Day 7 - Monday
Both of had the best nights sleep of the trip, one of us managed to sleep for 11 hours! We decided as the El Rey Inn was so lovely and check out wasn't till midday, that we would make use of the facilities. We grabbed some complementary delightful breakfast pastries and coffee to have back at the room and changed into swimwear to have some relaxation time in the outdoor hot tub housed in a charming enclosed tile courtyard.
We really appreciated this down time after several busy days, and made the decision to spend a couple of hours around Santa Fe, before continue Eastward bound, rather then back tracking to Albuquerque.
It was nearly midday when we checked out and headed to the Santa Fe Plaza, where we spent a couple of hours wondering the quaint shops discovering hidden gems hidden down little arcades.
Before leaving we decided we would get a coffee and stumbled across the Chocolate on the Plaza a lovely little independent handmade chocolate shop who also served cold brew. Well it would have been rude not to get some of their single state Venezuela chocolate to go with it. So we picked out 3 slices of chocolate dipped orange and 2 truffles with red chili and cinnamon to go with our cold brew, then parted with $30 ouch!
They were amazing if very expensive, time to move on from Santa Fe I think. We found it surprisingly easy getting back onto Route 66, following the Old Santa Fe trail then turning onto the Old Las Vegas Hwy - New Mexico not Nevada. We pass traditional Pueblos as the lush landscape passed by and we headed through Apache Canyon. A quick stop by the historical marker noting the battle between Union and Confederate troops in 1862 just before Glorieta.
Then crossing over the I-25 to follow the frontage roads towards Santa Rosa. You could tell you were high in the mountains, the air felt fresh and the floral green. In fact we both experienced feeling slightly dizzy back in Santa Fe which was probably due to spending too long in the hot tub and the high altitude. The current Pre-'37 road we had been driving now rejoined Post-'37 before joining the I-40 for about 14miles then it was back on the 66 through Cuervo where the road begins to show her age and becomes a little rough, before passing the ruins of an old motel and gas station at Newkirk then onto our bed for the night in Tucumcari.
The Blue Swallow Motel an historic Route 66 Motel which opened in 1939 and is famed for its spectacular neons and authentic rooms. We were greeted warmly by the couple that run it and shown to our room - number1 - where we could see the neon signage from our window once darkness fell. We settled in and after a coffee we walked down to Del's Restaurant to finally get some Mexican. A great restaurant where we enjoyed a rather large Margarita, chips and salsa, a spinach and mushroom quesadilla and a cheese enchiladas with rice and beans, I knew when they asked if I would prefer red or green chili to choose the less hot red sauce.
Despite being extremely full, we still managed to find room for the Sopapillas - a flatbread dough that gets deep fried and puffs up- and which the restaurant serves with honey as a complementary dessert. Luckily we had a little walk back to help burn if a few calories, walking back we passed some of the great murals that the town has depicted life around the old road and town in its heyday.
By the time we arrived back at the hotel, the sign was lit up and called for a photo opt, we got chatting to another couple staying there from Illinois and shortly joined by a German fella as we all regaled tales about our time on the road and swapping tips. Our chat was cut short though due to the biting insects and we all made our way back to rooms to settle down for the night.
Days Mileage: 203
Total Mileage: 1199
Total Mileage: 1199