The 216 freeway miles on I-40 from Albuquerque to the Texas border cross featureless prairie and very few towns. But the valleys of the Pecos River (site of Santa Rosa) and the Canadian River (Tucumcari is on its banks) have several attractions, including natural lakes. In recent years, both towns have revitalized their historic districts, creating little art centers, with a few galleries, shops, and restaurants. Start your tour of Santa Rosa along Historic Route 66, which is also a great place to peruse the Mother Road's neon signage. The historic district is just south of there. Tucumcari also has a great display of Route 66 neon and architecture along its main route, with the historic district a few blocks north. Both are well worth driving.
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