49 Exits on Route 66 – Day 33

49 Exits on Route 66

Day 33 – May 3, 2003 – Saturday

36,326 on the odometer as we left Sedona with Gallup, New Mexico as our final destination.  Today will be a Route 66 day.  There are 49 exits on Route 66 marked on our map between Flagstaff and Gallup.


Tom and Lane commented on my beads as I checked out of the Sedona Real.  I’ve told the story of the Floating Neutrinos (Day 18) so many times now that Bozzie Jane and I are discussing the possibility of making up a new story now every time someone asks.


As we gassed up, a bearded man approached the car asking for money.  He was very happy to have his photograph taken.  His name was Bear, and he lives in the woods.  Seriously.

We again enjoyed the beautiful one-hour drive from Sedona to Flagstaff.


There were a few sights we missed in Flagstaff (Route 66 Motel, Wigwam Curios, and the Museum Club – where the owner’s collection of stuffed animals is mounted in tree branches above the dance floor), but we didn’t warm to Flagstaff, so we just drove on.


“Don’t forget Winona” is one of the lyrics in the famous song “Route 66” written by Bobby Troup in 1946, so we were excited to see it.  Unfortunately, it appears just about everyone has forgotten Winona.  Everyone except the Route 66 sign thieves, as there were neither Route 66 signs nor Winona city limits signs.  We didn’t even see a business, but we did backtrack to get a photo of a sign with an arrow pointing toward Winona.  Someone should put a memorial of some type there – at least a Route 66 sign of some type.  49 exits on Route 66 but a lot of stolen signs.


The Twin Arrows Trading Post in Twin Arrows is one of the special landmarks along Route 66.  Sadly, it has closed, and the place is in pretty bad shape.  I got several photos of the huge wooden carvings of the twin arrows.  I had to jump big cement barricades to get to it.  From what I can tell, the property must be owned by the state of Arizona.


In this stretch of Route 66, Interstate 40 is the route, and we have to take the various exits to see little pieces of the original road and various sights in the little towns and whistlestops.

Down the road a dozen miles, and we pulled off the Interstate to Two Guns, Arizona.  Like Twin Arrows, Two Guns was the site of a gas station and trading post.  Nothing remains except some stone wall ruins and an old Two Guns sign where someone has written “Not” above the old “Welcome” sign.  We caught a glimpse of Diablo Canyon, but I decided the little white car did not need to venture down the rocky road.


The terrain in this part of Arizona is just flat desert with low shrubs.


The next landmark on our Arizona Route 66 map was Exit 233 — Meteor Crater.  49 exits on Route 66.  We hadn’t read much about it, so our expectations were low – especially since it is six miles or so off a section of Route 66 that is already in the middle of nowhere.  Were we ever in for a surprise!


50,000 years ago, a huge meteorite struck the ground here – the first of only two documented cases of a meteorite striking this planet.  The crater is 550 feet deep and 2.4 miles in circumference.  To put this in perspective, the crater could hold 20 football fields.  The Visitors’ Center, Museum of Astrogeology, and Astronaut’s Hall of Fame are housed in a big beautiful brick facility that we certainly didn’t expect, and the museum was totally professional – certainly as fine as anything we have seen.  The owners have big fences with concertina barbed wire to keep people from sneaking a free peak; the $12 per person entrance charge seemed steep, but after all, no one else has what they have.  Wind gusts were being clocked at up to 72 miles-per-hour, so we didn’t stick around after we saw a good-sized man lifted off his feet near the rim.

Meteor City is about 12 miles away.  The Meteor City Trading Post has two world’s largests – the world’s largest Route 66 map (painted on the fence) and the world’s largest dreamcatcher (a net that would appear to catch tumbleweeds and litter that blow in its direction as well as all dreams lost in the wind).


I have done a poor job of spotting the remains of old Route 66 drive-ins. I missed what was left of the Tonto Drive-In on the western outskirts of Winslow.  We may have been distracted by a billboard promoting “Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona.”  This is a famous lyric from one of the Eagles biggest hits, “Take It Easy.”  The song was written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, and we were told rumor has it that Glenn Frey might have begun writing the song after being released from jail in Winslow.  The song goes: “Well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona with such a fine sight to see.  It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.”


