I admit to being a bit of a Route 66 lover. 'America's Main Street' or the 'Mother Road' as it is known runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. Built in the 1920's it carried fortune seekers, dust bowl evaders and beatniks from the heartland to the dream land of California. Just imagine the stories this road could tell!
Highway realignments and modernization took place over the years as progress and traffic put strains on the old highway. In the 1980's much of Route 66 and the hundreds of small towns along its path were bypassed by the new Interstate highways. Route 66 businesses struggled and most died as did their towns. But modern travelers yearned for the old quieter days of scenic byway travel and there has been a definite rejuvenation of the old towns. The businesses along the route rely mostly on the tourist trade. Their stores and shops now are loaded with Route 66 memorabilia.
Since entering Arizona back in November, we try to drive as much as possible on Route 66 sections. Today we drove to Kingman, about 40 miles East of Bullhead City to take a spin on a large section of Route 66 from Kingman to Seligman. This section is particularly scenic and rumour has it was the scenes, albeit animated, for much of the Cars movie released in 2006. The section we drove was about 87 miles (140 KM).
|Is this rock giving us a one-finger salute??|
|Looks like two rock neighbours talking over the fence.|
|A grumpy old man with a big nose?|
|Beautiful red rock outcroppings.|
From Kingman we drove northeast into the valley area. The first stop we made was the general store at Hackberry. If this was the only sight we saw on the whole road today it would have been worth it. What a great spot. Steeped in history, heated by a wood stove, loaded with old memorabilia and run by a very neat guy that spoke six languages. Tourists from all over the world stop for a photo and maybe buy a few trinkets.
|The yellow sign in the cactus says '300 miles of desert ahead'.|
|Pins, labels and cards from all over the world.|
|This stove heats the store.|
|My new friend|
From this stop we made our way east past the little town of Valentine, then Truxton and onward to Peach Springs.
|Some old buildings are being reclaimed by the landscape.|
|Beautiful and rugged scenery.|
|Remnants of a bygone steam era.|
The little town of Peach Springs (or is it Radiator Springs??!!) borders the Hualapai Indian Reservation. For a fee you can enter their tribal lands and actually drive down into the Grand Canyon.
|Doesn't this look like Luigi's Tire Store in the Cars movie?|
Our next stop was the Grand Canyon Caverns. This is a tourist stop and the attraction is a large underground cavern you can tour. For about $20 they take you down 21 stories in an elevator and a guide gives a very informative 45 minute tour. Lots of cool things down there, like a mummified Bobcat, a replica of a huge four-toed sloth that perished after falling in the hole hundreds of years ago, and a more modern wedding chapel (yes, a wedding chapel!) and living quarters if you decided you wanted to spend a night underground! Apparently they are booked up months in advance.
|This area is called Chapel of the Ages. Weddings are held here. There are also living quarters if you want to spend a night.|
|This guy fell in and broke his hip. He never got out and the dry air along with the calcium has preserved him.|
|A replica of a four-toed sloth that fell into the caverns eons ago.|
|The scratch marks in this rock are from the sloth trying to escape the cavern. They actually found on of its claws embedded in a crack in the stone.|
From the Caverns we made out way southeast to Seligman. By many accounts Seligman is considered the 'home' of Route 66. Some of the local business people there spearheaded the drive to rejuvenate the old highway. Lots of historic buildings and very well kept.
|What self-respecting feed store wouldn't sell ammo!|
It was getting late in the afternoon and we made our way to the Interstate (as thousands do every day) and head back to Kingman and then home to Bullhead City.
.....and that was Our View From Here!