Guest article: Jack D. - Garagistry member

While on a cross-country driving trip this summer, I had the fulfilling experience of driving a portion of the classic American Highway, Route 66, in parts of New Mexico. Having read your recent post on the various "trails" across the US, I hope you'll find this interesting too.

From I-40 I noticed something which seemed out of place; which was enough to get me to turn around at Exit 277 and take a second look.  Sure enough, I could have easily missed the sights and history found in Santa Rosa NM.
Doing a little digging afterward, I found the following information which really helped bring to life what I had seen.

The History of Route 66 in Santa Rosa

The grand dream of moving people by car westward was realized in 1927 with the opening of Route 66. Motorists flocked to the new highway system, known then as America's "New Main Street". Within 8 years, the Santa Rosa section was opened providing travelers of all types and sorts a great place to take a break and relax.

  • 1930 Route 66 comes to Santa Rosa
  • 1937 Route 66 changes the route alignment taking drivers away from the famous "Fat Man" Billboards painted on huge roadside boulders.
  • 1972 I-40 opens by-passing the historic Route 66 roadway, but enabled the towns and communities along the way to retain their appeal, history and convenience for travelers.
Classic Car History

At the eastern end of town stands this tall pole with a bright yellow classic car atop it. This is the home of the Route 66 Auto Museum.
Route 66 Auto Museum
2411 Historic Route 66
Santa Rosa, NM 88435

Outside the  museum I found several relics of classic cars - I'm not sure I could still call them classics - time has taken a big toll on some. The classic in the best condition was a 1950 Dodge "Yellow Cab" - oh, for the days of a roomy cab ride.

But two vehicles that really caught my eye were two Ford Edsels in the parking lot - one a four door sedan and the other a station wagon. The sedan has been modified (if that's what it correct term is) to be a front-end loader, and backhoe. It sure looks like it works, but I have my doubts the suspension would carry a heavy load.

Thankfully, most of the exteriors of both Edsels are still generally intact. The interior of the wagon is in pretty rough shape, but amazingly, the dash in intact as well, including the radio and the instrument cluster.
As for the museum itself, it is an interesting collection of Route 66 memorabilia, about 30 well-restored classic cars (some are available for sale) and the typical roadside snack bar menu.  If I wanted the "authentic" Route 66 menu "greasy spoon", it was suggested I visit a few of the older eateries closer to the center of town. 

A Real Road Trip

My travel plans are taking me to Omaha and back. If I should find any more interesting sights along the way, I'll send them to you.

Not My Bucket List - But Close

But for sure, on my way home I'm going to make a few more stops along the way. Although I have been to Flagstaff many, many times, I have not taken the time to really see Flag's section of Route 66. Also, I really need to see Winslow, AZ and see the corner so many of us sang about years ago...

Best regards,
Jack D.

Thank you and continued safe travels, Jack - we're always glad to hear from you.
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