Melancholy and the Mother Road – San Jon, NM


This picture dates from just a few weeks ago when were exploring an especially ragged section of Route 66 somewhere in the vicinity of San Jon.  The town lies in the eastern part of New Mexico very near the Texas border, a sparsely populated region with an occasional mesa and abundant mesquite. The old route veers south of the interstate here, and leaves the pavement behind.

The evening was coming on and it wasn’t clear if we’d gotten lost.  My son was up front, and my wife was in the back squinting at the Delorme Atlas wondering if we were near San Jon or another town called Lesbia. Not much appeared to be left of either place and there wasn’t anyone around to ask.

It grew darker. On the north side of the road we slowed down and crept up to the scene in this photograph. I turned off the ignition because the sky was exquisite. Needless to say it was time to get out the camera.

Behind the former gas station were some brushy remains of buildings that might have once been a motor court. The place had clearly seen better times, and with the final touch of a collapsing roof was nothing short of haunting.