We had read that Don Henley (who was the lead singer on “Take It Easy”) gave some money to an effort to build a monument to the song on the street corner.  We were very pleasantly surprised when we found a beautiful monument and park on the main corner of Route 66 in downtown Winslow.  We parked the car and took a number of photos of “the corner.”  Then we walked around town.  We were very fortunate to meet John and Karen, owners of Dominique’s Hallmark/gift shop/Route 66 shop/flower shop right across from the corner.  Many years ago, John was a delivery driver for the Thrifty Food Company, and he traveled all across Arizona on Route 66, so he had great stories to tell about Route 66 during its glory days.  49 exits on Route 66. John and Karen bought their corner building a year ago and completely refurbished it.  They now get a lot of tourist business; they didn’t get any in their previous location.


At John’s recommendation, we walked down to the La Posada Hotel for lunch.  The La Posada is a beautiful Harvey Hotel designed by Mary Colter (famous Southwestern architect who designed the buildings at the Grand Canyon among others) and built in 1930.  The hotel was one of a number of luxury hotels adjacent to train depots that the Fred Harvey Company built in partnership with the Atlantic and Pacific and Santa Fe railroads.  The post-World War II decline in rail travel led to the closure of the grand hotel in 1957.  The property was purchased in 1997 by Allan Affeldt, who along with his wife Tina Mion and Daniel Lutzick, managed to get $10 million in grants to restore the place from the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund and the Arizona Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant program.  We further understand they just obtained another $1 million in grants for landscaping.  Can you imagine getting $11 million in grants to fix up your business?  We must be doing something wrong.


The La Posada is very impressive and we had a delightful lunch.  This would definitely be a great place to stay!  John on the corner told us that the restoration of the La Posada has had a tremendous impact on the revitalization of Winslow.


While the hotel was something to see, we probably got a bigger kick out of observing local high schoolers decorating the hotel with balloons for their prom that night.  Somehow we doubt that limos and motel rooms are part of the program for high schoolers in Winslow.


As we drove out of Winslow, I stopped at a patriotic display and was pleasantly surprised to find Remembrance Garden was built around two beams from the World Trade Center.

We really liked Winslow – one of our most favorite Route 66 towns!


The Jackrabbit Trading post was built in 1947 by two Joseph City, Arizona businessmen, Robbie Robinson and James Taylor.  They devised a billboard campaign that made the “Jackrabbit” famous.  Bright yellow billboards with a silhouette of a jackrabbit were all that was needed to promote the Jackrabbit Trading Post.  There’s a big fiberglass jackrabbit out front, and Boz was gracious enough to climb on for a photo.  We met Tony Jaquez, the owner for the last 12 years.  The lights weren’t on when we arrived at about 1:30, so we fear that business may not be that good.  Bozzie bought some moccasins for granddaughter Madison.


The Jackrabbit is on the outskirts of Joseph City.  Not much else to see there, but we got a nice photo of a patriotic sign put up by the two local Cub Scout troops.


Holbrook is a decent sized town.  There are a number of old motels there. And one of the best-known Route 66 landmarks, Wigwam Village. This is a beautifully restored old motel featuring concrete teepees originally built in 1950 by Chester E. Lewis.  We loved Wigwam Village.

Heading east just outside Holbrook, we saw giant dinosaurs next to the highway.  We pulled off to find the “International Petrified Forest, Dinosaur Park, and Museum of the Americas.”  Sounds BIG and IMPORTANT.  We drove up to a ticket booth where Tomacita took our $10 bill.  It was to be a two-and-a-half-mile drive through the Dinosaur Park.  Tomacita looked a little sick and mumbled incoherently when I asked her if it was really exciting to see.  It wasn’t.  I believe we saw a total of six concrete dinosaurs in the 2 ½ miles; there were bigger and better-looking dinosaurs for free along the highway.  There was some petrified wood in the desert on the drive, and there were some Indian artifacts in the Museum of the Americas, but this was not a noteworthy stop.  I imagine they are having a tough time of it; there were 21 flagpoles standing proudly out front, but only two sad-looking flags remained.  The rest room was extremely nice and clean.


