Amarillo TX to Santa Fe NM
This review is from October 2016
This morning we got an early start so we would have time to explore in the unique cities along the way to Santa Fe NM. It was really nice to see Cadillac Ranch early in the morning. We were practically the only people there, the temperature was cool, and the sun offered us different views of the ranch. As an added bonus we found some paint cans that weren't empty. Naturally we had to contribute to the art!
In Tucumcari NM you will find many original Route 66 locations. On one hand Tucumcari is a little forgotten. There are lot of closed down buildings, a lot of rundown historic sites, and has a small population. With that said Greg and I both really like Tucumcari. We have found the people we met were friendly and cared about the history. We both have said that we would love to move there and restore more of the town.
One of our favorite stops in town is to visit Tee Pee Curios (pet friendly). We stop in for some nice conversation and for some fun souvenirs. The unique pictures we get to take of the outside is just a bonus.
Onward to Santa Fe and to some lunch!! We were getting pretty hungry so the minute we entered Santa Fe NM. We headed to El Chile Toreado!! I can't even begin to express how good these tacos are! These are my favorite tacos I have ever had. We ordered Carnita's, Al Pastor, and Chicharones (soft not crunchy pork fat). The Al Pastor were the favorite in my opinion. They were tender, rich, and not overly sweet from the pineapple. The Carnita's were also very good. A must on the Carnita's is El Chile Toreado's green sauce! YUM!!
Our last stop of the day was to our hotel www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-mexico/hilton-santa-fe-historic-plaza.../index.htmlThe Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza. We were welcomed as Diamond Members. We were given 2 Deluxe King Rooms on the 3rd floor (last year we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite), breakfast vouchers and access to the executive lounge. Our room was large with a king bed, chair, couch, table, fridge, and coffee machine. The Bathroom door isn't 100% private (similar to a sliding barn door) but it doesn't bother us. This was our 2nd stay at the hotel and we found the staff just as friendly/helpful, the property in great condition, and the rooms comfortable.
During our stay we ordered drinks from the bar a couple of times and enjoyed them out front on the patio furniture and lit fireplaces. Since we had Fred with us we had to take our breakfast to go. The staff helped us with napkins, utensils, and a bag. We again enjoyed our food out front on the patio furniture.
We would definitely stay here a 3rd time and recommend this hotel to others.
For dinner we went to Casa Chimayo which was pet friendly. We were seated right away and had a nice corner table where Fred wouldn't be too much of a bother. Perfect for us! Our waitress was very nice and offered suggestions. To start we ordered chips, salsa, and El Burro's (vanilla bean infused vodka mules). My entree was the Chicken Mole. The Mole was good and plentiful but I was hoping for a little more depth in flavor. Greg enjoyed the Blue Corn Enchilada's which were also featured on The Food Network's Diners, Drive In's and Dives.
My parents stayed back at the hotel that evening so we brought them some dessert. We brought them some Pastelitos's (apples in flaky pastry), and Elena's Sopa (a type of bread pudding).
Springfield MO to Amarillo TX
Driving further west we found ourselves in search of a giant whale! In Catoosa OK you can stop at the Blue Whale of Catoosa where you can walk into the Whale, climb to the 2nd level, and enjoy a picnic at some of the nearby tables. Across the way there is also a taco stand. We didn't try the tacos on this trip but maybe next time.
Our 3rd stop of the day was a bit of a disappointment. Last year Greg and I loved our stop at the pet friendly POP'S Soda Ranch. This year we found that they were no longer pet friendly and that the food wasn't consistent. I thoroughly enjoyed a burger on a dairy free & gluten free bun. The bun was soft and delicious sadly it's not sold in stores. I took my burger to go and sat outside in the sunshine with Greg and Fred. My parents opted to dine inside. Sadly they ended up with entrees that were bland, dry, and not worth the money. We did bring home some interesting soda's though. The ranch, cookies and cream, and bacon soda were the most memorable.
Our next 3 stops were quick pictures and historic landmarks. In Hydro OK we stopped to see Lucille's famous Rte 66 gas station. On both of of our road trips we have stopped here and even though there is always other tourists it's a fun stop for pictures. In Shamrock TX we stopped for pictures at the Tower Station and U Drop Inn Cafe. Nearby you can go and search for a piece of the Blarney Stone (yes the actually one in Ireland). Greg and I found it last year but we were running out of time this year.
Once we were in Texas we stopped at one of our favorite rest areas. At exit 131 westbound on I40 you will find a rest area with beautiful views, unique picnic areas, and clean and modern interiors.
Our final stop of the day was the Home2 Suites in Amarillo TX. We checked into the Home2Suites and were given room 415 a 1 bedroom with living room. The hotel is in a decent area, offers modern decor, and has welcoming staff. Our room was clean and offered plenty of room for the 4 of us to eat and sleep in. Unfortunately, the bathroom was in need of updating. The old shower hardware was removed and poorly replaced. It looked like a horrible patch job. We would stay here again though.
