Have you ever had a day that felt like three jammed into one?! Well that was our day on Rt. 66 from Flagstaff AZ to Needles CA - and I mean that in a good way! We started with a late breakfast as the Galaxy Diner - a ‘50s style eatery with great food to go with the retro decor!
Our first stop after breakfast - what is said to be the highest point along Rt. 66 - elevation 7,410 ft. along Brannigan Park Rd in Bellemont, AZ, in Kaibab National Forest. Nearby in the town of Parks, an Auto Tour sign marks the original alignment.
The next stop is Williams, where you have the option to take the train on a side trip to the Grand Canyon. Since we’ve seen that magnificent site on previous vacations, we opted to walk through Williams, which has become a mecca for all things Rt. 66!
All that site-seeing (and shopping!) worked up an appetite - good thing the Road Kill Cafe in Seligman wasjust a short drive away! Yes, the food was DELICIOUS!
We had hoped to take a side trip down Diamond Creek Road to see the bottom of the Grand Canyon at the Colorado River, but due to the heavy rains over the past several days, the road was currently flooded and impassable. Instead, we stopped at the General Store in Hackberry and found a treasure trove of Rt. 66 memorabilia and souvenirs!
Entering Kingman, the scenery changed once again - a quaint town against a backdrop of rugged mountains. No shortage of Rt. 66 history here, from the welcoming water towers to the train depot-turned museum. Driving through the mountains, the rains moved in and here’s where things got interesting….
Fortunately my husband is an exceptional driver - and the rain let up! As we approached the town of Oatman, we were greeted by the infamous burros!
Oatman Arizona was a gold mining town in the early 1900’s with more than 3500 residents. Today, it is described as a “living ghost town” with perhaps 100 residents, but for visitors along Rt. 66, this throwback to the Old West is a must-see!
The drive leaving Oatman is just as scenic, especially since we had sun glistening from the mountain tops and a rainbow to boot.
There were many times we felt like we had the road to ourselves. And out here, in the desert, in the middle of nowhere, there is still a reminder that we are traveling on the most historic stretch of roadway in America!
We are now just 22 miles from our stop for the night, Needles California. We follow the old Rt. 66 alignment as we cross into California, but somehow this road is no longer an options - it is filled with rocks and impassable.
We take to the interstate and within minutes found ourselves approaching the town of Needles, so names for its pointed mountain peaks. We pause for a picture, and pause for a night’s rest! Tomorrow we take on the Mojave Desert! Water, water, water!