The REAL Petrified Forest National Park WAS just a few miles down the road.  We enjoyed the views of the colorful Painted Desert and Petrified Forest along the 27-mile scenic drive.  We met a number of nice people, including Marcus and Ranger Rachel.  Ranger Rachel told us we should have bought a 13-month pass good for all National Parks for $50; I’ll add that to my list of things one should do before heading off on a trip to all 50 states.


In the parking lot, we met John and Corinne; they had been on their own trip across America for over two months and were just heading home.  Inside the park, we met Gary and Janice as well as Ian, Matthew, Bruce, and Celia.


Several exits produced little or nothing as we headed east.  I felt cheated when we stopped to see “Indian Ruins” after we saw many signs promoting it.  It was nothing but a modern gas station and Indian-themed gift shop.


We detoured off Route 66 to head north to Window Rock, Arizona to see the famous window rock.  The sun set on the way there, so we didn’t get the best view of Window Rock, but we did manage a photo or two.  It turns out the city of Window Rock is the capital of the Navajo Nation, and we saw the various tribal headquarters offices.


We crossed into New Mexico at about 7:30, but the time changed, so it was 8:30.  We galloped into Gallup, New Mexico about 20 minutes later.  Gallup is known for a number of great old motel neon signs, and we cruised down Route 66 and snapped several photos.  It wasn’t until the next day that we realized we missed the biggest and best part of the motels on the east end of town.


We had a nice meal at the Ranch Kitchen.  They’ve served 7 million customers in 49 years.  It was started by Earl and Beverly Vance.  Sharon was our waitress.  I had barbeque brisket and chicken, and the combo was very good.  We checked into the Holiday Inn.  The lobby was spectacular, but the rooms were poor, though Barbara noted they are about to remodel.  We have been disappointed with only two motels — the only two Holiday Inns we have stayed at.

We saw 15 trains today.  That means 15 ice cream cones for Bozzie Jane.  I hope Papa is still buying.


While it wasn’t one of our favorite days, it was certainly a diverse and interesting one.

I’m not sure what lesson we learned today.  There was no strong message.  It was sad to see so many ruins of what were significant spots on Route 66.



May 3

36326 8:15 after telling the bead and couple other stories to Tom and Lane at the Sedona Reale Inn where we were unable to get an internet connection probably due to something with the hotel’s phone set-up as opposed to Earthlink.

We met Bear at the gas station and got his picture. He’s lived here 3 months in the woods and probably not in a house or anything.

36328 we’re getting a slow start after awakening at 6:00. Someone who has the longest and darkest hair slept in.

Barbara would like to know why Arizona doesn’t observe day light savings time.

Flagstaff 36355 9:20

Wynona 36376 9:45am

We’re taking a picture of the bridge with the ‘road closed’ sign.

It looks like people steal the city limit signs to Wynona so we’re going back to get one with an arrow.

Train for Bozzie

It’s ashame Wynona doesn’t have a Route 66 sign of any type. It would be nice if had a little memorial, but we didn’t even see a business.

Crossing Padre Canyon 36386 as we exit to Twin Arrows 10am

We got a bunch of pictures at Twin Arrows. It’s all closed up and they have cement barriers to keep people from pulling in over there but I hopped the barriers. The land out east of Twin Arrows is your basic flat desert. There are little plants no more than a foot high. The mountains are way back in the distance.

36398 10:19 Two Guns which looks pretty much to be gone

We got this divided broken piece of Route 66 in Two Guns. We rode out to the end of the broken piece and took some pictures. I guess that would be Diablo Canyon that’s down in the ruins. There are a bunch of ruins here.

36402 10:30am at exit 203 off of I 40 and getting off for Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater signs say “this planet’s first impact meteor site…” It’s called an impact crater.

36408 10:38am we’re in the parking lot of Meteor Crater

Barbara: We just stopped to see the meteor crater and it was really an incredible site to see. There are only two proven craters that have ever hit the earth. The museum and facility all around about the history and information about the astronauts and everything is very well done. It’s a beautiful building. We would’ve stayed longer but we don’t have that much time and also the wind gusts are at 70 mph. It’s kind of hard to stand out there and take a look, but it’s definitely something everyone should see.

