by Toni Pacini
A perfect vacation? It is possible.
We had one of those vacations that you rarely hear about these days. The flight from San Francisco to Phoenix was tolerable, almost pleasant, even though I was chosen for an inside-out photo op by security.
We spent one night in Phoenix and then we hit the road north to Sedona and her beautiful “other worldly” red rock formations. Along the way we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle National Park where we were awestruck by the 1000 year-old ruins of the Sinaqua people. In Sedona, we had lunch at a local hang out, the Coffee Pot Restaurant, named after a rock formation nearby that actually does look like a coffee pot. After lunch we drove north into Oak Creek Canyon and were delighted to see all the snow, which was considerable for Mid-January.
After a rest in Williams we hit the best part of our trip the next morning when we drove old Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman. From 1926 until the 1960’s, route 66 from Chicago to California was the main road and often quite a roadside show for travelers from all over the United States and the World. In the mid-1950’s construction started on I-40 that would slowly be built while it by-passed towns, dreams, and American history. In 1978 I-40 reached Arizona and Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman was soon all but ghost towns clinging to memories of glory days. However, one great man, Angel Delgadillo, a barber in Seligman, wouldn’t so easily give up his home and future and for years he encouraged his neighbors from Seligman to Kingman to speak up for Route 66.
Eventually, due to the determination of a lot of great people headed by Angel Delgadillo, the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona was founded and in 1987 the Association successfully lobbied the Arizona Legislature to designate and preserve Route 66 in Arizona as an historic highway.
Today Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman is a living museum. Every mile and every town is a monument to the American Spirit. Alive and flourishing, this historic slice of American pie will surely live forever. There are even a few of the roadside come-ons still out there. We are very glad that we took the time to explore one of them, the Grand Canyon Caverns. The walls of the caverns are 65 million years old and 220 feet under ground.
If you take this trip be sure to visit the Route 66 Museum in Kingman but don’t stop there, keep going on down the road. From Kingman, it’s a three-hour drive to one of the most amazing places in the world, Grand Canyon West, the home of the Skywalk at Eagles Point. The Skywalk is a glass bridge suspended 4000 feet above the Colorado River off the edge of the cliffs of the “other” Grand Canyon. We had visited the Grand Canyon above Flagstaff Arizona many times and love it there, but we were very impressed with the raw and wild wonder that we found at Grand Canyon West. On the Skywalk you cannot help but think; “this is what an Eagle feels when hovering over this magnificent canyon.”
When we left Kingman, we stopped in Oatman where donkeys rule the streets, and drove on to Prescott. Later that evening we enjoyed the lovely landscape along the winding roads from Prescott to Jerome and on to Cottonwood, under the grace of a full moon as big as Montana.
Our last two days in Phoenix we visited the Botanical Gardens and the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale.
What can I say? The flights were good, the rent-a-car got us there and back, the hotels were very nice. We had one truly great vacation that we recommend highly for the history, the scenic beauty, and the health and well being of the human spirit. Go soar like an Eagle.