A Day Behind

Yesterday evening I posted “A Day Late” because I was too tired to keep up with life the day before. As it turns out, now I’m almost a day behind on my schedule. I had originally planned to stay in the Albuquerque area two nights ago. Last night I stayed in Santa Fe, which is a whole 50 miles past Albuquerque – and not east, either! It turns out that there are two vastly different alignments of Route 66 in New Mexico, depending on whether you’re following the pre- or post-1937 route. The first route to be mapped out went from Abq to Santa Fe before dropping back down to the current I-40 route, while the later one was shortened to skip Santa Fe and go more directly east from Albuquerque. Naturally, I chose the longer route.

A lot of “Route 66” sections are now I-40 frontage roads. As such, they’re kept in good condition (mostly), especially near towns where there are (still) businesses and homes along them. I was riding one such section just after leaving Gallup when I happened to notice the absolutely gorgeous cliffs to my left. I apologize for the wires in the foreground, but I think you’ll agree that the cliffs are awesome:


When I got to Grants (which, by the way is named for three Grant brothers who worked for the Atlantic and Pacific RR and set up camp there), I stopped at the mining museum. It’s a small place, with just a few exhibits describing the past 500 million years or so, but their underground level has been made up to look like a uranium mine. The area around Grants was extensively mined for uranium from the ’50s to the late ’70s. They also have this huge drill bit outside.


The mine exhibit is set up to show all the major “parts” of a mine, from the track drifts (where the ore is hauled by train) to the drilling and blasting operations at the end of the drifts, to the gathering of the ore from the “open stope” into the cars. They even included a miners’ lunchroom and a shop where broken equipment was repaired onsite. This 3D diorama was put together by a miner to honor all those who dug uranium.


I had lunch in a beautiful park in Grants, just across the street from the museum and across the *other* street from the City Hall. Then I headed east again. The day was beautiful:


I mentioned that most of “Route 66” (the parts I have traveled so far, anyway) is now I-40 frontage roads. But some parts … aren’t. I found a several-mile long section about 40 miles west of Albuquerque that’s in fair condition – meaning that the pavement is still there, and the lines are (sort of) still there, but it’s not regularly maintained. There are lots of potholes, so as I was riding it I got a good exercise in obstacle avoidance. I cruised it at about 30 mph, and about halfway through it I stopped and made a video. Here’s a still from the same place. If you’re a Facebook friend of mine, you’ve probably already seen it.

The *OLD* Route 66

The *OLD* Route 66

When I got to Albuquerque, I found that I was traveling not one, but two historic routes – the pre-1937 Route 66 alignment and the original route of El Camino Real.



I had planned to stay at a KOA campground last night, but the weather looked threatening (it ended up being an empty threat) and I didn’t like the accommodations at the nearby campground anyway, so I stayed at a Super 8 motel.

Today’s trip will take me east, following I-25 for a while, before dropping back down to I-40 via US 84. With any luck, I’ll get into Texas before sundown.

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