Route 66 near Navajo Army Depot is red not black; Bellemont, AZ


Just west of the Navajo Army Depot in Bellemont, Arizona, where Route 66 officially rejoins I-40, there is an old neglected piece of Road 66 that you can’t really transverse because it no longer all connects (and has been renamed Bellemont Camp Road).


This is what one of them looks like, it is mostly unused because it dead ends, and is no longer kept up by the government. But because of that we get to see the OLD pavement, and for some reason it’s RED instead of black …


I had noticed this particular feature of the “OLD 66” before in Oro Grande⁩, ⁨California, this time on a road that had been kept up,  so I couldn’t really get a good look at it. What it looked like was a red road had black top placed over it… but the red was a bit wider so it sort of leaked out the sides


Personally I’d love to know why




Western Hills Motel; Flagstaff, AZ

Western Hills Motel is on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona, and has a very nice sign which is supposed to be especially impressive at night (but of course I was there at around noon)… that’s about all I can tell you. (I’m guessing the horses are animated to look like they’re walking?)


This place was supposed to have award winning greek food in addition to some pretty impressive neon, but apparently five years ago they switched from Greek to Mexican ……because (and I say this sarcastically) what Flagstaff really needed was YET another Mexican restaurant…


When I stopped here I was REALLY looking forward to some good Greek food. Sigh


Louie the Lumberjack Statue, Flagstaff Arizona


Louie the Lumberjack Statue is …. well… not very big, only 10 feet tall and made out of cedar … while his two brothers who are both used by Northern Arizona University as their mascot, are both 20 feet tall … no wonder he looks sad


Louis is on Route 66, right after this intersection (going east)


Miz Zip’s on Route 66; Flagstaff, AZ

Miz Zip’s is a historic diner on Route 66, reputed to have good food (I didn’t eat there)…


that is one of the more famous locations because of its neon (which I arrived at the wrong time of day to see).


That said, when I got there and saw their menu (which has all I got all excited because it said buckwheat pancakes on the menu, which are much better for you than buttermilk, much lower sugar/carbs. So I tried to order one and she said “I’m sorry we no longer serve those” … SIGH, I got back in the car and back onto the road…


When you’re in Arizona …. “Don’t forget Winona”

Let’s face it, but for the song, Route 66 wouldn’t be the draw of international travelers that it is… I mean you don’t see vast numbers of people coming to the US to travel on the Cumberland Road, or the Lincoln Highway for that matter … that said, if you’re doing 66 you HAVE to make sure you pull of I-40 at Winona

“If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway that is best
Get your kicks on Route sixty six
It winds from Chicago to LA
More than two thousand miles all the way
Get your kicks on Route sixty six
Now you go through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty
You see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona
—-Don’t forget Winona —-
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino
Won’t you get hip to this timely tip
When you make that California trip
[Keep in mind I started in California and am headed East]


SO… I’ve done it… I’m sitting on a road in the middle of downtown Winona Arizona, and suddenly understanding why the line of the song is, “don’t forget Winona”. There is almost NOTHING here. IMG_0016In fact for the most part it’s a Gas Station directly adjacent to I-40/Route 66…  and then if you stay on the road all you see is a few houses. That said…IMG_0015When I went back to the gas station I told the guy that I was sure I wasn’t the first person to say this, but they really needed to put a sign outside that said “don’t forget Winona” at which he laughed, and said, “you said the magic words” and he gave me this bumper sticker

The Arizona divide and some highway luck

The Arizona Divide is on Route 66/I-40, and is located just west of Flagstaff, Arizona. It is a geographic location marking the point where water either flows toward the Colorado River watershed or to the Gila River watershed


As I was headed towards Flagstaff I hit a massive traffic-jam.


Somehow, a truck had overturned, and if you look at the photo you can sort of see that there’s a huge crane parked in the middle of the highway trying to right the truck and all the traffic has been redirected into a single file that passed it by riding on the highway’s curb/pull over section.

