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Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Everything posted by Keep the Show on the Road!

  1. From the album: Old Spanish Trail and US 80

    Interior of the Gadsden Hotel, Douglas arizona, on the old Spanish Trail and US 80.
  2. Right......., I drive fast! We left Bisbee and climbed up Mule Pass with a little snow falling. We intended to spend the night in Tombstone, but there was no room at the inn for Ole Bo, Malamute Wonder Dog so we ended up in Tucson at a whore house. Seriously. We stayed at a nice motel (I’ll spare the name) costing over $115 for a room. Next door and on the floor above a full scale brothel was operating. Tucson brags about its “old west” feeling but we hardly expected this! The three girls and their madem were very courteous, and we didn’t really figure out what the deal was until late that night! It added a “special” touch to our stay in Tucson! In the morning the girls petted Bo goodbye, but Sheila, Rose of the Road, wouldn’t let them pet me goodbye. The next day we stayed on the freeway all the way to Gila Bend. Gila Bend is on Old 80 and brags that the population is 1700 and 5 old crabs! We stopped at the Space Age Lodge for dinner. (Denny, I’m sorry I didn’t get photos.) The motel / restaurant was built in the 1960’s with a space age theme by a fellow associated in a business way with NASA. They even had satellites on the roof! The place was remodeled in 1996, and it lost the satellites, but retains a lot of its former glitz. The most interesting landmark in Gila Bend was the Stout Hotel, complete with its old neon sign advertising it had Steam Heat. Stout’s was built in 1927 and must have been an important stop on the old highway. Photos will be posted in the gallery ASAP. From Gila Bend northward, old 80 runs to the west of the more modern highway. About 23 miles north of Gila Bend and along old 80 is the 1920’s Gillespie Dam. It was the biggest privately financed irrigation project in the United States, but a flood in 1993 breached the dam. The fantastic 1927 Gillespie Bridge crosses the Gila River here. You don’t find many six span steel truss bridges anywhere else, do you? This one is a beauty! Before irrigation projects drained the river, you could float from here all the way to Yuma. Now you would need a sand buggy most of the way! We followed old 80 past Arlington then picked up the old road that took us northwest to Salome. Rose of the Road wanted to visit Quartzite and its flea markets / outdoor bazaars, so we detoured down US 60 to the desert RV capital of the world. The bazaar was fun and we have never seen so many RV’s in one place. They are parked everywhere, not just in RV Parks, but all over the desert. The drive on to Needles through Parker was uneventful. We would have looked Parker over more closely but there was a crowd in town for a race and the highways and byways were clogged with folks, making sight seeing impossible. Needles turned out to be a great overnight stop. The 66 Motel greeted us on the way into town and we “discovered” the El Graces Hotel, one of the Harvey Hotels of old. You can’t help but be awed by what was built to accommodate the rail tourist of the 1920 and 1930’s. These places were palaces. It makes our modern overnight stays in motels seem like stops in the back woods. Even in its abandoned and neglected condition, the Graces is impressive. I hope the people of Needles and Arizona manage to restore the place. We are on to Route 66 through Goffs and Amboy n the morning.
  3. After leaving Deming westbound , we flew along on the interstate with what appeared to be the old road just off to the right (north). It ran straight and true, and at each cross wash, dipped down like a roller coaster, a typical thing on old two lane roads. I recall as a kid urging Dad to maintain speed on roads like that so we could get the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach! If you remember those dips you will also recall that coming out of the dip the road was black with crankcase oil jettisoned off cars by the force. We pulled into Lordsburg for a look. Loardsburg is definitely worth a stop. The old route takes you to the old downtown laid out facing the railroad track. It is now called Motel Drive but in its Old Spanish Trail days its name was Railroad Avenue, for obvious reasons. The famed Hidalgo Hotel, built in 1928, stands out with its tower at the east end of the old business district. The corner where the pickup is parked in the photo was a Texaco station in the 1950’s. LORDSBURG HIDALGO HOTEL & TEXACO STATION (Non members must click link to view the image) 1950’s postcards show a vibrant thoroughfare with businesses on both sides of the road, but the construction of Interstate 10 bypassed the city and cut off its downton US 80 tourist traffic. The real treat of the day was old US 80 (now state route 80) and the Old Spanish Trail south to Douglas and Bisbee. The vistas were absolutely breathtaking, and unexpected. The mountains loomed ahead and unique rounded rock formations crowded up nearer the road. This is also mining country, and one enterprising mine company has created a little western false front attraction and offers mine tours. We stopped in the Old Spanish Trail town of Rodeo and attempted to match the present buildings with the photos in the 1913 Arizona Tour Book. We had some luck and enjoyed a long conversation