Thursday, July 31, 2014

Get Your Kicks at the 66 Diner on HIstoric Route 66 in Albuquerque, New Mexico

          Imagine a time before Interstate highways, before tens of thousands of miles of concrete and mind-numbing homogeneity.  Imagine a time when driving across the country was an adventure, when one could drive through real towns—full of character and intrigue—instead of bypassing them at 75 miles per hour. 
         Those days are long gone, but part of the excitement lives on when listening to Nat King Cole sing about the nation's most popular highway, Route 66, on this 1946 recording.

         Makes you want to hit the open road, doesn't it?  Albuquerque, New Mexico claims the longest intact section of historic Route 66 remaining in the country and I experienced the thrill of that long-ago time recently while lunching at the 66 Diner.  What a place!  Neon everywhere, and the diner is decorated with 40’s and 50’s memorabilia, including hundreds of pez dispensers and an entire display case devoted to Elvis and his pink cadillac.  The 66 Diner boasts the best milkshakes in Albuquerque and, after a sip of our chocolate chip mint and Dreamsicle shakes, my parents, twin sister and I would have to agree.

Two icons of the pre-interstate era—Marilyn and Elvis—welcome
visitors to The 66 Diner.

Hungry yet?  The luncheon sandwiches were quite tasty but the
milkshakes were out-of-this-world delicious!

The tidy stainless steel lunch counter, the teal-clad wait staff, and the
50s decor invite one to linger at The 66 Diner.

Dine with Betty Boop, alongside the grill of an old Plymouth at
The 66 Diner.

          Historic Route 66 has been mostly replaced by Interstate highways, but various segments of the old road still remain and some are undergoing revivals and renovations.  Learn more about Route 66 in New Mexico by visiting the New Mexico Route 66 Association.  Also, now on display at The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles and continuing until January 4th is the exhibition Route 66: The Road and the Romance.
         This August, whether on Route 66 or some other highway, get your kicks by leaving the interstate and rediscovering America's scenic byways.

Route 66 was established in November of 1926.
Here, my Dad—born two years later in November of 1928—is
ready for fine dining—sandwiches and a shake along "The Mother Road" .

This collection of roadway signs anchors the parking lot of the diner.
No doubt my parents passed by many of the older signs while
cruising the highways of their youth.


  1. Hi Rita,

    Your posting was very enjoyable on many different levels.

    In the 1950s and early 1960s, my Dad ran a lunch counter/soda fountain very reminiscent of the "66 Diner". And so, that aspect of your report conjured up some fond memories.

    Regarding your encouragement to "get your kicks by leaving the interstate and rediscovering America's scenic byways", my wife do this quite frequently. We program our GPS to avoid major highways when taking us to our destination. We have found that this is a much more enjoyable way to travel, and in many cases, it doesn't really take than much longer in the grand scheme of things.

    And lastly, I love the video clip and the fine selection of photos that you included in your report.


  2. Did you get free shakes at your Dad's soda fountain? I'm glad this post enabled you to recall fond childhood memories.

    Also I'm impressed that you and your wife program your GPS to avoid major highways—I don't have a GPS and didn't realize that was an option. Nice!

    As always, John, I appreciate your comments. Thanks for being a loyal follower of my blog.
    Readers, if you want to know everything there is to know about hiking in New Hampshire (and other New England states) check out John's blog at:

  3. Loved the picture of your Dad and the collection of signs. Isn't it interesting how modern day heritage builds up :)

  4. That picture was my Dad's idea—sort of a "Welcome, come on in, sit down and enjoy a meal and a shake along this iconic road" type of thing. And, the diner proved to be a very welcoming place indeed!

    Yes, modern day heritage does build up—maybe a bit too rapidly at times!

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Soumyendu.

  5. Once again your post and photographs have helped me recapture an experience I had a few years ago when in New Mexico for a sisters' reunion. What fun, but then I've always been susceptible to the romance of Route 66. Thanks for reminding me.

  6. I'm happy to have played a small role in reminding you of fun times along Route 66!

    Part of the goal of this blog is to help people recall their fond travel memories, or to inspire them to create new ones.

    Thanks for your comments!

  7. Hi Rita,

    Just back from an Internet-free holiday in New Hampshire (kind of a throwback to "the olden days!), and getting a kick out of this blog post.

    What a wonderful trip down memory lane to enjoy this old-time diner with your family. And what a beautifully restored old diner it is!

    Thanks for so many memorable pictures.

    1. Welcome back from New Hampshire—sounds like an idyllic vacation.
      Glad that you got a few "kicks" from this post! The 66 Diner was a fun place to stop for lunch and shakes. HIghly recommended.
      Thanks for reading, Vickie!