I was expecting more than Sponge-o-rama when we drove to Meteor Crater but there’s no way you expect a big, gorgeous brick building with as professional a museum as we’ve seen anywhere. People own this out here and they have all kinds of fences and stuff from keep people from being able to get a view without paying $12 per person to get in. It was a little steep but hey it’s the only one.

Meteor City 36420 11:13. This is the Meteor City Trading Post that has a map that some people are rude enough to park in front of. It’s the world’s longest map of Route 66.

We took a picture of the world’s largest map of Route 66 and of the world’s largest dream catcher.


City limits of Winslow 36432 11:30

“Stand on the corner of Winslow, Arizona” billboard

We took a picture of a patriotic display photo coming into Winslow


Barbara: We met John at the Winslow corner. He had a really interesting job many years ago. In the 50’s he was a delivery person for the Thrifty Food Service Company. So, he would call on everyone from Kingman to the New Mexico line, the reservations and down to the Verde Valley. He knows Angel in Saligman and tells interesting stories about how these businesses were thriving. He bought the building just one year ago, completely refurbished it. The windows were blacked out, the ceiling was covered up; he and his wife spend a lot of time and money refurbishing the building. He really just got moved last Memorial Day and opened. He didn’t used to get the tourist trade, and now he has a whole section for the Route 66 paraphernalia. Now, tourists come in all the time. He goes out on the street corner to take pictures. He says on a summer weekend you have to wait in line to get your picture taken with Don Henley on that corner. His wife is from Winslow and her father paid $1800 cash for a house down the street; he lived in it til the day he died. On his death bed he was still cussing having paid so much for his house.

Glenn Fry and Jackson Brown actually wrote the song many years ago before they were with the Eagles. The story is that Glenn Fry was in jail for drunk driving. There was something across the street, came out, and was standing on the corner. It was years later that Don Henley sang it and turned it into the hit that it is. We’re walking down to the La Pasada Hotel which really was the beginning of the refurbishment of this town. A developer got 10 million dollars grant money from the state to refurbish the La Pasada. Later, just recently, he got 1 million dollars to refurbish the cinema, the old theater which is now showing first time movies. It definitely sparked everything else going on. It is one of the few towns along this route that has held onto its heritage and buildings and is coming back. One other interesting bit of info is the Hallmark Store with John. He and his wife have both a hallmark portion and a floral business. We met his wife and I just though it was kind of fun that she apologized to us for not being able to spend much time but she was busy with prom business. There’s just something ironic or funny about it to me that this little bitty sleepy town is fixing corsages for the young people. It might have been a good idea for the man who did the La Pasada to have spend some of the 10 million dollars on the side walk; it’s very uneven out front where Bill almost lost his life in a pratt fall.

We’d like to know why trains don’t have cabooses anymore.

We got pictures on the outskirts of town of Remembrance Garden with two beams from the World Trade Center. There are tons of flags; it’s really pretty. We had a nice meal at the La Pasada. It was very impressive.

36429 1:09 passing the Little Colorado River. We just left the outskirts of Winslow a minute ago.

Bozzie spotted another train and she’s demanding ice cream.

The original wigwam village is in Kentucky, so I may need to modify my Kentucky route to see it.


We went to the Jack Rabbit Trading Post and met Antonio. He said the area was named Jack Rabbit after the trading post because of the hype created by the man who started it. His lights were off when we went in, so I don’t think he’s getting tons of business. He said he’s owned it for 12 years. We bought some moccasins for Madison.

36452 1:35pm we’re leaving Jack Rabbit

36458 1:40 Joseph City elevation 5000 and founded 1876

There’s nothing in Joseph City but we did take a picture of the “we salute our troops” from Cub Scouts 59

We’re exiting off I 40 at exit 285 for Wholebrook 36469 1:55pm

We stopped to get a picture of the Golden Inn Motor Hotel that has seen better years. It is available for rent. We got a picture of their Route 66 mother road mural, and a Petrified National Park mural.

Wholebrook is a good-sized place; we’re kind of surprised.

We just met Thomasita at the Petrified Forest painted desert.

The first thing we photographed was a streuthommus, ostrich dinosaur it’s called.