Soon after I passed the accident I spotted the sign and I pulled to the side of the road to take this photo of the sign marking the divide’s location IMG_0008

A minute or two later, I realized that no more cars were driving past me. The road was COMPLETELY empty and stayed so for I don’t know how long, because I only hung around about 5 minutes before heading towards Flagstaff. I wasn’t driving very fast, and after a bit pulled over again, wondering when the traffic would flow… and took more photos — and even watched a train head towards me and pass under the highway

IMG_0009I.e., I was VERY lucky in passing it when I did cause I could have been sitting there MUCH longer/


The first McDonald’s Museum: San Bernardino, CA

This is a private Museum to all things McDonald’s located on the property that HAD been the location of the first McDonald’s. It is NOT owned or operated by McD’s corporate. The actual building had been destroyed in the late 70s — and this building doesn’t even look like that one did…  but it is on the original property of the burger joint owned by Dick and Mac McDonald, who essentially invented the fast food model… that Ray Kroc took international — AND the sign out front includes elements of the original sign.


The museum was created by Albert Okura, who owns both a chicken processing empire and a string of chicken restaurants in the California, who bought the property and created this museum. Okura is a philanthropist who has invested a LOT of money into revitalizing sites along Route 66 — in addition to this one he OWNS the town of Amboy where Roy’s Motel is located and is responsible for its renovation and upkeep.

I came here as part of my Route 66 road trip. I have to admit I was kind of let down. The website I found this one did NOT make it clear that this was not the original building.



What the original building looked like



And then, I was kind of irritated to discover that the collection is completely un-curated. When you walk in what you see is a collection of display cabinets chock-a-block full of stuff… as though it were a store selling collectibles rather than a museum of them


                    Less is more people!


Even the big stuff you can’t really look at cause its just sort of all shoved in there

Essentially… They built the building they put some stuff in it and then over the years people have been bringing and/or sending them stuff to add to the collection… so that at this point they have McD’s related stuff from all around the world. Only they completely lack the space to display it in any sort of meaningful way.


THESE were my favorite items because we used to have them at our house. I have a feeling my brother ended up with them, which makes me sad… but that’s why G-d made eBay… apparently you can get the full set for like $20

My 2nd Wigwam Motel (#6); Holbrook, Arizona

This motel is a classic Route 66 experience … but that said, DEAR LORD!!! What a dump!! That said I am SO glad that my first experience with WigWam Motels (all three of which are registered on the National Register of Historic Places) was in San Bernardino, CA and not this one in Holbrook. That one made me very happy, this one pissed me off so badly by comparison that after I inspected the room and checked the wifi, I asked for a refund and a found a MUCH nicer room for $10 less someplace else in town.


I’m willing to bet this owner spends on classic cars to park on his property what the other owner in California spends on repair and upkeep of the rooms.


In a way I got lucky. Normally I would check in, unpack my stuff, get into the bed, fire up my computer and THEN check into the wifi. This time, just as I was checking in a nice Chinese guy (I ran into him again at a restaurant) who was booked into one of the other TeePee’s came into the office complaining that he couldn’t connect to the wifi. He said it worked fine in the office — the woman had told him to connect there first, THEN go back to the room… but counter to what she’d told him… not in the room. So I logged in, walked outside and towards my room… and sure enough the wifi died. She said “well you need to go INTO the teepee cause those are concrete and we have extenders in each room.” Ok fine… I go into my room and see there is in fact a wifi modem there… try to log in and get “wrong password” — even checked the bottom of the thing to see if listed a different one… but no… that and I looked around the room and it clearly had NOT been kept up with the same loving care I’d seen in San Bernardino.

While it has a nice coverlet, there’s no art on the walls

While I didn’t take any photos in the bathroom, the tile was cracked, the shower had a dinky curtain (the CA one had installed a class door) and compared to the one in CA looked worn (exact same layout as you can see) AND, of course, the WiFi if it did work was inaccessible and WORST of all, the woman working the desk didn’t seem to care.

Note all the classic cars parked out front, THATS where this owner puts his money, not the rooms

I met my neighbors and they too were all complaining about the WiFi. You could connect in the office but when you tried to connect in the rooms either it said wrong password OR, from the one woman who HAD been able to log in, it was insanely slow.


Like I said the woman running the joint didn’t care so since I’d not unpacked or even sat on the bed, I asked for a refund and booked at the local Travel Lodge which had unusually high reviews for $10 a night less… got there to find it was clean, no bed bugs and 34 Mbps downloads and 20 Mbps uploads… (a bit small and cramped, but like I said, well-kept up, blazing fast wifi, and nice caring people working the front desk).


