The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Day 2 (afternoon Part 2)
Sunday, July 25th, 2010
After a satisfyingly long time engaged in the classic car collection that is The Route 66 Auto Museum, we continued on to visit The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM.
According to Wikipedia, a blue hole is a submarine cave or underwater sinkhole, also referred to as vertical caves. The deepest blue hole in the world, at 663 feet, is Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island. Obviously, that is not the blue hole that we saw. The one that we did see, however, is pretty damn impressive none-the-less.
Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole is a geological phenomenon: naturally bell-shaped, 80 ft. deep, with astonishing clarity and a water temperature that is constantly 64 degrees. The Blue Hole has caused semi-arid, land-locked Santa Rosa to become a scuba-diving mecca. It is also full of colorful, large goldfish, thrown into the hole at who knows what distant time in the past, and now thriving. The Blue Hole lures travelers in now just as it did in the time of Route 66.
The water was beautiful, and if it hadn’t been a rainy, somewhat cool day, we would have jumped right in for a swim. As it was, we contented ourselves with taking lots of pictures and oohh’ing and ahh’ing at how deep the hole is.
There’s much to see of old Route 66 in Santa Rosa today; besides the previously mentioned Route 66 Auto Museum, and The Blue Hole, there is Joseph’s Bar and Grill, the remains of the Club Café, and the many old historic buildings in the Santa Rosa downtown.
The Club Café opened in 1935 and sported the well-known Fat Man sign. His smiling face greeted hungry Route 66 travelers in Santa Rosa, and became synonymous with the Route itself. The Club Café closed in 1991, but the building and attendant sign were rescued by the Campos, who own Joseph’s Bar & Grill, a continously running restaurant on the Route since 1956 when it opened as La Fiesta. Unable to currently renovate the Club Cafe building itself, they installed the Fat Man on their own eatery, thus preserving his satisfied visage for the coming years. (The older, original Fat Man sign is on display at The Route 66 Auto Museum.) We treated ourselves to the New Mexican cuisine at Joseph’s and were delighted with the experience. I myself had the Blue Corn tortilla enchiladas, which were to die for, and which I highly recommend. Just one bit of advice, though. If you, like myself, are not used to high fibrous, whole grain food like blue corn, you may be surprised at how uncooperative your digestive system becomes about breaking it down. It gave an entirely new meaning to whole foods. That’s all I’m saying about that.
Along historic Route 66 in Santa Rosa are the remains of the Rio Pecos Ranch Truck Terminal. Once upon a time, this truck stop featured a cafe as well, and was crammed with big rigs. Just visible now, in broken neon on the sign, is the truck driver’s faint Howdy, which no doubt drew folks in with its friendly, awesome gaudiness.
Also along the Route is the Sun ‘N Sand Motel. This motel’s neon sign had been restored recently and features the sacred sun symbol of the Zia Pueblo Indians -four points radiating from a circle symbolizing Life.