Route 66 Caravan

America's Biggest Road Trip!

Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
May 21, 2003

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Tucumcari Tonight!

Tucumcari Tonight! That catchy slogan has rung down through the years of travel on Route 66 and is still true today.

Tucumcari is still prosperous and offers the Route 66 traveler the first real glimpse of what Route 66 was all about. Motel Row! Even today the neon signs beckon and entice the wanderer to stop awhile and rest.

Six Shooter Siding, as Tucumcari was once known as, became a full-fledged respectable town in 1901 when the railroad came through here. In 1946 it had a population of 6,194 making it a major metropolis in the deserts of New Mexico. Tucumcari offered the road wanderer every highway service available. The town was named for the flat-topped mesa to the south. According to Rittenhouse there's an old Indian legend to go with that mountain, "the mountain obtained its name from two young lovers, Tocom and Kari, who died a tragic death. Tacom was slain in a duel with a rival lover, and Kari took her own life." How much truth there is to the old legend is up to speculation but the story lends itself to the wonderful aura surrounding this classic Route 66 town. Tucumcari Tonight! A stop along old Route 66 in New Mexico that is a must for any fan of the old highway.


Tee Pee Curios

  Tee Pee Curio Shop Sign The Tee Pee Trading Post was built in the early 1940s on two-lane Route 66. It started out as a gas station selling Gulf Gas, Groceries, Meats and Curios. When Route 66 was widened the Tee Pee lost its gas pumps. But that was all right. By then it was doing a great business selling curios to the travelers that passed by. I'm sure this was one place I begged my dad to stop at when we came through here on our family vacations so many years ago. Who knows, maybe he did stop here too. The large Tee Pee shaped building has a certain appeal and draw to it that just might have softened my dad's heart.

Mike Callens, AKA "Tee Pee Mike" the owner of this great curio shop takes time to goof off with Jim and Kevin. You know ~ Speak No Evil, See No Evil and Hear No Evil  on Route 66 ~

Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil on Rt. 66

Tee Pee Mike with the Route 66 Caravan Team

Route 66 Caravan Team with Mike Callens (second from left) ~ The last of the old Route 66 curio shop owners!


Blue Swallow Court

Blue Swallow Motor Court The Blue Swallow has been a fixture on Route 66 since 1939. Once it had been owned and operated by a Route 66 legend in her own right, Lillian Redman, a former Harvey Girl from the golden era of the Santa Fe Railroad. In 1998 the motel was taken been over by Hilda and Dale Bakke who have preserved the authentic charm of this old motor court from a by-gone era.
  The old Blue Swallow neon is one of the prettiest I have encountered on the Mother Road and it still lights up its welcome to the road weary traveler at night in Tucumcari. This pleasant stopping over place is perfectly preserved, a slice of what the old Mother Road must have been like once, right down to the vintage telephone on the nightstand by the bed. And it works!

Beautiful Blue Swallow Neon


Tucumcari Neons

Take a trip down memory lane along Tucumcari's Motel Row. Tucumcari has some of the neatest neons to please the road connoisseur. The Tee Pee neon has just recently been refurbished and is a true jewel of New Mexico's Route 66. But there are many other fine examples of this true American art form to be found in Tucumcari.

Buckaroo Motel

Palomino Motel


Tee Pee Curios Neon

La Cita Neon


Thunderbird Neon


Route 66 Sculpture

West 66
Previous Log
Go West down the Mother Road

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down the Mother Road ~
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East 66
Midpoint Cafe
Go East on the Mother Road



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