Thursday, December 22, 2016

Arizona - Williams


It's hard to pack when you're crying, but we managed. Good-byes were said all the way around on the morning of November 8, 2016. Sherrie, Eric and Lilly headed off to the airport and we headed to Williams, AZ and Route 66. Chuck and Gina stayed behind in their now peaceful home!
The drive to Williams takes you through the mountains with great views. It is always a slow climb in the RV, but of course going down the other side is a different story. We are always thankful when we don't need to use a truck run-off or when we don't see a truck using one. Especially this one seeing it is on the left side of the road, probably not the best side to be entering a run-off when your large semi is out of control.
The Grand Canyon Railway RV Resort was home for the week. It is a large complex that has a hotel, two restaurants, gift shops, a dog kennel and of course the RV park. The station for the Grand Canyon train is on this property as well. They run to and from the canyon twice a day and they have a Polar Express Train this time of year. The RV park is all asphalt and gravel. The sites are about average width and just long enough for our RV and parking the car. There is laundry and bathroom/showers on site. WiFi was okay but not great, the signal on our Verizon phones and jetpack were strong. The biggest down side was that you are right next to the train tracks and a crossing, and trains run all day and night. We paid $24.00 a night with our Passport America discount.

Of course the Grand Canyon was a must from this spot, we were about an hour south and the drive there and back is quite pretty. Les had been to the canyon before but it was the first time for Nancy.
We started off at the South Rim Visitor Center. There is a large revolving earth suspended from the ceiling that has ever changing pictures on it.

Mather Point is a short walk from the visitor center and where you can pick up the Rim Trail. It was really windy which made it pretty cold so we didn't hike very far. The weather did help to slim the crowds down some. The views are just amazing. Again, like we have said before pictures and words just don't do it justice. The enormity of it is indescribable.

The colors of the rocks, the rise and fall of the earth, the trees and the river winding its way through - wow!

From Mather Point we drove to the Desert View Watchtower. It is a re-creation of an Indian Watchtower.
It was designed and built as a Harvey House, by Mary Colter. This is the second building of hers we have seen, she designed many for the Fred Harvey Co.
It is a very interesting building. You enter into a round observation room with a small gift shop. Directly above this room is an outdoor observation deck, The views can't be beat.
The tower ceiling

 A curved staircase takes you to each landing in the tower. There are numerous Indian paintings of the "Hopi Snake Dance" by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. The top landing has windows that give you incredible views. The ceiling is also covered in drawings.

We stopped at all of the overlooks along the drive from Mather Point to the tower.

You can see Desert View Tower from Navajo Point and Les and Mielikki are enjoying the view from Grandview Point.

We have seen some funny shaped rocks in our travels but Duck Rock might be the best.

We continued our exploration of Route 66, first in Flagstaff where the Motel DuBeau and Hotel Monte Vista are still in operation. The DuBeau is now a combination hostel and motel. In the 30's it was listed in the Green Book as a safe place for African American travelers.

We also found some Roadside Oddities. The Lumberjack Muffler Man reminds us of Paul Bunyan, he is just missing Babe. Seeing Flagstaff is in the middle of the world's largest Ponderosa Forest, lumberjacks and eagles seem fitting.
 We had to back track some of the route as Nancy forgot that the Arizona Peter Wolf Toth Indian carving is in Winslow and we didn't get to it on our first stop there. This was the 33rd carving and was built in 1974 out of Ponderosa Pine and stands 40-feet tall. We are so glad we went back to get the pictures as it is quite a nice one.

While we were back tracking we hit a few sites that we passed in the dark on our last time through.

Twin Arrows being one, it is an abandoned gas station and cafe, but the local people keep the arrows maintained. There is some cool graffiti on the old buildings.

Second, was the Mountain Lion Safari and KOA Camp in Two Guns. Now it is just a few walls of the entrance gate and some abandoned buildings along with the old water towers that have some extra artwork added to them. 

While we were this far back on the route we decided to head back to the Painted Desert Indian Center where Les found a pipe the first time we stopped there but didn't get it.
Jack Rabbit Trading Post, famous for its "Here It Is" bumper stickers was another stop. This is the first time we have back tracked past the previous campground - good thing Les likes to drive.

