Friday, November 5, 2010
Tucumcari is the largest city between Amarillo, TX and Albuquerque, NM. This little hole-in-the wall town was once a booming place when Route 66 was popular, since it runs right down the main street. Unfortunately now the town seemed pretty run down.
The town's slogan "TUCUMCARI TONITE!" is seen all over town and along I-40 for many miles to the east and west of the town inviting motorists to stay the night in one of Tucumcari's "1200" motel rooms.
At night the streets light up like the Vegas strip with cheap motels and gift shops.
This is a roadside sculpture to commemorate Route 66.
This is a souvenir shop. I didn't get a chance to browse in it, though, because it was closed when we were in town.
This restaurant is another throw-back from the old Route 66 -
There wasn't much to do in town. We found out that there were many murals throughout the town, so we grabbed the list with the map and went exploring. These are most of the murals.
The Legendary Road
Welcome to Tucumcari
Where's my horse?
Horse - hee, hee
Even the local hair shop had a mural!
There are several stories how Tucumcari got it's name, but the most romantic one is as follows.
Apache Chief Wautonomah was dying and was troubled by who would succeed him as ruler of his tribe. He had two great braves, Tonopah and Tocom. They were not only rivals but both were vying for the hand of the Chief's daughter, Kari. Kari loved Tocom. Chief Wautonomah called the two braves to his death bed and said, "Soon I must die and one of you must succeed me as chief. Tonight you must take your long knives and meet in combat to settle the matter between you. He who survives shall be the Chief and have for his squaw, Kari, my daughter."
The braves fought while unbeknown to them, Kari hid nearby. When Tonopah killed Tocom, Kari rushed out and plunged her knife into Tonopah, then killed herself. When Chief Wautonomah saw this tragedy, he grabbed his daughter's knife and buried it deep within his heart, crying "Tocom-Kari", today a slight variation of the town's name - Tucumcari.
(Information from Wikipedia)
I bet this was a happening place back in the day, but now? Not so much.