Retro Roadtrip: The Sunset Motel

This motel came as a recommendation from two different readers, Jim Ross and Jerry McClanahan with the EZ66 guide.  We added it to our stays along Route 66 in New Mexico.

This little motel is a bargain, clean, updated (good or bad depending on whether preservation is a priority or modern comforts) and family owned and operated. Most rooms have have a flat screen TV and free wireless access. They serve a small continental breakfast in the office and there are microwaves, refrigerators and coffee makers in each room.

Mike and Debbie Pogue, Photo by Jim Ross -
Mike and Debbie Pogue, Photo by Jim Ross –

The Sunset Motel is located approximately 35 miles east of Albuquerque on Old Route 66, in the small town of Moriarty, NM.

The motel was constructed in five stages, from 1954 until 1969.  There was no rush as the young couple, Bill and Elaine Pogue, planned to operate their business along busy Route 66 for many years to come.

According to their website, the plans for the building were drawn on a brown paper bag and Bill, Elaine and their two boys did the majority of the construction.  Bill was determined the building would be ‘done right and last forever!’  The story goes that after an accident, Bill got someone else to build a wall for him.

Photo by Jim Ross -
Photo by Jim Ross –

When he checked the wall and found that it was 1/8 inch off, he knocked it down with his crutches and started over himself!

The original plan for the motel had been a ‘modern’ U-shaped building, but Bill passed away before the dream was realized.  Elaine continued to run the motel on her own for several years and, in the mid-seventies, sold the business to her younger son, Mike, who owns the motel today.

Elaine went on to become a two-term mayor of Moriarty, working to build and promote the town she loved.

501 East Central Avenue (Old Route 66)
Moriarty, NM 87035

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