Tucumcari, New Mexico is a town that's fighting for a comeback. It's got blocks upon blocks of preserved retro signage, and the obligatory abandoned motels and diners. As of the 2010 US Census, there was a little over 5,000 people living in the town, which was founded way back in 1901. Back then, the town was certainly a rough one. The first construction camp was even named "Six Shooter Siding" on account of the frequent gunfights that took place there. Fun fact: Up until a few years back there was a bar called "Six Shooter Siding", and it was quite the popular (and rowdy) local hotspot.
Spending a day in Tucumcari totally feels like you're stepping back in time. The people are salt-of-the-earth, friendly and passionate. They believe in Tucumcari and will fight for it. Don't let this incredible Route 66 town go the way of so many others in the wake of the highway system. Spend the night, get a picture in front of the Blue Swallow Motel, enjoy a meal at Del's Restaurant and fully immerse yourself in this living piece of history.
When my son Bruce and I were traveling down Route 66 we knew we had to spend the night in Tucumcari. It's such an iconic part of the Mother Road. We were expecting a few fun photo-ops, some good eating and spending the night in a retro motel. What we got was so much more. We ended up spending two full days exploring Tucumcari, getting a photo in front of pretty much every single vintage roadsign and meeting new friends like Richard Talley, owner of the Motel Safari.
More Route 66 awesomeness...