ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Some New Mexican’s drive it daily, but for many others it’s easy to forget just how iconic Route 66 was as a cross-country American highway.
But now that history is coming back to life and getting new attention, not from New Mexico, but from a European group that’s documenting the highway with a big focus on New Mexico.
The roadway helped define much of Albuquerque and many cities across New Mexico.
“This place has history,” said Vickie Ashcraft, who owns a business along Route 66 outside Albuquerque.
The history isn’t lost on Ashcraft. She showcases antique trailers at her business Enchanted Trails R.V. Park and Trading Post west of Albuquerque. The business is one of Route 66’s original relics.
“You know, it’s like this huge long neighborhood that runs for eight states wide and those people have a lot of stories to tell,” said Ashcraft.
Today, while Route 66 isn’t the same economic link it once was in the U.S., there’s a new turn for the road that’s going international.
Route 66 and its stretch through New Mexico is now one of the major focuses of a new European documentary. Of all places, a group from the Czech Republic is making it.
“Route 66 is an icon in Europe and in the Czech Republic as well,” said Andrea Foli with the Czech Route 66 Association.
In the last week, the group visited places through New Mexico including Gallup, Moriarty, Grants for a car show, the historic Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, even planting sunflowers along the route.
“It symbolizes America, it symbolizes, especially for us, it symbolizes freedom,” said Foli. “New Mexico it was just great people.”
Vickie Ashcraft was also interviewed in Albuquerque about The Enchanted Trails R.V. Park. She hopes the documentary will help more people learn about the real New Mexico.
“And the more people that get to see it will want to come and visit,” said Ashcraft.
The Czech Route 66 Association left New Mexico on Sunday and they’ll make dozens of stops while heading east over the next three weeks. Their goal is to premiere the documentary in the Czech Republic in September and hopefully post it online afterwards.