Yesterday we did conclude our detour down to Sedona by making our way back to Flagstaff and onto Route 66 and I-40 again to head east across the rest of Arizona.
East of Flagstaff, Arizona flattens out and here is a general idea of what the typical view you might find here.
Much of the rest of Route 66 through Arizona has been completely replaced by I-40, but there are towns here and there where Route 66 reappears as the business loops off of I-40 through said towns. In those cases, many of the historical landmarks still exist, although some are abandoned in place. One hotel that still operates is the famous Wigwam Hotel where you can still spend the night in a concrete wigwam.
One of the major stops we made for the day was a visit to Meteor Crater about 6 miles off the highway. This place is a 50,000 year old natural impact crater about 1 mile across. It was created by a meteor approximately 150 feet across and is generally very well preserved. It is hard to appreciate how big this crater really is, even when you are standing next to it. Look carefully for the people near the edge of the crater in this photo and note that you could play 20+ separate football games at the bottom of this crater with 2 million people watching from along the rim and still have a lot of room to spare.
After the crater, while still in Arizona, we moved onto the Petrified Forest National Park. Here we found the Painted Desert in the northern areas of the park and the actual petrified wood forests more to the south end. One thing to note about this park is that it is a drive through park and especially when approaching from the west, it is much more efficient to branch from I-40, enter the south end of the park and then pickup I-40 again after exiting the north end. If approaching from the east, you would want to go through opposite direction.
One cool thing to note here is that an original section of Route 66 that has been since abandoned, used to pass right through the north end of the park. If you pay close attention while making your way along the park access roads, there is a little monument area paying tribute to the original Route 66 road.
From there, we made our way through the rest of Arizona and into New Mexico to finish the day in Albuquerque….losing one hour in the process. This hour, is the hour we should have lost moving from Pacific Time into Mountain Time, except that Arizona doesn’t observe daylight saving time, so we got to hold onto that hour all the way until getting into New Mexico last night.
Today (Saturday), we headed out from Albuquerque towards Texas along I-40 to pickup more of the landmarks we could find along the Route 66 segments that are still there. One particularly noteworthy one included our stop for lunch at the MidPoint Café. This particular spot in Adrian, TX is at the geographic mid-point along the original Route 66.
Another cool spot is known as Cadillac Ranch. This place is a monument of sorts commissioned to be built by some eccentric wealthy person from the area. Something most people don’t know about Cadillac Ranch is that its current location is different from where it was originally located back before I-40 was there. This is another indication of the eccentricity of the owner of this monument, we suppose.
We ended on Route 66 in Amarillo, TX today, losing another hour due to the switch from Mountain Time to Central Time. Heading east and losing time, especially two hours in two days, is a lot harder to handle than when we were getting extra hours earlier in the trip. Fortunately, we only have to cover one more time zone change before arriving home. Although, now we are starting to really get bummed that our trip is almost over! What a blast the last 3+ weeks have been!
Tomorrow, we continue our way along historical Route 66 up to Tulsa, OK.