Long before Route 66 was commissioned in the 1920s, settlers used the Beale Wagon Road to move west. Route 66 traced the same route used by the Beale Wagon Road through Arizona. The Arizona Route 66 Museum, located in a former Kingman power plant, recalls the history of the route from horse-and-buggy days to the Route 66 heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s.
“Welcome to 1939,” announced proprietor Nancy Mueller as she swung open the door to Room 6. We really could have been stepping back in time at the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, judging by the vintage furniture, a chenille bedspread and a real, working 1939 black rotary dial phone on the desk. A smoke detector and a television were the only visible hints that we were in the 21st century. This would be our home for the night, the fourth and last of the vintage Route 66 motels we stayed at during our road trip to Phoenix.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in U.S. Long Cuts. We are merging U.S. Long Cuts with Midwest Wanderer, adding a “Beyond the Midwest” menu option.