Route 66, Day 11: Morning in Williams, Arizona, near the Grand Canyon

Yesterday was a long drive from Albuquerque to Williams, Arizona, and the timezone changes haven’t helped too much, because we keep staying up an hour later. But we had a lot of fun and a bit of trouble yesterday. We headed out in the morning with a couple of pitstops along the way. We really had to take I-40 most of the way, because Route 66 doesn’t go all the way through anymore, and we had to cover a lot of miles.

Luke had to stay behind to go back to the VW dealer in Albuquerque; he was having some trouble with his cooling fans, I think. I guess the VW dealers really helped him out and helped him back on the road, so I take back when I said about them being disappointing yesterday. He caught up with us later on the road.

We stopped off at a small fireworks trading post just to use the restroom, shopped for turquoise, and goggled at the wagon wheel sized roll of firecrackers you could buy for $130 bucks that would go off for an hour and a half. We hopped off I-40 and went in to Gallup to stop at the Sonic Burger for lunch, and we took photos at the El Rancho Hotel, where lots of movie stars stayed while filming westerns in Gallup.

We got back on the road and set out looking for the Jackrabbit Trading Post, which was an iconic place back on old Route 66 due to the bright yellow signs with a black rabbit silhouette, placed for over 50 miles on either side of the tourist trap. We found it, and a few of the signs are left, but the Jackrabbit Trading Post is sort of smaller than I expected. We got pictures seated on a giant jackrabbit, and we got t-shirts and good souvenirs.

Stephanie with Giant Jack Rabbit

Here it is.

Just a few miles down the road is Winslow, Arizona, the town name-checked in the Eagles song, so we stopped there at the “Standing on the corner” park where there’s a photo opportunity at 2nd and Kinsley to stand in front of large “Winslow, Arizona” sign. I did not have seven women on my mind, however. Happily, just one, a car, and a stuffed monkey. I believe I have it much easier than the Eagles.

There’s also a Route 66 museum in Winslow, and we were turned around headed that direction when someone spotted Bob Waldmire’s van in the parking lot of the old El Posado Hotel, another spot where the westerns were filmed. As Stephanie and I tried to turn into the parking lot, she hit the curb, and flattened her right front tire.

Jerry and John were to the rescue immediately, and put the spare tire on, but Stephanie was pretty upset at hurting Phoebe, even accidentally. We’re going to run out this morning to find a new tire before we get on the train to the Grand Canyon, so we’ll have all we need and a spare.

After the tire problem, we went over to meet and talk to Bob Waldmire again. He has solar panels on his van, and Stephanie and I told him about our plan to put them on our house, along with micro wind turbines. He showed us a picture of the wind turbine he built himself on his property out here. He’s completely off the electrical grid, which is cool.

After taking off from Winslow we drove on through Flagstaff and into Williams to check in for the evening. We ate dinner at a family restaurant, and watched the staged shootout the enact in the streets every evening; I got video of part of it before my camera battery ran out.

Today we’re taking the Grand Canyon Railway up to the Grand Canyon, where we’ll get a tour and eat and take a million pictures, I’m sure. I took 280 yesterday, just on the drive. I was pretty trigger happy, but the last time I was in New Mexico and Arizona, it was dark and I never really saw the landscape. I’ll have to sort out what’s good and what’s redundant. I wish I had a panoramic camera; that would be awesome. We don’t have wireless here, so I’ll have to upload photos to flickr, and add photos to this post later.

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