Day Six on The Mother Road Route 66
Last Updated: July 12, 2017.
Route 66 is waiting. Up early, the laundry is spinning and the gate of the secret compound is unlocked. As I pack up the Mystery Montana, I’m reminded of all the good times I had while living in Flagstaff.
Monsoon came a little early this year in Flagstaff. Usually coming on July 4, it’s been raining on and off for the past few weeks.The monsoon season in Flagstaff is beautiful. The sky is a brilliant blue, as it is this morning. About noon, the sky clouds up, a little or a lot, then the rain falls. It might fall on you or you may see it 30 miles away, breathing life into the desert.
The Family Breakfast includes blueberry muffins and fresh fruit. Goodbyes are said, then the Pontiac Palace comes to life.
I follow old Route 66 through Flagstaff, make a right at B&N then pass the Galaxy Diner.
Route 66 winds right,
closer to the AT & SF, then left onto I-40.
Camp Navajo is on the left as I exit I-40 at
Taking a right, then a left, I follow Route 66 westward just north of I-40. The hard road soon turns to dirt. Should I turn around? No, I just slow down and enjoy the scenery.
This area of Route 66 is Open Range. For you tenderfeet, this means that there is no fence to restrain livestock from entering the road. I am following the Beale Wagon Road through this section of The Copper State.
Driving over alternate gravel and old concrete West out of Bellemont, I’m reminded that my Grandpap Beatty and Uncle Jim had traveled to Williams on The Mother Road back in the ’40s or ’50s. Grandpap had moved to the east in the early ’40s and had always dreamed of returning to the West.
East of Williams, I’m driving the same dirt and concrete they drove so long ago. It makes me feel grounded, content, at home.
Bill Williams Mountain is a unique and familiar shape off to the left, guiding me toward his namesake city.
It’s a peaceful drive through the Ponderosa Pines toward Williams. The City Limit sign for Williams comes while I’m still in the tall pines:
The Mother Road does not continue into Williams; nowhere to go but back on I-40 West for about a mile to the Williams exit.
Under the bridge and pop over the hill into
The road splits on the east end of town. The parked cop car is on the right as I enter. It has a twin on the west end of Williams.
I notice that Pancho McGillicuddy’s is gone. No surprise. The food was good but the place was rarely busy, at least at lunchtime.
Williams, like Winslow, is coming back due to 66ers on The Mother Road. It’s a mix of old & new; old buildings with new businesses selling new merchandise celebrating an old idea: Route 66.
Williams will probably get its own page here on the blog.
Back in The Old Days when I worked in this area, I came into Williams for lunch. Feeling a bit playful, I sat down beside this old codger and started moving my arm in unison with his. A few minutes later, a Tourist Gal came down the street and nearly sat in my lap. “Oh, excuse me”, she said, “I thought you were a dummy”. Her loss, not mine.
A few pix
and I’m back on the ‘Slab toward
Ash Fork, Arizona: The Flagstone Capital Of The U.S.A.
I know this because it’s on their Welcome Sign.
I’ve eaten here once or twice before in my travels when I worked in this area. The years have not been kind to Ash Fork. There is at least one new business, a restaurant/bar on the east end, in a new building no less. C’mon back, Ash Fork.
I make a left at the west end of town, loop through the eastbound street, back west again. As I take a picture in town a car horn erupts. It’s not just a ‘beep’, it’s a long blast, 10 seconds. A small car with peeling paint and an angry driver. Right here in Ash Fork! I look at it carefully, trying to decipher why anyone would lean on the horn so long in this peaceful little town. Later in the day Karma will catch up with this guy – keep reading!
As I look toward the passenger seat, the thought hits me: blueberry muffins, johhnycake, tomatoes, bananas, apples – there’s no reason to eat any junk food on this leg of the trip!
Tune in tomorrow to see if I can make it to Santa Monica, then home, without hitting a fast food place.
I say goodbye to the Flagstone Capital via a left onto I-40 toward the exit at Crookton Road. I take the exit almost automatically, having driven this route many times.
The Mother Road Route 66
is marked with a painted shield after the cattle grate:
to Topock is the longest uninterrupted stretch of The Mother Road. It says so on the sign at Topock. I’ve driven from Crookton to Kingman on my motorcycle, years ago with Tall Paul from Back East, back in ’07. This time, I’ll add the distance to Topock.
As I drive west on Route 66 I get some good advice:
Is Your Favorite Sport
Trade In Your Car
For a Davenport
Burma Shave (r)
I’ll have to remember that. Later in the day, I’ll pass a row of signs admonishing:
If Daisies Are
Your Favorite Flower
Keep Pushing Up
Your Miles Per Hour.