I did however come back the next day for more pictures because the BEST part of this hotel is the experience you have OUTSIDE of the rooms… which is free. And just like the other Wigwam, this one was reflexive of the Disney/Pixar Movie “Cars”  — a cartoon you SHOULD know if only because it was nominated for two Academy Awards including Best Animated Feature and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Anyone who’s seen it KNOWS that it’s animators were clearly influenced by many of the iconic Route 66 locations in the Southwest, which include either this motel, or the one other Teepee motel located in Holbrook, Arizona (where I’m also going to be sleeping in about a week) in the creation of the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie


From what I read, because the Radiator Springs in the movie is supposedly limited to Route 66 locations from Kansas to Arizona, THIS WigWam lays claim to being the inspiration for the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie and at Disneyland.

Again, I was at Disney during Halloween, so ignore the spooky extras, they’re temporary


Normally I don’t do post scripts but this was too funny. When I was in Santa Fe visiting with an old friend from grade school who lives there, I was talking about my trip and mentioned my two WigWam bookings… how much I loved the one in San Bernardino and then as I mentioned this one in Holbrook my friend’s girlfriend jumped in with, “That place is a DUMP!” to which I agreed whole heartedly. She’s never stayed in the CA one, but went on at length about how much she’d hated her stay here.




Stand’in On The Corner in Winslow Arizona

This park on Route 66 in the heart of downtown Winslow, Arizona, contains a brilliant bit of publicly funded art that is an intentional tourist draw, via a tribute to a song called “Take It Easy” — or more to the point, it’s a tribute to the fact that at one point the name of the town is mentioned in that song. Because what does a small town that is essentially dying do when it’s been mentioned in a hit song? Memorialize it in a way that draws tourism off of the highway into the town! (Essentially, therefore, this sort of falls into my “big things” category) But really, there’s something kind of fun and silly about this bit of public art, that people just love.


But the town was already were memorialized in “Get you’re kick’s on Route 66” you say… shouldn’t that be enough?

[That said, I’m from a suburb of Chicago called Winnetka and there’s a song called “Big Noise from Winnetka” which was a HUGE hit in the 1930’s and 40’s and is still played regularly by marching bands and jazz groups, which my affluent upper-crust town pretty much ignored like the plague … but hey]

IF you can’t just by looking at the picture above identify the song in question, it is called”Take It Easy” and was written by Jackson Browne&Glenn Frey, and performed by the Eagles (note the eagle in the mural that’s sitting on the window sill)


One of the interesting things was that all the shops directly adjacent to the park were promoting fund raising actives to pay for the parks restoration and upkeep



Kiddy corner from the wall — which as this picture shows was built SOLEY to put the mural on — is this, along side a store called the “Standing on the corner” gifts shop



Burnt Earth: Amboy Crater in Amboy California & Pisgah Crater in Newberry Springs, CA

When you drive through this part of the country, be it on Route 66 or even on 40, you can’t help but notice the sudden appearance of pitch black rocks everywhere that look like giant bits of coal, or chunks of burnt wood.


IMG_7960.JPGThe first time I drove through here it was with a friend from university who has been a geology major, and he explained to me how these rocks were the result of lava rivers… but ones that exist well below the ground, but close enough to the surface that the heat from them had in fact burnt the ground above it. So it’s not lava but actually burn rocks (or at least I think that’s what he said… this was like 20 years ago)

IMG_7961.JPGYou can see how the ground looks sort of burnt and cracked, like really badly burned wood, or food. Well within in this general area are TWO craters that rise well above the ground, and are actually evidence of Volcanic activity, i.e., those underground rivers of lava actually making it to the surface and trying to create mini volcanos —- or at least that’s how I sort of understand it… I’m no geologist.

Driving east on route 66 the first of these that you will pass is the Pisgah Crater



The other crater is the Amboy Crater… not much farther east (maybe another half hour…)


I didn’t have time nor did I feel comfortable approaching these craters alone. I would LOVE at some point in the future to go there… but I would want to do either with a guide, or at the very least a friend. Being stuck out in the middle of no-where, in the heat of the desert…  all alone… did not appeal to me (should the car get stuck, or blow a tire or something)