Thirteen hand-built English two-seater motor cars and their 27 drivers (also English) stopped in Tucumcari Friday as part of their trip along the length of Route 66.
According to Anita Jordan, one of the directors of the trip, the cars were shipped to Chicago by freighter from Great Britain where the Englishmen and women who owned the classic automobiles met the vehicles which ranged from Circa 1965 to a 2005. The Morgan automobile dates back to the early part of the 20th century and is considered one of the first true English sports cars.
The group that is traveling the length of the “Mother Road” is one of the handful of Morgan car clubs in the British Isles which often takes road trips similar to their current trek along Route 66. “If you’re going to see the U.S. said Colin Gordon of Buckinghamshire, “You’ve got to travel Route 66. After all, it is legendary.” In fact the current trip is something of an “eye opener” to the British car aficionados taking part in the Odyssey. “We’re just astonished at how polite the American motorists are,” said Rich Jordan a co-director. “Well, I suppose you could say we’re astonished at just how polite everyone over here is.”
The Morgan drivers and co-drivers were also astonished at the landscape when they hit New Mexico after traversing Oklahoma and Texas and their seemingly endless spaces which lie on both sides of Route 66. “It was so nice to see scenery,” said Peter Keme of Silverstone about the mesas that greeted the English group when they crossed into New Mexico. “I mean Texas has its own beauty to be sure, but this was spectacular.” The group who were staying at the Blue Swallow Inn intended to drink in as much of the local color as Tucumcari had to offer before heading off to Santa Fe visiting all the sites listed in books on Route 66 which had helped them plan out their itinerary.
That, they said, was how they discovered the Blue Swallow.
“It’s listed in a number of the books on the subject,” said Rich Jordan about the motor inn that is done in vintage 1950’s style, “So we had to stay here.” Over and above hitting the other Route 66 sites in Tucumcari such as the La Cita, The Teepee Curio Shop and the Tucumcari Historical Museum, they also had another stop to make. “When you are on a six-week journey,” said Anita. “It’s always nice to get to a laundry.”
Rich Jordan said that the classic automobiles are careful to travel along Route 66 as much as possible on their trek which often means dirt roads and roads of questionable quality. Despite that, the convoy of vehicles that cost into five figures has only had one breakdown – a blown fuel pump.
The Morgan Motor Company has donated almost $10,000 in parts to the motorists for just such eventualities and the fuel pump was quickly replaced.
After their Santa Fe stop, the group will be heading for Arizona where they are planning on visiting the Grand Canyon, and the Painted Desert then taking a trip up to Las Vegas, Nevada, before heading for California.