Friday – Day two of driving Route 66 in Arizona. Our guide books filled us in on things to look for today, so we were ready to head west and see what we could find.
The weather was calling for a hot, sunny day as we made our way toward our first stop – Meteor Crater! This giant dent in the Earth was created when a meteor slammed into the desert 50,000 years ago. It took mere seconds for a crater 700 feet deep and over 4,000 feet across to appear on what was once a flat, rocky plain. That’s the technical stuff.
The fun of it was the warning signs along the road getting there …
… and the awe-inspiring size of the hole when we passed through the visitor’s center and climbed to the highest viewing platform …
… and the heart-stopping view from the platform that reached out over the rim. (I was happy to take a picture of Greg out there, but NOPE! Too scary for me)
The visitor’s center told the story of the crater and the science behind it, then pointed us to the obligatory gift shop and small outdoor space with an astronaut and space capsule. Apollo astronauts trained here!
We grabbed a snack and a drink in the cafe and lingered a bit to oohhh and aahhh over the crater before resuming our Route 66 mission.
When we drove east on this road several years ago, there was no way to pull over and see Twin Arrows since they were building a new casino (with mega-access ramp) nearby. The iconic site was a quick glimpse from the highway. This time, with the ramp open, we found the access road, pulled over and snapped a couple of pics.
Leaving the Interstate from there, we came to Winona. As the song, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” suggests, we didn’t want to forget it. Time seems to have, though. It’s now just a shell of a town, but since our plan was to see as much as we could of the original route, we drive through. It’s a good thing we didn’t blink — we may have missed it.
The largest city on the Arizona stretch of this eight-state roadway is Flagstaff. We have a friend in “Flag” so we decided to mostly skip it, knowing we’d be back a few times to really check it out. We did stop at Miz Zip’s, however. Our Arizona Kicks on Route 66 guidebook included several locations the author calls “Pie Stops.” Who doesn’t like pie, right? Miz Zip’s was one of his suggestions AND it was lunchtime, so we munched on sandwiches and shared a mountainous hunk of fresh peach pie under an oversized scoop of vanilla ice cream. YUM!
While Flagstaff is a bigger city, Williams is a more compact bundle of fun. It’s pretty close to the halfway point on AZ 66 and our destination for night #2. We’d booked a room in a converted brothel, The Red Garter Inn.
Booking ahead allowed us to snag “The Best Gal’s Room,” a two-room suite that overlooks Route 66 and the Grand Canyon Railway station. The property has been lovingly restored and is the perfect way to imagine what travelers of the past might have felt as they found a place to stop for the night. The room even has a working transom window!
We arrived early knowing we wanted to wander and explore Williams and we’re not disappointed. The town bustled with visitors on this Labor Day weekend. Shops were open. Restaurants belched scents of BBQ and grilled delights. We wandered, shopped and came upon the Grand Canyon Winery tasting room. With a slogan that reminds customers to “Travel Far, Drink Local” and wine blends like Voyager, Traveler and Passport, it was clearly our kind of place!
We stopped in for a tasting. Met several people inside and we spent nearly the entire evening there. We even ordered pizza and snacks from the Station 66 Italian Bistro next door!
Of course, when a crowd gathered outside, our little party of four (Greg and I and the couple we’d met) decided to investigate. Turns out, there was a shooting in the street!
Before you get concerned, this is a staged, nightly event! A couple of cowboys looking for trouble, the all-too-important girl worth fighting over, and a love triangle added up to fun and entertainment. We laughed and hooted along with the crowd, then returned to finish our wine and dinner before heading back to our inn for the night.
Day two was truly a plethora of interesting sights, delightful surroundings and new friends.
There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Be sure to make time to relax and enjoy it while you’re exploring.
Catch up on the four day Arizona Route 66 Adventure: Day One the Arizona state line to Winslow, Day Three Williams to Kingman, and Day Four Kingman to the California state line
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