Dublin OH to Springfield MO
Here's a map of our route for the day!
This review is from October 2016.
We left Dublin OH early in the morning but just had to make a quick stop before leaving town. How can you not stop at a field of concrete corn cobs!!! The giant cobs of corn are a reminder of the area's long history of agriculture.
Our next stop for the day was an unplanned stop at the Warm Glow Candle Outlet Store in Centerville IN. We were thrilled to see that their store was pet friendly! Fred loves to be included in shopping trips! Inside we found unique candles, gifts, foodie finds, clean restrooms, and a cute cafe. We put our purchases into the car and headed to our next stop!
The 2nd stop of the day was to see the Kaskaskia Dragon in Vandalia IL. We went into the liquor store across from the metal dragon and purchased a couple of tokens. These tokens are the way to make the dragon breathe fire. Unfortunately, we were fighting the sun and the wind so pictures of the dragon don't show the fire but it was fun to see in person. For lunch we stopped at Five Guys for burgers and french fries. I know it's not a local spot but it's one of the safest options for me and my allergies.
When I was younger my family always made road trips to Colorado. Each time we headed west we would stop in St Louis MO to see the Gateway Arch. We didn't get out of the car on this trip but it was nice to see the arch again.
For the 3rd stop of the day we visiting the town of Cuba MO. Along route 66 in Cuba you will find the Murals of Cuba. The Murals are out doors and are truly unique and beautiful.
Our stopping point for the day was Springfield MO. We booked the DoubleTree Springfield hotel for the night. We were welcomed as Diamond members and given our two rooms we requested online. Thanks to our membership we were given access to the 10th floor lounge and breakfast vouchers. The lounge is 24 hours which we found nice (a few other Hilton properties no longer offer 24 hours). Our rooms were clean and offered the usually amenities that DoubleTree is known for.
For dinner we opted for room service. We ordered Thai Chicken Wings, Char Crusted Ahi Tuna, and a Brentwood Chicken Sandwich. The staff also took note of my allergies. The service was quick and friendly and the food was fresh and flavorful. Breakfast the next morning was also good and the staff allowed my husband to take breakfast back to our room since we had Fred with us.
This review is from October 2016.
Greg and I invited my parents on a 2 week road trip back to the Southwest US. Luckily my father has an over-sized SUV for the 4 of us plus Fred! Our road trip is a mix of silly road side attractions, awe inspiring national and state parks, various lodging types, and always delicious food! I'll write about our whole trip (the bad, the good, and the amazing) by writing a day by day diary!
This is roughly the route we took showing the main locations we stayed in. The miles we drove to different sights isn't included nor is Omaha NE our stay on the ride home.
Here are just a few pics from the upcoming posts!!
We got a very early start to hopefully make it to the Grand Canyon before it gets too crowded. On the left side of the road we saw Bedrock and we had to turn around and take a few pics with the Flintstones for Porscha! A short time later and we arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Oh I should totally mention that before we went on the trip we decided to purchase The America the Beautiful Pass which gives you access to over 2000 federal recreation areas.
The South Rim path of the Grand Canyon is pet friendly. It was really wonderful to be able to experience the Grand Canyon together. I was completely awe struck by the Grand Canyon and truly felt how small we actually are. During our time there we were able to see the 2015 Celebration of Art gathering. There were several artists set up all along the South Rim path. It was very inspiring to see each of the perspectives. Note: Don't be rude! If you like a piece of art and are interested in the artist ask if pictures are okay before just snapping away.
A short while later and we arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim. We parked the car and followed along the paved pet friendly path. The views are indescribably beautiful and unimaginably vast! You realize how little we are in comparison and how there is so much more to be seen in the world.
After a few hours wandering around the South Rim we stopped into the gift shop. I don't think I've mentioned this yet but on Fred's carrier he has patches from his travels. In every city and/or state park we visited during this road trip we would pick up a new patch for him.
Next we drove the Desert View Drive and headed north to Moab UT. Once we were away from the Grand Canyon the scenery was a little on the boring side and we knew we had about an 8 hour drive to Moab so we just focused and kept stops to a minimum.
We finally arrived in Moab and drove past the city to our residence for the next couple of days Moab Under Canvas. I had heard finding the campsite was a little difficult but we found it easily. Once you get out of town you first pass a gas station on the right, then a drive way. At 12:33 in the video below you will see a Tee Pee on the right hand sign for Moab Under Canvas. The next paved right is the entrance!
For my full review of Moab Under Canvas visit here.
Today was an incredible day of sightseeing. We left Oklahoma City very early and made our way back onto Route 66. The first stop of the day was Lucille's Famous Rte 66 Gas Station in Hydro OK. A little further down the road is Oklahoma Route 66 museum in Clinton OK. Unfortunately, we couldn't go in with Fred but the it was interesting to stop and see the grounds. Our last stop in Oklahoma was in Erick at the eclectic Sand Hills Curiosity Shop.
