In the years following Route 66’s opening on November 11, 1926, most people headed west looking for new opportunities and a better life.  Indeed, over the decades that followed, many stories were told about traveling down the “Mother Road” since John Steinbeck first coined the phrase in his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath.

Image: Stephanie Stuckey/Stuckey’s Corp.

Today, it’s these stories that still draw people to Route 66 retracing the tire tracks of the Joads or those of the long family road trips of their young summers. And perhaps more than anything else, it’s that feeling of nostalgia – that yearning for a time when people would travel “America’s Main Street” through small towns, stop at kitschy roadside attractions and souvenir stands (yes, Stuckey’s Pecan Shoppes once lined Route 66 back in the day as well), and get a bite to eat or rest their heads at the various “mom and pop” establishments along the way.

If you’re one of those roadtrippers whose bucketlist includes a glimpse of what it was like to travel Route 66 in the Golden days of road travel, you’re in luck! That’s because for today’s Motel Monday we’re taking a look at a motel where staying the night is almost like traveling back in time. So, buckle up and join us as we travel Route 66 to Tucumcari, New Mexico, and spend the night at the Roadrunner Lodge Motel.

Two Great Motels That Go Great Together

Those who traveled Route 66 back in its heyday might not recognize the Roadrunner Lodge Motel’s name. What you might recognize, however, are the names of two other motels that once stood in Tucumcari on the same spot – La Plaza Court and Leatherwood Manor. That’s because the Roadrunner Lodge Motel used to be both of these motels, but are now all part of the same property.

Postcards of La Plaza Court and Leatherwood Manor when they were two separate motels in their prime. Public Domain

La Plaza Court was first. Built in the New World Spanish architectural style in 1947, this self-proclaimed “motel of distinction” featured 15 rooms all overlooking Tucumcari Mountain. Modern amenities of the day included attached garages and radios, tiled private bathrooms, and individual panel-ray heat in every room.

Agnes Leatherwood built her eponymous mid-century modern style motel – the Leatherwood Manor – next door to La Plaza Court in 1964. Also overlooking Tucumcari Mountain, this two-story motel touted itself as “luxurious, unique and spacious”.  Amenities included free TV and ice, in-room phones, 24 hour service, individual automatically controlled air-conditioning and heat, and a heated pool – still the talk of Tucumcari locals who went swimming there as kids.

The two individual hotels went through a handful of owners each until 1985 when someone bought both hotels, expanded the lobby to cover both properties, and turned it them into one motel. Unfortunately, however, sometime in the aughts, the property was abandoned.

And Not a Wily Coyote in Sight

Image: Stephanie Stuckey/Stuckey’s Corp.

Present owner David Brenner bought the property in 2014 and renamed it the Roadrunner Lodge but after being abandoned for over five years, the place needed a lot of TLC and even more work. However, all the blood, sweat and tears paid off because today he has rebuilt what was almost a lost part of roadside America.

Outside, the façade of the Roadrunner Lodge maintains its mid-century modern charm, while inside the rooms are individually decorated in 1960s swank and swagger fun (“Magic Fingers”, anyone?). They even have their own radio station that pipes in music and commercial jingles that will take you back to the time original owner Agnes Leatherhead used to through fun parties here for her friends.

Image: Stephanie Stuckey/Stuckey’s Corp.

With all of these blasts from the past, however, the Roadrunner Lodge Motel still provides all the conveniences the modern roadtripper and family vacationer has grown accustomed to: comfortable, clean beds, plush towels, fast and free WiFi, ice-cold air-conditioning and hot showers and 200 channels to surf on your flat screen TV. They even have a couple of dog-friendly rooms for an extra-fee for Fido.

So, if you traveling Route 66 looking for that nostalgic motel experience with all of the modern conveniences, look no further than the Roadrunner Lodge on Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico. For reservations or more info, visit their website, email them at info@roadrunnerlodge.com or call them at +1 (575) 282-7866

Want to make your road trip even more divine? Then look no further than Stuckey’s Pecan Divinity Bars. Each bite is the heavenly taste of Georgia Grown pecans baked in a light and fluffy Southern nougat. Get a box of 24 1.7 oz. Stuckey’s Pecan Divinity Bars for your next road trip and take $5.00 off. This offer is good for a limited time only, so orders your today – only from stuckeys.com!

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!