I waved a sad goodbye to our teepee this morning as we headed out of Holbrook. It was one of those adventure kind of things, because although it wasn’t the most comfortable room, it was still a neat place to stay along the Road, and very typical of ‘50s road culture. Cottage motels, where you got your own little place away from everyone else, were very popular, and the more unusual the better. The teepee motels were probably the best example of that, and it was really fun to stay in one!
Our first stop out of Holbrook was Joseph City, which was a sleepy little town with not much going on. There was a dead end spur of 66 which I’m glad we took, though, because there were some ruins of a trading post that were kind of sad. Ella’s Frontier was nothing but a collapsing shell, and as I walked inside, I could see shoes and other things scattered about, like someone had been living there. This little bisected bear was one of the most forlorn things I’ve seen.
Next up was a Route 66 icon, the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. Their billboards used to line 66 for miles, but no longer. However, it’s still there, the sign saying “HERE IT IS!” is still there, and the jackrabbit is still there. Of course, I had to get a Jack Rabbit shirt!
Our next stop was even happier and even more fun. Winslow, Arizona was a happenin’ town in its own right during Route 66’s heyday, but was made a pop culture icon by the Eagles song “Take It Easy” (written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey). It’s one of those songs that pretty much everyone knows the words to, at least the lines: “I was standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see/It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.” Well, Winslow has embraced its place in pop culture history, and they erected a statue of the musician “standing on a corner,” as well as a sign, a mural, Standing on a Corner Park, and a super cool huge Arizona Route 66 sign at that intersection (2nd--which was originally Route 66--and Kinsley). There is even a flatbed Ford parked nearby, and look, there’s a girl in there! After a few pictures, we headed to a sports bar just a few yards down the street for a brew and some lunch, and I could see people stopping to take pictures by the statue. It was a cool thing.
I actually got a little verklempt, because although I rarely listen to the Eagles anymore, their first greatest hits album was my very first album! I loved all the songs, knew them by heart, and could probably still sing along with most of them when hearing a song on the radio. As we were there, the gift shop across the street was playing “In the City,” which is my all-time favorite Eagles song. The lyrics from “Take It Easy” is just one of those things that so many people know, at least people of a certain age. Seeing all those people paying tribute to one of the great rock songs just kind of choked me up!
Next was Two Guns, which was all ruins. Some of them, the Shell station and the KOA, are on private property, and were all fenced off. Others were not fenced off or posted, so we pulled up to see the remnants of a couple of old stone service stations, a concrete bridge, and two roadside zoos. (Thus the “mountain lions” sign.) It was about as sad as the Joseph City ruins, because I imagined all the families that stopped by the roadside zoo to see the animals. It’s all gone now.
Twin Arrows was next, and I even got some video there. It was closed off by construction barriers because a Navajo casino is being built on the other side of the Interstate. I got a few pictures, and then we decided that it was no big deal to hop the barriers and walk over there, so I did. I walked around a little bit, and after I took the video, I tried the door to the diner and it was open!! So I snooped in there for a moment (there was black and white tile on the floor), and out back. Ken walked up behind me, which freaked me out just a tad! Another famous place on the Road that is nothing more than a dusty ruin. So sad.
Not much in Winona, but there was a pre-1947 loop of old 66 that we were able to take. These are always great drives and usually take you away from the highway and through some beautiful terrain. There is also an old truss bridge there, designated as a National Historic place. The little strip of Route 66 is closed off, but we got to walk across it! Note the mountains in the distance. Those are the San Francisco Peaks. Flagstaff sits at the base of them.
We didn’t spend any time in Flagstaff for the moment, because we wanted to get about an hour south in order to visit the Montezuma Castle National Monument, which is a cliff dwelling. We were both unsure if it was worth a two-hour round trip, because we couldn’t go up into the dwelling. Still, I thought it was pretty cool, and I enjoyed seeing the “highrise” up on the cliff!
We headed back to Flagstaff and drove 66 and old town in order to get some signage pictures. The old downtown was really neat, with lots of little shops and pubs. Very cool small city! We were ready to settle in for the night, so we tried Embassy Suites on 66. No vacancy. We headed farther down 66 and tried Radisson Suites. There was only one room left...the presidential suite. Rather than dealing with the pesky traffic (and it really was kind of bad), Ken decided to take it, and it really is the biggest and most amazing suite I’ve ever stayed in. As I said to others earlier, it makes up for two nights in a row of old motels and tiny bathrooms! We actually have 1½ baths in this suite. Sweet!
We ate at the Japanese steakhouse in the hotel, and had a lot of fun talking with our cook, Reuben, and our server (I think his name was Josh). Turns out Josh is a Michigander, and he and his wife are moving back to the upper peninsula. He talked to us quite a while about our travels, and he and his wife (as well as Reuben and his fiance) enjoy traveling as much as we do.
It was an interesting and fun day, followed by a relaxing evening. Now I’m going to get this entry posted so I can go enjoy that sleep number bed we’ve got in the next room!