Friday, December 23, 2011

Tucumcari, New Mexico

R.G., her brother, C.G., and her brother's dog, E.G., are making an automotive pilgrimage from Detroit to Carefree, AZ for the holidays, and Tucumcari was, as you may intuit, an important motel stop. The old strip of Tucumcari that runs along Rte. 66 has many adorable '50s motel exteriors. It looks like the old section of Vegas or Reno, without the depressive gambling. A part of R.G. wants to go back and try out a bunch of them. The Buckaroo, however, did not disappoint: it was cheap, clean, un-renovated, and un-updated (which is to say dated, as R.G. commends). Well, the mattresses have been updated, which R.G. appreciates, but the rest of the decor gives the proper time capsule vibe. Fake wood paneling, padded headboards, vintage furniture. The owners are sweet and sensible. It's just good there.

The only complaint to be had was that R.G. and brother found the area nightlife a tad lacking. They went to the only establishment that appeared to be open, the promisingly named Lizard Lounge, and found an empty bar. They patronized it, and the bartender was nice, but it wasn't much. Tucumcari food looked scarce too, but that might be because the Buckaroo is quite far down the strip.

In any case, don't risk it. Instead, stop 20 miles before Tucumcari at the Dhillion truck gas station off the Logan exit. Don't be intimidated by the frankly unnerving exterior. The samosas they make inside are transcendent.

Buckaroo Motel, 1315 W Tucumcari Blvd, Tucumcari, NM 88401, first exit off I-40, (575) 461-1650, $30 for a double. Dog $5. TV, no internet, no coffeemaker.


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