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Route 66 Monument.

Route 66 Monument

Field review by the editors.

Tucumcari, New Mexico

Tucumcari is the quintessential Route 66 town, with its procession of snapshot-ready motel signs and buildings from a vintage era of highway travel. There's the famous neon of the Blue Swallow Motel, the arrowhead motel sign of the Apache, the perky Mexican hat atop the La Cita restaurant, and the Indian teepee facade of Tee Pee Curios.

The "Route 66 Monument," on the other hand, is a more recent addition, a semi-whimsical tribute to the Mother Road. Artist Tom Coffin was commissioned by Tucumcari, the New Mexico Highway Department, and the New Mexico Arts Commission to create the sculpture, set on a sloping base that looks a bit like a Tex-Mex temple made of 1) sandstone tires, and 2) serpentine outlines of two-lane road. Dedicated in 1997, it's topped with a chrome, 1950s tail fin and lights, and a pair of tubular retro sixes -- all pointed west.

Route 66 Monument.

You may object, as we initially did, that this is just another example of the two-lane snake eating its tail -- Route 66 self-celebration of a highway fantasy. But when you see it at the right time of day, all chrome-y in the sunset, your Route 66-worship zombie brainstem takes over, and you must snap your own photo.

Eventually the Route 66 Monument will grow old and cancer-eaten. And that's okay. For by then it will be appearing on murals, menus, and windows all up and down the Mother Road, side-by-side with depictions of other Route 66 landmarks, as if it has always been here, in Tucumcari.

Route 66 Monument

Tucumcari Convention Center

1500 W. Route 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM
West end of town on Route 66. In front of the Tucumcari Convention Center at W. Hines Ave.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

La Cita SombreroLa Cita Sombrero, Tucumcari, NM - 1 mi.
Blue Swallow Motel: Route 66Blue Swallow Motel: Route 66, Tucumcari, NM - 2 mi.
Tee Pee Curios on Route 66Tee Pee Curios on Route 66, Tucumcari, NM - 2 mi.
In the region:
One Man's Privately-Built Rest Area, Lake Sumner, NM - 50 mi.

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