Santa Rosa NM to Elk City OK
Our first stop this morning was the town of Cuervo. If you blink you’ll pass the town. It’s located along I-40 about 17 miles east of Santa Rosa NM.
Cuervo sprang to life at the start of the 20th century. This little railroad town was chugging along just fine. It benefitted from the construction of Route 66, which passed through town. While it wasn't going to win any most likely to succeed awards, it was hanging in there.
Then came I-40. The interstate literally severed Cuervo in two. The wound proved fatal.
Cuervo does have some residents - 58 of them, to be precise. It retains its own ZIP Code and, until 2011, had a post office. Once the post office closed down, Cuervo became unincorporated.
A local garage seems vaguely operational but, for all intents and purposes, Cuervo is a ghost town. Cuervo's stone church is the best-preserved of the buildings. But its doors are barred to worshippers.
Above is one of our favorite stops before leaving New Mexico going East. It is Russell’s Travel Center which hosts a Route 66 Car Museum. (Left) We found the mid-way point on Route 66. Before reaching Amarillo TX we zoomed by the famous Cadillac Ranch.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch opened in 1960 on Route 66; ten years later Interstate 40 opened & the restaurant was bypassed. This created an immediate catastrophic drop in business, forcing founder Bob Lee to move the Big Texan next to I-40 or lose the restaurant.
In March of 1970, the Big Texan ‘said’ farewell to the Mother Road & opened at its present day location. Since that date The Big Texan has been blessed with continuous prosperity and has grown into an international icon. Big Tex-Rex (the green dinosaur outside the restaurant) was dedicated to the Spirit of the Mother Road, Route 66.
Woodie Guthrie got his first guitar in Pampa TX. We learned this from Mike Sinks. He was a delight and man of information. This is a must go to place. Don’t remember Guthrie? Read below.
In 1929, seventeen-year-old and future aspired singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie arrived in Pampa, Texas, from Oklahoma at the behest of his father, to pay off his father’s debts. Guthrie, became a determined musician and an accomplished harmonica player with little interest in the conventions of rural Panhandle life and he spent more time busking on Pampa streets and reading in the local library than attending school. In Pampa, Guthrie quickly acquired an amazing skill with the guitar and fiddle. At nineteen, he married and worked at jobs in Pampa while continuing to hone his musical skills.
In 1937, Guthrie left Pampa (and his family) behind, joining the throngs of Midwesterners driven from farmlands across America by the Dust Bowl and working their way west to California in the hopes of a better life.
Guthrie, considered an icon of American folk music, authored the nation’s folk anthem This Land is Your Land, among other distinctly American classics. Guthrie may have left Pampa, but Pampa never quite left Guthrie.
Pampa locals, Thelma Bray and Glenna Lea Miller, established the Woody Guthrie Folk Music Center in 1991. Housed in Pampa’s historic Harris Drug Store (a one-time Guthrie employer) the Center serves as musical venue for live events throughout the year and a museum of relics that chronicle Woody's life and music.
The Woody Guthrie Folk Music Center strives to keep Woody’s words and music alive and to provide a place for the public to visit a little part of Woody’s world. Anyone may come to learn about, talk about, sing about, and add to Guthrie's legacy. The Center has a variety of books, recordings, drawings, and pictures from Woody’s life. For those who might desire to play and sing, the Center is open on Friday nights for jams, stories, and fellowship. These evenings are open to the public, and visitors are welcome to pull up a chair to listen and learn.
We had a great time and traveled on to Elk City, Oklahoma. The state is known to be in Tornado Alley. However, the weather today was perfect.