Category Archives: Flagstaff

We got our kicks on Route 66

“If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
Now you go through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don’t forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino.”

And, this morning, we motored through San Bernardino to complete our last port of call from the song…except that wasn’t where the road ended!  We could have taken a photo of the sign but, no, it was a proper visit to the City Hall, the County Court and even the Sheriff’s Department Rehabilitation Center!!

Santa Monica Pier is the officially designated end of Route 66, so 5,080 miles after leaving Chicago we proudly posed underneath the sign which declared we had reached the end. We did it!!  We have been everywhere and then some. We have walked miles, as well, around all the places of interest we found along the way and have loved the diverse experiences throughout our journey.

Even today, we were having random conversations with a group of Hillary Clinton supporters and a couple of American ladies who had done part of the 66 but via the direct route, i.e. on the freeway. I met a guy, whilst queuing for iced coffee, who was convinced I was Australian.  He had made a long trip to the coast from south of Las Vegas!!  Whacky folk some of these Americans  spotted on the road today:

i feel so proud and pleased that we have completed this huge adventure but at the same time would love to go on and do more. Not this time. Thanks to both our families for encouraging our dream and thanks, particularly, to Carolyn for making sure we did everything we set out to do and never giving up… even if finding some of the places proved geographically challenging! I’ve said it before but it has been a truly awesome experience.

Carolyn’s Curios

So, for the last time (this trip!), I get to add some outtakes from our travelogue. Would it be about tonight when two staff at the hotel separately responded to my request, “Excuse me but could you tell me where the restaurant is, please?” by providing directions to… the Rest Rooms?!

Or, the discussion with the Hillary Clinton team on Santa Monica Pier where we agreed both on the distaste for Trump and the Brexit decision? Politics often divides but here it brought us together.

Maybe, the girl drummer of a family rock band playing “Twist and Shout” amongst others on the Pier. I mentioned to her that I had been playing drums to that music before her parents had been born! But, they were a good young band – a combination of White Stripes and Hanson, if you can imagine that.

Perhaps, that there were three separate and competing evangelical preaching groups on the Saturday afternoon in the sunshine at the seaside.

This journey has reached its natural geographical conclusion and, like Kath, I must say, again, my thanks to the family, especially Ann, for encouraging me to take up this opportunity and, of course, Kath, herself, for sharing the dream. We doubled the planned mileage; we added on every single day to the activities we had originally envisaged. We laughed consistently, marvelled frequently and enjoyed immensely.

A final couple of curios… why did they name this town as they did?!

fullsizerender

And, as I was driving on the five lane traffic jammed roads in Los Angeles after leaving the deserted, scrub surrounded, traffic-free, seemingly endlessly straight Route 66, it occurred to me that:

“The obese body of L.A. was sprawling across the canapé of the California landscape

with its concrete arteries clogged with car shaped cholesterol.”

And, we had fallen in love with the Original Historic Route 66. Its reputation is justified, its magic is real and its attraction, albeit being slowly submerged, is worth visiting and preserving. Catch it while you can. We did.

Take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy 🎼🎤

We left our tepee fairly early and, at that particular moment, we were still fairly confused as to the correct time. Our watches said one thing but the phones said one hour earlier. We knew yesterday that, within the national park, the State of Arizona adopted standard Mountain Time, ie not Summer Time, but our experiences today indicate that it appears to apply throughout. Therefore, in line with California, we are 8 hours from the UK.

Just a mile or two down the road we found the Jack Rabbit Trading Post sign, which is a bit of an icon on Route 66.  It looks tired compared to examples in the books so we had to have fun with the jack rabbit metal model – of course, we did!

The day had been designated by us as a ‘rest day’. In other words, it wasn’t far to Williams, so a gentle drive and early arrival we thought. Pah!!  Where better to go than Winslow to take it easy with The Eagles?  What a great place for Route 66ers and Eagles fans alike.  We found a statue, murals, quaint shop frontages and a delicious brunch at Sipp Shoppe. So far, so good.

The next detour (only about 12 miles each way!) was to a world famous meteor crater, used by astronauts for training and for imagining the appearance of the moon’s surface. It was hot and required a bit of effort (because of the altitude) to walk up to the top viewing platform but the views of both the crater and the landscape were well worth the effort.  Once again, huge efforts have been put into a theatre, learning centre and we both agreed the detour to be very worth while. We’re pictured above with Eduardo, the Director of Guides and the third largest piece of meteor in the world

On with the journey.  Next stop, Flagstaff, but don’t forget Winona.  I will leave Winona to Carolyn and say how much I enjoyed ‘Old Town’ Flagstaff.  The town has, obviously, sprawled outwards but the old town, which is right on Route 66, is full of olde world charm.  We were looking for a burger bar where you can grill your own burgers but struggled to find the right place, which appeared to be out of town.  A young couple suggested the finest burger place in town was Diabalo.  Carolyn said the burger was indeed mighty fine and I can confirm the house salad with blue cheese and ranch dressing was equally so.  We had some great conversation, too, with our companions on a shared table – a young couple who live in Phoenix but  have, unusually for Americans, visited the U.K.

No more diversions. We crossed the Arizona Divide at an altitude of 7,335 ft and cruised into Williams (a mere 6,800 ft) to find our hotel.  No tepee tonight and a bit more space.  Grand Canyon tomorrow – excited!

Carolyn’s Curios

OK. Winona. The lyrics of ‘Route 66’ have Winona out of order geographically and the writer, Bobby Troup, only included it to rhyme with Arizona. However, the words say “Don’t forget Winona”. So, ever obedient (when it suits!) we headed for Winona. Armed with a Sat. Nav., guide book, signposted roads and a good sense of direction, what could go wrong? But, it did. We left the I40 at the designated junction which was signposted ‘Winona’. What could go wrong? Only half a mile away. As we left the Interstate, another sign, simply ‘Winona’ with an arrow which we followed. But, where? We drove west. No! Back East! No! Looked for side roads. No! Reset Sat. Nav. Retraced route. No! No! No! Tonight, I researched online to find it barely exists and “which, alas, is now little more than a name on the exit sign along I-40.” It, also, said it is was called ‘Walnut’. Thanks! We didn’t find ‘Winona’ but we won’t forget it!!! But, we did find Walnut Bridge

Brunch in Winslow was excellent! One of the best experiences for me – music and memories! Take it easy? Sure. But, …

“Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.”

I’d like to add two photos to Kath’s because I was ‘chuffed’ I’d taken them. Simply that.

imageimage

Meteor Crater was another breathtaking set of views. The brickwork formed a surreal picture frame and the panorama was hard to capture.

imageimage

Strange things happen when you look. Three women of a certain age, together with their husbands, entered Sipp Shoppe where we were having brunch. Nothing unusual … unless you noticed they had identical white trousers and pink t-shirts which all proclaimed ‘Sisters – nothing better!’ Fine. Except, within minutes they all had changed into identical black t-shirts advising everyone to ‘Take it Easy on Route 66’. Hmm!

Flagstaff? Really interesting place with so many things to look at and photo. Me? I did a photo of a Flagstaff flagstaff! What else?

Meep! Meep! We saw a (wily?) coyote a few days ago and yesterday, truly, Roadrunner! Zipping across the road in front of me  I couldn’t take a photo but a sign today reminded me.

image

So, very long trains (145 wagons and five engines),  meteor crater, our new friends, Eduardo and the couple at Diabalo’s… and the day ends … but the journey … and, the ellipses … continue!