Continuing on our path of Route 40 we entered Texas! We have only stopped over in Ireland once for a Guinness. Naturally when we heard that a piece of the Blarney Stone was in Shamrock TX we added it in as one of our stops. While in Shamrock we also drove by a restored Conoco Fuel Station. Near Route 207 and Route 40 is a stretch of Route 66 that is unique to drive and get a feel of how it once was.
Thanks to family and research we knew of a few places that had to be stopped at in Amarillo TX. First up was The Big Texan Steak Ranch for some souvenirs and pictures. We were hoping to enjoy some BBQ at Tyler's BBQ but it seems they had to unexpectedly close that day. We did some quick searches on the internet and decided to give Rudy's BBQ a try. We were glad we did! For my full review of our lunch visit here. After lunch was definitely one of our coolest stops! We visited Cadillac Ranch for some pictures and also took away some inspiration.
Back in the car we continued west to New Mexico! We made our way to Tucumcari NM. A historic Route 66 town that offers friendly people, unique signs, and a feel of the past. Greg and I would love to move to this town and help revitalize part of it. Tucumcari really has a special feel. At Tee Pee Curios we did some pet friendly (in his carrier) souvenir shopping. Afterwards we drove through the town just snapping a couple of pictures of the historic signs.
After Tucumcari we made our way to Santa Fe NM. We completely wish we had more time to explore this amazing city. Santa Fe offers tons of beautiful architecture, scenery, friendly people, delicious food, and lots of unique shops. We checked into our hotel Hilton Santa Fe (right in the center of town) which we highly recommend. For my full hotel review visit here. The three of us dropped off our luggage and headed out for some sightseeing. One of the coolest moments of our day was when Fred (yes thanks to Fred) introduced us to Mark Margolis (actor) who was enjoying the weather with his wife in the park.
We ended our day by relaxing at the hotel with take out from The Plaza Cafe. For my full review of our tasty dinner visit here.
We started the day pretty early since we knew this would be our first day with stops along Route 66! We left Memphis and headed into Arkansas. Our first stop was actually for lunch at David's Burgers in Conway AR. For my full review of our extremely tasty lunch visit here.
We opted for just one road side stop in Arkansas and for this trip we opted for Alma AR. Alma is one of those towns that we love and hate to see. You have a cool town center that is very rundown and shows it's age. In the middle of that you have Popeye Park. A beautiful oasis with fountains, murals, flowers, and a very cool statue of Popeye the Sailor Man! On the drive out of town we came across an area full of chain stores and restaurants. While these are convenient and offer a variety of items it really bothered us that this was probably the reason the town center was closing down. I really think as a country to we need to do more to support small business and those who strive for personal connections.
We went off our direct path a little bit once in Oklahoma. Heading north of Oklahoma City we made our way onto Route 66 and drove straight to POP's Soda Ranch. POP's Soda Ranch is a restaurant, store, road side attraction, gas station, and more! Here we were able to find some unique and not always great tasting soda's as gifts for family and friends. The staff were also especially wonderful in letting us bring Fred inside to the store area (in his carrier). It was just too hard to have only one of us shop for goodies.
At this point we drove to our hotel for the night. Embassy Suites Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. To read my full review of this disappointing hotel visit here.
For my full Hilton Nashville review visit here. We started out the day with an activity we knew Fred would love! A long morning walk through Centennial Park. We found directions to the park very easy, lots of parking, and enjoyed a relaxing morning! We first walked up to the Parthenon (replication of the actual Parthenon in Greece). Unfortunately they are closed on Mondays. It was still very cool to walk around and marvel at the size. Fred was on a mission at this point so we walked around the lake and other paths before heading back to our car.
I was hoping to stop by Las Paletas shop but it was still too early so we decided to head straight to Memphis. 3 1/2 hours later and we pulled up to lunch at One & Only BBQ. We had an enjoyable lunch on their pet friendly patio. For my full review visit here.
After lunch we went a few blocks up to our hotel for check in. We opted for the Hilton Memphis. For my full hotel review visit here.
We were only in town for a few hours so we hopped back into the car for some sightseeing. First up was Graceland. Unfortunately, Graceland is not pet friendly, and isn't really view-able anymore unless you pay to park and pay to enter. We knew bringing Fred on this trip would limit us in some ways so this stop didn't really bother us too much. What we found ridiculous was our next stop....Beale St. Before you get on to Beale St you come across a very unfriendly sign stating: "No Vehicles, Bicylcles, Skates, Skateboards, Glass Containers, Animals / Reptiles. Needless to say we didn't venture onto Beale St. We opted to drive around the area and downtown Memphis for quick photos. We also made a quick stop at Memphis Pyramid (also Bass Pro Shops) for the 2nd of our quirky road side stops (The first being Foamhenge).