There’s not much left of Route 66

The legacy lives on- “The Mother Road” of the USA.

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Route 66 in Albuquerque

Also known as “The Main Road of America,” it passed through a number of states including New Mexico, as it meandered approximately 4000 kilometres from Chicago to Los Angeles.

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A typical diner on the Historic Route 66

I’ve just spent a few days in Albuquerque and walked the Historic Route but there’s not much to see. It was one of the original highways in the US and in the 1950’s was lined with neon signs, diners, motels and gas stations but it’s mostly all gone. They’ve changed the name to Central Avenue and you wouldn’t know it was the Historic Route 66, if it weren’t for the signs.

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Route 66 is now called Central Avenue in Albuquerque

Sadly the biggest remnants are an over-supply of cheap motels, many of them in complete disrepair. Most have historic protection but the sheer glut has led operators to rent them as cheaply as possible leaving the city wondering what to do.

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The once famous El Vado Motel

It’s worth a look if you happen to be in a state that the old route runs through but not sure it’s worthy of a roadie.

12 thoughts on “There’s not much left of Route 66

  1. I totally disagree with you. Don’t base 2400 miles of Route 66 in what you see in one city. Over the past 10 years I’ve traveled all of Route 66, doing an extensive photo documentary. Sometimes I’ve traveled the entire road other times just part, for a total of 11 times. If there was nothing to see and experience, I would not waste my time. There really is plenty to see, do, and people to meet. many thousands of travelers from all over the world come specifically to the US to travel Route 66 each year and there are many people that sustain a living off of these travelers. So if there wasn’t much left of old route 66. I don’t think these people would make that pilgrimage, nor would more and more people be opening businesses to cater to those people.
    – David Schwartz, Photographer, Pics on Route 66.

    • Hi David,

      I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my blog. I take onboard your point that the small section of Route 66 I saw in Albuquerque was only a fraction of the 2,400 miles. Having said that I stand by my original thoughts that there wasn’t a huge amount to see, a lack of signage and no visitor kiosks, but I do appreciate that the Albuquerque City Council are addressing this and a restoration plan is underway. I have posted again to provide some clarity and to point visitors to a couple of great websites.

      Kind regards
      Jane

  2. It’s too bad you didn’t explore more of the road, nor seem to have a grasp on Route 66 actually is / was. ABQ is full of 66 and it’s history, as is the rest of the nearly 90% of the highway that is still drivable. This post shows a lack of knowledge and respect for the history of the fabled highway. I invite you to LA where I can show you first hand the roads importance and history, and from which we can tour a lengthy stretch of wonderful highway.

    • Dear Scott

      I really appreciate the time you took to read my blog. I am sorry that I didn’t have time to explore a larger section of Route 66 and would love to take up your offer some day to explore more of the road. I apologise the post was misleading and didn’t mean any disrespect and have posted again to provide more clarity with some useful website links for anybody wishing to drive the Historic Route 66.

      Kind regards
      Jane

  3. Jane, you truly are doing your readers a disservice with this entry. Route 66 is alive and kicking. It has an amazing amount of international travellers every day! You obviously didn’t experience the Road in a proper manner. We hope you’ll give it another try some day with a little more research under your belt.

    • I appreciate the time you took to comment on my post. I have visited your website and appreciate the Blue Swallow Motel has been beautifully restored. I have received an email from a city planner at the Albuquerque City Council explaining a Route 66 Action Plan is underway.

      I have posted again to provide a more holistic view of Route 66 to my readers.

      Kind regards
      Jane

  4. Hi, Jane,

    I work as a city planner and we have put together a Route 66 Action Plan to revitalize the Mother Road in Albuquerque. The plan is currently being considered by our City Council.

    Thanks for your article about Route 66 in Albuquerque. I’ve lived in ABQ almost 10 years and your piece helped me see things from a visitor’s standpoint.

    For example, if someone flew into the ABQ Sunport for the first time and rented a car, how much of Route 66 would be apparent to them, especially if they didn’t have a guide book, app or website?

    We don’t have as many signs, way-finding or information kiosks as we’d like. We hope to improve this with the RT 66 Action Plan. We can’t just put signs wherever we want. We have to adhere to federal, state and local regulations, as well as right-of-way and budget constraints.

    For your next visit, here are some good web resources:
    http://www.visitalbuquerque.org/albuquerque/route-66/
    http://rt66nm.org/

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how to make Route 66 in Albuquerque more visitor-friendly.

    Thanks,
    Linda

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post. I agree that more signage and information would help a visitor appreciate Route 66 in Albuquerque. I took a bus tour and walked a large section of this historic route, but some information kiosks would be helpful. I have posted again to provide some clarity so people feel that discovering and exploring Route 66 is worth taking the time. Thank you also for your website links I’ll share.

      Kind regards
      Jane

  5. Hi Jane

    We travelled across America 2 years ago, from NYC to Cleveland and onto Chicago to drive 66. We loved to whole trip and there are many parts that have been overrun by greed but even more that is still authentic to the original road. Next time you must really take the time to do the whole road and experience the small towns and beautiful people with stories of years gone by. We are actually sorting out to return next year I hope to drive the mother road again but this time my son will be joining me.

    Kind Regards

    Paul Carpenter

    • Hi Paul,

      I appreciate the time you took to comment on my post. My blog was about the Albuquerque section of the Historic Route 66, but I have posted again to provide clarity and a more holistic view for readers.

      Kind regards
      Jane

  6. I have just read your blog and as a New Mexican, a Route 66 business owner, and former president of the New Mexico Route 66 Association was very disappointed to hear your opinion. Route 66 is alive and gaining new followers every day. The Association has worked with local chambers, municipalities and interested people for years to update corridor management plans, increase signage and restore assets along the Mother Road. Unfortunately it takes time and great effort to turn around what years of neglect have taken. Good things are in the works now and I have no doubt You will see a tremendous change in Albuquerque as current plans progress. In the meantime don’t overlook the gems Albuquerque has to offer… Kimo Theater, Maisels, 66 Diner, just to mention a few. The neon signage in ABQ is spectacular. Stop in to see me at Enchanted Trails on nine mile hill… you might just bump into a tour group from Australia, China, England, New Zealand or the Netherlands.

    • Hi Vickie
      I appreciate the time you have taken to respond to my blog and I understand plans are underway to increase signage and restore motels and other assets along the route in Albuquerque.
      I took a city tour and also walked a significant section of the route but can I suggest more information available to visitors would be most useful.
      I have posted another blog to provide more clarity and a better holistic view of the Historic Route for future visitors with some useful websites.
      Thank you for your kind off to pop in and see you. We did love our week in New Mexico and plan to come back at some stage.

      Kind regards,
      Jane

Hi I love to receive your emails and feedback. Jane