Pixar Cars Theme Garage

“Oh, Brent,” Charly sighed with that tone that she wants something, “Look, it is Flo and  Lightning McQueen .”

“Okay, go stand in there and I’ll get your picture,” I said knowing she wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I stepped back to make sure I got Mater too. In my opinion, Tow Mater is the most adorable character in the movie. Lightening, on the other hand is a bit adolescent in his character.

I found this on Wikipedia, “He’s the new rookie, he’s kinda sexy, he’s fast, he’s different. So he’s invented. We took the best of our favourite things, from GT40s to Chargers… just sketching them out, we came up with what McQueen looks like.”— Bob Pauley, one of two Cars production designers

Until I read this, I always thought LIghtening was based of a Mazda MX5 (the Miata). I still think he looks more like a Miata than a GT40 or a Charger.

An End to a Red or Green Day

We started the day in the dark, and we’ll end it in the dark. After a dip in the hotel pool and a nice red or green (I had both) dinner, we went back to the Blue Swallow Motel for a shot of the Model A pickup and Charly.

Blue Swallow Motel Route 66 Tucumcari
Blue Swallow Motel

August 30, 2019

New Mexico – Day 14

New Mexico is our destination this day. We’re heading to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Neither of us have been to New Mexico before. Today will be a first.

Charly got tired of her jeans and tank top and changed in to a dress. My first impression was, “TRASH THE DRESS”. Trash the dress was something I did a few times in my photography studio. You take a nice dress and then you go wild and turn it in to a piece of art.

“That’s a nice dress,” I complimented her before asking her to do what I was thinking.

“Thank you,” she said with a smile.

“I’d really love to trash it,” I said with a straight face.

“Ha, ha,” she said, “I bet you thought you had me. I’ve seen what you do with your trash the dress shoots. I’m down with that.”

“So, does that mean you WANT to trash it?” I asked.

“Of course,” her voice raised in tone and pitch, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

“Okay, next stop,” I said.

MidPoint Route 66

We stopped at MidPoint which is Adrian, Texas. We met “Flo”, the lady who is the inspiration for Pixar’s Cars character. However, it wasn’t long before Charly started asking when we were going to trash the dress.

“Hold your horses,” I said.

She asked, “Why are we waiting?”

“We need to find a place suitable for painting. We just can’t pull out paints and start painting in the middle of town,” I explained.

I did a 360 looking around town for a suitable place.

“Hey,” I asked the lady at the cafe, “do you think anyone would mind if we did a little art project over by that abandoned garage?”

MidPoint Cafe Where the REAL Flo Worked - New Mexico Day 14
MidPoint Cafe Where the REAL Flo Worked

She looked at me suspiciously, and before she could say anything I added, “We’re going to paint on her dress. We’ll do it off to the side and we won’t get paint on anything except her dress and perhaps some might drip in the dirt.”

The lady, still looking suspicious, said, “I’ll check with the owner.”

She came back and said the owner said it would be okay as long as we don’t disturb anything.

I asked Charly to take a walk from New Mexico to Texas for the before photo. (Hmmmm… maybe I have this backwards… ah, just assume were going West to East.)

Let's Trash This Dress!
Let’s Trash This Dress!

It was now off to the dirt area by the garage to “trash the dress”. Before I knew it Charly was handing me the dress while draped in a towel.

“What in the world are you doing?” I asked, and then added, “I’m sure they would have let you use the bathroom in the diner to change.”

She just shrugged and said, “It’s no big deal. If I moved this towel…”

I stopped her there, but she continued, “… it would look like I have a bikini on.”

Getting Ready to Trash the Dress
Getting Ready to Trash the Dress

“You just stay hidden while I trash this dress. Didn’t you bring something else to change in to?” I asked.

“No, this will be okay,” Charly said, “it’s only for a couple of minutes.”

“A couple of minutes? For me to create a masterpiece dress? And, the paint has to dry too,” I explained.

“Oh… I didn’t know it had to dry too,” Charly said in a low tone, “I think I’ll go put my other dress on.”

Charly made her way over to the car, which wasn’t far. She changed in to another dress in the car and then went in to the cafe to wait for the paint to dry.

Meanwhile While Not in New Mexico

“What can I help you with,” the waitress asked Charly.

“Just a Coke,” she said, “I’m waiting for the paint to dry.”

The waitress gave her a glare and raised her eyebrows, “That’s a first.”

Meanwhile outside I was busy painting. I pulled out some big paint markers and started on the dress alternating with spray paint and markers.

