Day 15, hard to believe. We will be in Santa Monica Monday night, so that means only three more KIT™ entries... Then it will be family and friend time. Anyhoo, on with the program.
Yes - I used the jacuzzi after dinner, both of which were wonderful. Sakura was a Japanese style teppanyaki style service, and we had the whole table to ourselves. Rueben was our chef (he was a hoot) and he has been doing if for eight years, and our waiter was pretty cool as well (he is getting ready to move to Michigan with his fiancee). We enjoyed talking with both of them and and we are pretty sure they enjoyed it as well.
The first town for us outside of Flagstaff was Bellmonte. There was some of the original road there, and we had to go down an abandoned spur. But it was worth it, we found the Pine Breeze Inn, and an abandoned gas station (the whole thing was for sale). This is where part of Easy Rider was filmed. We love the Flagstaff area, and I could easily see us living someplace like this. We always talk about alternate locations for retirement, but always come back to keeping Nutwood and traveling to see other places (either renting or having a trailer). The third shot was on the same spur, at a Harley Dealer, and I loved the tree made out of exhaust pipes. We then headed down to the other direction on the spur and found this old rough road, with reddish pavement, that we followed for several miles into the trees. We had to slow down to 5 mph in some spots to save the suspension.
As we continued our drive we entered the Kaibab National Forest, and this was an amazing drive through the trees. We reached Brannigan Park, the highest point on Route 66, at 7410 feet (the road is circa 1921-1941 here). As we traveled a few more miles, we were outside Parks, AZ and found this 1921 spur where the pavement had been all decayed or removed. We hiked in a ways, it was smelled of pine and was very serene, even though you could hear the the traffic on I-40 in the distance. This area was my favorite of the day, and I hope we can return some day with a trailer and explore this area.
A few more miles down the route we came to Deer Farm, a petting zoo in the middle of the forest, that was doing good business. We were going to go in and feed the deer, something that would be fun to do, but at $10 a head for something we would only spend 15 minutes doing, we took a pass. As we continued down this dirt/gravel stretch of the Mother Road, we came upon a true cattle drive. We slowly came to a stop, and if we tried to move forward, some of the cows only feet from the car would be spooked. So we just sat there and watched the wranglers (real cowboys) move the cows around us. It was unexpected and one of our highlights of the day. Since I was driving, I could only get a picture after they had passed.
The award for best town of the day with Route 66 spirit goes to Williams, AZ. This is a wonderful town with lots of shops, restaurants, saloons, and motels that have been restored. For the 10th year in a row, there was a motorcycle "Hog" rally starting today, so there was lots of activity. We selected a quieter spot for lunch a few blocks from the rally at Rod's Steakhouse. I was able to get a salad with awesome Blue Cheese dressing, a ribeye, and wedge fries for $9 - it was delish! This was a one-way road, and we parked past the entrance, and when we looked up we could not help but laugh at the sign, embiginate it to read it.
Phew! As you can see, today was a busy day, we had 150 miles to go, with the things to see, it is a challenge. So, taking a breath here before we continue on... After Williams, we passed through Ash Fork, and then started on an approximately 150 mile stretch of original Route 66 routing (not always over the original road, but always close).
So, lets continue. We soldiered on to Seligman, where for a small town there was some clever Route 66 places. First was a shop, the Rusty Bolt, that had numerous specific mannequins. Then we stopped at Delgadillo's Snow Cap for an ice-cream cone. Although Juan passed away eight years ago, his family continues the tradition of playing pranks on the customers. Beth ordered a vanilla cone and the server asked is she wanted the half-off special and held up half a cone; then after Beth said no, a whole cone please, he held up the top half of the cone but showing a whole circle; then Beth had to ask for an entire cone. It was fun to be in line and watch other pranks played on other customers. Worth the stop.
After Seligman, we started a stretch of road that was as flat and as straight as anyone could imagine. The next entry worthy spot was Peach Springs, headquarters of the Haulapai Reservation. There were cultural centers and a visitor center. Also in Peach Springs was Osterman's Shell, built in 1932.
Our last little town before Kingman was Hackberry, where we visited the General Store. Bob Waldmire was a local artist that spent many years promoting Route 66, and after his passing, his family continues the business.
Then just outside of Hackberry, for no apparent nor documented reason, is an Easter Island Moai (a tiki head???). I dare you to look at this and not smile...
Once we got into Kingman, we toured around, checked into our hotel, rearranged luggage (we only take in 3-4 days of clothes, with the bulk in the trunk), and they headed out for dinner. We went Italian tonight, and it was a pleasant change of pace (the Chianti was not bad either :o). The highlight of the day was the variety of terrain - mountain forest, desert plains, rocky outcroppings.
I leave you with this last observation, since we have been out west, following the train tracks, I am amazed at how many trains are carrying cargo into the heartland and beyond. I can safely say that we have seen a new train moving East on the average of every 30 minutes over the last 3-4 days. It is amazing to see.