A Few Cool Things To See On Hot Days In July 2022

There are beautiful things to see across the United States of America, my wife an I took some time in July to see some things we hadn’t seen before.

Our car uses premium gas with no ethanol. Here are the gas prices we encountered:
Highest Gas Price: $5.519/gal
Lowest Gas Price: $4.119/gal
Average MPG: 32.56 mpg
Miles Traveled: 3131

Lincoln, NE

Sunken Gardens

Hamann Rose Garden

Estes Park, CO

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Springs, CO

Garden of the Gods

Royal Gorge Bridge

Santa Fe, NM

Downtown Santa Fe

Bandelier National Monument

Albuquerque, NM

Sandia Peak Tramway

Albuquerque Botanic Garden

Petroglyph National Monument

San Felipe de Neri Church at Old Town Plaza

Dodge City, KS

Boot Hill Museum Street Fight and Gunfight

El Capitan Longhorn Statue

Fort Larned, KS

Kansas City, MO
Fountain in Mill Creek Park

As we drove 3131 miles through some large and some small pieces of eleven states the scenery was varied, to say the least, and the economic conditions were quite varied too! One area in particular that struck me as we traveled through was Tucumcari, New Mexico. This city is very, Very, VERY, VERY economically depressed!! There is one business after another along Route 66 through city that have been boarded up for many years and the grass and weeds are growing from the cracks in the concrete and asphalt to waist high. There are also business that look like they have been boarded up for only a few years and homes that have been abandoned and are falling apart. Lots of bars on windows and doors that looked from a distance to be relatively new. All along Route 66 through the city the open, closed and abandoned buildings that had a lot of what looked like gang graffiti and then right there in the middle of city on the south east corner of Route 66 and 1st Street was this little restaurant called La Cita that was in great shape, painted nicely and didn’t have a spec of graffiti on it, in this economic depressed city this looked extremely out of place. Here is a picture I got from Google Earth of what it looked like before they painted it the pink color it was when we drove by…

La Cita restaurant, Tucumcari, New Mexico

This little restaurant is the only thing that’s not boarded up on that corner of Tucumcari and looking down the streets it looked like the only thing that was open for a block in any direction. Restaurants closed, gas stations closed (I only saw two functional gas pumps, not gas stations, gas pumps and I’m only assuming they were functional), insurance agencies closed, hotels closed, pharmacies closed, bars closed, bars on the windows and doors, auto parts store boarded up, lumber store boarded up and closed, etc, etc… It’s like almost everyone that made this a bustling city in the past left for greener pastures and what’s left is turning into a modern western ghost town.

Here’s a sampling of photos I found on Google Earth street view, but what we saw was worse…

The obvious graffiti on the closed businesses was MUCH more prevalent than the old Google Earth street view photos show, it really was everywhere! On the 2½ mile stretch of Route 66 in Tucumcari I think there was less than twenty open businesses. I’d guess that around 60%-75% of the businesses along the 2½ Route 66 route were closed. There were plenty of small cities and towns that were clearly on the lower end of the economic earning scale along our travels but this city was unique. Now to be completely fair, this is the only part of city that we traveled through, but since this is supposed to be the historic Route 66 tourist area of the city, I would have expected it to be a relatively tourist friendly area and reasonably cleaned up but it was just the opposite. Tucumcari, New Mexico appeared to be a terribly economic depressed city with a general population that has no pride in their city, it was filthy and a dump! I realize that Interstate 40 bypassed the city in 1981 but what the hell happened to this city, didn’t they bother to invest in themselves and promote economic development especially along historic Route 66? It was truly sad to see how a city can implode and destroy itself.

Overall our travels across the USA were very pleasant, the roads were generally in good shape, there wasn’t much road construction going on, the traffic was relatively light except in densely populated areas and everything was much more expensive than it was a couple of years ago due to the recent inflation and supply chain issues. There were many help wanted signs everywhere we went.

Our trip was worthwhile!

[Edit: August 4, 2022] I originally used the word “town” to describe the “City” of Tucumcari, I corrected that error.

2 thoughts on “A Few Cool Things To See On Hot Days In July 2022

  1. When the lovely and long suffering Mrs. Gotch headed out to Gunnison, CO last September, it was there that gas was the most expensive; ~$4.40/gallon…before the hikes.

    Coulda used an extra pair of lungs at that elevation…

    The Gotch

    Liked by 1 person

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