This week has been a blast as we motored along the Mother Road from Albuquerque to Kingman Arizona, making plenty of stops along the way to check out the scenery, purchase some treasures and visit some fantastic sites.
On the first day we went from Albuquerque to Grants, New Mexico and from there took a detour through El Malpais National Monument (aka the Badlands) and stopped at the Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano. Both were very cool with the lava landscape and the ice cave which remains frozen year round.
From there we continued onto Gallup, New Mexico – a very cool town where we stayed at the historic Hotel El Rancho. This is where many movie stars have stayed, particularly when western movies were being filmed in the area so the roster included stars such as John Wayne and others such as Spencer Tracy and Kirk Douglas.
I splashed out and we stayed in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Suite. We had some of the best margaritas for a while in the lounge (which was decorated with numerous dollar bills) while also indulging in some Mexican food.
The next day we made our way into Arizona, stopping just over the border for some Indian Trading Posts that clearly had seen better days. Situated a little down the road was a replica of Fort Courage from the F-Troop TV series (you have to be older to remember this show).
Further along the way we had to drop into the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, where Alice decided she had to ride a large jackalope.
In Holbrook, we stopped at the very famous Joe & Aggie’s Café in Holbrook, which was featured in Pixar’s “Cars” movie and also checked out the Wigwam motel – the rooms are individual teepees with cool old vehicles parked outside as part of the décor.
We stopped in Winslow, made famous by the Eagles song “Take it Easy” where of course we had to stand on the corner for the obligatory photos.
Next it was onto Flagstaff, a very well maintained town that is primarily a University town. Here we stayed in the haunted Hotel Monte Vista. This evening was a change from following in the footsteps of Presidents as we stayed in the Michael Stipe REM room. Fortunately our room wasn’t haunted so we had a peaceful evening.
We also stopped in for a drink at the Museum Club, which we both agreed was the best roadhouse / dive bar we’ve been in for a long time.
We had a complete change of pace the following day with a ride in the parlor car on the Grand Canyon Railroad.
This was a great day complete with comprehensive commentary on the train, an excellent hike along the canyon rim, and live entertainment in the form of country singers and a train robbery by cowboys (should I call them outlaws?) on horseback.
We also had a couple of cocktails on the way back including a champagne toast before staying in the very well revamped Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel.
To change the pace up a little more, the following day we made our way to the Grand Canyon Western Ranch where we stayed in a cabin on a working ranch complete with horses, cattle and bison.
On the way we stopped in yet more Trading Posts as well as Seligman where the revitalization of Route 66 was first championed.
At the Grand Canyon Western Ranch, Alice had fun in the saloon and jail.
We started the next day with a hearty cowboy breakfast followed by a horseback ride over part of the 106,000 acres that belong to the ranch and along the way stopped for a champagne toast (yes there is a theme emerging here).
Then it was on to Kingman, where we ate at some great places including Rutherford 66 Diner, Mr D’z Diner and Oyster Mexican and seafood and then got ourselves ready for the fun run and classic car and motorcycle show. We went downtown a little early to wait for the cars coming from Seligman and amused ourselves in the Route 66 museum in the old Powerhouse.
Even though it was raining and plenty of water rushing down the gutters, many classic, and some not so classic cars showed up.
The finish was mostly in front of Mr D’z diner – where we ate some great road trip food.
This was a most excellent week – perhaps best summed up by the photo of Alice having another large, very nice margarita 🙂