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Heading West-williams To Kingman

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After we completed our 3 day stay in the Grand Canyon we headed south to Williams. We tried to get an early start but instead we stayed in the park until noon before starting the days driving. Our planned destination for the evening was Kingman. As we left the Grand Canyon heavy rain, with high winds, were moving in and they expected snow in the evening. I was wishing we could stay another day.

 

Along the way to Williams we stopped at the airport in Valle and my son and I toured the Planes of Fame Air Museum. If your in the area it's worth a stop with many warbirds and antique aircraft in the hangar and a few vintage jets parked out back. You can't miss it, its the only building at the airport with a four engine Lockheed Constellation in front of it.

 

After completing our tour we headed into Williams, gassed up, and then headed west on the Interstate. Getting off of the Interstate at exit 136 we drove Route 66 through Seligman and on towards the Grand Canyon Caverns. Originally I had intended to stop in Seligman but due to our late start we were pressed for time if we wanted to take the tour of the Caverns. Yet another reason to go back and take things a bit slower.

 

Grand Canyon Hotel in Williams-What does $3.50 get you?

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This was the second time that I had driven the section of Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman. The first time was in 1991 and I had heard the Route 66 song but did not know much more than that about the road. I remember lots of open road with very few cars. It hasn't changed much since then, still a great road to drive.

 

The area around the caverns is much like I expected it to be. The buildings are worn but still look functional. It's not hard to imagine what the place looked like back in 1962, just fewer cars now. The building that houses the tour has a gift shop and restaurant. We didn't eat there but it looked like they made a good hamburger.

 

The Grand Canyon Tour itself was well worth it. There must be a course that cave tour guides take because they all have the same dry wit and corny jokes. One of the interesting things about the caves that I was not aware of was that it was deemed a fallout shelter in the early 60's and enough food and water is still stored there to support 2000 people. In typical government fashion the food and water were supplied but only 3 rolls of toilet paper were given.

 

Grand Canyon Caverns-Enough food & water for 2000 people and 3 rolls of toilet paper

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After we finished our tour of the cavern we continued westward toward Peach Springs. The weather had been overcast all day and the skies ahead looked like it was going to get worse. By the time we had passed through Hackberry we had seen hail, torrential downpours, blue skies, and rainbows. Quite a mix of weather in a short time period.

 

Mailboxes at Peach Springs

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Somewhere near Truxton

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Somewhere near Truxton

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We made it to Kingman and after checking into a motel we all agreed that a Mexican meal would hit the spot. We were told by the desk clerk that the El Palacio, across the street from the Beale Hotel, was the best Mexican food in town. The desk clerk did not lie.

 

Hotel Beale and the El Palacio

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Enjoy the Journey

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Well, I guess there is the difference between an “advanced amateur” and a pro. I wouldn’t have seen the mail boxes photo. And it really says “ranch country” or “back country,” where you come out to the road to get your mail.

 

Three roles of toilet paper for 2,000 people! I don’t see the problem. At a 1,000 sheets per roll, there’s paper to spare!

 

I spent a night at the motel by the caverns in about 1962, but we didn’t tour the caverns. The motel is the same color today that it was then, and the bar/ restaurant looked the same from the outside as it did 45 years ago. In fact, I think the only thing I recall that has changed is that the big dinosaur is gone from in front of the motel. The place was closed when we went by this last January.

 

It was sad to see the Beale in the shape it is in, but the Brunswick next door looked healthy, and I think both are of the same period.

 

Do you have more photos to post?

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My only trip to Arizona was about 10 years ago. I managed to fit in the Caverns, and enjoyed them. After the elevator took us down below to the caverns, a rock fell into the gears of the lift mechanism, so the stay under ground was extended until a worker walked down the stairs and removed the obstruction.

 

As to asking the hotel clerk for restaurant suggestions, we find that the hotel desk in a small hotel is normally beneficial as long as the hotel does not have a restaurant. We also have found that many store clerks are a great resource for special interesting dining choices. When you ask a local for their advice, they often will make the effort to come up with a good local suggestion.

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quote name='Dave Reese' date='May 25 2007, 08:02 PM' post='6794']

 

As to asking the hotel clerk for restaurant suggestions, we find that the hotel desk in a small hotel is normally beneficial as long as the hotel does not have a restaurant. We also have found that many store clerks are a great resource for special interesting dining choices. When you ask a local for their advice, they often will make the effort to come up with a good local suggestion.

 

I find that too. Usually the desk clerk wants to steer you towards the best in town.

 

I wouldn’t have seen the mail boxes photo. And it really says “ranch country” or “back country,” where you come out to the road to get your mail.

 

I almost missed the photo. I had my back to them taking the photo below when my wife, who was sitting in the truck honked the horn and pointed at the mailboxes and sky. The scene faded quickly with the sun being completely blocked by the clouds a few seconds after I snapped the picture.

 

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It was sad to see the Beale in the shape it is in, but the Brunswick next door looked healthy, and I think both are of the same period.

 

The Beale was looking the worse for wear with the front boarded up and exposed framework on the side. The Brunswick on the other hand had a crowd at the bar and looked to be hopping on a Thursday night.

 

More photos coming soon.

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