with two women in the Community Art Gallery which occupied what had once been a saloon. They seemed pleased to share that the building had once housed a brothel. We walked down to the combination grocery, video rental, and restaurant and had lunch at one of the four tables. Some terrific photos of the town and store with 1920 autos in front grace the walls, and a map of old US 80 is displayed as well. Of course the locals gathered there for lunch, and the Mayor had his own table, complete with sign “The Mayor’s in”. The big news in town was that someone was building 30 new houses. It looked to me like that would more than double the size of Rodeo. Some of the locals were a little doubtful that the houses would sell but one of the sub contractors commented that 5 had already sold. Across from the grocery/ was the foundation of the railroad station shown in the 1913 Arizona Tour Book. As late as 1952 the Southern Pacific’s Golden State Limited passed this way, but now the tracks and the station are gone. We drove along old 80 which parallels the railroad bed for many miles. The old rail stations that were landmarks for the early day driver are gone. Not so at Douglas, which is a bustling border town, complete with its old railroad stations. We would include on our must see list the Gadsden Hotel in downtown Douglas. The interior is impressive, authentic and well maintained, and about as close to a 1930’s feel as you can get. The lobby has the old fashioned wooden phone booths and an elevator with a real live elevator operator, who takes your floor number as you step on. The window mural at the head of the marble stairs that lead to the mezzanine is beautiful, and the stuffed cougar at its base is an interesting reminder of earlier times. (Gallery photo to follow.) The exterior is attractive and was undergoing some repainting and renovations which spoiled the picture but bids well for the hotel. We followed old 80 and the Old Spanish Trail to Bisbee. Coming into town on the old road (the new road bypasses the town) you pass a deep open pit mine and on the hillside opposite there is what appears to be an abandoned reducing or processing facility. The narrow main street snakes through a canyon barely wide enough to accommodate the roadbed and the business on either side. The town’s residences are piled practically on top of each other up the steep sides of the canyon. The former business houses along the street are occupied by tourist oriented establishments today, but maintain much of the charm and appearance of earlier days. Along the old road, an early day garage is evident with its characteristic wide door, and the post office occupies an impressive building visible in the 1913 photos. I will post pictures in the gallery. We are in Needles this evening, after a stay in Tucson and Gila Bend along old 80. We will pick up Route 66 in the AM headed toward Barstow via Goff, Amboy, Bagdad, etc. The report on the remainder of old 80 and Needles will have to wait until tomorrow. I’m on a dial up connection tonight, so photos will have to wait also. Keeping the Show on the Road!
  4. Thanks for the lead to Jeff’s site. He had the other link you mention, so I copied both to my hard drive so I can follow their directions. Both are great sources and deserve praise for their excellent efforts. It has been 30 years since I was in Tombstone, and the Shoot Out in the OK Corral was the big story even then. It is interesting that the lengthy description of Tombstone in the 1913 Arizona Road Maps and Tour Book has no mention of the event, or any of the participants. Ah, the old west comes alive! The 1913 book has photos of old hotels (not old then) that I will keep my eye out for. I’m pretty sure that Douglas or Bisbee will have some surviving examples. Also, both sites you recommended mention an abandoned Texaco Station outside Deming I will look for. I don’t have the time to drive many of the abandoned sections of the National Old Trails on this visit, nor am I encouraged to do so in the current rain storm. None the less, they look worth another visit. I noticed in the last few issues of American Road that there is a section on the Old Spanish Trail now. Bravo! Based on the relatively unchanged human landscape outside the isolated towns in southern Arizona and New Mexico, I expect this to be a fertile hunting ground for old (and younger) roadies. I’m looking forward to seeing what has been suggested!!! I now really regret not packing some of my old maps and guides. Hobbs or even the later Gosha guides of the area would have been extremely helpful. Happily Sheila, Rose of the Road, enjoyed the trip and wants to come back. Ole Bo, Malamute Wonder Dog, exhausts himself looking out the back window of our sedan. I suppose people in passing cars think we have the ugliest kid ever. You have been really helpful! Thanks again for helping Keep the Show on the Road!
  5. Thanks for the reply. BTY, you are right about snow and garden hoses in Northern Arizona! I haven’t been down into Bisbee, so I think I will go Deming, Lordsburg, down SR80, to Rodeo, Douglas, and into Bisbee. It looks like the old road went through Tombstone, then through Fairbank and then into Vail by a route that doesn’t show on my state level map. We will stop in Tucson to see friends, and visit one of my old alma maters, the University of Arizona. After that, I am vague. I’ll look at your suggested link. Thanks again!
