One of the pleasures of a US road trip for us is discovering the off-beat attractions as well as the major historic sites and natural wonders – and Santa Rosa’s Route 66 Auto Museum is an excellent example! Owner Bozo Cordova has amassed a wonderful collection of classic cars and Route 66 memorabilia, and has turned his passion into a great attraction.
Cordova grew up along Route 66 and this gave rise to a lifelong interest in cars. He started out with the model variety and worked his way up to the real thing, starting a Route 66 business, Bozo's Garage, here in Santa Rosa. But his collection of classic cars grew so much that he opened the museum to accommodate and show them off.
Even before you go inside the museum there are a number of vehicles parked outside worthy of attention and of your camera. Unfortunately, although it had stopped raining just as we arrived, the sky was very leaden so we only took a few pictures here. Once inside you find yourself in the large gift shop / café (more about this in my shopping tip) where you pay the $5 entry fee for the museum. This lies behind the wall that separates it from the shop and is vast! Classic cars of all kinds make up the bulk of the collection, and their elegant shapes and interesting details make for great photos. Among others we saw Chevys, Buicks, a Coupe de Ville, Fords, a Mustang and more. There is also lots of smaller Route 66 related memorabilia, both in the museum and in the shop area, and some original signs, including the original Fat Man sign from the now defunct Club Cafe which was painted by Route 66 sign painter Rudolph Gonzales of "Signs by Rudy" in nearby Tucumcari.
Incidentally, a few of the cars were for sale when we visited, so if you’re looking for a very big holiday souvenir this could be the place! It wouldn’t be a cheap souvenir however – the 1970 Dodge Roadrunner that caught my eye (photo three) was $45,000.
I took so many photos here that I have added some more to a travelogue for anyone who is interested.
Santa Rosa is the county seat of Guadalupe County. The old courthouse was built in 1909. I found it historically and architecturally interesting. There was a nice gazebo and a nice monument on the grounds.
This is a haven for all watersports fanatics. Jet Ski, swimming, boating, diving, fishing you name it. Santa Rosa is known as the City of Lakes which is pretty surprising in a desert.
I arrived at the height of summer when most sensible New Mexicans were indoors enjoying the aircon. I arrived at the weekend, however and there were a few hardy souls mucking about at Blue Hole and their families hoping for a jet ski. Too bloody hot for me despite the cool looking water.
This is a natural wonder, smaller than I first thought, 60 feet across, but a clear blue water filled hole which is a magnet for scuba divers. It's called an artisian well, which brings clear spring water to the surface with a constant temperature of 61oF which is a bit chilly for me. The divers all flock here to practise and obtain certificates. It's 240 feet deep in some places and is bell shaped. It has a mesh across the bottom to prevent divers getting sucked into the underground water system. Apparently there are many lakes like this around the area, but the closest recreational lake is Park Lake, where you can swim, fish, canoe, paddleboat etc.
Funny thing to find in a desert-ish state. Yes, Sourbugger, I DID make it to route 66!!
Divers from around the region come to Santa Rosa for this tiny, beautiful anomaly in the desert.
Blue Hole is fed by underground springs at a constant 64 degrees Fahrenheit and, when undisturbed, the bottom, 80' below, can be seen from the surface.
Swimming is an option, although it's cold. Diving is more common, and equipment can be rented from a nearby dive shop.
This is the original chapel of Santa Rosa called Santa Rosa de Lima. Long left to it's own fate the chapel today has no roof but is still surrounded by a well loved graveyard. This chapel was built by Don Celso Baca in 1879.
There are several buildings of historic and architectural significance in the town, lots of them along old Route 66.
This church building is a new one for the parish of the old Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church. Even though it is a newer church I found it very pretty.