Route 66 through Albuquerque is well represented by some of those old motor courts that later became motor-hotels from which the word motel was coined. It was a grand thing to “Get Your Kicks on 66.” The old road may be gone but ABQ has seen fit to permit and encourage refurbishing and protecting many of the old places and especially the neon signs that remain on what’s left of 66.
La Puerta lodge (both photos above) is one of those still in business and is on a list of 25 places we got on-line to see.
Luna Lodge is all boarded up and workers were on site, restoring the place.
Marks on the walls, a fun reminder of the past, the dinky rooms, with a single window and a tiny air conditioner built into the wall with a separate heater. The Luna had an old menu posted on the wall from their restaurant. It was once a fancy place.
This brought us a chuckle since the protected figure is a Paul Bunyan with an ax and the new owners have opened the May Cafe, a Vietnamese restaurant.
Not all Route 66 businesses were motor courts, of course. When this building is refurbished, it will look better but still have that quaint look that gives ABQ’s Central Ave. a very mixed business neighborhood. Example, the older buildings juxtaposed with a brand new building of modern architecture as in this bank, below.
And, it may have been against the law for me to take the picture. But, more about that later.
According to a bit of Route 66 history, the motor courts competed for business by erecting bigger and bigger signs, sort of like Las Vegas, NV. This one is still in use with the same name.
Here the sign is the only thing left awaiting refurbishing. The building long gone.
This cool 50’s diner is all redone and still serving 50’s style food.
Saving their neons is another thing ABQ is doing. You can drive the strip at night to see them lighted, which we will do after our Cinco De Mayo festival tonight. We saw signs in this neon shop which was closed.
Someone didn’t like the peace sign and put a bullet through it. In fact, this window had three bullet holes in it.
This old theater is just one of four that are being restored. ABQ is a very eclectic city.
Eventually, they will be looking for old artifacts from the past to accent these buildings.
We wandered close to Old Town and got a quick look at the beautiful Kimo Theatre. We’ll visit inside on our next jaunt.
As we crossed over to the Knob Hill area of town, we found fancier old buildings. This architecture dates from the 1920’s to 1950’s.
ABQ has many murals around town. I particularly liked this “corner” of a mural.
In one section, all street signs have a fancy motif. It would have been easier to take the tour bus and have the cities features pointed out to you by a guide. But you miss so much, including getting accosted by a security guard for breaking the law.
It happened when we were cruising the motor courts. This motel was getting refurbished and was fenced all around. I stuck my camera through the fence since it was the only one I had seen with a swimming pool. A security card came out of the building and said, “Don’t take that picture.” And I said, why not. He said “It is against the law to take a picture within 300 yards of a bank.” Wha??? “I don’t see a bank?” It was out of sight. ” No, I said. That can’t be true.” He said: “If you take that picture, I will call security right now.” He brandished a phone or maybe a two-way radio in his hand. He was not bully about it, just letting me know he had to call, it was his job, his duty. He asked me where I was from. I told him I was from California and Jim, who was around the corner, was from Massachusetts. Then he said: “Why do you have a Washington license plate?” Oh, no! Try and explain a full-time RVer’s difficulty getting a license without a permanent address. I tried. I finally told him, I’m going to take this picture. Go ahead and call. We are tourists and these buildings are listed in the visitors center. So I did. And, he did. We got in the Bronco and drove away.
I may be a jinx. I arrived May 1st. There was a security upheaval at the airport, a road block, then another road block Wednesday where we were immediately blocked three times as we tried to get out of the way. And, then I broke the law and the cops may be coming for me at any time. I told Jim, maybe I better return to Murphys?
But, dang, the food is too good. We’ve been out to eat every day. Tonight, I gotta cook before we turn into roli-polies.