... aw heck, ain't it a shame? Mon, 10/27/14

To me, three things automatically evoke a nostalgia for the way things were, a throwback to an older time, not necessarily better, but appealing in its sentimentality, and all three mostly gone from the scene.  Down-home front porches are a thing of the past, red cabooses tacked on the end of trains were deemed no longer necessary (a financial drag in today's world), and, the saddest of all, prairie windmills -- unmoving, blades broken and/or hanging loose, stilled in the wind, useless and looking forlorn.

Which brings me to Tucumcari, New Mexico, our next stop on our way east.  Off I-40 and onto Route 66, we pulled in to modest Cactus RV Park.  After setting up, we took off on foot for a short town explore ... what's left of it, that is. Much of what we saw was gone, settling in the New Mexican dust, overgrown, and empty.  The call of the road still brings in nostalgic tourists, remembering the TV show that ran from 1960-1964, starring Martin Milner and George Maharis traveling around in a convertible Corvette.

This Route 66 strip was all but deserted.  I guess the town moved away toward the freeway when I-40 was built. Kind of like when a Wal-Mart blows into town, local stores are shuttered.  Way of progress?  Not easy to witness.

The Relax Inn was really relaxed -- notice the price!  It's been closed for such a long time that entire trees have grown up in front of the rooms, but the buildings remain ... sort of.  Sorry sight.

Adjacent to the RV Park, is this row of motel rooms?  Listed on the National Register of Historic whatevers, this place can't be touched, so it sits vacant and decaying.

Jimmy and I left early the next morning, hopping back on I-40, driving east into the sun, eyeing the empty-devoid-of-much-of-anything landscape, which includes the above-mentioned pitiful windmills.  We used to love seeing them turn in the wind, but very few move these days.  We saw way too many falling-down homesteads, yards littered with rusting machines and vehicles, where folks have just up and walked away.   Possibly (probably) bought out by the big corporations.  So be it.

We made it to Wichita Falls TX and Shreveport LA the next two nites, parking comfortably in RV sites at Elks lodges -- two very long days on the road.  Back in the land of green grass and huge Live Oak trees, we finally arrived at my sister and BiL's house in Denham Springs on Thursday, Oct 30th.  Ahhhh ... great to be back and off the road for a few days.
Life is good!


  1. Have a shrimp po-boy for me. (and one raw oyster!) ;)

  2. UhOh! The infamous Tucumcari! Did you by any chance get in on the hoopla that ensued when I wrote about Tucumcari in my blog last spring on our way home? It is still the greatest hit generator I have ever had in 7 years of blogging and I received the most flaming remarks on that one. In fact, the owner of the motel started a flame war on Facebook that was so difficult I shut down the blog for a time! Folks in Tucumcari don't take kindly to an RVr's impressions of their town. In case you missed the whole thing, here is the post http://mohotravels.blogspot.com/2014/03/tucumcari-tonight.html

    1. No, I try to stay out of hoopla! But after reading your comment, I remembered (and returned to read) the whole thing. What I wrote is MY experience... an all-but-deserted town on a famous route ... just as you experienced. Jimmy found Cactus RV Park in Woodall's and because it was away from the interstate, we chose to stay there. Not the best, not the worst. We were just passin' thru, and had no further expectations. Still, as we walked the dusty sidewalk, we were surprised and saddened by the emptiness of Tucumcari and Route 66.

  3. Ha, ha! Soon as I started reading this, I thought of Sue and her blog experience! I remember it pretty well because OUR experience in Tucumcari (we stayed at Cactus RV, too) was just like hers, and like yours. Apparently, like many small towns, you have a better experience living there (if you stay long enough) than passing through. Yet the "passing through" experience is a valid one. I saw Tucumcari as a town struggling to stay alive. Seemed like a small (but mighty) cohort exists to try to keep the town and memories of Route 66 alive, and to educate anyone who has a different experience. As a blogger, I sometimes found it amazing how many folks could take offense at the thoughts and opinions of one solitary writer... and would spend an inordinate amount of time trying to change your mind.

  4. I remember the hoopla around Sue's blog ... perhaps someday we will have a chance to form our own impressions of Tucumcari. In the meantime, I appreciate seeing it through the eyes of fellow-RVers.


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