Travels in the American Southwest

Route 66 to Kingman

Friday, 9/5

I was looking forward to this part of the trip as much as MSO who did mounds or research on the Mother Road. Left the South Rim late morning - spent the morning out at Yavapi Observation Center enjoying the views while a ranger answered visitor's questions. Headed south on SR64 watching the Ponderosa Pines give way to creosote and sage. Lots of Navajos have set up shops along the roadside selling jewelry and novelty items. We succumbed to temptation and stopped at Chief Yellowhorse's. Had to try the buffalo jerky (tasted like beef jerky to me!) and get a couple of scorpion in lucite paperweights. We had a pleasant surprise at Red Lake, a Navajo-owned gas station with prices considerably less than normal.

Cruised through Williams restocking the depleted essentials and followed our first leg of Route 66 snapping photos along the way. MSO pointed out sites of interest along the way. Had to join US40 until Crookton Road where Route 66 began again. We rode the deserted two-lane road, taking in the same views that were seen by Tom Joad and his family. We stopped at the Crookton Overpass to snap some photos of the original bridge crossing the railroad tracks. Found some cans bearing church-key openings but they'd been in the sun far too long to decipher what they may have contained. Left them where they were so someone else can enjoy "discovering" them!

Route 66 has be realigned a number of times, today's Mother Road has changed in spots over the decades. It's easy to see some of the road's past alignments, especially the 1921 alignment. A string of telephone poles still follow the course of the old road.

Seligman was our first major stop. We had to have lunch at Snow Cap. The food's fine but you stop here for the show. Expect to be assaulted with puns and a double entendre or two. A b-i-g biker, proudly wearing his colors, came in and was subjected to the full treatment. It was obvious that he had no forewarning of what to expect at the Snow Cap. Of course MSO and I refrained from open laughter at his expense. Wandered around the town enjoying the last of our milkshakes. Seligman's stores specialize in Route 66 memorabilia and museums dedicated to the past abound. Elvis tunes play in many stores with other hit artists of the 50's. Seligman is an offbeat destination and shouldn't be missed.

We cruised through the Hualapai Indian reservation town of Peach Springs and the nearby town of Truxton. The Indian School at Truxton has been long abandoned but when we passed by, there appeared to be renovation work being done to the old building. The sun was getting low in the sky as MSO and I started looking for a place to boondock for the evening. We looked all over even taking Hackberry Road despite the signs of recent flooding, but all the land was posted with No Trespassing notices. (Out west, you don't pass on another's land without prior permission.) Instead, we headed into Kingman.

While cruising down Andy Devine Blvd., Kingman's Main Street, we noticed a pickup truck on the side of the road. Its occupants, a couple of guys, liberally decorated with tattoos, stood by the disabled truck looking most disgusted. It was obvious that they had no spare tire. While I swung the RV around, MSO dug a can of Fix-A-Flat out of our stash. Pulled in behind the pickup, parked and approached them. "Looks like you guys are having a really bad day," I said. The more tattooed of the two looked up, a look of exasperation in his eye. "Yeah. Just one more damn thing that's gone wrong today." I smiled saying, "This may help," tossing him the can. His jaw dropped, first looking at the can, then raising his eyes to mine. "Have a good day, fellas" I said, climbing back into the RV. Their heads swiveled as we pulled out, a look of astonishment replacing exasperation.

Drove through Kingman, stopping at the visitor center on the southside of town. A helpful clerk told us that the RV parks were on the northside of town, circling their location on a local map. We chose the KOA campground which offered full amenities at reasonable prices.

Since we'd had a late lunch and weren't that hungry, we snacked waiting for the sun to set. Later, we cruised through town looking for scenes of an earlier time, but with the exception of Mr. D's cafe and Motel 66, signs of Route 66 are limited to the "historical highway" variety on the side of the road.

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