As we were heading back to Cincinnati on the Great American Road Trip, we mostly took I-40, or the Southern route that roughly follows old Route 66, the Mother Road. We were looking for old signage and existing businesses on the former Main Street of America, and we ended up exploring the town of Tucumcari in some depth.
At just over 5,000 residents, Tucumcari is the largest city between Albuquerque and Amarillo, located in Eastern New Mexico. Scenes from Rawhide and For a Few Dollars More were shot there. For a while, Tucumcari was a popular stop for road-trippers, at one time boasting of 2,000 available motel rooms. These are just some of cool signs we spotted while driving around town.
Nowadays, evidence of Route 66 is split between ghost signs, sometimes standing alone in front of demolished businesses, and historic signs that are still in use. Taken together, the signs are Americana at its most colorful and, while I love the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, there’s nothing like seeing the signs out in their natural habitat, as it were.