By this time, you’re probably ready to be home and it is a long drive home. If you really like Route 66 kitsch, you can plan a lunch at the historic El Rancho hotel in Gallup, NM. Frankly, the food was not that great and it is a bit run down. Or you can grab a quick bite and plan to see the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa, NM if you did not get enough at Russell’s Travel Center.
One stop you don’t want to miss is the pull off to drive the musical road in Tijeras, NM right outside of Albuquerque. It only takes leaving at exit 170 and then driving with the windows down and the road plays “America the Beautiful” as the grooves of the road turn your tires into musical tones. It was so fun we drove around and did it a second time.
That night you can spend at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM. With garages painted from scenes from the movie Cars and classic cars parked out front, it creates a nice circle back to the Route 66 experience. Dinner at Del’s; breakfast at Kix on 66; and a stop at Tee Pee Curios for more souvenirs, all in town complete the experience.
The final stretch is the flat drive back through Texas. Again, this is the price of admission. But my husband is an avid fan of Texas Monthly’s list of Top BBQ restaurants. So much so, he keeps the Google Map someone set up below to find places to stop in remote areas of Texas. That means lunch is at Rafter J BBQ in Iowa Park, TX (Notable Mention by Texas Monthly) to try deep fried corn on the cob and brisket sandwiches. Be sure to ask for bread. But BBQ always reminds us we are finally back home.
And for more details on surrounding areas see our full itineraries for Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, New Mexico/Arizona or Moab/Dunton Hot Springs or destination notes for the Painted Desert, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Zion/Bryce Canyon, Amangiri/Slot Canyons, Arches, Canyonlands, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Tucson, Phoenix, and Albuquerque.