Dad and I got up early and hit the road running! We followed our guidebook out of New Mexico and into Arizona. It's pretty amazing, after reviewing the guidebook, I'm familiar with the area in most of the pics.
Driving into Quierno Canyon, we had to go through another Indian Reservation. More signs of a hard life, or so it seemed to me. We found the new Quierno Trading Post, a bland steel-pole building. The old trading post was all gone now, just a pile of rubble. I'm glad someone had the foresight to photograph the place, after seeing a picture in a magazine of it, I was really looking forward to seeing the old gal.
Moving on, we went looking for the old "Painted Desert Trading Post". This, above all things so far, is a "must see". Getting there really gives you a feel for how it was driving across the states "way back when." The old Painted Desert Trading Post stands against a beautiful Arizona backdrop. After taking some pics, dad went scavenging around the place and found a few old car parts out back. I found a few lizards inside the place.
Further down the road near the dry river bed, I made a discovery not found in any books or magazines I have ever seen. It made me feel as though I've earned my true "roadie wings".
Facing the entrance to the old building, turn left and take the short walk down to the river. Stop at the cement bridge and look hard at the left cement wall at the entrance of the bridge. Look really hard and you'll see the remnants of an old painted 66 shield. My guess is that this dates back to the earliest part of 66.
Looking into the creek bed, dad and I found about a half dozen old wrecked cars. Coming back on the abandoned stretch of road towards I-40 you can see another old hulk, a Model A, to your left, and yet another stretch of overgrown road. (look for the wooden "H" in the fencing to your right.
We did the "touristy" thing and drove through the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. We took the small strip of pavement thru the Geronimo Trading Post area, and stopped off to take a pic of the famous HERE IT IS! sign at the Jackrabbit. Inside the trading post, they have an item to die for. An authentic road sign unlike any I've ever seen. It was made from a section of plywood, approximately 3'X4', with the 66 and 180 shields. It had an Arizona DOT sticker affixed and worn enough to look real.
Moving west, another place worth a visit is Meteor City, a large white geodesic dome just off the Interstate. It was burned to the ground in a fire in 1990, but it has been rebuilt by owners Dale and Judi - two of the nicest people on the road today. Be sure to check out the world's largest Route 66 Map - a "work in progress" by Bob Waldmire.
We rolled through Winslow for a late breakfast at the classic roadside Falcon Restaurant, recently purchased by new owners. The food is still good, I wish them success on their new purchase.
After a stop at the Harley shop outside of Flagstaff, I picked up a way too expensive shirt at the cafe next door. Inside the Harley show you'll find remnants, signs and related artifacts from the ghost town of Bellemont. This may upset the tried and true roadie, until you find that there is virtually nothing, except for a single old building, left of Bellemont. At least these artifacts are preserved where the public can see them I guess.
The road to the Harley shop, and further down to the Pine Breeze Inn, has been recently paved. You can still see the old cement stretches just past the Inn. The old Whiting Brothers signs are all gone now, I'm glad I got a pic of them in 91. (be sure to see my 91 pics elsewhere on this site)
We took a wonderful pre-'41 alignment of highway on the other side of the Interstate that took us all the way to Williams. Williams is a great little town and I just love the place. Dad and I spent a few hours walking the quaint streets in the old section of town. Beautiful! I have to remember to check land prices while I'm here.
Our day ended with a night at the Route 66 Inn. Clean, comfortable, and recently renovated. It's the most we've paid for a room on our entire trip down 66 ($60), but the hospitality of the owners is second to none! Stay here and you will NOT be disappointed!
Tomorrow morning, we have a few housekeeping duties to attend to - washing clothes and an oil change for the car (3000 miles so far!), so it looks like we'll get a late start. Hope to get as far as Kingman tomorrow. We'll see...
(in the pic below, you can see the old Painted Desert Trading Post off in the distance)
Well, it finally happened. Three thousand miles into the trip and we met the first jerk. But more on that in a minute.
We got up, checked out of the motel and stopped into the local Safeway food store to stock up on provisions. We got our clothes washed at the laundromat and met a really nice guy who heartily recommended relocating to Williams.
Then, it happened.
On the way out of town, we noticed that we racked up major miles on the rental and needed the oil change. We stopped in at the Chevron by the Interstate, but unfortunately, they were too busy. We checked another station right next door and were met by "Mr. Personality". Keep in mind we had just met the guy. The Conversation went like this:
Jerk - "Can I help you gentlemen?"
Us- "We'd like to know if you can do an oil change."
Jerk - "You went to the other guy first!"
Us - "Yeah....we had a Chevron card - can you do the oil change?"
Jerk - "Nope! Go back to the other guy, HE can do it for you!"
At first I thought the old guy was joking. Then I realized that he wasn't. Here we are, at one of the nicest places we have seen on the entire route, and we run into King Jerk. I kinda felt sorry for the old coot, he can probably count his friends on one finger. If not, I could always count them for him....
Tact prohibits me from saying more, other than he is REAL CLOSE to the Chevron. If you're in need of car service, stop by the Chevron if you can. Good guys there. On your way out, wave to "Mr. Personality."
Well, back on the old highway for, so far, what has been the best part of the trip. I know, I've said that before, but this road just keeps getting better!
Our first stop was at the Devil Dog Road exit for a short run on the bike trail sections of Route 66. This part of the road cuts thru some incredible forests and great views of the mountains. A word of warning though, it's best for an SUV, but you CAN do this section of road in a standard sedan. Just go slow. Real, real slow! If you are on a motorcycle or a classic car, I would NOT suggest this stretch.
Still more trip tales ->
1999 trip pics