Monday, March 6, 2017

Road Trippin' - Part 5: Route 66 to home

Day 8 Route 66

Route 66
After checking out if our room at the Grand Canyon we headed south to Williams.  It’s only about an hour from the canyon and the winery Hubby wanted to visit didn’t open until Noon.  Looking for something to do I suggested we head up to Slagman by way of Route 66.  I wanted to get a picture of a Route 66 road shield out in the middle of nowhere and knew there was one just before Slagman.  To get to this portion of Route 66 we had to take I40 for a few miles and exit at Crookston.   Route 66 is just off the exit ramp and to my surprise there was a road shield not too far from the ramp with a pull out to stop and take pictures.  Hubby pulled over so I could jump out and snap a quick pic.  I wanted to get one with our car and us in front of the shield, but Hubby said we couldn’t block the road.  If we were quick about it we probably could of, since we drove all the way to Slagman without seeing another vehicle.  Just before reaching Slagman, we stopped at the other the road shield for another quick pic.  

Roadkill Cafe, Slagman, AZ
We drove through town to see what was there first.  We found a few interesting stores to stop and look around, bought a few souvenirs and had lunch at the Roadkill Café.  I always thought this place was made up, I had no idea it was a real restaurant.  The menu was interesting.  They served the usual café foods, hamburgers, chicken fingers, typical  things you’d find at any roadside café, but everything had funny names.  The burrito was called a Rolled-up Skunk, there was a chicken sandwich called the High Speed Special and was described as something about this was one chicken that didn’t make it across the road.   I took a pic of the menu front cover, but now I wish I had taken a few of the menu choices too, they were funny.  The most unusual item on the menu (maybe not for the locals since this is buffalo and elk country) was the buffalo and elk burgers.  I tried the elk burger, it had a little different taste to it but was good.  Over lunch we debated going farther west on 66.  Hubby was getting tired of driving but was willing to go as far as Kingman.  There’s not much along this stretch of road anymore.  We passed though Peach Springs and Truxton which were pretty much ghost towns, and stopped in Hackberry at an old service station turned Route

Hackberry General Store
66 shrine.  This place looked like it wasn't suppose to be open for business.  They had several old cars sitting in the yard and 2 old gas pumps.  The inside was filled with Route 66 memorabilia and merchandise.  We didn’t need any more stuff, we bought a bunch of it in Slagman, but they had Route 66 soda, so we each bought a bottle of Root Beer.   In Valle View we thought it was strange that out in the middle of the dessert there were large plots of green that could be seen at the base of the mountains.  After driving a little farther, we saw a sign for a golf course and figured all that green must have been the gulf course or they were raising sod for the gulf course.  We arrived in
Growing sod in the desert?
Kingman and had planned on spending the night there, but since it was only about an hour and half back to Williams on I40 we just headed back.  I was fine with that, I just wanted to say I had traveled Route 66 even if it was just a short distance, actually it was close to 120 miles.

Back in Williams we stopped at Grand Canyon Wine Company and sampled the whole list.  I wasn’t a fan of the reds but I found a few whites that I liked.  Hubby wanted to stop there because he like the novelty of wine in a can and was planning on buying a pack whither he liked it or not; luckily, he did.
We got a room in Williams for the night.  The next morning, we were planning on heading to Walnut Canyon near Flagstaff and spending the night in Holbrook at the Wigwam Motel before heading home; but there was a major snow storm heading our way.  They were talking up to a foot of snow or more; so we decided not to push our luck. We knew if we stayed any longer we would be stuck there for a few days.  We came in to Arizona on the tail end of a large storm and were leaving just as a new one was blowing in.

When I was researching places along Route 66, I found a few I knew we would pass on I40.  Outside Flagstaff we passed Twin Arrows trading post.  The building has long since been abandoned and vandalized but the twin arrows were still there and viewable even at 75 mph.  The next one I was looking for was Two Guns just outside of Winslow.  From the freeway, I could see the stone gate that reads Mountain Lions and a few of the old buildings that were now in ruins.  This is one spot I kind of wanted to stop, but then again didn’t because it’s supposedly cursed.  It has a very volatile history, starting with the murder of 42 Apache Indians in 1878, the cold-blooded murder of a land owner in the 20’s, financial ruin of anybody who owned the property and a suicide in the early 2000's.  You can't tell me a place can hold that much tragedy and misfortune and not have them related somehow.  You can read more about it here.

In Lupon we stopped at Chief Yellowhorse Trading on the Arizona / New Mexico border. I remember stopping there on our first trip when I bought a wedding vase which broke several years ago, I was hoping to get another one this trip but everywhere I saw them, they were well out of my price range.  I thought Chief Yellowhorse would have them but the store was pretty bare with a clearance sign out front.  I did pick up a nice woven blanket though.  

Blue Swallow Motel, Tumcumcari, MN
We stopped for the night in Tumcumcari.  Hubby wanted to get a hotel room off of the interstate but I talked him into staying at the Blue Swallow Motel off Route 66.   Since I didn’t get to stay at the Wigwam, I figured the Blue Swallow was then next best thing.    When we first pulled into town I began to wonder if this was such a good idea.  The whole west side of town was run down with abandoned businesses.  We started to wonder if this was really a good place to stop.  As we got farther into town things improved a little, but still many of the old Route 66 hotels were out of business or in a state of disrepair.  We had called ahead and was lucky enough to get one of the last rooms available.  The Blue Swallow is one of the few thriving businesses in this little town.  The owners really love their little motel and it shows.  For a 75 year old motel it was very well maintained.  The rooms were all restored to look like they did in the 50’s complete with a working rotary phone, vintage tv, and a 1957 copy of National Geographic.  That’s not to say there wasn’t modern creature comforts.  We had Wi-Fi access and a flat screen tv with cable and a community area with an ice machine and laundry facilities.  Each room had a little garage attached between the rooms.  We didn’t look in our garage but others had theirs open and they were painted with 50’s themes.  Each unit had a couple lawn chairs outside the door for sitting outside to visit with your neighbors and there was a community picnic table and what looked like a giant fire pit with grill.  I could imagine Route 66 travelers gathering here to relax after a long day on the road, sharing conversation and cooking dinner.  It was fun to be able to stay there and feel like we had stepped back in time.

We drove from Tucumcari to El Dorado, Kanas, and from El Dorado to home.  We got home around 8:30 pm and I wasn’t happy to see the condition of the house.  It was a disaster, the sink was full of dishes (I don’t think they washed any dishes the whole time we were gone), nobody bothered to do laundry so the hampers were over flowing.  Alison told me she went grocery shopping and was so proud of herself for buying healthy foods.  That included 3 cases of pop, pudding cups, and lots of cheese.  She thinks she’s a vegetarian, but she really doesn’t like vegetables so she eats mostly cheese.  She bought a 2-lb. brick of cheese, a 2-lb. bag of shredded cheese, two tubs of cottage cheese, two tubs of cream cheese and a box of frozen mozzarella cheese sticks.  She’s 19 and planning on moving out in a few months, I think we need to have a little lesson on Adulting 101.


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