Route 66: Decay and Resilience Along Iconic US Highway
A journey along the legendary Route 66 highway and the landmarks and controversies that made it iconic of the Southwest.
December 11, 2016: Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated that the highway ended in San Diego. This is incorrect. The highway ends in Santa Monica, California.
Tucumcari, New Mexico – Muhammad Malik stands behind a cluttered desk, his words punctuated by a soft ding as his forearm glances the dusty reception bell at his near-empty motel on Route 66.
“I bought it because it was cheap,” says Malik, 67, a former United Nations worker from Pakistan, who moved to Tucumcari in the early 2000s. “An unlikely retirement home,” he laughs.
He bought his motel, the Palomino, located along a once-bustling portion of Route 66, the 4,000-kilometre highway between Santa Monica and Chicago that, for six decades, was the nation’s major throughway, connecting the rural backwaters of western United States to the highway.
“This town was four times its size back then,” says Malik, standing out in the back of the motel beside a rusted playground and an empty 40s-era pool – “The first in Tucumcari” according to him.Two way street, Marym625, Atticus Fox1 like this
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