A Cars Inspired Road Trip, Part 4: Tucumcari, New Mexico to beyond Williams, AZ

There is an item on my bucket list that my family and I have partially completed, a drive from Chicago to Santa Monica along the famous Mother Road, Route 66.  Last Spring we drove half of the route on our Cars inspired trip to Disneyland…

IMG_0928We were only supposed to go about 500 miles today, but as you will discover when you read to the end we ended up going much further than planned…

We said goodbye to the Blue Swallow Hotel early, wanting to stop in Albuquerque for breakfast at the Famous Frontier Cafe across from the campus of the University of New Mexico.  

slide2

Frontier Restaurant 

My husband grew up in Albuquerque and the owners of the Frontier, the Rainosek’s,  are family friends.   180sNo stop to Albuquerque is complete without a Frontier Cinnamon Roll, some homemade tortillas and my personal favorite, green chile stew.

 

We will save the 66 Diner, which serves American comfort food to hungry travelers of Route 66,66 diner 2

Route 66 Diner

in Albuquerque for another day whose chrome and stainless steel Streamline Moderne decor and 1950s-inspired waitresses uniforms serves as inspiration served as inspiration for Flos V-8 Diner in Carsland.

Our next stop was just across the New Mexico-Arizona border at Chief Yellowhorse Trading Post (which was closed).  

IMG_0935

It was easy to see what part of Cars and Carsland was inspired from this location…

At the same exit for Chief Yellow Horse, you will find 2 other locations that inspired both Cars and Carsland…3E76CE89-C137-4DEB-9BD4-F1ED7173DE88

 

Take a look at the cliffs and it is easy to picture this location in the movie right behind the Cozy Cone. And across the highway at the same exit you will find the inspiration for Fillmore’s Taste-In.

The Cars character, Fillmore is also based “unofficially” on an actual person, Bob Waldmire.

He is  “unofficially”  Fillmore because he refused to lend his name for the film.  Waldmire lived a hippie lifestyle, driving up and down Route 66 in his VW microbus (complete with a solar panel for supplemental power), and selling his intricate artwork. You can see his microbus at the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac.

Our next stop was in Holbrook, Arizona home of the Wigwam Motel…

My “boys” had a great time exploring all of the old cars parked around the motel.  Can you guess the how the Wigwam Motel inspired both the movie and Carsland?

Continuing down I-40/Route 66 we came to the exit for the Jack Rabbit Trading Post (which of course was closed) but we still had fun locating the next inspiration for Cars and Carsland…

We then continued on to Winslow, Arizona (Are you already singing along?)…

IMG_1001

While it is not an inspiration for Cars, Winslow is just one of those places you have to stop at for a photo opp… standing on the corner and singing!  We would drive another 90 miles to Williams, Arizona where we planned to spend the night…only to arrive and discover that I made reservations for the next week at the hotel and there was no room in the inn.  Oops…IMG_1028

 

Taking it all in stride we decided to head for the California boarder and spend the night in Kingman, Arizona in order to get an early start on our next day and arrive at Disneyland in time for the fireworks.  I am glad, I messed up the reservation because we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset that evening.

Stay tuned for Part 5:  Oatman, Arizona

 

A Cars Inspired Road Trip, Part 3: Blue Swallow Hotel

There is an item on my bucket list that my family and I have partially completed, a drive from Chicago to Santa Monica along the famous Mother Road, Route 66.  Last Spring we drove half of the route on our Cars inspired trip to Disneyland…

Part 3: Overnight in Tucumcari, New Mexico

I know that it sounds really crazy that when you have a 16 hour drive in front of you to stop for the night only 2 hours down the road, but that is exactly what we did!  

