Tucumcari Travel on Route 66
Leaving Glenrio on the Texas-New Mexico border, Route 66 headed west and passed through San Jon on its way to Tucumcari. Further west were the towns of Montoya, Newkirk, Cuervo and Santa Rosa.
Today as we leave Glenrio, we are back on I-40, and arrive in Tucumcari after only a 42 mile trip. It is an active city with a variety of vintage motels and electric neon signage, and services for Route 66 fans and travelers.
Founded in 1901, Tucumcari is located in Quay County and has a population of over 5,000 residents. Tucumcari is the largest city between Amarillo and Albuquerque, and has long used the slogan "Tucumcari Tonite!"
|Early 1900s aerial view of Tucumcari, New Mexico, with its namesake mountain in the background|
For decades, Tucumcari has been a popular stop for travelers on Interstate 40 and previously Route 66. Many businesses, service stations, restaurants and motels were built to accommodate tourists as they traveled through the city on the Mother Road.
Today, Historic U.S. Route 66 continues to pass through the center of Tucumcari via Route 66 Boulevard.
A large number of the vintage motels, restaurants and gift shops built in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are still in business. One of the more famous hotels here is the Blue Swallow Motel.
Two area State Parks offer boating, fishing, skiing and other outdoor recreation.
We have visited and stayed in Tucumcari on several occasions, and highly recommend making Tucumcari a stop on your next Route 66 road trip!
Map of Route 66 from Amarillo to Santa Fe showing the location of Tucumcari
|Early scene of rural U.S. Route 66 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa, New Mexico|
Things to See and Do in the Tucumcari Area
|The Route 66 Monument in Tucumcari, New Mexico|
Whatever your interests, Tucumcari offers a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, including:
- Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum
- Tucumcari Historical Museum
- New Mexico Route 66 Museum
- Tucumcari Railroad Museum
- Tucumcari Mountain
- Route 66 Monument
- Ute Lake State Park
- Conchas Lake State Park
- Tee Pee Curios
- Vintage neon signs
- Route 66 Townhouse Welcome Center & Gift Shop
- Murals of Tucumcari
The city also offers other facilities such as a convention center, golf course, and public library. Tucumcari Municipal Airport is a full-service facility.
Also known as the “City of Murals”, Tucumcari and Quay County have over 40 murals and counting! Mural maps are available at the Chamber of Commerce, 404 W. Route 66 Boulevard. Several popular murals are shown below.
The Murals of Tucumcari ... Some Highlights
The "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Dodge and Cowboy" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The Route 66 "Texaco" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Tucumcari in the Land of Enchantment" mural
The "Red Corvette and the Ladies" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Signs of the Times in Tucumcari
| Ranch House Cafe
in Tucumcari (2004)
|| Westerner Drive-Inn ... Tucumcari NM (2004)
Lodging Options in the Tucumcari Area
Tucumcari offers a variety of lodging options, and features over twenty motels for the traveling public, including the historic and well-known Blue Swallow Motel. Many "one-of-a-kind" properties are available as well as nationally operated chain facilities. Several are in the city, others offering great views of area lakes.
Long famous for its number and variety of motels and lodging, the city adopted the "Tucumcari Tonite" advertising campaign.
"1,200 rooms, RV parks, 3 museum, restaurants and fuel"
The Blue Swallow Motel
The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari has been serving travelers along the Mother Road since 1939, and today, guests enjoy a pleasant reminder of what it was like to travel across the USA in the “good old days.”
From the beautifully restored rooms, to the distinctive attached garages, to the fabulous neon display each night, a stay at the Blue Swallow is a unique experience!
815 E. Route 66 ... Phone 575.461.9849
Earlier Times on Route 66 in Tucumcari
What was Route 66 like in its prime, driving to and staying in a motel in Tucumcari? What did all the service stations, motels and diners look like when they were new?
What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.
Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards showing scenes on Route 66 in Tucumcari. These portray the historic road in its prime and help us to visualize "yesterday" as we drive around Tucumcari today.
Desert Air Motel
Centrally located on U.S. Highway 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Flying "M" Ranch Motel
The Flying "M" Ranch Motel, east entrance of U.S. Highway 66 in Tucumcari
The Cactus Motor Lodge
The Cactus Motor Lodge on Highway 66 in Tucumcari, NM ... "A Western Welcome Awaits You"
Motel Conchas on U.S. Highways 66 & 54, Tucumcari, New Mexico
The Palomino Motel
The Palomino Motel on Highway 66 East Entrance, Tucumcari, New Mexico
The Yucca Motel
The Yucca Motel on Highway 66 East ... Facing the Historic Tucumcari Mountain
Elk Rexall Drug Store
Elk Rexall Drug Store in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Interactive Map of the Tucumcari, New Mexico Area
More Information About Tucumcari
Travel Guides for Other States Along Route 66
Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are trip planners for the major segments ...