  6. The 1921 Automobile Blue Book doesn’t show a route between Holbrook and Albuquerque, except by way of Hunt, Concho, St Johns, Springerville, and Socorro. Nothing is shown between Holbrook and Gallup. My 1920 Bluebook is at home, but my reproduction 1913 Arizona Road Maps and Tour Book which I took along is also silent regarding a road east from Holbrook toward Gallup. Tibbs may have done some maps of the area which I can check when I get home, and I think I have ACSC strip maps from around 1917 covering the route through Arizona and probably New Mexico. It looks like the main (National Old Trails) route went down through St Johns and Springerville. The Blue Book has a long description of Springerville, the typical Blue Book description of the condition of the road, and of course the turns and landmarks matched to mileage. If you or anyone else request it, I could post the pages involved when I return home.. If you have a specific question I might answer, let me know. And thanks again for the great advice, it helps Keep the Show on the Road!
  7. We are in Deming, New Mexico this evening, and will head west in the morning on the Old Spanish Trail. Any advice on what to see along the way? For anyone following our earlier east bound trip, on Route 66, photos are posted in the album under the name Winter on Route 66. The threat of snow in Northern New Mexico and Northern Arizona dictated a southern route back, and how better than on the Old Spanish Trail. My 1921 Automobile Blue Book notes a bank on the right at Pine and Gold Streets in Deming. The bank building still exists and is a beautiful structure, now occupied by the Deming Community Art Gallery. If it isn’t raining in the morning, I’ll try to get a photo for the American road Forum Gallery. I also tossed my 1913 Arizona Good roads Illustrated Road Maps and Tour Book (a 1987 reproduction, shucks) in the suitcase, and will use it as well. We will Keep the Show on the Road, and thanks for the prior advice on Route 66 under that heading.
  8. The adventure continues! We enjoyed a magnificent sunset this evening that displayed the blues and pinks so often seen in photographs of the Southwest. We got your and Denny's advice in time to stop at the El Rancho in Gallup. I told the desk clerk we were there because the folks at American Road Magazine had recommended it as a must see. I got a big smile and a double thumbs up! It was too early to stop for the evening, but we may on our return if we go through Gallup. The lobby with its huge stone fireplace is really evocative of the lodges of old, with the elk heads, overstuffed furniture and classic lighting. We agree, it is a must see. I took a few photos of the interior, exterior, and sign, which I will add to the album I have posted here under the name Winter on Route 66. Before we reached Gallup we took a couple of hours to visit the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest. Route 66 went right through what is now the National Park, and is marked by an old car body where it crosses the main park road. I try to bring along the WPA Writer’s Project Guide for the states we travel through. Published in the very late 1930’s or pre war 1940’s they remain wonderful guides even today. The mile by mile descriptions of the scenery along Route 66 in the Arizona book provide wonderful looks into the past. The Guide says of the road here “From the highway are many glimpses of Navaho men riding their scrubby ponies, of Navaho women weaving beside their igloo-shaped hogans, and of their children guarding the sheep.” Not so today, but the scenery is unchanged. We stopped at the Painted Desert Inn, which is part of the National Park, and is well preserved and maintained. The 1940 description of “a pueblo-type structure with varying floor levels” fits today. We made a stop at the famed Laguna Pueblo. Route 66 went within a couple of blocks of the historic San Jose De Laguna Church, built in 1699! A local Native American and a friend were chatting outside the mission, and consented to give us a tour of the interior of the venerated building. Paintings on elk hide adorned the alter, and all around the side walls are designs in various colors. We are in Santa Fe this evening, on the pre 1937 section of Old Route 66, expecting snow tonight, and trying to Keep the Show on the Road!
  9. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    It may be that Ortega's Indian Market has closed for good. It appears to have been designed by the same person who designed the Meteor City building pictured in another photo.
  10. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The classic El Rancho Hotel roadside neon sign.
  11. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The El Rancho Hotel retains the ambiance of travel in the 1930's with a lobby reminiscent of famous lodges of the period.
  12. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The Painted Desert Inn was built in 1939 and was a noted stop and overnight stay for those traveling Route 66. It reamains accessable to the public today, but not for overnight stays. As the name clearly expresses, the Inn overlooks a colorful section of the Painted Desert.
