You can reach over in the corner mama an’ hand me my travelin’ shoes You know by that I’ve got them Statesboro blues. —Blind Willie McTell, “Statesboro Blues,” 1928
Today is all about hitting the road and driving. To be exact about 550 Kilometers. We are heading to Flagstaff, Arizona. We grab a coffee first before hitting the road and head back to the infamous Joshua Tree Inn (room 8) for a photo. ‘Gram Parsons spirit lives on here’.
Hoff has taken over some of the driving duties today and Bernie is in the navigator’s seat, they will swap from time to time. The traffic is light this Easter Sunday, maybe we are the only heathens not at church. We are heading down Route 62. I am feeling a little jaded today as are my fellow travelers, maybe jetlag is kicking in? We are heading out into a true wasteland. Not a lot to see, including a distinct lack of roadkill. Sure, is a rural desert area, and what houses are about are run down. Ventura Highway playing through the sound system. Mountains to our left and dirt roads link to the scattered homes. Just saw a road sign for Trump and Pence, time to take that one down!
We are now heading on a road that is taking us through two mountains. Desert and snow all at once. We are still in California heading toward Arizona, the countryside now looks like a moonscape. Here we are driving through the desert and a road sign says that the road is subject to flooding!
Now as far as the eye can see are salt pans and indeed there is a salt factory up ahead, the National Chlorine Co. of Arizona.
Mr. Tom Tom tells us to take a right onto the National Highway and then we turn right again (10:15) onto East 48 towards Needles which is 63 miles away. We are now officially in the Mojave Desert which is 25,000 square miles. Another bit of trivia about Needles is that it frequently records the highest desert sun temperatures. Providence Mountain is in the distance which is especially important to the Mojave American Indians. Interesting that we are listening to the song Ol’ 55 ‘Freeways, cars, and trucks’ and that is exactly what we are experiencing, not so much on our side of the freeway but across the other side the traffic is very heavy. Amazon, as we all know, is a behemoth of a company and the number of trucks with the Prime symbol is astonishing. One of the missing t-shirts I ordered a few months back might be in one of those trucks!
I am feeling tired now, but I must keep my eyes open as I will never be in these parts again, besides I have a blog to write. These desert vistas but I must enjoy these sights to their fullest; they are so foreign from anything I have ever experienced.
The time is 11:19 and we are turning onto Route 66 heading toward Kingman. At 11:50 we cross the mighty Colorado River into Arizona.
We stop in Kingman funnily enough on Beale St and have a half-decent lunch at the Grand Canyon Brewing Company. My homemade chili served on a cob is not to be bad. We also shared an appetizer of deep-fried pickles. Nothing much is happening in downtown Kingman may be due to it being Easter Sunday and families staying home to enjoy the day.
We are staying on Route 66 and are now heading toward Hackberry. Running adjacent to us is a rail line and we pass a couple of freight trains pulling some impressively long containers. We have stayed on Route 66 as much as we can to enjoy the history of this mighty old road as much as possible. The newer freeway is not that far from us and can be seen from time to time. Maybe the freeway would be quicker but there is a hell of a lot less traffic and no trucks on Route 66. Maybe it is just a bunch of nostalgic tourists like us making a pilgrimage and wondering what this area was like in the not-to-distant past.
We stop at Peach Springs which is on a Hualapai Indian Reservation. I have a stiff neck from all my gawking and swiveling my head. We went into the local market, and I found some cream. Went up to pay and the young girl who couldn’t scan the product, she asked her supervisor how much, and she just shrugged her shoulders. The young girl said $5 will do, it was $11.50 if they had only walked a few feet to check the shelf.
We are now 30 miles from Seligman which will be our last quick stop before getting into Flagstaff. One thing we have all noticed is that all the small towns really play on the ‘Route 66’ theme with their signage trying to encourage you to stop. We did stop at Seligman and went into the Roadkill salon. ‘You kill ‘em, we grill ‘em’. Across the road is another diner where the T.V. celebrities the Hairy Bikers enjoyed a milkshake.
It is now 3:57 as we turn onto the I40, and Flagstaff is 73 miles further down the track. The terrain changes again as we now head into pine forests and there is some snow to be seen and snow-capped mountains loom again ahead of us. We are surely out of the desert and are now only some 60 miles from the Grand Canyon National Park. The changes in scenery today have been mind-blowing.
And so, we made home base at 5:16. What a day. Wendy has been dozing for most of the afternoon and is having a problem with her sinus. All of us still have desert dust up our noses. I must admit to a bit of a sore through as well. The accommodation is fantastic we even have a little bit of snow in the back yard. It is not cold, but it will get so tonight.
We decide to go have a Mexican meal with Wendy deciding to have an early night as she is feeling unwell and a little feverish. After looking at some reviews online we opted to go to Agave. It was a good choice, the food was very good, the service was as well and my margarita was a winner. I went for the Pork Chile Colorado. My t-shirt now displays the chili I had for lunch and the chili I had for dinner. The waitress told us that they had a lot of heavy snowfalls this winter hence all the snow still lying around in parts of the town.
Another winner of the day.
Oh, and by the way, well done indeed to Bernie and Hoff for driving and navigating so a long day (on the wrong side of the road). Excellent work boys.
P.S. Hoff is starting a food blog and hopefully, in my next post, I will hook you up with his food reviews.