Friday, August 6, 2010

Day 22: Kingman to Winslow, AZ – Old Gas Stations and a Hole in the Ground

I headed out from Kingman and now I’m officially on Old Route 66.

Right out side of Kingman I remember that the road runs parallel, and very close to, what as the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe railroad tracks.

Today it’s the BNSF (Burlington Northern and Santa Fe.

This will continue for the entire way. It’s a pretty cool sight to see two freight trains going towards each other across the vast Arizona landscape.

I’m traveling on a section of Route 66 between Kingman and just West of Williams that’s about 100 miles long and goes by a few interesting spots on the way.

The Hackberry Store, located in Hackberry, AZ (imagine that), is about 20 miles out of Kingman. Inside and out, the Hackberry General Store is a museum of old Route 66. Though no gas is sold, vintage pumps line the storefront. Mobilgas' Pegasus leaps from the roof, and the Greyhound dog welcomes bus travelers.

Inside, you can find lots of Route 66 clothing, pick up Route 66 trinkets, walk through a vintage diner, and even have a bottle of Route 66 Beer (root beer, not beer beer). Virtually every trinket bearing the Route 66 theme, from neon to key chains, can be found in the store.

In back of the store, an old garage services a Model T flatbed truck, along with cars of more recent vintage. Other buildings appear to be sprouting behind the store.The pièce de résistance is a red 1956 Corvette parked in front of the store. The Corvette has been the quintessential Route 66 touring car ever since Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) and Buz Murdock (George Maharis) traveled the highway in search of adventure on television.

After leaving the Hackberry Store I passed a string of Burma Shave Signs, which is pretty funny because I found myself anticipated when the next group would show up as I moved East.

Not too far before re-joining I-40 I pulled into Seligman. Seligman is full of sights. First thing was the Road Kill Café, where the phrase “You Kill It, We Grill It” originated. You cab get a Splatter Platter, Swirl of Squirrel, Big Bagged Stag or Highway Hash to name a few.

Right down the road is the Rusty Bolt with it’s funky store front of “Hooker Mannequins” and old cars.

Across the street is Aztec Motel and Gift Shop. I couldn’t find out much about this place, but it looks like a nicely restored old 50’s style motel

The coolest place was not open – bummer – Juan Delgadillo’s Famous Snow Cap Drive-In. Here’s the scoop – right off of the (Web
“In 1953, working on a shoestring budget, Juan Delgadillo built the Snow Cap Drive-In from scrap lumber. More than fifty years later his small Route 66 business is known worldwide. Yes it has great food, but perhaps the real reason the Snow Cap has become a Route 66 Icon is Juan himself. He has become the Route 66 Clown and loves to make people laugh. People come here to see Juan Delgadillo and to laugh with him as he amuses the Snow Cap customer with his off-the-wall antics. For Juan the customer is all-important and he promotes Route 66 one person at a time. Life is to be enjoyed and Juan enjoys it to the fullest. Let him pass some of this enjoyment on to you.
Unfortunately on June 2, 2004 Juan Delgadillo passed away. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. His zany antics at the Snow Cap entertained Route 66 travelers from around the world. His legacy will live on at the Snow Cap through Juan's sons John and Robert who continue the tradition of fun that made the Snow Cap and Juan a Route 66 legend.”

Heading out of Seligman and towards Williams I continued on the Old Mother Road. I continued to see freight trains all day. I had no idea there is so much freight still moved by train

As I was going down the road I noticed that there were portions of the original road still visible. I thought this was pretty neat, but from the state of the road it didn’t look like it would be around much longer

The Old Road connected back with I-40. Before getting back on the Interstate I stopped and took a look back West to where I had come from. In the picture Route 66 is on the right, angling away from I-40 on the left. It was kind of sad to leave this stretch of RT 66 and get back on the Interstate

Twelve or 15 miles down I-40 is Williams, AZ. The Interstate by-passes Williams, but that doesn’t seem to have any bad effect. It’s a nice little town about 60 miles from the Grand Canyon. There’s lots of camping, fishing and some winter sports, so it seems to be doing very well for itself

Cruisers Route 66 Café Bar and Grill looked pretty inviting, and since I passed up the Road Kill Café I was hungry and it looked like they had Road kill as well.

There was outside seating and a guy playing music and beer was served. What more could I want? But it got better. They have a really good pulled pork sandwich

By the way, Cruisers is right next door to the world famous Sultana Bar and Theater (who would have known?).

There was a sign that the weather could turn bad, so I decided to head out of Williams

I continued East from Williams and passed through Flagstaff towards Winslow. The weather cleared and when I turned off of I-40 to go to Meteor Crater it was beautiful

The Meteor Crater is really something. From Wikipedia:

“The crater was created about 50,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch when the local climate on the Colorado Plateau was much cooler and damper. At the time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths. It was probably not inhabited by humans; the earliest confirmed record of human habitation in the Americas dates from long after this impact.
The object that excavated the crater was a
nickel-iron meteorite about 50 meters (54 yards) across, which impacted the plain at a speed of several kilometers per second. The speed of the impact has been a subject of some debate. Modeling initially suggested that the meteorite struck at a speed of up to 20 kilometers per second (45,000 mph), but more recent research suggests the impact was substantially slower, at 12.8 kilometers per second (28,600 mph). It is believed that about half of the impactor's 300,000 metric tons (330,000 short tons) bulk was vaporized during its descent, before it hit the ground.
Meteor Crater lies at an elevation of about 1,740 m (5,709 ft) above sea level. It is about 1,200 m (4,000 ft) in diameter, some 170 m deep (570 ft), and is surrounded by a rim that rises 45 m (150 ft) above the surrounding plains. The center of the crater is filled with 210–240 m (700–800 ft) of rubble lying above crater bedrock. One of the interesting features of the crater is its squared-off outline, believed to be caused by pre-existing regional
jointing (cracks) in the strata at the impact site.”

From my point of view it’s one big hole in the ground

After seeing the big hole in the ground it was definitely time to get to Winslow and Stand On The Corner

I have been looking forward to this hotel stay at the La Posada Hotel. From the La Posada Web Site:

“La Posada Hotel, the “last great railroad hotel,” offers a unique cultural experience for Southwest travelers. Built in 1929 for the Santa Fe Railway, La Posada is truly one of America’s treasures.

La Posada’s story weaves together two extraordinary visions. It begins with Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and Fred Harvey, who hired Colter to design the hotel. It embodied her vision, from its architecture down to its finely crafted details. But La Posada closed in 1957; for the next 40 years, its future remained tenuous. Enter Allan Affeldt and his wife Tina Mion. Affeldt heard about the hotel and purchased it in 1997 after much negotiation, bringing with him a strong vision and commitment for returning La Posada to Colter’s original concept. Restoration started immediately and continues today, thanks to Affeldt’s efforts and the support of local preservationists, hotel guests, and a talented team of artisans and craftsmen.”

The hotel is stunning – not in a Grand Hotel manner, as it is not very big, but from the character it posses. In addition, the restaurant is superb.

Front Entry

Walkway to Front Door

Front Door

Stairway to 2nd Floor
My room is back past the stairway

One of many sitting areas

Evening clouds

Back Entry
This is the view passengers would see getting off of the train

Front entry at night

Old Santa Fe Depot
This is scheduled to be renovated soon

Today was a busy, but enormously fulfilling day

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