Route 66

If you’re looking for great displays of neon signs, mom-and-pop motels in the middle of nowhere, or kitschy Americana, do as the song says and “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Section Rio Puerco and the Route 66 Casino

Between Albuquerque and Acoma Pueblo, a fine old stretch of old Route 66 survives, passing crumbling tourist courts and service stations across the Laguna Indian Reservation. The photogenic Route 66 highlight here is the graceful old steel truss Rio Puerco Bridge, which spans a usually dry river, right alongside the I-40 superslab about 10 miles west of Albuquerque. The old road ambience is also overwhelmed by the huge new Route 66 Casino, south of the freeway, the largest of many gambling complexes that have sprung up on Indian reservations across this part of New Mexico. Besides the jinglingly huge, 50,000-square-foot casino (which has the usual card tables, craps, and roulette), the complex also has a 2,800-seat theater, a roadside café, a smoke shop offering cheap (tax-free) tobacco, and a large hotel (866/711-7829, $100 and up).

The heart of the historic Laguna Pueblo, where some 500 people live in adobe buildings around a church that dates from 1699, is not really open to travelers, but just west of the pueblo the old Route 66 frontage runs past an old road landmark: Budville, where the remnants of an old trading post and café still stand in atmospheric silence along the south side of the highway.

Route 66 Casino