Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tewa Lodge

I've been meaning for years to make a record of the Route 66 motels on Central in Albuquerque - here's a start, with the Tewa Motor Lodge.  This is one of the earliest on this stretch of the Mother Road - it opened in 1946, and apart from other features has, at night, a truly magnificent neon sign, complete with flashing arrow.  It was hardly a day for photographic exploration - by the time I left Alice at the airport, the sky was darkening with clouds the color of bruises, and the light falling.  But I had a huge spur to my intentions when I saw that the double story Desert Sands is no more - just a huge heap of rubble, and a bulldozer.  I checked - it had three fires in six months, and there was no money for repair or renovation.  Many of these motels are, after all, if not exactly the equivalent of Skid Row, not that far removed - many of them are cheap residential accommodations rather than vacation destinations - it's real Breaking Bad territory (and that certainly makes photographing them daytime work for me, neon signs or not).  But they retain terrific architecture and signage - so watch for more.

You want a wonderful, period-renovated, old-style Route 66 motel?  Go to the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari.  I've only stayed there once - on a drive out from NJ - and I loved the place to bits.

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