It could be argued that no American road trip would be complete without a little bit of Route 66. It’s the iconic road trip all on its own, and so despite riding some of it a couple of years ago, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass to get our kicks on Route 66 this time around.
Sadly, much of Route 66 has either been turned into or bypassed by interstate, but there are sections here and there which offer a glimpse into the old trade route across the USA. People who have done the whole trip (I haven’t) say that the western sections are the best, and so for this post I thought I’d offer a handful of my Arizona Route 66 highlights…
Riding on Route 66 in Arizona.
Oatman sits along a back country part of old Route 66 in Arizona. This original 42-mile-long section has been bypassed by the I40. It’s a beautiful bit of road through the desert and over the Black Mountains that’s well worth the detour to explore. The town itself is an old Spanish settler mining town, left as it was complete with a herd of Burros that were left behind when the town was deserted. Apparently there are 190 bends between Oatman and Kingman – and I can confirm it’s a fun road to ride.
Wooden buildings, tat shops and burrows – Oatman, Arizona.
Kingman is one of those old Route 66 towns that thrives from its connection to this historic road. We stayed in the El Travatore motel, one of the original motels along this route, and apparently where lots of Hollywood stars stayed on their way to and from sprawling LA. Ours was the “James Dean” room, I’m rather hoping it wasn’t the same bed!
El Trovatore Motel, Kingman.
Stereotypical diners are found all the way along the historic highway. We found a few, naturally; Mr D’z in Kingman was a particular favourite – neon signs, a juke box, retro cars, amazing burgers and proper banana splits. Perfect.
Mr D’z Diner on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona. Food as good as the setting.
The section of Route 66 between Kingman and Williams is supposed to be one of the best road trip sections left, and I understand it’s one of the longest remaining original part of the route. This is where you’ll find Cool Springs and Hackberry General Store, two fantastic little places that haven’t changed much for years and years – it’s the Route 66 scene you will all imagine with the rusted out cars, old gas pumps, coca cola and grape fanta in glass bottles and Burma Shave signs with bullet holes in. Then there was Peach Springs, which is apparently the place that inspired Radiator Springs in Cars – complete with Doc and Mater in the parking lot. Oh and Seligman, where I (probably very sadly) ordered the same salad I had in the Roadrunner two years ago – the Asian Salad – it was as good as I remembered (and as large!).
My bike at Hackberry General Store.
You could loose an hour or two wandering around all the “stuff” at Hackberry General Store.
“Where Cars was Filmed”
I’ll leave you with an earworm… we did do one final bit of Route 66 before we left Arizona. Altogether now: “Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona…” And yes, they were playing the old Eagles song over the tannoy on that very corner. Brilliant.
Take it easy…
If you like reading about Route 66 I wrote this post a couple of years ago.