I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This small town of just a little over 5000 people in eastern New Mexico, has been around since 1901, and seems to have been hanging on by a thread, from the very beginning. When Route 66 was completed, motels, gas stations, and diners started popping up everywhere. Some of those vintage mom and pop places are still alive and well, others are barely existing. The Palomino Motel opened in 1953, back when travel on Route 66 was quite high. Over the years, the amount of people and traffic started to dwindle, especially when interstate 40 was completed. One of the side effects of that was a decline in tourism, and a drop in business volume. A lot of places started to close, or were just abandoned. When Route 66 was officially decommissioned in 1985, most people thought it was going to be the demise of many small towns. People started to pack up and move, leaving behind what was once a normal life in small-town America. Today, a lot of those classic motels are gone, only skeletons remain of some of those places. Others are in dire need of renovating, but funding is limited. Sure, there are supposed to be grants available from Historical societies, or the government, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to save those that truly need it, and those grants aren’t guaranteed. The cost of restoring a neon sign could run $30,000, or more. The Palomino Motel, is one such place in need of restoration. The volume of business just isn’t there, and neither is the money needed to make the needed upgrades. There is a Senate Bill that was making the rounds in D.C. that would designate Route 66 a Historic Trail, but it’s looking like it may be a while longer before anything is done with it. The current Government shutdown put it on hold, until further notice. If it ever does get passed, it would make funds available to a lot of those classic places for upgrades, needed repairs, and other work. It’s not just Tucumcari that needs the help, a lot of small towns along The Mother Road are in need. Until that happens, the decay will continue.