The second dinosaur we photographed is called allosarus. It’s very attractive.

All off to the side are piles of petrified wood. They’re just little poles and rows. It basically looks like a big dirt pile.

A young dilothosaurus

This is a 2 ½ mile drive we’re on and I would say at the current pace it appears there’s a dinosaur every ½ mile. But in between the dinosaurs we have piles of trees that are petrified.

This next dinosaur is called a coelophysis; it’s a small little dinosaur.

This place is just right on I 40. You can see the truckers going by. It is $10 per car for this tour.

Dromiceiommus is the next shot.

The next one with the little mounds behind is the segnosaur

There’s 21 flag poles and only 2 flags left. They had a giant green dinosaur stuffed animal in there for $75 originally $97. They have nice restrooms and a nice little Indian display.

They really are better looking, bigger dinosaurs as advertisements along the highway as opposed to what you see when you go inside the park.

The wind is blowing so hard out here that the sky is literally light brown.

Goodwater 36489 3:10pm. There are no services in Goodwater. As we look off, there’s a couple of trucks parked on the side of the road, a couple huts, a mobile home, a shed or two. It doesn’t appear to be a big city.

36501 3:19 we’re exiting on 311 for the Petrified Forest National Park

We got out at the visitor’s center at the National Park and met John and Corinne. Inside, we photographed Marcus who gave us some info. John and Corrine have been on a trip since February 28 just driving around seeing the sites and stuff. They’d been to Savannah and Charleston.

The Petrified Forest National Park has a $10 entrance fee.

We met Ranger Rachel, took her picture, and she gave us a nice little extra goody of a map and told us we should buy a $50 13-month park pass.

We met Gary and Janice at the first stop—the painted desert photo stop.

We took the Painted Desert Inn at Cochina Point.

We just passed the Puerco River. It appears to be just dirt. 36513 4:10

We met Ian, Matthew, Bruce, and Cilia and took their picture at the Blue Mesa area. They’re from Oklahoma City. They’re nice people and headed to Phoenix and Sedona.

The next photo with dark drainage ditches is the dindritic drainages.

We were probably at 36520 at the Blue Mesa at about 4:47


Some of these hills are like Neopolitan ice cream—chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry striped.

Dead River 36547 5:28pm and we just entered the Navajo Nation

We believe there are Indians on the horizon.

We just left the National Park about 5 minutes ago. We’re on I 40 because there is no Route 66 here but we have lots of exits with cool stuff coming up.  49 exits on Route 66.

We’re at exit 320 Penta Road 36551 5:31pm. This may be the painted desert ruins.

We took a picture of the gravel where the painted desert trading post used to be.

We took a picture of where the road, Route 66, ends at the former Painted Desert Trading Post.

We stopped in Navajo; we didn’t really see a town. I guess there really isn’t one. There was a modern Texaco station and we bought gas. I hope it goes to some Navajos.


Another train

We’re exiting at Chambers, exit 333, because of the Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site. There’s a great looking gas station. Oh, wow, that’s really pretty! I don’t know if we can get to it but it’s pretty. 36565 5:56pm

Another train after leaving Chambers

Exiting 341 Ortega Road to go to Indian Ruins. It has hundreds of billboards up and down the highway advertising it.

Indian Ruins is a modern Indian-named gas station.

Right outside the Indian Ruins on the on-ramp I took a picture of what was an old gas station.

36579 6:16 we’re in the Quarino Canyon

Another train

36593 6:33pm we’ve turned off on highway 12 North going to Window Rock. It’s 26 miles so we hope it’s worth the drive

Window Rock is a 26 mile detour off the interstate north.

We took a sunset going down over a hill when we were in the Navajo Nation as they prefer to call the Navajo Indian Reservation.

36618 7:02 we’re turning right on state road 264 toward Window Rock.

Navajo Nation Museum with some big rocks. I don’t know if these are the window rocks. 36620 7:07

7:15 36622 we’re leaving the Window Rock and Navajo Nation Tribal Headquarters

New Mexico 36625 7:21pm though it may be 8:21 here.

Another train

We haven’t seen a sign but we appear to be in Gallop 36646 7:43 or 8:43.

Another train