The area around Seligman has the densest concentration of Burma Shave signs on The Mother Road.
Since eastern New Mexico, or maybe Texas, The Mother Road has followed the AT &SF Railroad. I cross over it at the Historic And World-Renowned Crookton Overpass ™
and continue toward my next date with destiny: S’LIGm’n.
The unique shape of Mount Floyd is off to the north. I ease on down the grade, stop, turn to the left and there it is. Seligman almost faded away. It is not fading now. At least 3 tour buses, one of them marked “Rocky Mountain”, are parked on the south side of Seligman’s Main Drag.
is a big place. It’s growing, in fact it has been divided into two political entities: East Seligman and West Seligman.
In fact, it’s the West’s answer to the Twin Cities.
I park, get out and stroll about town. What a beautiful morning to be in S’LIGm’n – the sun is out and the town is lively. Zillions of people are here, many unfamiliar languages on the streets of Seligman. On the west end, there are even some obligatory Japanese tourists with obligatory Japanese cameras taking pictures that will be obligatorily shared after the obligatory return to Japan.
People come to S’LIGm’n from all over the world. Spend your money here in the U.S. of A.
There were so many photo-ops, I’ll be giving Seligman its own page.
Back on The Mother Road, America’s Main Street, toward the West. I had forgotten that Mesa Country lies to the West of Seligman.
Of all the
towns on Route 66, The Mother Road,
#IDroveTheMotherRoadRoute66.com recommends Seligman, AZ above all others. Ol’ Buzze A. Long says “Don’t miss it”.
The miles unwind. This stretch of The Main Street of America, Route 66, must be 10 miles long, with nary a turn of the steering wheel. The Mother Road is ‘way out there on the horizon.
Then as soon as I pop over the ridge, another straight stretch. Not much wear on the tie rod ends here in The Old West.
I’m on a rez now. The highway drops down the valley into
I stop in Peach Springs, get a few photos
and Keep Truckin’ On toward
The roadside signs have been warning that I’m getting close to
Hackberry, Arizona is famous, although I forget exactly what for.
I see they’ve put the Welcome Tank out.
Hackberry is also into alternative energy.
I’ve been cooped up in the Coupe since Seligman, so I get out and look around. Hackberry is a Neighborhood Watch Community, so I’m careful where I wander around.
I run into one of the many Silent Watchers:
Inside the General Store it is cool. Plenty of souvenir stuff inside, but I’m looking for sustenance. I find it in the back, in a cooler – ICE CREAM on a stick. I make my purchase and move back outside.
A couple of old guys from California come in on Beemer bikes set up for long distance travel. The logo on the back indicates they are Iron Butts.
A few more pix
Although Hackberry is just one store, I enjoyed it. I had so many pix, I’ll be giving Hackberry its own page soon. To me, it is second only to Seligman on The Mother Road.
Well, time to leave Downtown Hackberry.
I get back on The Mother Road and head West toward
Like most Route 66 towns in the far West, Kingman stretches out along The Main Street of America.
Kingman also has the Welcome Tank out.
Passing under I-40, I move along Andy Devine Avenue which is the local name for Route 66.
I follow 66 west out of town as it parallels I-40, cross I-40, then make a left.
West of Kingman, The Mother Road, Route 66, becomes a Back Country Byway.
The grade is flat, even downward in places, then begins to climb toward Cool Springs.
Whoever named this place may have had a sense of humor, the car thermometer is indicating about 107 degrees F. The Mother Road’s most treacherous stretch lies west of here.
The road gets more interesting west of Cool Springs as I drop down into a little valley to Ed’s Camp.
There are many curves and switchbacks on the way to
Just to the west of the pass is a pulloff leading to an area where the cremains of the deceased are scattered. Why here? I don’t know, except the constant supply of wind? Keith Richards wouldn’t like that. You will also see paintings here. Old Glory flies at the pulloff.
The Mother Road continues down the valley
located at 2700 feet above sea level. I stopped to get a pic of the welcome sign
but otherwise did not stop in town. There were just asses hanging around, anyway.
What Hollywood power couple reportedly spent their honeymoon in Oatman?
As I drive west through the suburbs of Oatman,
a quote from The Father of Our Country appeared:
“Government is like a fire – useful in the fireplace but if it gets out of its place it will consume everything you own”. Good quote, but it may have been embellished.
As I drive along The Mother Road toward Topock, I am reminded of this area’s volcanic origins.
