A Gas Station in the "Desert"
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About Clines Corners, New Mexico
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: Elevation 7,057 ft (2,151 m). Population: n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).
Clines Corners, New Mexico is not a town or a village, it is an "unincorporated community" in central New Mexico, in Torrance County. It was established, and to this day still operates as a gasoline filling station, convenience store, cafe and diner.
Where is it?
It is located at One Yacht Club Drive, Clines Corners, NM. www.clinescorners.com. (575) 472-5488.
Clines Corners is located at Exit 218A north of I-40 at the junction of US Highway 285 and Interstate-40 (formerly Route 66)
Getting to Clines Corners
Clines Corners is 221 mi. from the Arizona - NM border. Heading west from Clines Corners down Route 66 is the town of Moriarty (21 mi.), and further west are Albuquerque (60 miles) and Gallup (199 mi.)
At Clines Corners you can head north along US-285 to Santa Fe (51 mi.)
To the east is Santa Rosa (56 mi.) and Tucumcari (116 mi); on the Texas state line is Glenrio (158 mi.)
Where to Stay
Clines Corners does not have any accommodation other than its RV campground, but the nearby towns of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Santa Rosa, and Moriarty have plenty of lodging options for those travelling along Route 66:
>> Book your Hotels in nearby Moriarty or Santa Rosa
Lodging Near Clines Corners along Route 66
- 21 mi. Moriarty
- 60 mi. Albuqerque
- 56 mi. Santa Rosa
- 116 mi. Tucumcari
The Santa Fe Route 66 segment
- 72 mi. Las Vegas NM
- 51 mi. Santa Fe
>> There is an RV campgrounds in Clines Corners
Weather in Clines Corners
Location of Clines Corners on Route 66
Clines Corners is located in a very dry area with less than 15 inches (381 mm) of rainfall per year. Summers are quite hot (though it cools off during the night). Winters are cold.
Most rain falls in summer with intense downpours (from May to August). Snowfall is about 13 inches (33 cm), and can fall between Sept. and May.
Expect high temperatures in the 90s during summer (July) and mid 50s during winter (Jan.) - above 30°C and 10°C. The average lows are around 60°F (16°C) in summer and below freezing in winter 24°F (-4.4°C).
Clines Corners is located in an area with virtually no tornado risk: it only has one (1) Tornado watch per year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Maps of Route 66 in Clines Corners
Roy E. Cline set up his gasoline station and a café at the intersection of New Mexico highways 6 and 2 in 1934.
In those days they were the unpaved link between Moriarty and Santa Rosa (Hwy. 6) and Encino with Santa Fe (Hwy. 2). At that time Route 66 had a totally different alignment; it ran north towards Las Vegas and Santa Fe, in a wide arch between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque as you can see in the map below. Clines Corners is in the middle of the map, where NM 6 and NM 2 cross.
Below is a USGS map published in 1966. The distribution of the Exit has changed since then. Route 66 (now I-40) runs across the map from left to right.
See this Map of US66 from Santa Rosa to Clines Corners.
Route 66 Alignment near Clines Corners
With maps and full information of the old roadway.
- Albuquerque to Lupton (next)
- Santa Rosa to Albuquerque (Clines Corners')
- Tucumcari to Santa Rosa (previous)
Clines Corners: its Attractions
Landmarks, Route 66 sights
- At Clines Corners - Read on below
- Tours & Itineraries
The name: Cline Corners
It combines Cline's surname and the four corners of the crossroads of NM highways 6 and 2 (later US 285 and 66).
Cline comes from Germanic Klein, which means "tiny", "small". Another version gives it an Irish origin, derived from Mac Giolla Chlaoin, which became MacGilleclyne in English, and deformed into Cline, Clyne, Clines.
The Cline family
Roy "Pops" Cline was born in 1890 and died in Mountanair NM in 1982. He lived in Oklahoma for a while, but in 1926 moved to New Mexico with his wife and seven children (six girls and one son, Roy Jr.)
Roy Jr. (1914-2004) helped his father open and operate the gas station (his obituary says that this took place in 1931).
Clines gas station was located on the intersection of two state highways, NM 2 and NM 6, both were unpaved but, were important. Route 6 was the shortest way to get to Albuquerque and the West Coast for those driving west from Texas and Oklahoma.
Luck would favor Roy Cline. Route 66 would soon be realigned, to the south, through Clines' gas station.
New Mexico Politics and U.S. 66
Clines Corners old station (now it changed to Chevron). Click for Street View
For 9 years (1926 - 1937) U.S. 66 followed this northern course through Santa Fe until a spiteful politician changed its course.
Governor A. T. Hannett lost his 1927 bid to re-election, and blamed the the local politicians and business men in Santa Fe for his defeat. So he had the highway rerouted to bypass that city and punish them.
Running against the clock before his tenure ended, he paved 69 mile stretch of state highway while he still held office and linked Santa Rosa with Moriarty, shaving off more than 90 miles of driving between Albuquerque and Santa Rosa.
However, his "revenge" would have to wait for 10 more years until the Federal roadbuilders decided to realign Route 66 using Hannett's alignment.
