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USATourist News Magazine

December 2007

In this issue:

Northern Arizona Route 66

Welcome to the December 2007 issue of USATourist News Magazine. If you have read our Route 66 page you already know the 2400 mile (3862 km) "Mother Road" is not what it once was. Many of the attractions and towns in its eight states have been abandoned or forgotten due to the development of the quicker and more convenient highway system. While there are still drivable sections between Chicago and Los Angeles, Arizona boasts the longest stretch of what's left of the Route 66 with 159 miles (255 km).

This month we are going to cover some of the still very attractive highlights in three of Arizona's Historic Route 66 towns.

Twisters Cafe

Inside Twisters old-fashioned 1950's Soda Fountain

Williams

In October 1984 Williams was the last Route 66 town to be bypassed by I-40, yet somehow the town has done a wonderful job of keeping vintage Route 66 alive. Classic signs and old-fashioned gas pumps line the road as do places like the historic Grand Motel, Cruiser's Café 66, Twisters old-fashioned 1950's Soda Fountain and its neighbor the Route 66 Place (an appropriately named gift shop).

Beyond Route 66, Williams is considered to be the gateway to the Grand Canyon and is where you can catch the vintage Grand Canyon Railway. Williams relishes in its southwestern history with staged gunfights during the summer months. The Bill Williams Mountain Men organization keeps 19th century trapper William Sherley Williams' memory alive with events such as the annual Rendezvous Days held every Memorial Day weekend --- the town was named for him, after all. The rustic Rod's Steak House is one of Williams' historic 66 restaurants. Photos of the Mountain Men hang on the wall and the famous steer logo is seen throughout the town. The prime rib at Rod's is terrific and a real bargain on the lunch menu.

Flagstaff

Thirty-four miles (54.4 km) east of Williams is Flagstaff, a charming mountain town claiming the highest altitude of all the Route 66 stops. Route 66 is the "main drag" through Flagstaff and while many of the original 66 businesses have closed, there are a multitude of events and things to do in Flagstaff. It is a happening college town with nightlife and nature sports galore. Every September Historic Downtown Flagstaff hosts the fun Route 66 Days.

Route 66 Days

Classic Car Show at Route 66 Days in Flagstaff

Lowell Observatory is located on Mars Hill, only 1 mile (1.6 km) from downtown. Guided tours are provided daily with some highlights being the Pluto Discovery Telescope and the historic Rotunda Library Museum. Be sure to explore the exhibit hall and catch a show in the newly opened John Vickers McAllister Space Theatre. If you go in the evening and the sky is clear you will be able to take part in the fantastic telescope viewing. This is sure to be one of the highlights of your journey.

Motel Row dates back to the 66 heydays and while some of the motels are a bit rundown, many have been or are recently going through renovations. The InnSuites has newly revamped rooms, a pool, free breakfast buffet, and free nightly happy hour with beer, wine and snacks.

Going east on Route 66 from Motel Row is Salsa Brava Fresh Mexican Grill. This place is a real treat. Everything is made from scratch (they cut over 500 pounds of tomatoes every week) and the prices are extremely reasonable. Further east, on Route 66, is the famous Museum Club. This was and still is a popular stop for musicians to perform live country western music. Locally this 1931 rustic style roadhouse is called "the Zoo" for the taxidermy (stuffed trophy animals) decorating the wall. If you decide to do a little two-stepping, be forewarned you will have to maneuver the petrified trees shooting out of the wooden dance floor.

Winslow

Winslow, 68 miles (110 km) east of Flagstaff, is one of the towns that truly felt the effects of the new highway system. Most of the tourist-based businesses ended up shutting down, turning Winslow into a sleepy town. Nevertheless, today Winslow is reviving and has numerous things to do in and around the town.

"Well, I'm standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see; It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me."

The Corner

The Bronze Statue on The Corner in Winslow, Arizona.

That one line in the 1970's song Take it Easy by "The Eagles" put Winslow on the map forever. In honor of the song, the Standin' on the Corner Park was developed with a Take it Easy theme. The park includes the "Standin' on the corner" sign and sculptor Ron Adamson's bronzed life-sized statue of a man dressed in 70's clothing. A red flat-bed Ford is parked on the street with its "reflection" painted into Artist John Pugh's two-story mural. The park's pavers are special Donor Bricks that you may purchase and have personalized to help revitalize the park and Winslow's historic downtown.

Just down the street from "the corner" is the historic and newly restored La Posada Hotel and Gardens. Originally it was a Fred Harvey House built in 1929 to serve the Santa Fe Railway passengers. The building was designed by the talented architect Mary E. J. Colter.

With advanced reservations you can tour the hotel and grounds with a real Harvey Girl - perhaps you remember the Judy Garland movie. The original Harvey Girls were employees of Fred Harvey and are an enormous part of the hotel's history, plus given credit for being the group of women who helped "civilize the old west". La Posada is often sold out so reservations need to be made many months in advance.

Tip: The 80-100 trains passing through these Arizona towns are rather endearing, but if you are a light sleeper pack some earplugs.

New Poll Question

How far in advance do you plan your travels?

Stop by our USATourist News Magazine Forum to let us know your answer and read more about Arizona's Route 66.

Happy Travels!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair

All photos by Elizabeth Blair ©USATourist.com


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