Our first night was spent at the Blue Swallow Hotel in Tucumari, New Mexico…  

“The Blue Swallow has been serving travelers along the Mother Road since 1939, and today, our guests enjoy a pleasant reminder of what it was like to travel across the USA in the “good old days. From the beautifully restored rooms, to the distinctive attached garages, to the fabulous neon display each night, a stay at the Blue Swallow is a unique experience that will leave you rested, refreshed, and with wonderful new memories. Come take a step back to a simpler time, meet your neighbors from around the world, and relax under the glow of the neon lights in the historic courtyard of the Blue Swallow Motel.”

https://www.blueswallowmotel.com/history-2/

And like all stops on this road trip the Blue Swallow has a Cars connection…

The office for Sally’s Cozy Cone Hotel is modeled after the Blue Swallow Office.  And all of the neon used in both the movie and in Carland..look no further than inspiration from the Blue Swallow and Tucumcari.

So how was our stay?

Each of the 12 rooms at the Blue Swallow has been restored to represent a room at a motor court as it would have been in the 1940s and 50s.   We stayed in Room 14 and could not have been more pleased.

The room was comfortable and clean,but best of all was the room decor.  Every room at the Blue Swallow is different and features vintage lightning, period furniture and artwork. Don’t let the decor fool you…the bedding is 600 count thread, the mattresses are premium and the towels fluffy, and yes there is a modern flat screen television and free internet.

The bathroom featured original bath fixtures and tile work, which was beautiful. I am amazed how it has withstood the last almost 80 years.  

IMG_0920

There was even a working 1940s rotary dial telephone, that the #manchild was amazed with.

It was a beautiful night when we arrived, so we spent some time exploring the Blue Swallow courtyard and grounds, before finding a place to eat.  And of course being on the Mother Road we wanted to find someplace that fit the theme of our trip.

IMG_0321

Since 1956, Del’s Restaurant has been a destination break on Historic Route 66. The menu has a little bit of something for everyone including New Mexican favorites and Cowboy Grub. With it being Lent and a Friday, we had some great catfish!

Afterwards, we spent a little time driving down Route 66 through Tucumcari and trying to imagine what Route 66 was like in the 40s and 50s.  

Then it was sweet dreams and an early morning…

Next Stop:  Tucumcari, New Mexico to Williams, Arizona (504 miles)

A Cars Inspired Road Trip: Part 2

In Case you Missed Part 1:  LINK

There is an item on my bucket list that my family and I have partially completed, a drive from Chicago to Santa Monica along the famous Mother Road, Route 66.  Last Spring we drove half of the route on our Cars inspired trip to Disneyland…

Adrian, Texas to Tucumcari, New Mexico

Leaving the Cadillac Ranch we got back onto I-40 (or the highway that killed Route 66) and travel about 40 miles west to a little town called Adrian, the next stop on our Cars inspired road trip.  

IMG_0289

Adrian, Texas is the official midpoint of Route 66, if you travel 1,139 miles in either direction you will find either the start or the end of Route 66 (Chicago or Santa Monica).  

Midpoint Diner Link:  https://www.facebook.com/MidpointCafe/

Adrian is home to the Midpoint Café which at one time was run by Fran Houser, the woman who inspired the character Flo in Cars, and sisters Mary Lou and Christina Mendez who served the famous “ugly crust pies” and inspired the twin-sister Cars, Tia and Mia. Fran has since sold the Midpoint Café, but you can still get a taste of those ugly pies which are also sold at Flo’s Diner in Carsland.  

When we arrived the café was not open, but we did get a few pictures as the sun was setting.  A man in pick up truck noticed us taking pictures and came to greet us. He was delighted to tell use the story of the diner and of Fran, he even gave us a couple of postcards. Now that the cafe has changed owners, it is open more often and we are hoping to take a trip soon for the famous Ugly Crust pies and burgers!

Another 25 miles west takes us to the deserted town of Glenrio, Texas which straddles the Texas-New Mexico Border. Glenrio is home to the abandoned Little Juarez Diner which in Cars is transformed into the Racing Museum and Doc Hudson Internal Combustion (a wing of Flo’s Diner used for inside seating) in Carsland.  

BDD838CB-4512-4C2E-A653-8D7331C2652B

Continuing our road trip across the New Mexico stateline we find the town of Tucumari and Tucumcari Mountain.  The mountain, is actually a plateau that can be seen for miles around and local high-school students repaint the town’s initial on the side of the mountain each year.

