I’ll have more to write later, but for now, here is the final of the Route 66 series — the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Pier, the end…
The final days of Route 66 were a bit of an mental battle. More than two weeks on the road, living out of a suitcase, and having a different bed almost every night was becoming both mentally and physically exhausting. And, with the end coming closer and closer, there were the inevitable thoughts of “What’s next? What’s waiting for us once we’ve accomplished our goal?”
Those would be questions that wouldn’t be answered right away. Even now, more than two months after the conclusion of the trip, I’m still not sure we know the answers completely.
But, the thoughts of the end would need to wait because we still had some time left to enjoy ourselves on the Mother Road. Setting off from Needles, California, we set our target destination to be Barstow. Two major stops along the way would be the famous Roy’s Cafe and it’s iconic sign in Amboy and Calico, the silver mining boomtown turned tourist attraction thanks to the preservation efforts of Walter Knott. (Yes, the same Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm fame. In fact, the ghost town at Knott’s Berry Farm is based on Calico.)
I really hope you are still enjoying this journey with us. This series of videos has been a true labor of love. Despite the low production quality, they still each took several hours to put together and create. If you have stuck with us so far, hang in there because after today there is only one more day to go!
Well, the end is clearly in sight now.
This is the longest video of the series so far. There are so many places to check out along this stretch of the Mother Road. I hope you’ll take the time and check out our adventures along the longest unbroken section of Route 66 remaining in existence.
We wake up to snow in Williams but most of it is gone by the time we get to Ash Fork. We hit the birthplace of Route 66, Delgadillo’s Barber Shop in Seligman and also stop by the iconic Hackberry General Store. We end with a trip up and over the Sitgreaves Pass, one of the most notorious stretches of Route 66 and then spend more than a little time feeding the burros in the wild west boomtown of Oatman. California or bust on Day 14!
So, Day 13 actually started slightly unlucky for us. For the first time on the trip I forgot to unplug the 12V electric cooler we had in the backseat and when we emerged from our wigwam and went to set out on the road, we had a dead battery.
Fortunately, a quick call to AAA and a wait of about 30 minutes was all it took to get us back on the road — and we even got to chat with a nice local tow truck driver as a result. Life on the mother road needs to have a few glitches if it is going to feel authentic, right?
Day 13 involved a lot of fun stops, including the Jack Rabbit Trading Post. The owners of this historic trading post are doing such a good job of embracing social media that we felt like they were old friends when we arrived.
We also grabbed some drone footage of Meteor City Trading Post (abandoned but on the track back to life), visited Meteor Crater itself, lived out a moment from a classic Eagles song, and managed to end up in Williams, Arizona for the night. There may have been a couple of other stops along the way — check out the video to see what they might have been.
As a side note, I am just starting on Day 14 and I have more than an hour raw footage to sort through and it’s going to take a lot of editing to get it down to something manageable — or, I might need to break Day 14 into two parts. We’ll see once I get into it. Either way, it might be a fair amount of time before the next episode comes out.
Thanks for watching!
Well, we’re two thirds of the way through our trip down Route 66.
Today’s episode sees us depart New Mexico and set course for Holbrook, Arizona. Sure, we’ll stop in and see Fort Courage — an abandoned tourist trap replica fort built to resemble the one used on the 1960s TV series “F-Troop” — but the real crown jewel of this day’s journey is the Painted Desert Trading Post.
The “PDTP” has an interesting history. It was opened in the early 1940s by Dotch and Alberta Windsor along Route 66 and it served as a haven for the travellers crossing the desert of Arizona. It never had electricity or telephone services so all the appliances ran off wind power. There used to be gas pumps out front which were the old gravity feed style.
As is the story for many of these places, when the Interstate (in the case, I-40) was built and bypassed the old route, the customers disappeared and the business was closed. The PDTP would sit, essentially untouched, for the next 50+ years.
This stretch of Route 66 was quite hard to access for a long time. The west end of the road used to go right through into Petrified Forest National Park, but it was blocked off and is no longer connected, so it is a “go out the way you came in” stretch of road.
(Side note: From Petrified Forest National Park, you can see where the old roadbed sits and connected to the modern roads, complete with a line of lonely telephone poles heading off to the horizon. This is an area that really deserved more exploration time.)
As well, the land where the PDTP is situated is used for cattle grazing so getting onto the old Route 66 alignment required a bit of luck (finding the gate open), bravery (opening the gate and going in), or homework (tracking down the owner). Despite — or maybe because of — these obstacles, the PDTP became a bit of a holy grail for roadies.
Today, the situation is a bit better. A group of Route 66 enthusiasts formed a co-operative and purchased the land. They installed a bluetooth padlock on the gate. Today getting access is much easier. You simply arrive at the gate, call one of the phone numbers listed and speak with a co-op member. They will send you a link which allows you to donate $10 to their cause. Once the money is confirmed, they send you another link, this time to an app for the lock. They grant you access for a set amount of time, you hold your phone next to the lock and it opens. Drive in, lock the gate behind you, and go on and check out the PDTP.
You will see this whole process in the video above.
Since we made this video in early October, the Painted Desert Trading Post Co-Op has made several changes to the building. They have cleaned up more of the site, including grading the land around the building and installing a fence to keep the cattle out. They have added a flagpole and also stabilized the sagging corners of the building.
I am of two minds about these changes. On one hand, I feel some of these improvements are too modern and take away from the rustic and remote charm of the area. Of course, it makes me happy to know the building is being preserved and will continue to draw in Route 66 roadies from around the world for many years to come. Make no mistake, this building was on a path towards disappearing forever without their help.
Hope you are enjoying the series!
Don’t let the thumbnail scare you away, we have some great adventures in store along Route 66 in New Mexico. Well, unless you are afraid of snakes — in that case, watch this video with caution.
We start in Ross Ward’s passion that took more than 40 years to build — Tinker Town. We then check out the Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, the New Mexico Mining Museum in Grants, and a couple of other places along the way.
It’s our eleventh day on the Mother Road and the good times just keep on coming.
It’s a two-for-one special in terms of videos today. On Day 9 we hit up a less traveled section of Route 66, “The Cuervo Cutoff” while making our way from Tucumcari to Santa Fe.
Day 10 sees us take a break from the road and spend the day walking around downtown Santa Fe. Santa Fe was only on Route 66 from 1926 – 1937, but it is certainly a great place to visit and see some history much older than we get here closer to home.
I hope you are enjoying this series of videos. We’ve now broken the 30 subscriber mark on our YouTube channel so we are seeing a steady growth as we play with new ways of sharing our adventures.