  13. Thanks! I've done that now but how does anyone know? I appreciate the help and suggestions! That way we can help Keep the Show on the Road! The El Rancho! It is fixed in my mind, and not a day late! We are about to get kicked out of the motel in Holbrook as I have lingered to post photos, but I will look at the Auto Blue Book to see what it says regarding your question this evening. Keeping the Show on the Road in Holbrook and eastward
  14. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The Meteor Crater Observatory east of Flagstaff was a well known stop along Route 66 in the 1940’s. The tower had a telescope for viewing the crater. The road here is a little rough and as you can see, has returned to range use!
  15. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    You get a free cup of coffee for just stopping by! A great stop between Windslow and Holbrook on the Mother Road.
  16. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    You get a free cup of coffee for just stopping by! A great stop between Windslow and Holbrook on the Mother Road.
  17. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The lobby of the old Harvey House La Pasada in Winslow.
  18. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The La Pasada is a beautiful site along old Route 66. It is sited between the road and the Santa Fe line rails. It includes the old depot (which is now an Amtrak stop). The whole place exudes the luxury of travel in days gone by.
  19. From the album: Winter on Route 66

    The Hackberry General Store is located on the Mother Road between Kingman and Grand Canyon Caverns. The store is well stocvked with Route 66 materials, and is a recommended stop. The collection outside speaks for itself!
  20. You know the phrase “You should have been here yesterday!” Well that’s how its working with some of our postings. I would have really enjoyed talking with some of the people you folks have mentioned. But we seem to be a day ahead of your good advice But what a blast! I match your great advice, after the fact , with whether we spotted the recommended stop or not. We are in Holbrook this evening. We flashed past Flagstaff. In 1962 it was a good sized village. Today it is a fair sized smaller city. If a place can support both a McDonalds and a Burger King, it is probably too big for me. I know it has lots to offer, but it will have to wait for another trip. We cruised around Winslow and walked the grounds of the La Posada. I got some photos, but we didn’t spend the night. Sheila, (Rose of the Road) and I are traveling on this trip with Bo, the Malamute Wonder Dog. Bo is big (130 pounds) and old (11 years), and not everyone is eager to have him as a guest! As you know the La Posada is a great example of the luxury of travel 50 or 75 years ago. The dining room is huge and each table is set with white linen. You could hold a car show in the lobby. It has an Arizona flagstone floor, and exudes the elegance of a time when only the wealthy traveled. (And the rates are very reasonable today.) I can imagine the Harvey Girls in their white uniforms waiting on the guests. The girls were often from Midwest farms, and on their own in the untamed west. Of course they were carefully supervised, but it must have been an experience to remember, for the Harvey Girls as well as their guests. It was a different time. The adjacent Winslow depot has the huge beams and interior Moorish arches of traditional Southwest architecture. A wonderful stop, and no doubt a wonderful stay…. without Bo. We stopped at the ruins of Two Guns and photographed the Mountain Lion cages. Route 66 crossed the canyon on a nice arched bridge to a large ruined building. The link below will take you to a 360 degree interactive panorama of Two Guns. You will see the cages for the Mountain Lions (the back side of the picture above). You also will see the Route 66 bridge over the famed Canyon Diablo. You will need broadband. http://www.pair.com/davepaul/americanroad/...nLionMedium.swf We thought we would visit the Meteor Crater, but at $15 per person I figured we would see it on Google Earth instead. But we did visit the Meteor Crater Observatory ruins. The Mother Road is a bit rough along here, but still passable in our sedan. Built in the 1930’s by Harry and Hope Locke, the Observatory was a financial failure. It was leased by Dr. Harvey Nininger in the mid 1940’s. According to Russell Olsen in his book Route 66, Then and Now, Nininger was known for his study of space debris. There is, and was, a tower that visitors climbed up to look through the telescope at the crater. There has to be a great story here! Not far east of the Meteor Crater we spotted the Meteor City shop, a classic roadside stop. They have the worlds longest map of Route 66 painted on a wall, and great ambiance! A great stop and free coffee! We will peruse Holbrook in the morning, then take a look at the Petrified Forest. We will head toward Gallup, but may not make it there tomorrow, then on to Santa Fe. I really appreciate the advice! In some ways, following Route 66 has been an awakening. I love the auto trails, and always will, but Route 66 preserves some of the glitz and mood of my early traveling days in the 1940’s and 50’s. Just down the road from where we are tonight are teepees to sleep in. If I want an old fashioned burger, with fresh crisp lettuce, a slice of real cheese, onion, tomato and pickles, with mustard to drip down my chin, I’ll find it here. I’ll also find a great low trans fat meal if I choose, but the burger gets my vote, at least for now. This is great travel! I'll try posting some photos shortly. We are doing our best to Keep the Show in the Road!
