With one monster day of driving - 20 hours of exploring covering over 840 miles - we're home at last in Portland.
What a road trip! The people, the places, and the sights are unforgettable. We could head back out on the road again in the morning, but instead will wrap up this year's National Preservation Conference road trip blog with highlights from the journey home - New Mexico to Oregon.
We left off the last blog with photos from Clayton, New Mexico and kick off today's post in Gallup, New Mexico.
Driving through Gallup, we stopped by to visit an old friend still standing astride a garage just off of Route 66. (For a more in-depth look at Route 66, please take a look at last year's road trip highlighting over 50 preservation projects from Topock, Arizona to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Route 66 road trip.)
Crossing into Arizona, we stopped for longer than planned to explore two very different dinosaur-themed roadside attractions.
Taking Exit 303 heading west, we stopped first at Stewart's.
With mechanically animated creations decorated withe mannequin body parts and live biting ostriches around the side, Stewart's definitely qualifies as old school. The gentleman who works in the gift shop was great and made sure we didn't leave without receiving our free postcard and piece of petrified wood.
Just across the road by way of an underpass, we stopped next at the Painted Desert Indian Center. The dinosaurs were receiving a fresh coat of paint and looked spectacular in the sun.
Mascot sighting - Get out of there, Stinky!
Backtracking about seven miles east, we did something we've always wanted to do and took a natural beauty break to explore the Petrified Forest National Park. Friendly staff, reasonable admission ($10 per car good for seven days), and phenomenal landscape and history - we'd do it again in a heartbeat.
We had a healthy appetite after leaving the park so headed to Joe & Aggie's cafe in Holbrook, hoping to see Christopher, a friend we made during last year's Route 66 road trip. Luck was with us and Christopher was working the night shift with Steven cooking in the kitchen. Thanks again to you both for the conversation and great food!
Having dropped a little behind with our detour to Petrified Forest, we had to scoot through the rest of Arizona but did catch this final photo of the Western Hills Motel in Flagstaff.
On to Nevada with a stop in Pahrump to see one of the last Texaco Big Friends in existence followed by a night at one of the most interesting places we've ever spent the night: the Clown Motel in Tonopah (worthy of its own blog so keep an eye out for our post coming up shortly with lots of interior and exterior photos).
Up Highway 95 in Mina, we found a beautiful old sign for Sue's Motel.
In Hawthorne, we found a treasure trove of signs including Astro Wash, Joe's Tavern, and the funky Cinadome Theatre.
Working our way toward Reno and our connection home (Hwy 395 to 139 in Susanville), we took our final photos for the day in Fallon, Nevada.
I.H. Kent Co.:
Close to 6000 miles and 20 days logged on the road with a fantastic stop in the middle for the National Preservation Conference in Nashville and we're home at last!
Thanks again to everyone for their emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, comments and suggestions throughout our road trip - it's been great having you along for the ride.
We'll be taking a short blog break to ship orders and catch up on work in the office, but have some fun road trip follow-up blogs planned - stay tuned!
Jeff & Kelly