We had to use Winnie’s heater this morning as it got pretty chilly last night. I think we’ll start to see real fall weather from here on out. We got a late start this morning because of a last minute shopping trip in Williams and time spent making the acquaintance with a couple from Delaware. When we pulled into the RV park in Williams last night, we noticed a motor home with Delaware tags parked a few spaces down from us. We got to meet them this morning. As it turns out they and their friends are headed for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta also and will be there at the same time as us. We are looking forward to seeing the show in Albuquerque.
As the title suggests our route today only covered about 80 miles today again jumping on and off I40 to pick up drivable stretches of Route 66. Most of Route 66 between Williams and Flagstaff is through Ponderosa pine forest with not many landmarks left from the old road, but it was a pleasant drive. We almost went down a blind alley onto the gravel remnant of Route 66, but fortunately the National Forest Service provided a turnaround big enough for Winnie just before the pavement ended. Sue has been navigating, but I missed her warning that the pavement stopped (listening to the Eagles lose in the last seconds to the Steelers) and we had to get back on I40 to get to Flagstaff.
We got to Flagstaff in early afternoon and decided to stop to look around a little and have lunch. It got its name from a Ponderosa Pine flagpole made to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876. Route 66 has run through Flagstaff since its inception in 1926. Flagstaff has quite a few businesses that have survived the arrival of I40. I’ve posted a collage of the signs of many of them. The Hotel Monte Vista was built in 1926 to provide first-class hotel accommodations in Flagstaff. Its construction was funded by private citizens including writer Zane Grey. The Monte Vista was the longest publicly held commercial property in America until it was sold to a private individual in the early 1960's. It continues to be the longest lived operational hotel in Flagstaff. The city's first motel, the Motel Du Beau was built in 1929 by A.E. DuBeau. He came to Flagstaff from Los Angeles to build a motel designed specifically for "the better class of motorist." It rented rooms from $2.50 to $5.00 per night and had amenities like in-room baths and toilets, double beds, carpeting, and heated garages for the cold winter nights. It is still in operation as a youth hostel.
Flagstaff has been associated with the railroads since the 1880’s. It was the largest city on the railroad line between Albuquerque and the west coast. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe mainline tracks run through the city. There is a beautifully restored railroad station building that serves as the Amtrak station and Visitors Center. BNSF trains are active as we saw at least 10 long freights pass while sitting at the nearby Lumberjack Brewing Company for lunch. We didn’t see an Amtrak passenger train. When the trains pass, all north-south traffic on the local streets stops.
After leaving Flagstaff, we joined I40 again. Along the interstate are the remnants of one of the most iconic sights left from Route 66, Twin Arrows Trading Post. The Trading Post closed in 1998 and the twin arrows began to deteriorate until the Hopi Indian Tribe and a group of Route 66 buffs restored them in about 2009. The trading post and an attached Valentine Diner continue to deteriorate. Just down the road is Two Guns, an abandoned Wild West theme park. All that’s left is a graffiti ravaged entrance sign and faded western characters still visible on an old storage tank. There’s also an abandoned KOA RV park. According to RoadsideAmerica.com, what's unique about this place is that Two Guns appears to have been built on the ruins of an older, equally ill-fated attraction, "Canyon Diablo." The only remains of Canyon Diablo is a sign reading "Mountain Lions", some crumbling stone buildings, a set of gas pumps that appear to have exploded, and the ruins of the Route 66 concrete arch bridge over the canyon. We didn’t stop because of the condition of the road and got a few pictures from I40.
Our final stop if the day was at Meteor Crater RV Park. It’s about 5 miles from Meteor Crater National Landmark that we plan to visit tomorrow.