Day 10.1 - The Historic Motor Court - August 27
Night had fallen and a desert chill had taken the air, by the time we pulled off the interstate. It was as if we had sailed on a fast river and turned onto a quiet stream that ran back in time. The road was a little rougher but quieter. Gas stations had old-fashioned, restaurants with outdoor dining with cafe lights. All the stores were closed up for the night. Then, on the right, lit up by red's and greens and blues and a great archway with Neon letters, The Blue Swallow Motel, 100% Refrigerated Air, TV. Under the archway was parked a classic light blue Hudson.
Megan really wanted to find a historic Route 66 motel.... and spent the day researching them in the car on the drive. This one sounded perfect. .As it turned out, Megan had made a reservation at a place down the street but was certain it was at The Blue Swallow. Naturally, they didn't have our reservation but as luck would have it, they had one room available due to a last-minute cancellation. Ah, good luck.
We checked in and then got back in the Alfa and drove east down the Route 66 to grab a bite before all the restaurants closed. Just a couple blocks away, we found Del's Restaurant.
It is hard to talk in an open-top car at highway speed. I had wasted most of the afternoon worrying about something that didn't happen. So, I was stressed, hungry and dehydrated needed to just connect with my wife.
I backed Sophia into the parking space on the side of Dels', uphill facing out, just for good measure.
Del's is practically a Route 66 landmark by now. It's been there since 1956.
We sat at a large picnic table outside the restaurant The waiter brought us chips and salsa and ice-cold water. As soon as the basket landed on the table I could smell warm tortilla chips and we realized that we hadn't eaten since breakfast and were famished.
Photo: Del's Website
We ate and drank and talked for the first time all day. Megan had a chili Relleno dinner. I had a Taco Salad. After not eating all day, the aromas and flavors were intense and it was nice to be socially distant but surrounded by families, all having a great time eating and being around other people.
Full and happy, we left the restaurant and climbed into Sofia. I turned the key in the ignition and it fired right up. We drove through the quiet street to The Blue Swallow.
The Blue Swallow Motel is a very unique motel. You have to see this place. Actually, you have to stay in this place. It’s an old-fashioned motor court located right on Route 66, and it more than lives up to its promises on its website. Rob and Dawn make you feel like you have been friends forever. Founded in 1939 everything in the hotel is original. The doors even lock with an old-fashioned key.
In the 1960’s the interstate 40 was built, which is a faster way across the country but left many of the motels along route 66 on a page from the past. In fact, The Blue Swallow is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and everything in the motel has been meticulously restored.
The baby blue Hudson parked out front underneath the sign, is a testament to Kevin's being a car buff. Sophia caught his eye, so he had us pull the Alfa under the sign where the Hudson was, just to take a picture of it.
The name Blue Swallow is a reference to the days of great ships at sea. You see, bluebirds and swallows were usually the birds the sailors would see as they came close to land. In fact, sailors used to get a swallow tattooed on them to ensure their safe return to their homes. Cool, huh.
Our room was beautifully restored to and everything was original right down to the rotary phone. And yes we did leave very well rested and with wonderful memories, as promised. The coolest thing, in a long list of very cool things at The Blue Swallow, is that each room has its own little garage. Yes.. our own garage. Take a look at the picture if you don’t believe me. What’s more, is that every garage has a very cool mural painted on it. Ours was of the film Easy Rider.
We sat outside our hotel and enjoyed ice-cold Blue Moons and talked with Dawn and Rob as they made their rounds getting to know their guests. They are adventurous souls. They quit their high-powered jobs and had just bought the place five weeks earlier. We talked until we realized how late it was, and then we turned in. The room was cool. The bed was soft. We fell asleep in minutes.
We woke up early. I headed out to the motel office to sample Rob's special blend of coffee, it was very good. People were gathered in the office drinking coffee and talking as if they were all old friends. The conversation went from cars to coffee to literature. I had a second cup of coffee mainly to stay a little longer and savor the time there, but we had another long day ahead of us, and it was time to pack up and go.
We wish we could have spent more time there, but we had only 5 more days to make it to California and we had work to do! We had to go. But we will be back!
If you ever are fortunate enough to get to stay at the Blue Swallow Motor Lodge, do it. It is a charming place run by wonderful people; don't miss it. And if you do, tell them that Megan, Chuck, and Sophia, their red Alfa Romeo, say hi.
Check out our Road to Historic Motor Lodge playlist on Spotify: