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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 will pass through Tucumcari, Vega, and Adrian and arrive in Amarillo, Texas.

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

From Tucumcari, we’ll find some sections of Route 66 well-preserved and 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 essential 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, unlike yesterday, which was a hard day. So, as I always say (I know I repeat myself a lot), have 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).

Check this post with the best things to do in Amarillo, Texas.

In Amarillo, you can also visit antique shops and Texan stores that sell products for Texan people. What are those products?

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

Route 66 Motel

We started in Santa Rosa; at this point, the desert began to affect 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 begin 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 started driving today on I-40 since from Santa Rosa to Tucumcari, Route 66 overlaps I-40. It’s a stretch of about 58 miles.

There is 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.

Blue Swallow motel route 66

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

The Blue Swallow is very famous for its authenticity and mid-century style, including, of course, its well-known 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 town’s exit is Tucumcari Blvd, which is then renamed Rte 66. So keep on it, and do not get on I-40. You can easily follow the original route to San Jon.

Desert on 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.

Adrian, TX Route 66

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

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 37 miles ahead. But first, we have to drive through the I-40. At Vega, we saw a curious biker bar named Roosters.

It deserved a photo; you’ll also see buildings from Western movies that seem to have come.

Roosters on 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 could not find any indication on the internet then, and it was a little hard to find.

You know you’ve picked the appropriate exit because there is a gas station called Love’s Travel Stop.

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 artists who called themselves The Ant Farm. Two architects founded this group in the 60s, and they were many artists participating.

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 redesigned, and its original layout was moved.

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

The most famous is the 72-ounce Steak, and the restaurant bets you that if you order one with all its side dishes and completely finish it, you won’t have to pay.

Route 66. Stretch from Santa Rosa to Amarillo

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.

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- not for tourists but for them. The boots are fine, and the jeans and hats are 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.

Finally, if you want to know more about Amarillo, read this blog post; you will find curious antique shops and lovely murals.

I’ll let you rest. Although, today was light!

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

Plan Your Road Trip on Route 66. Itinerary

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Last Updated on 1 February, 2024 by Veronica

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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One Comment

  1. You would have to be blind or reporting from the 1990s if you didn’t mention Russells truck and travel center just out of Glenrio. Even if you did have to circle back a couple of miles from where 66 meets Glenrio, it would be a crime to pass it up or at least mention it. Otherwise I love your article.

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