We were gone just a little more than two days during our recent trek down Route 66 to Tucumcari, New Mexico, but it was long enough to realize that sadness, beauty and hope are still alive on this old American highway.
Route 66 RV Park
The Cactus RV Park is a bit of a mystery. The landscaping on the property was well maintained — not overgrown like many of the abandoned motel parking lots in Tucumcari. But, there was not a soul in sight, and the paint on all the doors was weathered.
I nearly gasped when I realized that the owner of this property decided to knock through a portion of the motel to make a path for RVs. I could not believe that anyone would do something so stupid. They ruined it.
When I tell people we went to Tucumcari, I get mixed reaction. There are those who completely get our fascination with roadside motels. The desert neon calls my name just as much as the faded sun of folklore signage that’s desperately in need of preservation.
But, then, there are those who are perplexed by our choices, and who can blame them? It’s risky taking your kids to a place where there’s really little or nothing to do. But, honestly, they had a great time and your kids would, too. They played with the hula hoops half the night under the lights of the Blue Swallow Motel and swam in the city pool during the day. It’s a great pool, by the way. One of the nicest I’ve seen. Everything doesn’t have to some impressive, grand production to count – to be a vacation – to make your kids happy or feel great about a summer excursion.
All this reminds me of an interview I heard recently on National Public Radio. It was with author Susan Cain who wrote Quiet: Unleashing the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
“Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it’s just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action. Whereas extroverts really crave more stimulation in order to feel at their best…
Cain talks about conditioned responses to certain types of activities, and how many times the choices people make are more reactionary and not really based on what they love or want to do.
What I want to do more than anything is savor my children’s tender years. I want to watch them swim in a pool in the desert underneath a neon light. I want to hear them giggle, dive for quarters and play LetsMakeBelieve. These years are as brilliant and brief as the spark of a firefly. And as it turns out, just like the towns on Route 66, they too, are disappearing! Both need our love in order to thrive.
Have you ever stayed at a Route 66 RV park?