This is part two of my Route 66 story. As a reminder, back in 2014, Hubby and I travelled a significant portion of Route 66 with great friends of ours, who, for the purpose of this trip, I’m calling ‘Ken and Barbie’. We are picking up at Day Four.
Route 66 Day Four: Today featured almost zero R66 action, but we did a very typical R66 thing…the grand detour. We headed out early, the boys bleary eyed and travelled two hours North on US491, otherwise known as 666 The Devils Highway (until some moron decided to go pedestrian and rebrand it!). We headed straight into Navajo country, but soon needed a toilet break, choosing to use McDonalds restrooms. Hubby and I had a true double take moment. Never have we walked into a room and had everyone in it turn and stare from an ethnicity perspective. Nor have we walked into a restaurant full of Native Indians and been the odd one out. Eye opening.
Our first destination was the four corners, a place where four states meet: Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. This is the only place in the US you can stand over four states. It’s simple but high on the novelty scale. You can watch the inventive ways visitors try to stand on the meeting point! Next stop was John Wayne country and Monument Valley. This experience (and I stress the word experience) was one of the best 20 bucks I have ever spent. Again there are no perfect adjectives to share with you. We thought we saw big skies yesterday but they were nothing in comparison. It’s marketed as ‘where the earth meets the sky’ and that’s a fitting description from the Navajos themselves. Here’s my tip. Get your playlist ready before you come and it has to feature lots of Ennio Morricone and The Big Country!!! My choice of reference song ‘Go West’ by the Pet Shop Boys was frowned upon. We had grand plans to do another sight but we beat an exhausted retreat to our next rest spot on Lake Powell. We were all ‘rocked out’ by this point.
So we get to our hotel in Page only to find out they had sold it to another chain the previous Saturday. No word of a lie, most unusual. The new hotel refused to take points payment so we decided to transfer to another hotel, by the original hotel brand, which was brand spanking new. It might have been new but it also resembled Fawlty Towers, it was utter chaos in the lobby. A few grumpy phone calls later, the hotel agreed to accept our points and we moved in. I needed a beer to shake off my grouch with the hotel and Ken came to the rescue with a genius restaurant choice. Big Johns BBQ is set on an old garage forecourt with outside dining and a country and western band. With a desert location, the evening was warm and thick. There may have been a few beers drunk, some tambourine playing, some “singing” with the band and a few BBQ ribs. Today has been absurdly good. Shattered. Night y’all!
Route 66 Day 5: Let me sum up our day. Saw a big hole and ate a sandwich. For the more verbose version of our day, please carry on reading.
We had a tricky start trying to get out of Page. The road we wanted to take was blocked and there was only one other choice so we faced a pretty significant detour. Once we finally got back to R66 we actually headed east for a spell to try and take in some of the road we had missed. Our target was a 4,000ft by 3/4 mile hole in the earth – what should’ve been a fairly impressive meteor crater.After monument valley it unfortunately lost its wow factor. We climbed to the edge, took some shots and then decided to hit the road. It did though offer a Subway Sub opportunity. Before we knew it we were on the road again unclear as to whether it had been worth the 15 dollar charge. We pressed further East to Winslow. Winslow is known for the Eagles song ‘take it easy’. Therefore we were “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” taking it easy for 20 or so mins. It’s just a mocked up street corner paying homage to the song and a giant road 66 sign. Good job Winslow!
We hit the 87 South for yet another detour, heading to Phoenix to collect Barbie in the morning, stopping at Payson on our way through. Payson is home to the world’s oldest continuous Rodeo. We had to go check that one out, but not before a bite to eat at Buffalo’s Bar and Grill. As a first experience the rodeo was sort of cool. It was clearly a third division type event (or high school football equivalent to US folk). It could’ve done with a few more visitors and a bit more skill. We had an over enthusiastic announcer who pretty much introduced everyone as “world famous, best ever, internationally renowned rodeo cowboy” only for most to subsequently fall off. We remained just long enough to get the gist then made our way onwards to Phoenix. By the time we arrived it was bed time (that’s french for sitting in the hotel bar drinking).
It might’ve been big hole day today but its big crack day tomorrow. Night y’all!
Day 6 Route 66: False information alert. There was no big crack today, that’s been put back to tomorrow. My day started with a dose of good ‘ol fashioned relaxation. There’s nothing like an early morning swim in the warmth of the desert, with the moon behind you and the sun ahead to start your day.
Now for the fans of my blog you may well have decided my posting yesterday was sub-par and clearly the dullest yet. As you know, we were only in town to collect Barbie, who hadn’t joined us thus far as she had to work. As the newest member of our gang, Barbie clearly had decided my blog needed some drama and duly slumbered her way through her alarm and missed her flight. But not to worry, the airline sorted it, got her on the next plane and she arrived only an hour late. We bid farewell to Phoenix, brief but fun, heading up the I17. Quick mileage check – 2100 miles clocked so far. We’re keeping those Texan fuel producers in business.
We decided the grand detour was working for us and stopped at Jerome. Wow, if you get the chance you MUST visit. I would give this place a genius award. They took a disused mining “ghost” town and regenerated it with wine, arts and craft stores. After all the tacky souvenir trading posts this made a welcomed change. They preserved the old town feel but injected life into it. And then you have this incredible backdrop of the Mingus Mountains. Can’t praise this town enough! After perusing a few shops we were drawn to the Vaqueros, a Mexican cantina with a punky art vibe. Meandering on we took in more of the shops only stopping for a wine tasting bar with a stunning view of the mountains. By the way all wine is local to the state and what we tried was excellent. I’m thinking as I write this blog I should be employed as their international relations and tourism expert.
The sun was setting by this point and we wanted to get some pics of the sprawling vista. So I’m minding my own business practising my skills and snapping away when I look down and pretty much have a coronary on the spot. Looking up at me is a tarantula. Yes, I repeat, a tarantula. It was staring me out! I would like to note at this point as I back away and start having my major melt down, not one of my group comes to my rescue. I just got “oooooh a tarantula, cool, let me see”. Heart beat restored to resting pace we hit the road again.
Next stop was Flagstaff, our rest spot for the night. We get a warm welcome from the hotel but Barbie is playing catch up and gagging for a beer so we hit ‘Porkies’. The band starts up and they have a fun ‘shot box’ which is a free raffle with shots. What’s not to like. I had no hopes as I never win anything but tonight was my night. Not only did I win the shot but the bar tender made it into a full blown cocktail. Great end to a great day! Night y’all!
See my blog Route 66 Part 3 for more adventures.