Yes, I’m accumulating a collection of street signs taken by the side of empty roads. Let’s say it’s on purpose. Everyone who road trips thinks about Route 66. The Mother Road, famous for it’s cross country sprawl from Chicago to Los Angeles and equally famous for the touristy kitchy statuary and paraphernalia that sprang up to attract tourists to stop for gas and hamburgers. Now Route 66 has been absorbed by many cross country highways – like highway 40 in Arizona – but some of the kitsch still lives. Here’s what I saw between Kingman and just past Flagstaff.
Old roadside relics just barely maintained I think these twin arrows used to be part of a gas station. Now Twin Arrows is the name of a nearby casino and these arrows are behind a concrete embankment just hanging out.
Gregg Arnold added to the roadside memorabilia with this sculpture he calls Giganticus Headicus, an Easter Island head far from home.
A quasi museum/gift shop of Route 66 memorabilia along with vintage gas pumps, Burma shave signs, and old red corvette and many photo ops. Bikers like to drive up here and hang out on the picnic benches, adding their own picturesque quality to the scene.
The entire town of Williams is a tribute to Route 66 with a historic main street packed with gift shops and 50s style diners. I ate at Cruisers 66, a restaurant attached to the Grand Canyon Brewing Company.
I had a stout, cuz i’m on a stout kick at the moment, and a salad that wasn’t really picture worthy. I thought the beer was decent but nothing to write home (or here) about and the whole restaurant is the kind of place you eat when you’re determinedly doing the Route 66 thing, which I was. If you want good food you probably want to go elsewhere in town. I hear Cafe 326 is good.
2 Guns Arizona was my sad Route 66 finale
I think it was once a tiny thriving settlement of a gas station, a store and an inn called Kamp (only slightly kreepy) but now it’s a bonafide ghost town
Full of graffiti and just enough of a weird vibe to keep me checking over my shoulder as I took pictures while the car was still running. I hope that Route 66 kept this little place alive for awhile but it’s definitely wreckage now. And probably won’t even be that for much longer as the desert and the sun take their toll.
I don’t know, ya’ll. I love the romantic idea of Route 66, all those bright shiny cheeked parents and kids seeing the USA in their Chevrolets. And I love the genuine old relics like Twin Arrows and the new ones in the same spirit like Giganticus Headicus. But the museums and the 50s diners and the endless gift shops? Those can go anytime.
I say bring back the spirit of Route 66 by bringing back the American Road Trip. Create new kitschy roadside stuff to give drivers an excuse to stop and take pictures. Let’s all get in our cars and see the USA in our Nissans and Hyundais.
It’s pretty cool out there.