Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Route 66

Our first stop of the day was Williams, AZ - the former little Las Vegas along Route 66. It now has some relics of its former hay day, but is otherwise a nice small town. The visitor's center was helpful, the old man at the cheap gas station was not. He yelled a lot, something about how cheap his gas is (he only had 87 octane), and how it works fine for everything from trucks to weed whackers, and if he was willing to put it into his weed whacker then it should be fine running it in a bike with only 2 cylinders. We should have taken a picture with him, but instead decided to go to the next gas station over, where abrasive yelling seemed less frequent, and higher octane gas was available. We had some breakfast of fruit and granola bars at the Safeway and hit the highway (yuck) towards the Route 66 turn off.

Historic Route 66 is a fairly desolate road. Much of the time it's a straight shot with not too much to look at. Every once in awhile there was an old gas station or other stop that has faded with time, but then you roll into Seligman, AZ, a tour bus mecca along the route.

Route 66 Souvenir Town

The shops there sell all sorts of random trinkets and try to one-up there neighboring shops with the amount of kitsch. We got some free coffee from the barber/souvenir shop and wandered around town.

Old Cars

We planned on a lunch stop at Peach Springs, which was another hour up the road. It's an important city for the Hualapai reservation and where you can turn off to the Grand Canyon West Entrance, which we opted not to do because it's outrageously expensive (around $70/ppn to enter and walk on the skywalk). That town had absolutely nothing, not even rusted out old cars. There was one hotel/lodge/tour/restaurant building, but we kept driving - knowing how much they charge for their tours, how much would lunch have cost?

We grabbed a burger at Mr D'z diner in Kingman, followed by a fudge brownie sundae. Entertainment during our meal was provided by a group of Italians (that's a guess, but we're pretty sure) who had all rented Harleys and gone on tour. They took more posed pictures than I've ever seen anyone take in my life, and that was just in the diner - at the entryway, from the other direction, in the corner, at the bar, at the jukebox, back out front,... it was non stop. They got back on their bikes and the excitement continued - all 10-12 bikes were turning left across the highway business loop, following their tour guide. None of them seemed to care whether cars were coming or not though. There were. Luckily they stopped to let them pass.

After the commotion died down, we ran across the street to a visitors center (clearly our favorite stops in small towns, USA) where we were told of a sweet spot to camp on the shoreline of Lake Mead. The place is called Bonelli's Landing and the NPS map didn't show it at all, but the guy we talked to drew in the road with his pencil and we were on our way. It turned out to be an ideal spot!


We were right on the water and had a chance to do some swimming. While we were wading out there, a number of big fish kept swimming really close to us. If we would have paid more attention to a TV show we saw in Zion, Hillbilly Hand Fishing, we just might have been able to noodle us up some dinner. But no such luck. We stuck with chili instead. Here's the smallest guy that was checking us out.:


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