If you are still wondering about Karma, about this time a car caught up to me and passed. The car is a little box with peeling paint. It was the horn-honker from back in Ash Fork. Whoosh! and he is around me. He travels along ahead of me for a while, then a blue cloud erupts from under his hood. It’s a harsh reminder that what goes around, comes around. He sits on the berm as I go by.
I drove along looking for
I wanted to gas up before leaving Arizona, as I recalled from a previous trip that prices in California were much higher. I was so intent upon finding Topock that I drove right through, or past, it without noticing and out the other side, passing
along the way.
There was an area here that had flooded recently.
Although it is hard to tell from this picture, large piles of mud were piled head-high on both sides of the road, indicating that the road had been covered in mud recently. When I arrived home in Arizona, I would find that this same storm had created some havoc at my house.
Thinking Topock to still be ahead, I drove all the way to the Colorado River before giving up.
Notice the “Welcome To Topock” sign in the picture above. Here, the Place Of Color River is anything but muddy.
A quick pic of the “Longest Stretch” sign
then I hit the GPS looking for gas. It’s 3 miles away, back in Topock. So I did a u-ey and gassed up at $2.19 before heading to Californ-I-A.
Back at the Colorado River, I jumped on I-40 and crossed over into the Golden State.
The sign on the first CA exit indicates Route 66. I take it and wind West, but only until it weaves over I-40 because it turns to very primitive road. I turn around and follow it the other way, back to the Colorado. This piece of Route 66 is isolated by the river on the east and desert on the West. Perhaps you could take it west if in a 4WD, but it’s not for me. I got back on I-40 and headed about 15 miles up the road to
Taking the exit off I-40, I roll into Needles. First thing I notice is that, man, am I glad I gassed up back in AZ! $3.79! A buck-sixty more than Topock! What a difference a few miles makes.
As I drive through Needles,
I notice the temperature. This will be the highest temperature encountered on the trip, 117 degrees F.
Near Needles is a sign indicating the
California Gateway to Route 66.
At the same site is a sign reminding me that this is smack dab in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
At this stop, I receive a sign:
About this time, I leave I-40 for US95 toward Vegas based on the Route 66 shield telling me to exit. I pull over to look at the map, still wondering if this is the right way to be traveling. I decide to risk it by going a few miles further and am rewarded with a sign indicating that a left turn would take me to Goffs, CA.
Those traveling between Needles and Ludlow via
Old Route 66, The Mother Road, The Main Street of America,
should heed this advice: this is the most desolate stretch of highway on The Mother Road. Make sure you have plenty of gas and water.
After traveling through miles of desert, I blinked as I went through
and almost missed it. This is what it looks like as seen from the west end.
As I drove on, I noticed that Goffs must be growing, as the train signaling station is called “WEST Goffs”.
As I passed under I-40 prior to Essex, I notice that gas is $4.99 for Regular. Wow!
is on the horizon now. As I drive into town, the sign indicates that I’m still on Route 66, which has been following the National Old Trails Highway for some time now:
Through Essex and out the other side, I notice a sign that looks sort of like a submarine near
As I get closer, I see that it is a restaurant that has fallen on hard times. I can see for miles in all directions and there are only a few buildings, most of them just specks in the distance. As I’m looking around I wonder about why this restaurant was built. Now of course, things have probably disappeared since then and people in the middle of the desert probably do get hungry. At the same time, once the restaurant was up and running, where were the employees going to come from? They guy must have had a large family and worked them in shifts.
As the shadows lengthen,
Oh Boy, It’s Amboy
comes into view. Amboy Crater is to the south, but Hot Dog!, Roy’s is right along Route 66.
The Mother Road winds its way across the desert to
where I cross under I-40 and get on it headed west toward Barstow. Thinking that I’ll be cruising into Barstow and hitting the sack soon, I spy an exit for The Mother Road. Oh no, I have to slow down and get back on The Main Street of America. Well, that’s what I get paid to do so I grin and bear it. Under I-40, then as Old Route 66 travels on, it is on the south side of I-40. There are more buildings here. Civilization looms ahead. So does the sunset.
The Mother Road is now to the north of I-40. Dagnabbett!, it’s too dark to get any pictures around
There is a power plant off to the right as I approach
On the east end of town, I pull off The Mother Road at a shopping plaza. I debate whether to stop at a fast food to eat or go online but decide against both. Settling in near Sancho’s Cantina, I call it a day – so ends Day Six on The Mother Road.
What a day! Even though I got a late start, about 9:30 AM, this day has been one of the most rewarding and productive of the entire trip. Zillions of pictures and the longest post of the trip!
Miles today: about 375.
Santa Monica awaits tomorrow!
Buzze A. Long, reporting from Barstow, California on Route 66, The Mother Road