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Grand Canyon & Rte 66 AZ  May 2012

 Rolling down the highway in the early morning before Memorial weekend, I was excited to take this trip. With just my husband, without the worry of the house being ok or the kids. Without actually having that choice- to worry.

Because-  we'd be too far away to do anything really!

 

Once we hit Hwy 40 in Southern CA, we noticed an odd silver ball of a place, with a little added store. Crazy, cool; originally planned as the restaurant of an RV park from what I was told.I had to get a shot with my silver trailer. Nothing around but Hwy, sage and dirt- and more dirt. A place that is somewhere but nowhere. What would compel a person to build it? So strange! But- people are.

We cruised out the 40 through Kingman toward Flagstaff. In Kingman,Az we toured the Old Powerhouse. Now a Route 66 Museum and store. The locals working there are great sources for referrals to food ,lodging and more by the way. This Hamburger stop was across the street. Good eats!

On to Flagstaff and their KOA on 89. Big trees, great staff. Nice campground. The next morning we were picked up right at the front by Angel's Gate Tours for a 7 mile hike down into the Grand Canyon.

We joined a group of 8 total to walk down the Cedar Crest Trail.

 

 Our tour guide, from Angel's Gate Tours, was witty and informative and one could tell he loved what he did. Long, good day full of "nuggets" of education about the Canyon, it's diverse eco system and geology and it's history. I even made it back up the switchbacks! (Rather proud of that fact)
See the little people below!
 

 

The second day, we hiked Walnut Canyon to see the native American cliff dwellings. Early morning, sunlight still spreading through the trees. We were the first to enter the trail and enjoyed it privately until we were hiking out.

The birds and the lizards were everywhere and we noted over and over that we "got" this place as a area to live in. That the Native Americans who chose this canyon were smart. Protected, warm, solid dwellings. Storage, water. Made much more sense than some of the dwellings I'd seen.

Amazing how they built them so simply and so strong. One could imagine generations living here. Beautiful. I felt respectful of this history and this place.

 

After the hike and self tour we took off down Hwy 40 West toward the AZ RTE 66 loop and Grand Canyon Caverns. Hitting Williams AZ on the way. Haven't been in town since 1999 when the kids were small, it was a pleasure to see how nicely it had grown. And, that it had grown slowly. Then, we had stayed at the Red Garter - run in the once busy "house of ill repute" in town. It's bottom story a great bakery. We had also taken the restored train to the Grand Canyon then, with it's robber hold up and cowboy Sheriff riding to save the day.
( couldn't resist a good shot of this Sucker Indian Chief- so colorful!)
 
The town was busy with early morning activity, the rodeo also being held that weekend.
I loved all the small town-ness of it. How clean and clear the sky was and the amiable citizens we chatted with in the shops as we wandered Rte 66 through their "downtown".
 Good break after our early hike.
After that, we drove to Seligman, where the turn off to AZ Rte 66 was. This loop does not allow big trucks so its a nice route for history's sake and for the drive. Seligman, for those that don't know, was the inspiration for the Disney movie "Cars" and rightly so. Tiny, off the now busy Hwy 40, it was by passed when the Hwy was paved and is now a tourist destination for many 66 travelers. We even chatted with a group of about 10 or 12 motorcyclists on a tour through there at the famous Snowcap Hamburger Stand. They had started in Chicago I think- doing the 2,500 miles of RTE 66! Most were from England and I could tell that Rob was loving the accents as they sounded like his parents and home. They seemed to be a fun group. The tour guide was following with a van in case of mishaps. He represented Eagle Rider Tours. I was caught twice by practical jokes at the Snowcap by the pretty waitress and had forgotten that our hiking guide, Corey, had warned us of this while recommending the place for its red chicken burritos at the same time. The place is full of great kitch, cars, signs and fun junker shops of tees and wayside trinkets.
I had a great day and even Rob put up with my wanderings!
Ordering at the Snow Cap is an experience in itself! (Above)
 
 
 
  At the end of town going west is the Road Kill Cafe- definitely worth a drink or meal. We had buffalo burgers and enjoyed a really tacky but fun karaoke bar. Loved the wall decor and the actual bar that cornered around to 2 walls in the back area of the restaurant.
 
 We drove on westward Rte 66 Loop to Grand Canyon Caverns.
The largest dry caverns in the United States 200 to 300 feet below the surface-
accessible via exploration elevator.
 
 
RV/ Trailer Camping, horseback riding, and of course Cave tours.
We arranged to take the 3 hour Explorer Tour the next day.
Mining (Cave) hats with headlights included!
Glad they were too as I hit rock roofs
several times climbing around and beaned myself in the noggin.
They even have a room you can stay in inside the cave- movies and a bathroom!
Have had a couple weddings also- not my thing but hey! Interesting.
 
We traveled past Hackberry on Rte 66- this station seems to be most of it- very cool.
Autos everywhere. My mind was painting as I shot photos!
 I do think my trailer looks right in the front of the station though!
They had a market and eatery inside and picnic tables by the gas pumps.
 
Went on to a smaller loop up through the mining town of Oatman, AZ
 
 
 
 
 and back down the 40 to the 15 South and home!

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