Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tucumcari Tonight – that’s what the billboard said

May 20, 2010

“Get your Kicks in Tucumcari” (pronounced TOO-kum-kair-ee) said another sign. And still another advertised this town as The Heart of the Mother Road and the Gateway City of Murals. For me it was Tucumcari for two nights because I needed to do laundry. After a short drive from Santa Rosa State Park, I arrived at KIVA AoK RV Park. Tom directed me to a spacious site near large shade trees.

Look closely and you can see Jeremiah on the other side of the pond.

I was barely hooked up when my RV neighbor Nancy invited me to go with her to Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum. We oohed and aahed through the 10,000 square feet that holds the world’s largest collection of bronze skeletons, fossils and replica of prehistoric creatures. Rats! I had forgotten my camera.

Experience all you can in Tucumcari!

Just the facts:

Elevation – 4,085 ft.

Economy – farming (55,040 acres irrigated cropland; 186,400 acres of non-irrigated cropland), ranching (15.9 million acres of ranch land) and tourist community.

History – Town got its start in 1901 as a tent city known as Ragtown, later as Six Shooter Siding. The birth of Route 66 in 1926 brought travelers by the carload. According to a resident, the town’s heyday was in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today – Route 66 looks mighty tired. I walked Rt. 66 and the old downtown for about three hours, talking to locals, exploring a grocery store (eggs sell in 5-dozen boxes), walking by many closed up businesses, and chuckling about the name of the “pain management” doctor – Dr. Lazurus! And taking pictures of several of the 25+ murals. (double-click to enlarge photos)

So far on this trip I’ve read two books – “A Girl Named Zippy – Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel and “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Currently reading “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Shaffer and Barrows.

I’ve enjoyed watching the aerial acrobats of the Kingbirds as they snag flying insects.

Tomorrow I’ll drive through a corner of west Texas and on into Oklahoma. I have three options for tomorrow night – and in keeping with my intent of staying flexible, I will make my choice as I drive along.

Here’s a thought for today attributed to Emile Zola, French novelist:

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud."