Route 66 Tour from Holbrook, Arizona to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hi – I’m John Wettack, 72 years old, living in southeast Arizona. I enjoy touring historic routes, including the Oregon, Santa Fe, and Chisholm trails and for the past few years have toured parts of Route 66. Here’s a report on my most recent Route 66 ride.
Three friends and I rode a 400-mile tour of Route 66 between Holbrook, AZ, and Santa Fe, NM, September 9-15, 2013. Our objective was to ride Route 66 where present, with a couple of off-route detours. Our overnight stops were Chambers, AZ, and, in NM: Gallup, Grants, the Sky City Casino hotel, Los Lunas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.
Day 1: From Holbrook: US-180 to the Petrified Forest Road to ride through that national park (a worthwhile detour), then I-40 to Chambers. 72 miles
Day 2: From Chambers: Frontier Road (Rt. 66) to Sanders; I-40 to Lupton; NM-118 (Rt. 66) to Gallup. 55 miles
Day 3: From Gallup: NM-118 (Rt. 66) to I-40 Exit 36; I-40 to Exit 47; NM-122 (Rt. 66) to Grants. [The I-40 shoulder between Exit 36 and 38 has cracked pavement and some loose sand/small gravel, east of Exit 38 the shoulder was in good condition. Our group, with 32mm to 38mm tires had no problem riding the 2-mile poor shoulder section, which for us did not warrant the 30-mile detour recommended on the New Mexico Touring Society website (and perhaps on Adventure Cycling’s route). 65 miles
Day 4: From Grants: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to the Sky City Casino Hotel, with a detour (15-miles one-way) on Indian Highway 38 from McCartys to Alcoma Pueblo (Sky City) and back to McCartys. The pueblo, occupied since the 12th Century, is well worth the detour, with a modern visitors’ center, museum, and restaurant. 55 miles
Day 5: From Sky City Casino Hotel: NM-124 (Rt. 66) to Mesita. A rough 8-mile section of old Route 66 south of I-40 to Correo – the first couple of miles badly cracked pavement, the last couple of miles dirt which was muddy due to previous day’s rain. [As an alternative, the shoulder of I-40 could be ridden between Mesita and Correo.] NM-6 (Rt. 66) to Los Lunas. The only services on the 60-mile day were 7 miles from the start.
Day 6: From Los Lunas: Isleta Blvd. (Rt. 66) to Albuquerque – 25 miles. We rode the Rail Runner railroad service to Santa Fe, to ride the downgrade route back to Albuquerque the next day.
Day 7: From Santa Fe – Cerrillos Rd. (Rt.66) to I-25 Exit 278 southern frontage road, also Rt. 66, to I-25 Exit 267. I-25 shoulder to Exit 264. To avoid riding I-25 to Exit 248 (a section where I-25 eliminated Route 66), we rode NM-16 to NM-22 to Indian Service Road 84 to NM-313 (Rt. 66) at Exit 248. Our route passed Pena Blanca, Santo Domingo Pueblo, and San Felipe Pueblo. NM-313 to Alameda Blvd. to get on Albuquerque’s Paseo del Bosque bike trail which runs along the Rio Grande through the city.
The tour was a good ride through mostly wide-open, scenic country, including several Indian reservations. I’m estimating about 75% of the ride was on Route 66. Much of Route 66 is along or near I-40 and I-25. Food and water are generally readily available, except along NM-6. Chambers’ one motel is the only lodging we noticed between Holbrook, AZ and Gallup, NM. The Paseo del Bosque bike trail is a great ride through most of Albuquerque.
Previous Route 66 tours I’ve done have been Flagstaff to Kingman, Arizona; all of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Illinois; and Carthage, Missouri to the Kansas border. Several websites provide directions for following Route 66 and the history of current and ghost towns and points of interest along the way.
Anyone with any questions about the parts of Route 66 I’ve ridden can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org