Saturday, July 9, 2011

Route 66 Day Seven

Day seven is Wednesday the 29th. We are up bright and early today, on the road by 7:30 a.m. The pre-1952 Route 66 is an Arizona mountain road, full of steep drops and tight curves. This road was chosen because of the gold found in the mountains. Throughout this trip, we are continuing to discover the weird and wonderful. Here is a useful item in the middle of a desert.

Along the way we were moved by the number of personal roadside shrines along the highway. In Golden Shores, we found the traditional personal roadside displays like this

While driving the road to Oatman, we also discovered a Korean war shrine a bit off the road on a rocky dirt road that was a challenge to drive. But we were glad we did as the shrine was moving and the view was spectacular.

Oatman is our next stop and it is a true Wild West town. If I had lived in those days, this is how I would have ended up about two days after arriving.

Oatman is the home of the wild burros who are the descendants of the animals used in the mines. Now, they are master beggars but who cares when it so much fun. Denice managed to get them so agitated that one of the shop owners had to threaten them with a spray bottle which in burro means big trouble.

Me, I just stuck to feeding one at a time. And turning them into models for the day. This guy may end up a saddle bag if he cannot read.

For you movie trivia folks, the Oatman Hotel is where Clack Gable and Carol Lombard spent their honeymoon here after getting married in Kingman. The temperament of Oatman is a bit hot

as was the temperature.

Next we were off into the hairpin curves outside Sitgraves Pass. Gorgeous scenery and one spectacular view of the switchbacks themselves. Once again, we come across a very personal roadside shrine location and are moved by the memories and the view.

Through Cool Springs (yeah--right!!) and into Kingman where we went to a store for supplies that was a retro tribute to the road. There, we met a guy whose electrical business in Chicago went bankrupt so he left his house and staff behind and came out to Cool Springs. He bought a truck and is doing electrical work for whomever. He seems really happy.

Next it was into Kingman where we had lunch at the first place we found: Bangkok Thai Cuisine. A few blocks down the street was a cool retro cafe and a bunch of tourist things so we did them. The cool locomotive in Locomotive Park was a great distraction.

Next was the Powerhouse, home to the Route 66 museum. The cars in these museums always look so good to me.

In our continuing effort to document the weird, a could not help but wonder how the parents explained the two statutes that flanked the entrance to the Hilltop Hotel.

Check out the motto on their sign and maybe that explains it.

Kingman had a boodle of hotel signs but my favorite, shown below, points out the difficulty of access on this trip. Sometimes I could not just get my butt to where I wanted it to get the photo I needed to take. Here, the angle is too steep but there was no easy place to go to get a better one. Also a huge number of my photos were taken during the day with no cloud cover so there goes the "good" light. Ah, reality check.

Next up was Antares, home of the Ranchero Motel and a giant Tiki head where the hotel is gone but the head remains. I would have junked it but it was too big to fit in the van.

We next made a stop at Hackberry and the Hackberry General Store which has a great collection of cars in the yard. The cool thing about cars in the West is that not only do they rust (although where the water comes from who knows) but the sun bakes the colors right off the vehicles. Gorgeous.

While I was outside shooting the old cars, Denice met a man more to her liking inside the store.

In Truxton, I found this beautiful roadside shrine.

A great old gas station is in Peach Springs and some more cool cars pooped us out so much we decided to stay at the Supai Lodge, the home of the Havasupai Indians. When I got to the front desk, the staff was nice enough to give me all the details about the room--then tell me they had no vacancies. I guess it always pays to ask the right question first.

We then decided to try to drive to the bottom of the Grand Canyon only to discover that the road runs through Indian territory, you need a permit and the entire route is car eating dirt. At this point, it would be safe to say that things are not going our way.

Seligman proved the salvation. Not only did it have a cool bike shop.

We checked into a great throwback place, the Historic Route 66 Motel, which had the added pleasure of the youngest clerk in the business named Marius (probably a four-year-old). He helped checked us in, gave us directions to our room and helped us log onto the Internet.

We walked next door for dinner at the Roadkill Cafe. While eating our great food, Denice invited a man named Ken to our table when his was mistakenly taken by a couple coming to eat. Ken told us about his life on a ranch in Colorado, his upcoming family reunion, and all about his RV and dogs. He was a great guy to meet and we added this night to our short list of top ten best things.
After dinner, I headed out to shoot a few neon signs in the town of Seligman, and then it was to bed.

Miles today: 186

Total Miles for trip: 2,615

You can see all the photos from this trip at

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