Clines Corners: An oasis on Route 66

pattern stories
Written by:
Ed Domain

In case you didn’t see all the highway signs, here’s the entrance

New Mexico, we gotta talk. I keep thinking I know how this state works, why things are the way they are, and, well, here’s the thing: I still have a lot to learn.

I have been living in New Mexico for two years, and I’ve stopped for gas a few times at Clines Corners Travel Center on Route 66. Clines Corners is a gas station, an RV Park, and like the sign says, has been serving travelers since 1934.

Every time I stopped, I’d look around as I filled up with gas. I saw parked RVs. Lots and lots of parked RVs, and thought to myself, “Why are so many staying here overnight? ”

At this point, some of you are undoubtedly laughing, because you know why: It’s great!

The main building at Clines Corners

Clines Corners saves my bacon

A little over a month ago, I needed to leave the state and go to Chicago for a couple weeks. I drove there, and the drive takes around 20-22 hours, all depending on things like traffic and weather. That means I also had to drive back.

I got on the road in Chicago, and much later in the day was cruising through Kansas on their tollway and thought to myself, “You know what, I’m making good time, I’m going to drive straight through all the way to Albuquerque.”

Need some new clothes? Clines Corners has choices

This turned out to be  a poor choice.

Somewhere after 2 a.m., I was west of Tucumcari and, very tired. I kept telling myself, “You can make it, you only have…”

…and then I saw the sign. Clines Corners, 10 miles ahead!

You can always ask Zoltar what he thinks

Clines Corners has activity at all hours of the day, as it is a 24/7 operation. I got into my truck and drove to a dark corner of the parking lot. I had blankets with me, so I reclined my front seat as far back as it would go, pulled the blanket over my head and was asleep seconds later. 

It was packed the night I was there

“Clines Corners? Now you’re a New Mexican!”

I only slept three, maybe three and a half hours. I woke to a bright, early morning sun, and Clines Corners was bustling with activity. People that had stayed the night were wandering in for coffee, others were coming in off the highway while more still were getting back on the road.

I chatted with the cashier as I paid for my coffee, and told him about the night before. He smiled as if he had heard this story before and told me, “That’s why we’re here! We’re a traveler’s oasis,” and I told him I agreed and was now Clines Corners’ biggest fan. He laughed and he told me I was welcome back anytime. 

One of the outdoor walls at Clines Corners

I drove the final hour or so back into Albuquerque with no issues. I went to my favorite breakfast spot and told my server about my adventure.

She said, laughing, “You had a legit Clines Corners experience! That makes you a real New Mexican now!” 

Final Thoughts on Clines Corners

Clines Corners is located on Route 66, and you cannot miss it traveling the Mother Road. There are billboards advertising it miles before you get there, and it is big, with over 30 acres of RV parking.

I needed a place to sleep, and I am glad Clines Corners is so friendly to travelers. Because I used their parking lot, I spent some money there, too. I filled up my gas tank and bought some coffee.

After crashing for the night and hearing from a few friends about how everyone loves Clines Corners, it’s got a soft spot in my heart now. I want to get an RV, go stay the night, and socialize with all the people that seem to have a fun time staying there.

Until next time, Clines Corners, thank you!

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