Do You Know the Way 
to Santa Fe?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?
When we woke up this morning, the storm clouds had passed.  After a quick breakfast at the motel, we got on the road, fully expecting to get wet today.  But the storm front had apparently moved south and east of us, so we stayed dry another day.
Today was about taking our time on the road, doing some sightseeing, and picking up some pieces of Route 66 we skipped before.  Sometimes it involved backtracking, as when one stretch of 66 led to a muddy underpass that might have been OK before the rain.  (We didn’t chance it; we reversed course.)  Another time was when we were ready to turn off the Interstate and head for Santa Fe.  When we saw that the next town was over 40 miles away, and we had about 35 miles’ worth of fuel, we got back on the Interstate and went 13 miles to Milagro, filled up the tank, and went back to our turn-off.
On the pre-1937 alignment of Route 66, we went up the mountain to Santa Fe.  We saw many small towns, cows, and great scenery on the way.  At one point, we stopped at Pecos National Historical Park, but were reluctant to pay $3 each just to see the exhibits in the “visitor welcome center.”  How welcome were we if we had to pay to be there?
After a great lunch in Santa Fe, we went back down the hill to Albuquerque.  Except for the congested streets in Santa Fe and Bernalillo, we stuck to the old Route 66 most of the way.
Once back on Interstate 40, we stopped to check out Rio Puerco Bridge.  We had seen this landmark on our way east – but we were on the wrong side of the road to do more than stare.  This bridge’s claim to fame is that it is one of the longest steel truss spans constructed in the state.  The Rio Puerco has little water in it most of the time, but the 250-foot single span of the bridge eliminated the need for a center pier – which helps eliminate washouts during flash floods.
We agreed to continue riding past Albuquerque, but decided Gallup was about 50 miles too far.  So, we stopped for the day at Grants, New Mexico.  Barring any severe weather, we should make Flagstaff, Arizona, tomorrow.