‘Cruise New Mexico’ to Celebrate 80th Anniversary of Route 66

‘Headlights on the Mother Road’ Car Show at Expo New Mexico

Turn about will be fair play, when classic car cruisers from California and beyond will join their New Mexico counterparts in “Cruise New Mexico,” held in conjunction with the “Headlights on the Mother Road Car and Motorcycle Event,” June 30-July 2, 2006, at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque.

“We will celebrate the 80th anniversary car and motorcycle culture of New Mexico’s Route 66 with the annual event,” said Kathy Duffy of Expo New Mexico. “And, as a result of our Classic Car Cruise to Pasadena, California, in January by nearly 20 of our most ardent car enthusiasts in support of the New Mexico Tourism Department-sponsored float in the 2006 Tournament of Roses® Parade on January 2, 2006, we now have friends and ‘roadies’ coming our way during the Headlights weekend to take part in our first-ever Cruise New Mexico.”

While legislation for public highways first appeared in 1916, with revisions in 1921, it was not until Congress enacted an even more comprehensive version of the act in 1925 that the government executed its plan for national highway construction, giving birth to the curio shops, truck stops, last-chance gas, tourist courts and Burma Shave signs. Officially, the numerical designation 66 was assigned to the Chicago-to-Los Angeles route in the summer of 1926.

“For more than 50 years, travelers got their first real look at New Mexico while traveling Route 66,” said Michael Cerletti, secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “Even while New Mexicans look to the future, they keep their history alive and kicking with remembrances old Route 66, such as this year’s ‘Headlights on the Mother Road’ Car and Motorcycle event and ‘Cruise New Mexico,’ celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Mother Road. The long weekend will have a little something for everyone – family entertainment at its down-home finest.”

For those classic car enthusiasts who want to join the 2006 “Cruise New Mexico,” the schedule includes:

Thursday (June 29), in Gallup: Registration begins at 2:30 p.m.; cruise leaves at 5 p.m. following a welcome and “blessing of the vehicles” by Native American Tribal Dancers; arrive in Grants at approximately 6 p.m.; travel via caravan to Acoma Sky City Casino for food, entertainment and overnight stay. Sky City reservation number is 1-888-759-2489. Identify yourself as a Rt. 66 cruiser with the “Headlights on the Mother Road/Cruise New Mexico” to get a special rate.

Friday (June 30) in Grants: Visit Acoma Pueblo’s Sky City; travel Historic 66 to Los Lunas for lunch, courtesy of Brad Francis Automotive Group; travel past Isleta Pueblo and the San Augustine Mission Church, established in 1623; and arrive at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque, home of New Mexico State Fair. Registrants and car buffs will gather for an afternoon of music and relaxation.

Also Friday, mayors from several New Mexico Route 66 cities will join Albuquerque’s police force traveling in vintage vehicles to lead the caravan down Route 66 (Central Avenue) to the Kimo Theatre for a concert by New Mexico’s “Fireballs.” A night cap of cookies and milk, provided by Southwest Dairy Farmers, concludes the day’s activities.

Saturday (July 1), at Expo: “Show ‘n Shine,” rock n’ roll, chasing parts at the Expo’s Flea Market and door prizes all day long. Cruise to Old Town following the day’s activities for live rock n’ roll music on the Plaza.

Sunday (July 2), at The Downs at Albuquerque, Expo: Sunday brunch and awards, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Monday (July 3) in Albuquerque: On your own, cruise to the J & R Vintage Car Museum, Unser Racing Museum, Albuquerque’s Historic Old Town or up the Turquoise Trail (the scenic drive to Santa Fe).

Tuesday (July 4) in Albuquerque: Cruise to Balloon Fiesta Park for an evening of entertainment, 4th of July fun and a concert featuring Linda Ronstadt.

Wednesday (July 5) in Albuquerque: Travel to Edgewood for a Cowboy Camp breakfast at Wild Life West Park, followed by the Governor’s Cruise through Deadwood and a night of entertainment in Moriarty.

Thursday (July 6) in Moriarty: Travel to Santa Rosa for the Billy the Kid Poker Run and Old West Shootout by SAAS; then on the Tucumcari for the “Best Little Festival on Route 66.”
“Baby boomers will relive their past, while those of us too young to experience it the first time around will witness first hand what the rock ‘n roll and car-crazy culture was all about,” Duffy said. “Committed tourism partners and sponsors from the car and motorcycle industry have come together to support the Headlights event each year. Cars are the stars during a week of family entertainment.”

The above schedule is subject to change. For more information and a schedule of events, contact Kathy Duffy, Expo New Mexico, 505-265-1791, or visit http://www.HeadlightsOnTheMotherRoad.com.

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