The mountain shaped like a radiator cap that overlooks Radiator Springs and is prominently seen in the background of Radiator Racers was inspired by Tucumcari Mountain.  Our final stop of the day is only 2 hours from home, but was well worth the overnight stay…

IMG_0295

Friday Five: 5 Disney Things for 2018

The calendar page is turned so…

Disney-2018

I am excited for the new year, which has not been the case the last few years.  There are so many new adventures that I am working on that hopefully will impact my life (both In and out of ears) for many years to come in a good way.  Plus, there are so many Disney things that I can’t wait to experience in 2018.

http://video.disney.com/watch/every-disney-thing-happening-in-2018-oh-my-disney-560e17a19be5c80766ffcd1e

things” for 2018…

1. Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World, Disney Hollywood Studios

toy-story-land

I am so excited that Disney Hollywood Studios is finally getting that much needed make over that it desperately has needed.  Don’t get me wrong some of my favorite attractions are located within this park, but even those attractions have been enough to get me to the park each trip. If you have walked through the stand by line of Toy Story Mania, this is what I imagine Toy Story Land to be like.  Surrounded by larger than life toys, games and other things from my childhood…Even Mr. Grumpy can’t help but smile and be drawn back into memories.  The tinker toys get me every time.

 

2. Incredibles 2

th

Seriously, Disney what has taken so long with this sequel?  If movie time was real time, Jack would be learning to drive!

3. Avengers:  Infinity War

th (1)

I admit it that I have a thing for smart alec, egocentric super heroes…I also seem to be drawn to conflicted comic villains like Loki.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would become a comic book hero fan, but thanks to Disney I can’t get enough these guys!  And once again Disney has created experience that my whole family can enjoy together.

4. Pixar Pier at Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure

pixar-pier

I am not sure when I am going to make my way back to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland but I hope it is soon because changes are also happening on the west coast with Disney.  Paradise Pier is getting rethemed Disney-style.

5. Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort, Disnyland

But the experience I would love to be part of this summer is, Pixar Fest.

Pixar-Fest-2-1140x530

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/events-tours/pixar-fest/

Disney’s Nighttime Spectaculars are one of my favorite experiences, as the night comes alive with magic.  Combining music, fireworks, beloved movie scenes together along with friends & family just stirs up those emotions of warm and fuzzy that are certain to bring a tear down my cheek.

I am not certain that I will make it home to the happiest or most magical places on earth in 2018, but I know I will be at the movie theater and stalking friends & family’s trips because 2018 appears to be a great Disney year.

What Disney things are you most excited for?  Drop me a comment and tell me…

Remember that I can help you plan that vacation so that you can be part of the Pixar coast to coast fun this summer!  Disney has just released Summer 2018 package & room promotions…

Friday Fives: 5 Things Disney that I loved in 2017

Yep, this is going to be another one of those ends of the year reflection posts that are so prevalent as we look forward to flipping that calendar to a fresh New Year.

I did not expect 2017 to be a year full of Disney, put some how it just happened that way (not that I am complaining or anything). So, humor me while I look back at 5 Things Disney that I loved in 2017…

1.  Neon Lighting at Carsland

Nothing was more special in 2017 then  then getting to see my boys faces as they explored Carsland, and that includes Mr. Grumpy.  The movie CARS has been a part of our lives for over 10 years when #monsterchild fell in love with Lightning McQueen, after all he is Lightnings #1 Fan still to this day as a near teenager.  Grumpy however, has been a fan of cars all his life and the whole pit crew of CARS has allowed him to really bond with our boys.  Watching the neon light up was amazing for all of us and one of those special moments that will last forever.

 

2. Going Solo to Walt Disney World

08532EDB-B8AA-4087-BF8D-4538610B0D7D

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my family and girl’s trips to Walt Disney World, but there was something totally freeing about going solo. I had so much fun bouncing around and doing whatever caught my attention. For the introvert in me, that time alone was precious, although secretly there was times when I wish I was sharing the magic with someone else.