  21. Boy, I'm flattered to get advise from you! Thanks! I got your post too late to stop at the diner across from the Powerhouse. Shucks! But we did stop at the Powerhouse. We made it as far as Williams today. One of many highlights in the community is the Fray Marcos Harvey House and AT&SF Depot pictured below built in 1908. Both have been restored and are in use by the Grand Canyon Railroad. You may enjoy seeing the Fray Marcos as rail passengers did in 1915 or 1945, when they stepped off the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe coaches. Click on the link below to see a 360 degree panorama of the Harvey House Hotel , Depot and the tracks that run just north of Route 66. http://www.pair.com/davepaul/americanroad/WilliamsPano.swf We spent time in Kingman and got a few photos of the Brunswick Hotel and the Beale Hotel, great Route 66 and National Old Trails landmarks, noted in my 1921 Automobile Blue Book. In fact there is an ad in the Blue Book for the Beale with a nice interior photo. The Bruswick has been nicely renovated and is worth a stop for a meal. The road between Kingman and Seligman is described in 1921 as …graded to Hackberry, good road through Truxton Canyon to a point 6 miles east of Peach Springs, ten miles of poor rough road through canyon near western end of Yavapai county followed by fair to poor going to Seligman… .. Today it is a beautiful, smooth ribbon of asphalt through lovely desert vistas. At Hackberry we stopped at the General Store run by John Pritchard and his wife. I don’t see why anyone would take the freeway when there are places like this to stop and visit on the American Road! I don’t recall the general store when I came this way in 1962, but it was here. I think John said it was still operating as a general store as late as 1972. John has a nice bookstand of great Route 66 material and tons of memorabilia so I picked up a few items Places like the Hackberry general store are the equivalent of the roadside attractions that lined our two lane roads in days bygone. A must stop. He has a beautiful Corvette parked out front, and several old gas station pumps outside, plus lots of signs. Reminded me of my days as a gas jockey for Associated (Flying A) in the late 50’s. Out front he has lots of Route 66 items and even an Automobile Club of Southern California National Old Trails sign. Does it get better than this? We stopped at Valentine. It was the site of the Truxton Canyon Indian School in 1921. The National Old Trails road ran along beside the Aitcheson Topeka and Santa Fe line right in front of the old Indian school. As we were there a Santa Fe freight train screamed by. We stopped at the Caverns Motel at Grand Canyon Caverns, but the dinosaur was gone. It broke my heart. There was a plywood dinosaur at the entrance, but big boo was no more. We spent the night here in 1962, and the place is as I remembered it, paint job and all, minus the dinosaur. Sadly the motel was closed for the winter, or we would have stayed. Great site! We may spend another day in Williams. Lots of Route 66 stuff to see and enjoy. If anyone has a suggestion of what to see, let me know. We will head east toward Santa Fe soon, as we have to Keep the Show on the Road!
  22. You mean I can remain an auto trails virgin and still get a kick on Route 66? Sounds great (swell) to me. Thanks for the suggestion on a good bookstore in Kingman. I’ll stop there. I did pack my 1921 Arizona, etc Automobile Blue Book so I have the National Old Trails directions and I’ll do my usual Then and Now photos if there is an opportunity. I went to the web site you suggested and looked at the motel. I think it is the same color it was in 1962! I remember a bigger dinosaur than is in the pictures, but maybe I’m wrong. Back in ’62 it was a first class stop, and a little spendy for a young couple. I haven’t been on that section of road since then. Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it, and for helping to Keep the Show on the Road! Dave
  23. Got too cold and wet at home, so here I am, outside Las Vegas.. Think I’ll try National Old Trails / Mother Road out of Kingman to Peach Springs and on to Williams or Flagstaff tomorrow. Then on toward Santa Fe. Sun is shining, and I welcome any advice. Would like some nice neon signs and roadside artifacts. I’ll check the forum the next couple of days to see if anyone has a swell suggestion orf two. I’ll stop in Kingman mid day tomorrow and pick up a few books. I’m an auto trails guy, but let’s see if I can get my kicks on route 66 as well. Spent a night years ago at Grand Canyon Caverns. Is the motel still there? I had my first hard whiskey at their bar. Wild Turkey. They said it would ward off the rattle snakes and I guess it did as I didn’t see any the next day, I’ll check the forum before I hit the sack and in the AM. Gotta Keep the Show on the Road!
  24. I stumbled across a forum with the name American Roads (plural) It seems to have a purpose nearly identical to this American Road (singular) forum. Are we enjoying a wealth of opportunity, a division of interest, or an intentional or unintentional near duplication of names? I just want to Keep the Show on the Road so I suggest we discuss it. Dave
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