A stop at the Walnut Canyon Bridge finished off our back tracking. It is a Parker Truss bridge built in the early 40's. While it is closed to traffic it is listed on the National Park Service Register of Historic Places.

Heading out into new Route 66 territory we went west one day to Hackberry.
This is a great stretch of road, one of the longest continuous sections left of the entire route, over 100-miles. The drive was beautiful, and once again we tried to imagine what it was like back in the 30's and 40's.

First stop was in Ashfork, where we found the DeSoto's Salon that has an old DeSoto on the roof.

Along the road from Ashfork to Seligman there are Burma Shave signs which always give us a chuckle.
Seligman is the most active town on the stretch of the route, with a number of shops and restaurants.
We stopped at the Delgadillos Snow-cap Drive-in as it came highly recommend by our niece Gina. We were not disappointed. The building is surrounded by old cars, signs, and other memorabilia like old toilets! The owner is known for their sense of humor and it can be seen in some of the displays as well as the pranks and funny comments the waitstaff have waiting for you.
The small hallway you stand in to place your order is so full of money, notes, business cards and photos that there is not  a single open spot. We did find a place to leave our card. The money comes from all over the world, there is some pretty interesting money out there, makes ours look even more boring than it is. The chocolate malts were very good. We wandered the town while enjoying them.

The Copper Cart has some cool old cars in its lot. The Rusty Bolt is the craziest place in town, with all of it's mannequins standing guard.
Angel & Vilma's Gift Shop and Visitor Center is one of the oldest and they have lots of fun tourist items and local art. Angel, the owner has extensive knowledge of the history of Route 66 and his stories helped to inspire the producer of the Pixar movie Cars.

There are still a number of motels in operation and if you are really hungry you could get a bite to eat at the Roadkill Cafe.
It's not unusual to see someone taking their horse for a walk downtown.

There is not much between Seligman and Hackberry. In Peach Springs there are a couple of old buildings from back in the day.

 In Hackberry we stopped at the Hackberry General Store. It is an odd little place, hardly any merchandise to purchase.
They do have a giant green head outside and an actual phone booth. Based on the row of mailboxes there are a few people who live here.
We had read in our Route 66 book that the sign for the Frontier Motel had under gone renovations. As we approached it we thought we had read it wrong. That is until we drove past and looked back to discover only one side had been fixed.

The rocks looked like castles sitting on top of the hills and the clouds where very cool.

We spent one afternoon wandering downtown Williams. It is just a couple of blocks from the campground so we walked there and back.

Lots of little shops with tourist items and plenty of local art which we love to see.

Pete's Gas Station Museum is here but this time of year their hours are sporadic so we didn't get a chance to check it out. Les and Santa shared some stories.

The Sultana Bar is a local dive bar that claims to have the longest operating liquor license in the state of Arizona and quite the history.
It operated as a speakeasy during Prohibition. There is a wooden trap door that leads to underground tunnels that once housed a Chinese opium den and was also used by bootleggers and outlaws. It also premiered the first "talkie" film in 1930.

Right across the street from the campground is the Grand Canyon Brewery.
It is in an old hanger shaped building and the inside is beautiful. You enter through two large wooden doors, with old shotguns as the handles and step into their lobby and gift shop. Then you walk across a small wooden bridge that cross a little river and enter the restaurant and tasting room. It is all wood and stone and yes it was cold enough for the fireplace.

The bar fills the center of the room and is built from beautiful wood, the bar stools are tree stumps and actually quite comfortable.

We got a flight of their beer which we enjoyed immensely. Liz, their marketing/graphic design person sat and chatted with us for awhile. It was great talking with her and hearing about all the plans they have for expanding They have a small building on the property that they are converting into a vacation rental and will be offering vacation package deals.

Next up is Needles, CA.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way
~ Protecting your hands
Many times while Les is working on the outside set-up or take-down he has cut or scratched his hands. The last time we stayed with Katrina and Steve (daughter and son-in-law) Les was admiring Steve's mechanic gloves. Steve was once a BMW mechanic and is in the process of rebuilding his Grandpa's Bronco. Les found a pair of gloves at Harbor Freight that he now wears faithfully and there are no more cuts, scrapes or bruises.

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