3. Lunch at Satu’li Canteen

Are you tired of hearing about this place and this meal? Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my high expectations for this meal adventure would be met let alone be exceeded. I am already dreaming of my next bites, now only if I could be there when they serve that adult oatmeal!

4. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

Luigi_Rollickin_Roadsters

I don’t know what is it is about this attraction, but honestly if there was not a crazy long wait it would become just like the People Mover for me at Walt Disney World, one that I would ride over and over again. The music and the spinning makes me happy, and oh at night under the lights, takes me back in a weird sort of way to the dance scene in Roman Holiday and the time we spent as a family in Italy…yep, in the happiest place on earth when I am dancing with Lugi and his cousins from Carsoli.

5. Sharing the Magic

24796762_10214247298803866_6296631103262467960_n

This same time last year, I was earning my “ears” to become an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner as an affiliate with Academy Travel. Since then I have gone on to share the Disney magic with 10 families in my first year and have many more counting down the magic in 2018.  I have loved every stressful moment trying to make sure they have the most magical vacation ever and enjoyed being a part of their trips. 

It was certainly a great Disney 2017!  Just like 2017, 2018 is starting off with no definite Disney trip plans for myself but you never know where I might end up.  I do know that I will be sharing my love with more families as they go one their own magical trips and with you.  Thanks for following along, and I hope to see in you 2018.

#(almost)wordlesswednesday: Looking Back

It’s #(almost)wordlesswednesday, that means linking up with Focused on the Magic to share my #DisneySide through pictures and a few words, since nothing for me is ever wordless with me!2017

It seems fitting with 2018 right around the corner, that the theme for this week is “Looking Back.”

I have to say that 2017 was a great Disney year for me!  I was able to go “Coast to Coast”…

Visiting the Happiest Place on Earth with my “boys” this past spring on an epic CARS themed road trip!  We had so much fun stopping at all the real life locations that inspired the movie CARS as well as seeing the movie come to life before our eyes in CARSland, part of Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort.

and going back “home” to the most Magical Place on Earth on my first solo “working” vacation in November. I loved all of the new adventures that I sought out and challenged myself to experience.  

So as the calendar page turns to 2018, I can’t wait to see what it will bring.  

Do you have any 2017 Disney memories to share?  Please drop them in the comments!  I love hearing from you!

Tuesday’s on the Run: Totally Spoiled & Blessed

It’s Tuesday, so that means I am linking up with Patty, Erika & Marsha for Tuesday’s on the Run.

Baby, it’s cold outside today and snow is lightly falling, apparently Mother Nature and Santa Claus were not on the same page for Christmas 2017 nor the day after (today)  when all I want to do is head out to play with one of my new run toys!

IMG_3928

Mr. Grumpy and the kids were generous in feeding my running midlife crisis. I can’t wait to try out these wireless headphones. From all of the running groups that I “stalk” on Facebook, the TREKZ was mentioned post after post as the choice for cutting that earphone chord.  Let’s just hope they fit my head better than does darn Flight of Passage ride goggles!

IMG_3937

It looks like I will be heading out to the big city next week to get a proper shoe fitting, since they also supplied me with some cold hard cash to buy that badly needed pair of running shoes. It has been quite a while since I have been fitted properly, and I am anxious to find a pair that can meet me ever changing left leg issues.

IMG_3930Now I know that it is not technically a “running” present but I have playing around with the idea of spending an entire summer walking the El Camino in Spain when I get runDisney out of my blood.  I am so excited to read this book and start making notes for that adventure.

IMG_3938

Of course I did a little shopping for myself!  I am loving my FitBit that I bought a few weeks ago and getting this run journal ready to go for the new year and the journey that I have planned out for 2018 (great tease to read lifeinears.blog January 2).  

IMG_3888While I was totally spoiled this Christmas, I was also blessed with a family that supports this midlife run crisis that I am in the midst of…

I hope you were spoiled and blessed this Christmas! Did you get any running related gifts for Christmas this year? If so, what was your favorite?  Please share in the comments!