After a few weeks of time back in Michigan with family and friends over the holidays, we’re reunited with The Beast and back on the road! We left The Beast and truck at a storage facility in Las Vegas (shout out to MiniStorage of Nevada for keeping everything safe!), and after returning to Vegas a couple weeks ago, we found all was as should be and we were ready to get out of the big city.
We decided to forgo the Hoover Dam and head towards the Grand Canyon. Since our lines were full of antifreeze, we needed a campground with hookups, so we could flush our lines. We found an inexpensive spot in Kingman, Arizona (yay for a new state!) and set up camp. It took a day to regroup, tackling items like flushing the lines (some smellier than others), replacing a brake we suspected needed it, and UNPACKING. Groceries were bought, roadschooling routines re-established, and then we found ourselves ready to explore.
We like to check out Trip Advisor, Google, and Atlas Obscura when seeing what cool learning opportunities and experiences we might find when we don’t have any prior knowledge or recommendations. Trip Advisor had suggested that one of the top attractions in Kingman was the Route 66 Museum in town, so after the kids got their morning studies done, we headed out to find the museum. Admission was low ($4 per adult and kids under 13 were free) AND also got us into 2 other museums in town…what a deal! The museum not only had a lot of great information about The Mother Road in its heyday, but also about the history of the people that used the route long before the National Highway System was ever formed. There were were colorful and catchy neon signs (which Liam loved), cool wall murals, and pieces of Americana everywhere we looked! From the re-created displays to the rare and early electric car collection, the museum really did offer a lot to take in!
There was an older movie showing downstairs about Route 66 in Arizona, which took us convincing the kids we wanted to see (it was an hour and probably from the early 80s, so the quality wasn’t great), but we prevailed! So glad we did too…the movie took us from the West side of Arizona Route 66 to the East side with points of interest, stories of towns ceasing to thrive when bigger highways took the place of Route 66, and stories of people persevering and saving their towns with new tourism ideas. Does this sound familiar? Think of the Disney-Pixar movie, Cars.
Our day at the Arizona Route 66 Museum prompted us to look at our map and figure out if we could take The Beast on it safely. Turns out, we could, so the next day we did just that. Rather than taking I-40 East, we took 66 out of Kingman. The road was in great shape (really lovely when towing 40 feet of Beast behind you) and even better, we could drive our own slower pace and not feel as if we were holding up traffic. In fact, the road was very peaceful and because we had seen the film at the museum, we knew a bit about each small town we passed. We took our time, making stops for photos, a post office errand, and slowing down for the jingly-fun of the Burma shave signs (I even had internet and could look up more about the signs’ histories). We stopped in Seligman, AZ, anticipating we could eat a rare lunch out at Delgadillos Snow Cap Drive-In, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. A note on the door indicated they’d be back a few days later. We were admittedly bummed, as the restaurant was supposed to be quirky and fun, and Angel Delgadillo himself was instrumental in establishing the Historic Route 66 Association. Wanting to support local business anyway, we visited a couple of Seligman gift shops instead. As we were walking down the street, it was fun to see the spirit of the town. There were many Cars character look-alikes, vintage automobiles and motorcycles, and whimsy…3/4 of us appreciate good whimsical fun! 🙂
Take-aways from this unplanned route were definitely in line with the goal of our adventure…slowing down allowed us to connect with some cool places and experience first-hand the delights of America. Also, Route 66 isn’t just a road, it’s a piece of history. One kids probably don’t spend a lot of time learning about in school.