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Home People & Lifestyle Editor's Blog Exploring the Mother Road, Route 66, and Del’s: Part Two

Exploring the Mother Road, Route 66, and Del’s: Part Two

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No longer a part of the United States Highway System, Route 66 today is a highway of legend. During its short lifetime Route 66 was the popular path westward from Chicago to Los Angeles, winding its way through seven states.

In 1985 it was decommissioned, bypassed by the faster, straighter, wider Interstate 40 and other concrete highways. Portions remain however, and tourists and fans will find those bits and pieces if they look for the Historic Route 66 designation.

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Reflecting the public's demand for nostalgia and perhaps a yearning for calmer times, many of the old Route 66 towns have embraced the new version of Route 66; some more than others.

One of those towns trying to cling to its highway history is Tucumcari, New Mexico, where earlier this summer I stopped to explore the legend. Besides, it was past lunchtime and I was hungry. And I wanted something other than fast-food blah.

So I stopped at Del's Restaurant in Tucumcari, where the sign said it had been around since 1956. You can't miss the sign; there's a big cow on top.

I walked inside, and instantly felt as if I'd stepped back a few decades. A slower, nicer time when people actually chatted with each other, shared local news and baseball scores over pie and coffee.

I asked my server if the original owner was still around, but she told me no. Maybe Del sold out and moved to Oregon, maybe he went to the big restaurant in the sky. She wasn't sure. Would I care to see a menu?

"Sure," I said, asking who now owns Del's.

"Two sisters, Yvonne and Yvette," she said smiling. "Would you like something to drink?"

"Coffee," I answered. "Black."

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