"Tumcumcari Tonight" billboard

“Tumcumcari Tonight” was a popular slogan promoting the town as a stopping point

For an updated look at Tucumcari, New Mexico, check out these posts on my new site, Everyday Wanderer

Abandoned Westerner Drive-Inn Along Route 66 in Tucumcari

Ranch House Cafe Along Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico

A nine hour drive west of Kansas City is Tucumcari, New Mexico. It’s about the only town between Amarillo, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it is just the right distance for us to spend the night. From the beginning of Route 66, the “Mother Road” from Chicago to Los Angeles, Tucumcari was promoted as a stopping point for the night.  Like many of the towns that were forgotten when Route 66 was replaced by I-40, Tucumcari has its fair share of abandoned buildings in various states of decay, but it also has some pretty amazing murals thanks to former Tucumcari resident, Doug Quarles.

In the 10 years that Doug and his wife, Sharon, lived in Tucumcari, he painted 40 murals to help revitalize the town.  The Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce publishes this map listing about ten murals, but if you look hard — down side streets, in parking lots, and even some businesses — you’ll find many more.

Get Your Kicks Mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Running from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 is approximately 2,450 miles long.  According to The Route 66 Guide, you can drive the entire highway in two weeks, but really should allow a full month.  Guess what else I’m adding to my Bucket List?


Tucumcari Tonight mural depicting a Route 66 sign and a VW camper

Route 66 crosses 8 states and 3 time zones. The states that the “Mother Road” runs through are: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California



Get Your Kuts on Route 66 Mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Written by Bobby Troup in 1946, the song “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” has been performed by several musicians including Nat King Cole, the Rolling Stones, and Depeche Mode.


Phillips 66 Mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Apparently there is no connection between Route 66 and Phillips 66. I had to look it up


Murals by each booth at the Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge in Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Pow Wow Restaurant and Lizard Lounge is chock full of murals, including one at each of the booths. As I was enjoying my stuffed sopapilla dinner (which I highly recommend), the man depicted in the mural at our table walked by and said hello.

Old mural showing some wear in Tucumcari, New Mexico

I’m not sure what upkeep is needed to maintain the murals of Tucumcari, but when I think of the murals that make up the East Side Gallery in Berlin, I know that many of them were recently restored. Some of the Tucumcari murals are starting to show their wear, like this one in a parking lot along the main drag.

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About Sage Scott

Shutterbug Sage began as a 365 photo project.


Art, Photography, Travel


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