Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 4 – Las Vegas – Grand Canyon – 21st June

There are a couple of side trips suggested on Route 66, one is Vegas and the other is Grand Canyon, so the plan was to try for the double this trip. Departing the city of glitz at 0700 we diverted across the border into Arizona via nearby Boulder City to view that huge man-made structure that is Hoover Dam... before scooting down the 95 and back into California at Needles. Famous for being one of the hottest places in the US... it was also home to Charles Schulz, the peanuts cartoonist.
The Colorado River borders California and Arizona, a logical playground for any water sport enthusiast but not for us this time. Ours was about chasing our tails finding just where route 66 used to go... eventually leading us to Topock.
At Silver Dollar in the middle of nowhere we ran into a recently converted tow truck depot... once the home of the Phillips 66 Fuel stop.
In the hills further north is Oatman – the once prosperous mining town has been brought back from the depths of ghostville thanks to the innovation of the locals in drumming up tourism! We arrived at high noon and in any small American town of this vintage there’s a gun fight in the main street.... isn’t there? Its claim to fame is being the honeymoon town for Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.
Across the rocky divide before Kingman is the Cool Springs Road House. George wasn’t pumping gas (which we could have done with) but he was feeding Hedley, his semi friendly road runner who pops in from time to time for some steak.
The hungry Mustang made the Kingman Roadhouse on fumes... the big V8, while doing OK in the fuel stakes (19.7 mpg on a good day) doesn’t come with the largest of tanks and we’ll be more careful in the days ahead. A yard full of old classics for sale looked like it hadn’t even had a tyre kicker for several years...
D’s Diner started in 1928 in Kingman and is still running today... we feasted on a cheeseburger, onion rings and salad with more dressing than a mummy.... oh happy days! This is a town full of Route 66 memorabilia, Kingman Steakhouse, The Outpost Saloon and the list goes on.. you could spend a day here and probably only just scratch the surface.
Down the road at Hackbury another classic example of bringing the past forward. The owner lovingly bringing life back to the road even if he is Corvette mad! Some 500 visitors file through these doors every day in summer and amazingly only 15% of them are Americans.
We signed the wall with everyone else in Valentine... appropriately ours above a newspaper sighting Woodrow Wilson’s death a few decades earlier. According to Paul’s Grandad Bill, the former US president was a first cousin of his fathers.
Seligman must have more nostalgia per square foot or per capita than anywhere else! The entire street seems dedicated to preserving America’s main street.
There are two sides to Ash Fork, a one way street in each direction and judging by the abandoned buildings and general shabby nature of her appearance.
We slipped off the main route and down to Grand Canyon to witness the sunset on those magnificent canyon walls... before retreating to Tusayan for the night... and a quick look at the Grand Canyon on the big Imax screen.
It’s been a long day, nearly 400 miles and dozens of stops for nothing more than nostalgia... we can only hope it’s not as busy again tomorrow... which should see us across Arizona and approaching  New Mexico.

Hoover Dam

The Road Ahead

Top Class Water Sports Venue - Colorado River

Converted Gas Station - Silver Dollar

High Noon - Oatman

No Gas! - Cool Springs
George with Nedley the Road Runner - Beep Beep!

Happy Days


D's Diner

Valentine AZ

Road House at Valentine

OK so he loves Corvettes

R66 Nostalgia

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

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