Finally rolling on Route 66
Williams was the easternmost point of our trip. From there, always heading west, looking for Los Angeles. In search of the Pacific ocean. Route 66. So many times read, so many times dreamed, so many times imagined. It stopped being a distant icon and happened to be simply a signal of traffic.
Route 66 is strange. It oscillates between the mythological pilgrimage and the most radical ignorance. As soon as you are in a town that is dedicated body and soul to keep Route 66 alive as you find yourself lost at a crossroads where there is no damn indication. No average term. Purely North American.
The day started with a gargantuan breakfast at the spectacular Bed & Breakfast where we had Come to sleep. Award deserved. Breakfast was up to the rest of the house. In addition, towards a radiant sun and this time it seemed that the cold had been permanently banished. Would it be true?
It was a leisurely morning dedicated to recomposing the luggage puzzle and reviewing the maps. Once on the road, we went for a walk around Williams: the town looked different from the previous day without snow or cold. It is a pleasant town where there are a few shops dedicated to the memories of Route 66 that alternate with bars and shops for local consumption.
One of the things that I loved about the trip through the USA are the vehicles that one leaves. crossing the road. These people really love cars. Well, I think he loves all kinds of pots on wheels. The average size far exceeds what we are used to find in Spain. Huge pick-ups very high or lowered from suspensions to unbelievable extremes. Classic cars of all times. Customizations of all kinds. More than one I would have brought it to Barcelona, but fortunately they did not fit in the Harley’s suitcases. The one I liked the most was one that I found myself walking through Williams. A Volkswagen Beetle prepared to the eyebrows with the style of the classic Californian desert races, the famous Bajas.
Had to get going. It was almost noon and we had only bought a few memories of Route 66. The first kilometers to Ask Fork were quiet. Go down by the same highway that we had climbed dead of cold the previous day. After crossing the town, when we reach mile 139, we finally leave the highway and make a first stretch of road along the classic Route 66.
There are few miles, about 20, which bring us to Seligman, the town where we had slept. Couple of nights before. But then we could not even walk the town. We passed the Motel-Pizzeria where we had stayed and arrived at the center. How to define it? Seligman is the birthplace of the Historic Route 66 Association in Arizona. And the town seems consecrated to Route 66. There are a few souvenir shops of all kinds: plates, cups, stickers, scarves, handkerchiefs, miniatures, crystal balls with snow and a very long etcetera of peculiar yanqui china shop of the most varied. In addition, a few bars with rusted cars from the fifties, old gas stations, … All with a sweet smell of rancid, but with charm. That’s part of what we had come to look for in Route 66, right? …
We shot photos in every detail: luckily, today’s cameras are digital and do not waste reels. From Seligman a good stretch of the classic Route 66 to Kingman, about 70 miles. We left the highway a good distance, and began to savor that road lost in the desert. Numerous remains of abandoned hotels and motels remind us that there was a time when this road was very busy. Today we just travel some travelers.
I expected to cross with more travelers on Route 66, but the truth is that there is very little traffic. In the whole day we hardly met a couple of groups of motorcyclists and some motorhomes. Actually, there is no tourist pressure on the route. The first stop was at a lost point in the world, Grand Canyon Caverns, a cave with a huge dinosaur on the door of a bar where nobody is. We decided not to enter the caves and return to the road.
A series of small towns (the largest does not reach half a hundred inhabitants) mark the road: Peach Springs (was not something similar to the cartoon movie Cars? ), Truxton, Hackberry, … And again, gas stations with a history flavor, among many others abandoned.
The road descends to Kingman, where we return to the museum dedicated to Route 66. This time we did visit it. It is curious. But what we loved was the bar where we ate, all painted in pastel pink and green: a return to the happy fifties. Once again, it seemed that we were in a movie, even by the whistling voice of the girls who attended!
Welcome to Route 66. Live Story.
At the Kingman exit one of the most beautiful stretches of Route 66 is located: There are even curves !. The road winds its way between mountains in a beautiful sunset. The asphalt is somewhat bumpy, but the pleasure of tracing curves makes up for it.
There is no one. During a lot of kilometers it seems that we are in a western movie. Sure, we’re in Arizona. And suddenly, a western town appears. Oatman. With its dusty street, its hall of split doors, its shop of knickknacks, … Moved to the old American west. The truth is that it was nice and suggestive to walk around Oatman, until we found an abandoned coach in an abandoned garden!
Before it got dark, we started walking again to get to the Topock bridge, the border with California. We lost a good time trying to avoid the highway and looking for the remains of Route 66. But nothing, there was no way to cross or find an alternative way: all were cut.
But the surprise was to find the pirate bar by the lake . We had entered California, but one does not expect to be on the same border a sandy beach on a lake with music from beach boys, bikini waitresses, a seaplane, umbrellas and palm trees. From the arid desert to a Californian beach in the blink of an eye. Welcome to California!
Although the welcome was not complete because we could not sleep in the cabins of the lake and have to follow a few miles of highway to Needles, where we arrived at night. A motel, roadside restaurant for dinner and end of the first day on Route 66.
Route route day 8: Friday, April 2, 2010 Route: Route 66 – Williams – Ask Fork – Seligman – Peach Springs – Hackberry – Kingman – Oatman – Topock – NeedlesDistance traveled: 253 miles (407 Kilometers) Accumulated distance: 1,552 miles (2,502 Kilometers)