The new Route 66 and US 285 were more or less aligned along NM-6 & NM-2 but not exactly. For this reason Cline moved his filling station and cafe to the new junction. He also persuaded map makers to put Cline's Corners on the map.
Shortly after, in 1939 Cline sold his property to S. Lynn Smith ("Smitty") who worked the place with his wife. However Cline did not retire; he opened another place 17 miles to the east of Clines Corners (map), with gasoline, a diner, and a garage and was named "The Flying C".
The Smiths prospered and expanded their business. After Smitty's death in 1961 his wife Helen sold the concern. Cline sold his "Flying C Ranch" in 1963 to Claude M. Bowlin, who renamed it "Bowlin's Flying C Ranch".
Some activities and Tours in NM
Jack Rittenhouse in his 1946 "guidebook" of US Hwy. 66 wrote: "Cline's Corners. One building here, housing a gas station, and café". Below is a postcard of that period.
The back of the postcard tells us "At an elevation of 7200 feet CLINES CORNERS, one of the oldest establishments on Highway 66, is equipped for super sevice to the motoring public, including the most modern Cafe and Curio Shop."
Later it sold Conoco gasoline, and the filling station was modified, losing its "Gulf" Tower.
In the 1960s, they sold Standard, and has built the gigantic trading post and restaurant area. The original gas station can be seen on the left side of the image.
Modernized, the same neon sign atop the building, but with a different one on the south side (the tall one in the image below).
A post office was added at Cline's Corners in 1964. By that time the Interstate system which had began in 1956 was modifying the highway network of America. Route 66's alignment was incorporated into I-40, and Cline's was in the right place, it adapted to the Intersate and expanded even more.
You will find not only a restaurant with a food court and filling sations, the place now covers 30,000 sq. ft. and has New Mexico's largest gift shop. There are also Convenience stores and a Truck Stop.
For a brief history of the region, check out our page with Santa Rosa's History.
Tours & Itineraries
There are a few landmarks as you drive from Santa Rosa to Clines Corners (Map). The first is an old "Stuckey's", on Stuckey's Rd. (Street view), 6 mi. west of Santa Rosa, at Exit 267.
Trail of the Forty-Niners Historical Marker
Stop at the rest area (Mile 252 I-40) to see this marker (Street view).
Its inscription reads "To give gold-seekers another route to California, Capt. Randolph B. Marcy and Lt. James H. Simpson opened a wagon road from Arkansas to New Mexico in 1849. Marcy’s Road, although very popular with the Forty-Niners, still was never as well-traveled as the Santa Fe Trail. Here the route parallels I-40 to Albuquerque."
Bowlin's Flying C Ranch
At I-40's Exit 234, on Wagon Wheel Rd. Encino, NM. 47 mi. west of Santa Rosa. See its Street View
Historic Marker Trivia
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, 1946 in his book "A guide to Highway 66" mentions that 11 miles west of Clines Corners, along Route 66 was a Historical Marker (now gone) signalling the trade route opened by Josiah Gregg in 1840 linking Fort Smith in Arkansas with Santa Fe. Gregg (1806 - 1850) was an explorer, trader, merchant and naturalist who explored the region during his trading ventures. The trail was used after 1849, when the California Gold Rush drew a growing flow of travellers along it.
Edge of the Plains Marker
There is a historic marker 61 mi. from Santa Rosa Street view, in the the west bound rest area on the right side of the freeway, just east of Clines Corners.
Its inscription reads: "Grassy plains meet pine dotted uplands in this transition from Great Plains to Basin and Range provinces. Plains to the east are capped by caliche, sand, and gravel which are deeply eroded into the underlying bedrock in places. To the west, faulting has produced alternating highlands and intermountain basins of the Basin and Range province. Elevation 6,500 feet."
Southwest of Clines Corners along U.S. 285, it is 141 miles to Roswell, of UFO fame (or UAP as they are called now -Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), where a flying saucer with crew and all is said to have crash. Map.
The Pedernal Highlands ("Pedernal" is the Spanish word for "flint") are located to 11 miles south of Clines Corners, east of Albuquerque, Moriarty and Estancia and west of US-285.
They are very ancient rocks dating back to the Precambrian Period (over 600 million years ago). They are heavily eroded and nowadays are a narrow plateau about 40 miles long and a few miles wide. Their highest point is Pedernal Peak (7,576 ft. - 2.310 m), which rises about 800 ft. (245 m) above the surrounding terrain. Map with location.
The natives used its tough rock to make their stone tools, spear & arrow heads. Many can still be found in the area. There are springs on the hill too, which made it a stopping place for early travellers.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse wrote about it in his Route 66 travel guide because it can be spotted from Route 66 about 3 miles east of Clines Corners on the south side of the road: "Shortly west of here you can see a high peak in the distance [...] this is Cerro Pedernal" ("Cerro" is Spanish for Mount or Hill).
In the following Street View you can see Cerro Pedernal, in the center of the image, above the road, on the horizon.
Route 66 segments near Clines Corners
These are the sections of Route 66 close to Clines Corners. We describe each of them in a dedicated webpage with maps, itineraries and attractions along the way.
Alignment of Route 66
Some sponsored content
> > Book your Hotel in Santa Rosa
Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Their website is www.clinescorners.com
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.