Tucumcari. Tucumcari. Tucumcari. I just like saying that word. Plus it buys me some time to think of something clever to write. Two can come to Tucumcari too!
The moment we arrived to town, I could smell the approaching storm, so we tooled up and down the main strip a few times (in the car) before being forced off the road and seeking shelter at our motel. What comes to mind when I think about Tucumcari? Museums, murals, trading posts and retro motels including the very famous Blue Swallow Motel.
1. Drive up and down Route 66 and look for the 25 murals in and around town (many straight down the main drag), check out the Dinosaur Museum if you dig that type of gig, visit the Odeon Theatre, the Tee Pee Curios, La Cita Mexican Hat and anything else that floats your boat. Here’s a link to the Tucumcari Visitor’s Guide (PDF).
2. Give yourself time (at least an hour if not two) to visit the Tucumcari Historical Museum at 416 Adams Street. Formerly a 1903 schoolhouse this place is a gem for history buffs. Housed in two separate buildings, a barn with wagons, and with a caboose and an airplane on the grounds, this museum details the history of Quay County through tangible memorabilia dating back to the 1800’s: farm equipment and household appliances, clothing, books, weaponry, letters, fossils, Native American artifacts and much more. In addition to local settler history, there is a wealth of local Native American history.
Lodging at the Historic Route 66 Motel at 1620 E Route 66 Blvd.
Historic Route 66 Motel is owned by Michael and Cathy Fulton, and while we didn’t speak with Michael, Cathy is awesome and very accommodating. I highly recommend this affordable (about $45.00), dog-friendly motel that gives one the feeling of walking right into the mid-1950’s. Besides being well maintained and clean, the mid-century modern style with vintage decor and floor-to-ceiling windows was reminiscent of living fifty years in the past. The best part was sitting outside of our room watching a New Mexican lightning storm. Listening to the thunder and watching the torrential rains, oddly enough, brings me comfort.
Interesting Factoids about New Mexico
~credited to the uber cool site called 50States.com
- New Mexico’s State Constitution officially states that New Mexico is a bilingual State, and 1 out of 3 families in New Mexico speak Spanish at home.
- The word “Pueblo” is used to describe a group of people, a town, or an architectural style. There are 19 Pueblo groups that speak 4 distinct languages. The Pueblo people of the southwest have lived in the same location longer than any other culture in the Nation.
- In 1950 the little cub that was to become the National Fire Safety symbol Smokey the Bear was found trapped in a tree when his home in Lincoln National Forest was destroyed by fire. In 1963, in Smokey’s honor, the New Mexican legislature chose the black bear to be the official state animal.
- 1/4 of New Mexico is forested, and the state has 7 National Forests including the Nation’s largest, the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest which includes the Gila Wilderness.
- The leaves of the Yucca, New Mexico’s state flower, can be used to make rope, baskets and sandals.
- The state of New Mexico shares an international border with the country of Mexico.
- New Mexico is one of the four corner states. Bordering at the same point with Colorado, Utah and Arizona.
- White Sands National Monument is a desert, not of sand, but of gleaming white gypsum crystals.
- The Rio Grande is New Mexico’s longest river and runs the entire length of New Mexico.
- Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the United States at 7,000 feet above sea level.
- The province that was once Spanish New Mexico included all of present day New Mexico, most of Colorado and Arizona, and slices of Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming. The Original American Territory of New Mexico that congress created in 1850 included all of New Mexico and Arizona plus parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. The boundaries of present day New Mexico were drawn by congress in 1863 but New Mexico didn’t become a state until 1912.
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Our Journey West Across the US
Post #1: Macon Music in Georgia
Post #2: Boy from Tupelo, Mississippi
Post #3: Two Must-Sees in Memphis Tennessee
Post #4: Mosey Through the Arkansas Ozarks
Post #5: Gettin’ Our Kicks on Route 66 from Missouri to Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Post #6: More Route 66 Kicks from Sapulpa to Oklahoma City
Post #7: Don’t Mess with Texas on Route 66
Post #8: Route 66 Texas Panhandle
This is Post #9: Bound for Tucumcari, New Mexico
Post #10: Santa Fe’ed Your Soul
Post #11: The Winds of Taos
Post #12: The Good, the Bad, and the Heinous of New Mexico
Post #13: Dusky, Durable Durango
Post #14: Cliff Dwellings of Mesa Verde Colorado
Post #15: Moab Rocks
Post #16: No Clever Title for Richfield, Utah
Post #17: Leavening Las Vegas