Prescott, AZ was the goal today and I headed north to I-40 and started heading east. Just before Kingman, I see a sign for historic Route 66 and mention of a museum. That sounded interesting to me so I took the exit. About a block down I find a large building off to my right that’s called the Powerhouse Visitors Center. I walked in, on one side is a souvenir store and on the other there’s an information both with tons of brochures about the area and Arizona; its Arizona tourists central! Upstairs there’s a museum.
I go upstairs and two older ladies are sitting at a desk at the entrance of the museum door. It’s $4 to get in. I get out my bicyclist wallet and drop it. It pops open and credit cards and money go all over the place. So I’m doing some small talk to the ladies as I’m crawled around on the floor picking up my stuff. I paid the ladies and walk into the museum. It’s done in a time line fashion and talks about Route 66 history. Route 66 started just outside of Chicago area and ended at the Santa Monica Pier.
|Photo- In the Powerhouse Visitor's Center Museum.|
Route 66 started off as a major footpath that was commonly used by the Indians. At this point Route 66 was known as the Mother Road. This Mother Road was used later by pioneers in wagons to head out west. The railroads were built along the same route. Eventually, as cars came into existence they traveled along the road. In 1926, the highway (the Mother Road) was certified as US Highway 66. During the Great Depression millions traveled along Route 66 in hopes of finding new beginnings. In fact, the mention of Route 66 in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath put the road on the map in history.
After World War II, the economy surged and up along the Route 66 new towns, businesses, and restaurants came into being. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, route 66 was in the height of its glory. In 1957, President Eisenhower signed the bill that created the interstate system that we have today. It ended up being the kiss of death for Route 66. By the late 1970’s quite a few of the communities along Route 66 had turned into ghost towns; also some of the route had been paved over by the new interstates. In the late 1980’s there was a resurgence of interest to save some of old Route 66. Now some of the areas of the road are being maintained and have historic signage. I found the museum very interesting. I only thought of the 1950’s and 1960’s part of its history but there was so much more.
|Photo- A great deal of Route 66 places in Kingman.|
Next, I discovered that I could take another segment that goes along I-40 and it would get me to the same place. Off I went along Route 66 again; only this road was quite a bit better maintained and traveled than the section I did yesterday. I will admit as I went through the town of Kingman did market everything along the Route 66 and it kind of soured it for me because it was too much commercialized. But as I went along the road, the scenery made up for all of the commercialization. The colored rock formations gave way to sandy colored rocky piled formations and then to green topped bluffs with small green trees in fields of wheat colored grass. It was very scenic. I drove through an Indian reservation and I will say it was nothing compared to some of the reservations I have experienced so far. This one looked very well kept up and had very nice community buildings.
|Photo- Scenery along Route 66.|
As I drove along, I saw old model T cars driving from the other direction. They seemed to be in groups of two or three traveling along the road. I counted at least 15 of them that past me from the other direction. I found it interesting because they would’ve been the first cars on Route 66. I did see other old classic cars along the route but most of them were parked and had for sale signs posted on them.
|Photo- Older classic cars along Route 66.|
I was ready for lunch and decided to take a chance with the Road Kill Café in Seligman. I ended up ordering a diet Pepsi which came in a huge mason jar and a sandwich called Too-Slow-Doe. Sorry to say there was no venison in this sandwich; it was a barbeque beef on a hoagie bun served up with your choice of fries, potato salad, or chips. I sat at the bar and noticed there were tons of dollar bills along the ceiling of the bar area. The dollar bills had names, dates, and numbers on them. I asked the guy behind the bar what it was all about and he said that people leave a dollar with their name and date in hopes of locating it the next time they come through the area. Well, good luck with that I said. The guy laughed.
|Photo- Road Kill Cafe where the motto is- |
You Kill Them and We'll Grill Them!
I struck up a conversation with the guy and found out he was originally from LA. He lived in Vegas for a while and somehow ended up here. He would specify why he ended up here in a small town along Route 66 working at the Road Kill Café. I asked him how he managed coming from large cities to a small town. He said he goes to Vegas once a month. I found him rather tight lipped and cagey.
|Photo- A ceiling of dollar bills in the bar area at Road Kill Cafe.|
Next, I decided to pick up the pace just a bit more and got back onto I-40. Shortly, after that I was on Hwy 89 heading south to Prescott. Oh, and I was told that all the locals pronounce it as PRES-kit. I followed the Google directions again and took the LONG way to the hotel. Go figure! I got checked in and then drove to the Prescott’s downtown area. It was starting to get dark already at 6pm; winter is here that’s for sure. I went into a local gallery and got to talking with the guy manning the shop. He was one of the artist in the shop and all of the artist take their turn manning the shop; it’s an artist’s collective. I knew of several in Salt Lake City too. This shop had quite a bit of variety.
|Photo- Inside of the Raven.|
Then I asked about where to go eat and what not in the downtown area and he suggested the Raven. It is like “Beer Nirvana” he said and none of that mainstream piss water served there. That peaked my interest and it was about 3 blocks away. I headed that direction and looked at menus in several other places along the way. I also looked to see how busy or how much activity there was in some of these places. Quite a few didn’t have much going on and then I got to the Raven and it had a hum of activity.
|Photo- Artwork inside the Raven that's available for purchase.|
The Raven serves coffee up during the day but serves beer and wine in the evenings. They also have an organic menu which I’m sometimes wary of places that do that because then it’s to veggie for me. But I saw a pita pizza on the menu and that sounded good. It had sweet red peppers, onions, and olives with a bit of olive oil. Unfortunately, they were out of the chicken that they could add on for a bit more but I had already waited in line so I stuck with just veggies and beer. I tasted a couple and then decided on a pale ale from a local brewery. They had at least 30 beers on tap and another variety of 40 bottled beers. All of the beers were non-mainstream beers. In other words you guys that drink Bud light were out of luck in this place. I ordered at the counter then found a table along the wall. They had some interesting art on the wall. It really was an interesting atmosphere and there were Halloween decorations up which you would expect in a placed called the Raven.
Before I know it, I’m talking with a guy that is a disabled retired vet. He’s planning a driving trip to Mexico starting in November. We talked for a while and he bought me another beer. It was an interesting conversation but what was driving me up the wall is the whole time he’s talking to me he’s staring at my chest. I’m wearing a form fitting t-shirt and there’s no cleavage but he’s staring at my chest. It was very disorientating. He finally had to leave and I finished the beer he had bought me slowly. Then, I walked back to the Prescott square which is the center of town where I had parked my car. I found my way back to the hotel using a map the desk clerk had given me when I checked in.