Day 5- Amarillo, Texas to Winslow, Arizona We were on the road at 0630 am, but it was pitch black. Amarillo is at the far western end of the Central Time Zone and sunrise didn't occur till close to 8 am. We did, however, have a chance to view a colossal full moon. Everything's bigger in Texas!
Paul suggested we stop at the Cadillac Ranch, an unusual road sculpture of 10 vintage caddies buried nose-down in a field by the highway. It was still dark as we approached the short trail leading to the sculpture, but with the help of flashlights, we appreciated what we could in an eerie sort of way, then traveled a little further down the road for a look a the Cadillac Ranch RV Park and the giant 2nd Amendment cowboy.
We crossed into New Mexico, Land of Enchantment, and the Rocky Mountain time zone and gained an hour. The terrain changed from flat plains to mesas and arroyos and rugged hills. Scrub, sage and prickly pear replaced the prairie grasses. We really like New Mexico. We've visited several times before, but this time it was just a drive-through. We did, however, take a pit stop in Tucumcari to take a look at the “rat-rods” on display.
We were traveling through Indian territory … Zuni, Hopi, Acoma, Apache and Navajo among others.
We passed up several enticing offers en route … “Buy 16 railroad ties, get 3 free” and “Buy 2 mortars, get one free” as well as petrified wood, snakeskins and genuine Indian moccasins for the whole family and, of course, an endless stream of casinos.
A stop in Santa Rosa, New Mexico at the Route 66 Auto Museum seemed to be a “must” for the guys. I enjoyed the Route 66 memorabilia, but the cars were definitely not of interest.
The railroad runs parallel to US 40 and long trains of graffiti'ed cars traveled with us for what seemed like never-ending miles.
We stopped at the 50s style WOW Diner in Milan, NM for a good old-fashioned diner lunch … patty melts and French dip for the guys... blah old salad for me … but a welcome change from the fast food chains, plus we love the whole local diner ambiance.
We were getting our “kicks on Route 66”, enjoying the Mother Road, but were pleased when we finally arrived in Winslow, Arizona. We had entered the Pacific time zone and picked up yet another hour. The clock said it was early, but our bones said it was time to quit for the day. We planned to “stand on the corner” … right after dinner. The Rodeway hotel was an old, tired, loser of a place, but we survived. We drove through town and past the corner quickly … too many tourists and the sun was in the wrong direction. We bought supplies for a room picnic and planned on some “standing on the corner” action in the morning.
Day 6 – Winslow, Arizona to Las Vegas
We were up early and being in the eastern part of the time zone, the sun was up with us. We were only too happy to depart our seedy hotel and head to downtown Winslow. Winslow is a small, western town … population about 10,000. It's does not smack of growth or industry and probably the “corner” which happens to be on Route 66 is its only tourist draw. We took turns posing on the corner while humming the Eagle's tune. We took a closer look at the “flat bed Ford” parked on the street nearby. We put a couple bucks in the donation box to help with the upkeep of the corner. There are a couple Route 66 shops on the opposite corners which were open for early business. We looked, but didn't buy.
The 6-block First Street Pathway meanders along the rail side and provided a good morning walk. There are Burma-Shave type jingles posted along the way and an interesting carved totem pole by Peter Toth. Mostly, it was a chance to stretch our legs before climbing back into the car for the remaining 300-mile drive to Vegas.
The “free breakfast” at our hotel consisted of watery coffee, packaged mini-muffins and donuts and bread for toasting. We passed on it and figured either Denny's or Mickey D's would suffice. Then we saw the Falcon Restaurant, aka El Falcon, and did a u-turn into their parking lot. This local place was friendly, served up good portions of adequate food and was reasonably priced. Their green chile, however, was nothing compared with Mary's homemade recipe.
We were back on the road, listening to tunes and thinking about our “to-do” list in Las Vegas. Believe it or not, it's a long, long list. Some things never change. We stopped in Flagstaff and Kingman, Route 66 hot-spots, for quick breaks and ended up in Las Vegas by mid-afternoon. Home at last!
Hmmm … exactly where is home these days?