We made it back to our desired destination last night, although rather later than we wanted. The restaurant we ate at in Flagstaff was an old Route 66 place called Granny’s Closet, that used to be home of the very first fiberglass muffler man/lumberjack statue. They donated it to the University of Arizona as a mascot, but have a smaller replica at their cafe. I actually have a picture of the original from my friend Laurie, who sent it to me years ago.
Traffic around Flagstaff was terrible; we tried to make a 45 minute hop off the road for lunch, and it turned into 3 hours because traffic in town was slow, and then they had 2 exits to I-40 closed due to construction and traffic backed up for miles. Very strange way to handle construction. That put us behind the curve by quite a bit, but at least we made it in.
We also hopped off to get gas at round dome gas station, and indian blankets at the Meteor City Trading post, but those were both short stops.
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.
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 energy 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. You can also seek the help of https://oglepropertysolutions.com/ to guide you in property related matters . He’s completely off the electrician 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.
We drove into Albuquerque yesterday, which is really beautiful city cradled in mountains, so every view has a gorgeous backdrop. I can see why people move out west; the landscape is so stunning. The sunset last night was really pretty. A small part of the trip was on old Route 66, so we drove through Clines Corners, a pretty big tourist trap, but we didn’t stop.
When we arrived in town, we drove directly to the VW dealer, who seemed sort of less than impressed to see us, which many in the group found disappointing, I think. Some of the guys came out to see the customized cars and look everything over. Stephanie got the mass airflow sensor that she needed to replace, and one of the other cars had to have their fuel pump replaced, which they did right there, because they needed it. And we spent some time looking over their new and used beetles on the lot. The had a beautiful new gecko green convertible with a cream top that I liked a lot, maybe even more than the new red with black. If we win the lottery, I’ll get one. I should think about getting a ticket sometime.
After that, we stopped at the motel, and settled in. One of the guys on our trip, John and his wife Linda decided to go to the emergency room; back in Devil’s Elbow, John got an insect bite that seemed to be getting worse, and he was in a lot of pain, so he and his wife and Cori and Verlaine went to the hospital. We heard they treated him, so I think he’s okay; I’ll find out more when they join us today.
The caravan went to the home of Sue and Aaron, who are the owners of Ciao Bug, and old friends of everyone on the trip. They hosted us to a barbeque; very nice to eat with everyone and have a meal cooked at home; very delicious.
Their home is really pretty; Sue’s painted some nice southwestern art on the walls that I took pictures of. Aaron let us on his super-high-speed internet, where I uploaded something like 400 photos to my Flickr set, which should keep you busy for awhile. They included yesterday’s pictures of the drive into town, too. I’m getting tired of trying to hunt down wireless, so I may just blog and put photos up later, since I seem to have so many pictures. I am apparently going for sheer volume, rather than artistic merit on the photos. But I like everything I’m putting up, for the most part, and wouldn’t eliminate any of it.
At the end of the day, we lined all the beetles up in Sue and Aaron’s drive and the neighbors took pictures, before heading back to the motel. John replaced Stephanie’s mass airflow sensor in the motel 6 parking lot, while Luke from California and Mike hung out and watched. We need to find a present to give to John for working on Phoebe, because he has really been a big help, and so nice. Mike and Luke and John and Stephanie talked about cars for an hour on a level that was way, way over my head but fascinating to listen to. I’m traveling with some really smart people who know a lot about the machines they run; I really need an idiot’s guide to how the car works to even follow along.
At the end of the evening as the sun was going down, we watched a bus try to maneuver a tight turn around the motel parking lot without hitting any cars, get stuck, and have to get out to find the car owners, which weren’t any of us, so we were entertained. Then we headed to bed. Hope the bus got out.
This morning, I’m up a bit early (I started this post at 3:30) due to the predinsone we picked up back in Roswell. But I feel GREAT, so I don’t mind.
Today’s we have a pretty long slog to Williams, Arizona, where we’ll stay for a couple of days to take the train to the Grand Canyon. Everyone has laughed about my irrational fear of falling off the edge. I guess they have rails around it, or something. We’ll seen when I get there. (I’m from Iowa, people. It’s hard to fall off stuff, there. Everything is nice and flat and safe.)
On the way to Williams, we’ll probably stop at the Jackrabbit Trading Post, which is a really big tourist trap, and we will (of course) go stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.