As soon as I was done, I went in to the cafe, “Hey, it’s done, and with that dry heat it shouldn’t take long for it to dry.”

The Final Product - the Trashed Dress
The Final Product – the Trashed Dress

“Okay, change in to something else,” I said, “We don’t want to risk getting paint on the interior of your car. We got our pictures.”

Hello New Mexico

Shortly after entering New Mexico we found a yard full of old cars. The owner gave us permission to wander around and take some photos.

“Brent,” Charly yells, “Does this car clash with my dress?”

“Yeah, a little,” I said laughing.

Does This Car Clash with My Dress? - New Mexico
Does This Car Clash with My Dress?

“Hey, Brent,” Charly, like a kid in a toy store, yells, “Help me push this car over.”


I was more worried about it falling back on her. I ran over to make sure things were safe.

“Gosh,” she exclaimed, “You are a worry-wart.”

“The last thing I want is for one of us to spend time in a hospital,” I said with concern.

October 9, 2017


What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it? Well, let us list them.

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it? Well, let us list them.


What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it?

Well, let us list them.

Best & Worst


The friendliest state was New Mexico.  I’ve never been to New Mexico before, but every single person we met was friendly.  We’re not talking about the tourists, but the people who live and work in New Mexico.  They score a 10 out of 10 for being friendly.

And Not So Friendly

California.  Yup, California.  I had one guy walk up and call me a “scum bag”.  Okay… that’s a first.  While we met friendly people, many of the businesses there could use a course in customer service.

Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise along the way is the Los Angeles Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is right on Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
A Family of L.A. Dodgers Fans Visiting the Temple Grounds

Best Food Superlatives

This is a very tough one.  I found it not too surprising that the beast meals were comped meals.  I guess when you are providing a complimentary meal to two journalists, you want it to be the best.

That isn’t to say the non-complementary meals weren’t good (well, some weren’t), we noticed a trend.


I love a good burger.  The best burger is a tie – Santa Fe Grill in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner in Kingman, Arizona.  Their onion rings… the same – a tie.

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
Mr. D’z Diner Staff

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
Santa Fe Grill Burger

Mexican Food

Best Mexican food was at Jerry’s Cafe in downtown Gallup, New Mexico.  The food was good, authentic and they are the friendliest people you’ll meet.  If you like sopaipillas with honey… mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.  This is the place.

copyright 2017 db walton

copyright 2017 db walton
The Staff at Jerry’s Cafe, Gallup, NM

Funniest Place

The funniest place on Route 66 is in Seligman, Arizona – the Snow Cap Drive-in.  Just ask for half a cone and see what I mean.  You don’t go here for the food, you come here for the entertainment.

copyright 2017 db walton
Inside the Snow Cap

Saddest Place

I remember the Oklahoma City bombing vividly.  Any news like that is sad, however, I was not prepared for the emotions I felt when I visited the site. Consequently I cried a lot while visiting this memorial.

I wasn’t sad for the slain, I was sad because of the evil that exists in the world today.

copyright 2017 db walton
Sad Reminders

copyright 2017 db walton
Jesus Wept

Happiest Place

Oh, there are lots of happy places along Route 66.  It depends on what you’re in the mood for.  For me, it would be the nicely restored Corvairs this couple have.  Or, maybe it was the fun people we met along the way.  Well, it could have been the tongue-n-cheek humor in Uranus, Missouri.  Therefore, there are MANY happy places on Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton
The Axe Hole at Uranus

copyright 2017 db walton
Young Couple Enjoying Frozen Custard

copyright 2017 db walton
Fully Restored Corvair Monza Wagon

Road Conditions

To say there are superlatives with road conditions on Route 66 is an understatement.  Hence, I’ll just share a few of photos that tell the story.

copyright 2017 db walton
Cobblestone Brick

copyright 2017 db walton
A Dead End Section

copyright 2017 db walton
A Big Drop Off (this was actually closed to cars)

copyright 2017 db walton
Washboard and Potholes

copyright 2017 db walton
Unexpected Road Closures

copyright 2017 db walton
Winding Mountain Roads

Hotels and Motels

We stayed at many great places.  All of the hotels who provided complementary lodging were clean and nice.  I can’t say that about all the paid rooms.

