The Ultimate Summer Road Trip ~Day 4 (afternoon)
Tuesday, July 27th
Holy crap (!), am I still only on Day 4?? Apparently so. Onward, then.
We left Winslow on Tuesday afternoon heading west toward Meteor Crater. Where there is ….you guessed it ….a very large crater caused by a meteor strike some half a billion years ago. Meteor Crater Visitor Center actually has an incredibly cool website, with a streaming video simulation of this happening right before your eyes. There are sound effects. It is awesome.
Too bad we didn’t check the website before our trip, though; we could have saved ourselves the six miles or so drive off of Route 66 to the crater. Because they charge $15.00 per person… to see a hole! Sure, it’s a really big and amazing hole, “the breath-taking result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth “, to be exact, but fifteen bucks? Each? Ouch! We didn’t go in to the Visitor Center after all, thus we did not see the crater. Because let me tell you, they have got that hole sealed off. Meteor Crater is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference, and more than 550 feet deep, but they’ve built a gate around the area like the Great Wall of China, and if you don’t pay -you don’t see it.
Ah well, as we were heading back to Route 66, we spied off to the side a familiar looking, toppled rock structure. Familiar, as we had read about it in our Route 66 research. It was the remains of the American Meteorite Museum.
In the mid-1930’s, Harry and Hope Locke built the impressive, stone, castle-like Meteor Crater Observatory on Route 66 near the Meteor Crater. It was soon closed down due to lack of visitors and a huge debt incurred during construction. However, in 1946 Dr. Harvey Nininger re-opened the observatory as the American Meteorite Museum -dedicated to the study of, of course, meteorites. Dr. Nininger worked and lived in the observatory for many years. Visitors could pay 25 cents to peer through the telescope in the observatory tower at the huge crater 6 miles to the south.
25 cents. To see the meteor crater. Oh, how times have changed…
Sadly, the museum no longer has an observatory tower, or much of anything, left. A bit of the foundation stones and some ancient autos, all baking in the desert sun.
This really is a great section of Route 66. There are gems scattered along the old road everywhere, here. Just west of the meteor, we came to Two Guns, AZ, a one-time tourist town on the edge of Canyon Diablo. Past a crumbling arch bridge lie the ruins of the “two guns” water(?) towers, two gas stations, and two roadside “zoos”. Once they kept mountain lions in those little off-road zoos.
West of Two Guns is Twin Arrows, AZ, with its classic red and white Valentine diner. Valentine diners were an idea born of the Great Depression in Kansas. The pre-fabs were constructed as eight-to-ten-seat diners that one or two people could operate, and shipped all over the country. The iconic “twin arrows” had just recently received an expensive renovation from the Arizona Historic Route 66 Association, which someone honored by spray-painting “The Obama Deception” all over the trading post walls. Nice.
After Twin Arrows, the next stops on our route were Flagstaff (passport stamp!), Williams (has the distinction of being the very last town that was bypassed along the entire Route 66), and Ash Fork (famous for flagstones) before finally arriving in Seligman, AZ –the birthplace of the Historic Route 66 Association!
Seligman, AZ. Possibly the route 66iest Route 66 town of them all. Seligman is the birthplace of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. The former barbershop of the Association’s founder, Angel Delgadillo, is now a Route 66 Visitor Center. Also located here is the world famous Snow Cap diner founded by the late Juan Delgadillo (Angel’s brother) who loved to play a gamut of practical jokes on his customers, i.e.; false doorknobs, squirting mustard bottles, and “slightly used napkins”. The special served is ‘Dead Chicken’.
I took so, so, so many photos in Seligman. Very photogenic place. The full post is available at the following link:
Our plan was to eat at the famous Snow Cap diner (I planned to have Dead Chicken), but we arrived late and the Snow Cap was already closed. Instead, we ate at The Roadkill Cafe. The sign below drew us in…
The menu offered such delicacies as:
- Caddie Grilled Patty
- High Speed Special
- Tried to Pass Me By on Rye
- Center Line Bovine
- Ground Round of Hound
- No Luck Buck
Me, I had the No Luck Buck. It was delicious.
After dinner, it was time to head out. My husband snapped a last shot of the Tahoe in Seligman, and we were on our way.
We didn’t make it very far, it was already dark and when we passed the old Valentine Post Office, famous for their heart-shaped Valentine postmark, and the imposing Valentine Indian School -we couldn’t even see them. When Hackberry came up, we decided to stop. We’d both been waiting to see Hackberry, and one thing about Arizona at night -it is pitch black. So we pulled off on some desert rutted dirt track and parked the Tahoe. As an aside, this was the only uncomfortable night we spent sleeping in the tahoe. It must have been 95 degrees all night, and we lay there just sweltering in the stiffling, mucky heat of our vehicle. On the plus side, we were not eaten by scorpions as our windows were down only a mere centimeter, and no scorpion could have possibly squeezed in. Hot? Yes. Eaten alive? No.