Route 66 from Santa Rosa, NM to Amarillo, TX

In today’s blog post, you’ll find all the information on road-tripping from Santa Rosa, NM, to Amarillo, TX. The best things to do and the best places to stop and visit.

It’s a journey of 172 miles. You are going to pass through Tucumcari, Vega, Adrian and arrive in Amarillo, Texas.

Today you’ll cross the Midpoint. Midpoint is the point that indicates we’re already halfway. Besides, we will change of state, and we’ll pass New Mexico and get into Texas.

From Tucumcari, we’ll find some sections of Route 66 well preserved, and they are worthy.

Yet it is a section where we will not have many stops, though the ones we’ll have are pretty good. At least, I liked them very much.

An important part of this section, Route 66, overlaps I-40, so, unfortunately, we will have to drive the Highway during some sections, especially before Tucumcari.

Route 66 from Santa Rosa to Amarillo

Route 66 cafe restaurante

Today we can start easy, not like yesterday; it was a hard day. So, as I always say (I know I repeat myself a lot), a good breakfast, and let’s start the day.

What are the mandatory stops for today? Tucumcari, Midpoint (Adrian), Cadillac Ranch (just before Amarillo), and Big Texan Steak Ranch (Amarillo). In Amarillo, you can also visit antique shops and Texan stores that sell products for Texan people. What are those products?

Well, items such as cowboy boots, jeans, cowboy hats, and those famous horns some people put just on the car’s front. But I don’t want to go ahead (as always). So let’s go step by step.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Route 66

We start in Santa Rosa; at this point, the desert began to take effect in my mood, and I really wanted to see more green landscapes.

But there are remaining Texas and Oklahoma before starting way up north towards Chicago. And here it is where you start to realize the vastness of this country.

Just stop and think how much you have already driven, and today is when we pass the point that indicates that we are halfway! Simply brutal.

Santa Rosa – Tucumcari

So we start driving today the I-40 since from Santa Rosa to Tucumcari Route 66 overlaps I-40. It’s a stretch of about 58 miles.

Nothing interesting along the way. In Tucumcari, you find some classics you have to see like the Tucumcari Tonite, The Blue Swallow Motel, the Route 66 Restaurant, or the Cactus Motor Lodge, now called Cactus RV Park.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
The Blue Swallow Motel

The Blue Swallow Motel is a motel built in the early 1940s; this hotel was given as an engagement present to Lillian Redman in 1958 and was open and working for the next 40 years.

The Blue Swallow is very famous for its authenticity and mid-century style, including, of course, its famous and unique neon.

As a curiosity, let me tell you that Lillian Redman was a Harvey Girl; that is, she was recruited by the company of Fred Harvey, who owned restaurants in cities connected by rail.

And her contract specified that she had to have “good moral character” and specified that she couldn’t marry and strictly adhere to all the company’s rules, at least during her job.

She became an institution, but due to health problems, she had to sell it in 1998.

Tucumcari – Adrian (Midpoint Cafe)

We leave Tucumcari, where we can take some of the original sections of Route 66. From Tucumcari, Route 66 runs parallel to I-40 on its left side if you are going to Texas.

In fact, the main street in Tucumcari at the exit of town is Tucumcari Blvd, and then it’s renamed Rte 66. So keep on it, and do not get into the I-40. You can follow the original route to San Jon easily.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Route 66

From San Jon, Route 66 disappears, or the road is impassable and is practically a dirt track; the better, unfortunately, is to get into I-40. You are about to cross the border between New Mexico and Texas.

Again Route 66 and I-40 overlap at least up to Adrian. But you have to exit from the highway and get into Adrian !, you are on the way to The Midpoint Café.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Midpoint Cafe

You are exactly halfway. Leave behind 1139 miles, and you have ahead other 1139 miles of the route. So it is a good time to stop and have a snack. First, of course, you’ll have to take a picture of the signal at Midpoint Café.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Midpoint Cafe & Fer…

Keep on Route 66, which overlaps the I-40 to Vega, is a short tour of about 16 miles. In Vega, there is an old gas station called Magnolia Gas Station.

Vega – Amarillo

We are close to our destination, Amarillo. We have ahead 37 miles. But, first, we have to drive through the I-40. At Vega, we saw a curious bikers bar named Roosters. It deserved a photo; you’ll also see buildings that seem to have come from the western movies.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66

Leave Vega behind and keep driving, but be careful not to get distracted! You must take exit 60!

It’s a stop just before entering Amarillo, The Cadillac Ranch. We were unable to find any indication on the internet at that time, and it was a little hard to find it. You know you’ve picked the appropriate exit because there is a gas station called Love’s Travel Stop.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Cadillac Ranch

Then, when you drive along the service road for 300 or 400 meters, your right is the Cadillac Ranch.

The Cadillac Ranch is a piece of urban art commissioned by the local leader Stanley Marsh to a group of artists who called themselves The Ant Farm. Two architects founded this group in the 60s, and they were many artists participating.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch consists of 10 Cadillacs partially buried into the ground at an angle, pointing their trunks toward the sky. The tradition is to go with a spray can and do graffiti on cars, don’t worry, it is part of the work.

They are periodically repainted with a base color so people can return to graffiti again. Its current location is not the original. It was moved when Route 66 was redesign, and its original layout was moved.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Big Texan Steak Ranch

Probably it’s time for lunch, so I have kept a very famous restaurant, and part of history, not only of Route 66 but throughout the US, is the Big Texan Steak Ranch. This restaurant is famous throughout the United States because everything is huge.

The most famous is the Steak of 72 ounces, and the restaurant bets you that if you order a 72 ounces steak with all its side dishes and completely finish it, you don’t have to pay.

But you have to know there are $ 72, at least when It was 72$ when I was there. So no need to say it’s almost impossible to finish it.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Big Texan Steak Ranch & Vero…

And after having a great lunch, you can take a walk through the Boots & Jeans Store, a very particular shop where they sell typical cowboy articles. But not for tourists, but them. The boots are fine, and jeans and hats too.

When I saw the bull horns to choose what to put on the front of my car, I didn’t know how to react. Actually, I was watching them as foolish. I leave the address if you want to go to 2225 S Georgia St, Amarillo, TX 79109.

Santa Rosa - Amarillo Route 66
Boots & jeans Store

Finally, if you want to know more about the city, you will find curious antique shops and some nice murals.

I let you rest. Although, today was light!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain.

This post is part of a Series about Route 66 Itinerary.

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Last Updated on 5 July, 2021 by Veronica

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