It’s best in this category that I thank those who comped us roomes:

  • Comfort Suites in Rella, Missouri – Clean and friendly staff and right on Old Route 66
  • Enlight Inn in Joplin, Missouri – Charming Cottages, I want to go back.
  • Fairfield Inn in Tulsa, Oklahoma – Clean
  • Broadway Inn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Off the beaten track, but close to everything
  • EconoLodge, Elk City, Oklahoma – Elk City is the middle of nowhere, but here’s the place to stay.
  • Quality Inn, Tucumcari, New Mexico – Treated us like family (in the good way).  The pool was ultra clean!
  • Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, New Mexico – Another clean hotel on Route 66
  • Ramblin Rose, Kingman, Arizona – Best Value for your money near the Grand Canyon!  Clean too!
  • Hilton, Pasadena, California – Best place to stay in Pasadena.  Service is top-notch
  • Special Mention
    • Fairmont, Santa Monica, California – Amazing view.  It’s a couple blocks off Route 66, but you can see it from the rooms that face south.

Not So Good

On the not-so-good side, I would not recommend Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois.  And, I would not recommend Budget Host Inn, Williams, Arizona.  The Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois, is filthy, and the Budget Host Inn in Williams is very over priced for what you get (or don’t get).  Don’t be fooled by Budget Host’s “free breakfast”.  It was a gallon of milk sitting on the counter, two sugary cereals and a couple of boxes of mini doughnuts (boxed, store bought kind).

More to Come

There is more to come.  Check back often for updates as we review our trip.

Thanks to Sponsors

Also, a very heartfelt thanks to all those who sponsored our trip…

  • Bay Photo Labs
  • Republic Wireless
  • Warner 5 Color
  • Walworth Animal Hospital
  • Alien Skin Software
  • Anthropics Software
  • ACDSee Software
  • Topaz Labs
  • On1 Software
  • Nataliacha Doodley Do
  • Fine Art by DB (Yeah, I personally put a lot of my business money in to this trip)

October 6, 2017

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share. The lessons learned are categorized below. We hope this serves as a guide to others.

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share. The lessons learned are categorized below. We hope this serves as a guide to others.

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share.  The lessons learned are categorized below.  We hope this serves as a guide to others.  (Note, some of these are specific to photographers.)

copyright 2017 db walton
Route 66

Lesson 1 – Bring Less

We over packed.  The next time I will bring less.  For example, I brought things from home that I’ve never touched.  If I would have needed them, I could have stopped at a store to purchase them.

I planned for 14 days of clothing.  However, most hotels had a self-serve washer and dryer.  Next time I’ll bring 10 days of clothes (just in case).

Lesson 2 – Give More Time

30 days to do 2500 miles isn’t enough time.  Give more time to your trip.  Perhaps one way is to break it in to several small trip.  Of course, that would be more costly, but we honestly missed quite a bit.  We planned for about 100 miles per day.  I think 40 miles per day would have been much better.

Lesson 3 – Have a Back-home Support Person

We had one.  It was my wife, Elizabethe.  She handled all of our lodging and would text us where we would be staying and the confirmation number.

Lesson 4 – Rent a Car

Don’t take your own car.  We put 7500 miles on the rental car.  Rent one with unlimited miles.  If you have the time, drive to and from on Route 66.  If you have the money, drive one way, and fly home.

Lesson 5 – Visit Museums Early

If you plan to visit museums along the way, plan to visit early in the day.  Most of them are closed by 5pm (or earlier).

Lesson 6 – USPS Offices Have Shorter Hours

If you need to mail postcards or letters, visit the Post Office between 10 and 11am, or 1 and 2pm.  We found most Post Offices closed when we arrived.  11am to 1pm, they were out to lunch.  After 2 pm they might be closed for the day.  Before 10am, they might not be open yet.  As a result, you only have a couple of small windows of time.

We actually found one that wasn’t a Post Office in spite of the building bearing the words, “United States Post Office”.  (Location:  Beverly Hills, California)

Lesson 7 – Don’t Trust Models

We had arranged for a few models to meet us along the way.  In spite of much advanced planning, they flaked.  While my professional experience is that most models aren’t professional these days.

So, if you make arrangements to meet a model, don’t be surprised if they flake on you.

Lesson 8 – You Won’t Need Certain Lenses

That’s right, you won’t need certain lenses.  You want the widest angle lens you can get without going to a fish eye.  My 15-36mm was the lens I used the most.  I wish I had my 24-70mm (it was in the shop), however my 50mm came in handy.  I brought my long zoom lens (70-300mm) but it proved to be useless for this type of trip.

Leave the long telephotos at home.  Bring the wide angle lenses.  The wider, the better.

Lesson 9 – Lots of Cards

Bring lots of memory cards.  I had enough, but it was close.  I shoot 32GB cards and filled about 3-4 cards per day.

