15.01.2013 - 17.01.2013 10 °C
I could have spent a third night in Flagstaff, but I had read of a wee town just a bit West which was supposedly a perfect rendition of a Route 66 town so I spent my last night in the area in Williams. The reason for sticking around was that I had to go inspect some more rocks, this time the famous red rocks of Sedona (a town I liked even less than Santa Fe - I didn't even feel like eating there, let alone staying there). I was also interested to see what difference going from 7000 feet
to around 4500 feet would make: answer = quite a lot. No snow and temperatures well above freezing. Here's Sedona, snuggled in its surrounding rocks
The rocks themselves were beautiful - I drove up every side road I could see to get a different view of them and clambered about a bit. Here's a selection of what I saw
Up one of the side roads, I even found a chapel
Once back in Flagstaff, it was time for one last coffee at Macys and then the short (18 mile) drive to Williams, which is a small town of 3000 people. There certainly was a lot of memorabilia devoted to Route 66
but it wasn't the only game in town, as it also claims to be the gateway to the Grand Canyon. There is a sleek and expensive train which runs up to the canyon (it had left for the day by the time I thought to get a photo) and an old Grand Canyon hotel, advertising rooms for $3.50 and up (closed for the season or that's where I'd be staying)
and I'm not sure what was going on with these two places
Dining choices were a bit limited, so I thought I might as well go for the best in town and had a fabulous lump of prime rib from Rod's Steak House: they're obviously not too keen on vegetables, as I could have potatoes or beans but not both. From Williams right though to LA there is still quite a lot of Route 66 available to be driven: while I didn't want to get all obsessive and fetishist about it, I thought I might as well drive it where it was going the way I was. It is pretty much just a standard road
but I was delighted to see something I had read about: my source had told me these were long gone
Burma Shave was a razor blade company, and it pretty much made a killing as a result of its use of these wee billboards (and was credited by my source (a book about Route 66 I picked up in the Flagstaff library while hiding from the cold) as inventing the billboard). There were at least half a dozen of these sequences - kind of banal moral messages. Other examples I took a note of include "Twould be more fun" + "To go by air" + "If we could put" + "these signs up there" + "Burma Shave" and "The one who drives" + "when he's been drinking" + "Depends on you" + "To do his thinking".
There were a couple of quite wacky places en route, such as Seligman
and then miles from anywhere the Hackberry General Store and automotive works
For Vegas, I had to abandon Route 66 at Kingman. Quite accidentally, as I really didn't know where it was, I was taken straight past the Hoover dam, which is hidden behind some hills, so I thought I should take a peek
For once I arrived at my destination in broad daylight
My hotel was chosen on the bases that it was cheap (a bit over $20) and had been owned by one Bugsy Siegel, a former gangster. I had the disconcerting experience while in Vegas of seeing photos and film footage of his dead body with multiple gunshot wounds: what happens when you skim money from colleagues who are also gangsters.
Turns out that this post just gets me to Vegas: sorry about that. Given my reaction to Santa Fe and Sedona, I was curious as to how I would take to Vegas: all will be revealed.