In the era of chain hotels and fast food restaurants, it seems we are given fewer choices of where we can eat or sleep. Let’s face it….these places aren’t cheap, the rooms are barely decent quality, and the food is bland (crappy). Also, “customer service” is nearly non-existent. Most people seem to be quite happy with the “one size fits all” approach. Road warriors, like myself, are sick of it. Just because you pay over $100 a night for a room at one of those fancy hotels, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good place. And that $60 steak dinner will probably taste like garbage. As for gas stations, you may find one or two of them out there on the open road, that still have interesting vending machines in the restrooms.
Here’s a list of some of the best motels I’ve stayed at, and restaurants I’ve eaten at. It is far from complete, but it should get you on the right track. The motels will run between $45 and $80/night (plus tax), but they are more than worth it…and are all along The Mother Road. The restaurants are also pretty dang good, too.
I’m going to start things off in the Joplin, Missouri area.
Boots Court Motel : 107 S Garrison Ave, Carthage, MO 64836 417-310-2989
For $66/night (plus tax), you can’t go wrong. This is one of the many historic properties along Route 66, and it has only 13 rooms. The story goes Clark Gable stayed there at least twice. The rooms are very clean, and the beds are super comfy. No TV in the rooms, but there’s an AM/FM radio (no wifi that can be picked up). They also have a storm cellar (just in case a nasty tornado is close by). Cold beer is available at a gas station just a few blocks away. During my last stay there, the storm sirens were going off, and the few other guests were escorted into the cellar……I was outside…..cold beer in hand…..shooting video of the storm (the tornado itself was well over 10 miles to the north/northwest). I did manage to get some good footage, with some lightning in the clouds. There’s some decent food available not far away, at Braum’s.
Fred and Red’s: 1719 S Main St, Joplin, MO 64804 417-781-5341 (Closed Sundays and Mondays)
Home of Spaghetti Red (spaghetti topped with their own recipe chili). The chili burgers are pretty dang good, too. Other items also available on the menu.
Desert Hills Motel: 5220 E 11th St (Historic Route 66), Tulsa, OK 74112 918-834-3311
This is another vintage motel along Main Street. Approximately $50 – $60/night (they may give you a little bit of a break, if you stay 2 or 3 nights). This is one of the cleaner motels I’ve stayed at. For some reason, idiots on Google have been making claims about this place (bed bugs, cops there all the time, etc), which are all bogus. So, please ignore them. The rooms are clean, and the beds are also decent. Pretty good wifi, and cable TV. They do their best to keep the riff raff away.
Tally’s Good Food Cafe’: 1102 S Yale Ave, Tulsa, OK 74112 (It’s along Historic Route 66) 918-835-8039
One of the better places to eat, when you’re out gettin’ your kicks. Located a short walk from the Desert Hills Motel. I’ve eaten here more than a few times, over the years. Some of the best breakfast you’ll find, out on the road. My personal favorite is the hot links and eggs, with hash browns and toast. Very reasonably priced. They also have the biggest sweet rolls I’ve ever seen….I’m talking HUGE! I’ve never tried one, but I do know they go fast.
The Big Texan Steak Ranch: Overpriced Tourist Trap.
$16 for a 10 ounce, bone-dry, chopped steak “dinner”. No thanks! (Nothing to see here).
Historic Route 66 Motel: 1620 E Rte 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM 88401 575-461-1212
If you’re on a bit of a budget, this is definitely worth checking into. Another vintage property along Route 66, on the east side of Tucumcari. $55/night (plus tax), you can’t beat it. Retro-style rooms, with cable TV and wifi. The owner is really cool, and knowledgeable about local restaurants. The beds are also really comfy, here. Tee Pee Curios isn’t very far away, and neither are a few decent restaurants. Circle K (convenience store) sells cold beer. There are also several abandoned places along through there worth getting photos of, along with the Blue Swallow Motel neon sign.
La Cita: 820 S 1st St, Tucumcari, NM 88401 575-461-7866
The food is decent, but they can be a little slow on the service (especially if you are ordering to go).
Kix On 66: 1102 E Rte 66 Blvd, Tucumcari, NM 88401 575-461-1966
Only had a chance to stop here once. I can’t remember what I had to eat, either (but it was good).
Lisa’s Truck Center : 820 Central Ave, Moriarty, NM 87035 505-832-4455
This place has some of the best beef enchiladas you’ll find anywhere. And they aren’t overpriced! Highly recommended.
Joe & Aggie’s Cafe’: 120 W Hopi Dr, Holbrook, AZ 86025 928-524-6540
If you get the chopped steak and eggs, green chile is your best bet on this tasty plate of food.
This is just a partial listing of places I have personally stopped to eat at. I’ll be updating this list sporadically, so keep checking back. Until next post, beware of the burrito bombs, and you’ll be okay!