Lesson 10 – Lots of Batteries

Bring lots of camera batteries.  My battery pack allows for 3 batteries.  There were days when I had to swap them all out for recharged ones.

You should also have a 12v charger just in case.  This way you can charge them in the car.

Also, don’t forget your charger AND don’t forget to charge your batteries at night.  You might want to bring an extra charger or two too.

The most important lesson learned is this – when you venture far from the car, make sure you have spare cards and batteries on you.  As a result, if you do not, you’ll kick yourself because you left them in the car.  This only happened to me once and I learned my lesson.

Lesson 11 – Don’t Trust Google Maps

That’s right – don’t trust google maps.  This lesson learned is a result of relying on Google Maps which ran us in circles because a freeway off ramp was closed.  Other times it lead us to empty fields with no hotel for miles. (They guy at the hotel, when we finally got there, said it happens to a lot of people.)

A good way to verify it is to turn the satellite image on so you can see what buildings are in the area.  However, the best way is to carry a paper map along with a good Route 66 guide book.

Lesson 12 – Buy It Don’t Bring It

If you can buy it, don’t bring it.

This doesn’t apply to everything – mostly consumables.  Don’t bring a lot of snacks from home.  You’ll be stopping for gasoline and potty breaks, buy the snacks then.

Bringing too much fills the car and makes the trip less comfortable.  As a result you should plan to pickup a snack when you stop for gas.  AND, don’t buy too much.  Just one item at a time.

September 21, 2017

Painted Desert

Today we passed through the Painted Desert.  It makes me wonder what early auto travelers thought when they had to drive through Arizona.  It's pretty desolate.

Today we passed through the Painted Desert.  It makes me wonder what early auto travelers thought when they had to drive through Arizona.  It's pretty desolate.

Painted Desert

Today we passed through the Painted Desert.  It makes me wonder what early auto travelers thought when they had to drive through Arizona.  It’s pretty desolate.

copyright 2017 db walton
Painted Desert

For the first time today we hit an area where there was NO CELL COVERAGE.  Of course, you couldn’t see any cell towers and civilization.  Besides, it wouldn’t make much sense for cellular companies to put towers in the middle of a desert where nobody lives.

Unknown Destination

Our destination was unknown today.  We didn’t know if we would be in Winslow or Flagstaff or some other city.  Because we couldn’t communicate to Elizabethe (who has been handling our lodging arrangements), we didn’t know how far to drive.

We finally made contact when we started getting a very faint cellular signal.  She said she kept striking out on the hotels and motels along Route 66.  She finally made a paid reservation at one in Flagstaff.

Elizabethe commented that she now starts with the highest rated and highest prices.  From a marketing standpoint, this all makes sense.  More successful businesses understand the value of marketing and advertising.  And, that’s one thing we are doing on this trip… marketing and advertising.

Our Best Products – Our Best Advertisers

Bay Photo

is one of the top photo labs in the nation.  While many people rank a certain Midwest lab #1, my experience is they are not as good as Bay in most aspects.  Bay Photo saw the value of our trip and jumped on the opportunity.  Paul and I hope our efforts send business their way.

We met a guy in the Painted Desert near Old Route 66 who was taking photos.  We talked a bit about photography, and I showed him the Bay Photo image of a rusty old car (like the one we had been photographing) printed on maple wood.  He was VERY impressed.  I then showed it to his wife.  She too was very impressed.

copyright 2017 db walton
This would look nice on a Maplewood print from Bay Photo

Winslow, Arizona

I went to Winslow, Arizona, about 9 years ago with my daughter Natalie and a bunch of photographer friends.  Someone since told me it has changed a lot.   It hasn’t.  It is just as I remembered it from my last trip to Winslow with one exception – an additional statue of an older Glen Frey.

copyright 2017 db walton
Standing on a Corner

While there we met a couple from the Netherlands.  We talked to them, took pictures together.  It was fun.  We also met a man from Manitoba, Canada, who is riding Route 66 on his motorcycle.

copyright 2017 db walton
Nikki and Pablo from the Netherlands

copyright 2017 db walton
View From Her Flatbed Ford

copyright 2017 db walton
Bob from Canada

copyright 2017 db walton
The Corner Intersection

Twin Arrows at Sunset

We ran out of daylight quickly.  We stopped at the abandoned Twin Arrows at sunset and took pictures as the sun went down.  It’s only a few miles from Flagstaff.  As a result, it didn’t impact us too much.

Because it was dark we used our tripods, and took some long exposures.

copyright 2017 db walton
Twin Arrows


All of the images on this page were processed with ACDsee Ultimate 10 Pro.