The real Sunset Motel in 1995 (view from outside of room 9)
My receipt with room #9 written in the corner by the desk clerk
(the number 1762 is bleed-thru from a carbon copy fuel receipt on which I had marked my mileage from home to Gallup)
So what does the inside of room 9 look like? Not much like the film, as it turns out; not as brightly painted and not nearly as clean.
The tiles in the bathroom were a very cool shade of turquoise though from what I remember.
The only reason I even have these interior shots is because I wanted to show the folks back home what an honest to God vintage Route 66 motel room looked like.
All that's missing is a coin operated vibrating base
Had I only known the importance of that lackadaisically placed room key
The bathroom was the one area that still looked '50s vintage as opposed to '70s remodel
Everything's bigger in Texas, especially the hail
So let's go find the Sunset online and see how it's doing these days, you say.
Searching Google on October 7, 2010 I indeed found the Sunset listed, but upon going to the Google Maps page I had some difficulty tracking it down.
I had no idea where geographically in Gallup I had stayed in '95. Before settling on the Sunset I had literally driven the full length of town several times just looking around at all the neon signs and such. So when Google Maps showed what was obviously not a motel, I thought I might have to scroll all the way thru town to find it.
Turns out they dropped the place pin about a quarter of a mile east of the actual location.
1305 W Hwy 66 is the street address
(anyone familiar with travel knows that east and west designations of highways often throw map programs off)
Arrow showing actual location of Sunset Motel as opposed to where Google says it is
Unfortunately when you go to Google Street View instead of finding the Sunset Motel you're going to see the newly renovated Gardenia Inn
They've changed the name and colors, although it's obviously still the same sign.
Hell, the blue car even looks almost the same as the one in my photo from '95
And there's the railroad across the street from the motel, just like in my photo
I found a guy on Facebook who stayed at the Gardenia Inn in May of 2011 while traveling cross country on a bicycle, though he didn't post any pictures of the motel itself
(his choice was apparently based on the cheap rate, the same reason I picked it 16 years earlier; that and the zigzaggy neon running along the front of all the rooms)
I also happened upon an image from July of 2007 of the motel where the sign looks exactly the same as it did in 1995, but the name is missing, at least on the side you can see.
I'm assuming it was probably still called the Sunset Motel in '07 although the author of the blog doesn't mention the name at all.
This guy took interest in the sign because it's apparently one of only a few remaining Route 66 signs advertising "COLOR-TV"
(looking back at the Gardenia Inn sign from above one sees that "Free High Speed Internet" is the new "COLOR-TV"
\Note the 1305 W Hwy 66 address painted on the pole, eliminating any doubt that this is indeed the Sunset Motel from the Google listing above
This is the location coordinate information the author had linked to in Google Maps; approximately 100 feet west of the sign in the middle of the Sunset's parking lot
You can take a look at the page for yourself at Rusty Lopez's blog
GPS coordinates of the motel for those who would like to stop by are:
+35° 31' 20.22", -108° 45' 39.58"