Common Mom Rotating Header Image

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Ten – San Bernardino to Cedar City, UT

Thursday, June 19, 2014
395 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven   Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Ten is what I call Half Ass Haul Ass day. We’re officially off of Route 66 and on our way home, but there are a couple detours I want to make on the way.

But first, before we get to any fun stuff, I just have to say WTH California? Oh. My. GAWD! What is UP with the 100% complete inability to drive?! Not one person has any friggin’ clue how to drive on the Interstate. It is MADDENING! And it was seriously every friggin’ car with California plates. Yes, I know we’re in CA, but there are just as many out of state plates on I-15 as there are in state plates. And even when we got out of CA into Nevada and then Utah, the cars with CA plates STILL had no clue! I was hoping it was maybe just those that LIVE in CA . . . but nope, it’s everyone.

Now that that’s over, let’s move on :-)

Our first detour was to Hoover Dam. I’ve seen it many times over the past 18 years, but Princess had never been there (Dude still hasn’t!). Every time I see this I STILL can’t believe how much water people use without giving it a thought.

 

Princess had no clue what to expect. She kept wondering how a dam could be worth driving that far for – she’s used to seeing the dams we have here in CO to create our reservoirs. All I could say was remember how big the Grand Canyon was compared to other canyons you’ve seen? It’s kinda like that.

 

It was CRAZY hot out, so we drove across the dam first. Then we took a tiny walk out onto the dam just to say we did. When we left, we made sure to drive over the bridge of awesomeness before pulling off to get our official picture of Welcome to Nevada – they didn’t have one of those when we entered the state the first time!

 

Then, back to Las Vegas to cruise the strip – at 2:00 in the afternoon. Cuz THAT’S a great time to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard. One MILLION degrees! We drove from the far end all the way to the welcome sign, where we dutifully waited in line and chose the person who we thought was least likely to run off with our camera to take a photo of us.

 

Princess thought all the buildings were really cool and huge and giant and colorful and can’t even imagine what they’d look like at night all lit up :-) We drove all the way back down Las Vegas Boulevard so she could see the other side. At the end, we decided to make Dude a little jealous and stop at the Pawn Stars pawn shop for some photo ops!

We didn’t take the time to go in because we wanted to cruise to Cedar City. The rest of our drive was uneventful. Pretty. Different. Never been there before. One of the best parts? 80 mph speed limit on the Interstate :-) I hung out in the right lane going 90ish and was getting passed constantly. This is my kind of place (take THAT California!).

We pulled into Cedar City around dinner time and were DONE. We put on our suits, played in the pool for awhile, then went back to the room and watched a movie on our last night away from home.

Day Eleven was our final drive from Cedar City to Colorado Springs – 634 miles. Very uneventful and still surprising to me how different Colorado looks on the West side of the mountains compared to when you get into Eagle/Edwards/Vail.

We LOVED our trip, but I have to say it was GREAT getting back to what was familiar. We LOVE Colorado Springs and the terrain and the views and the weather and everything else.

Home Sweet Home :-)

Get Your Kicks – Day Nine – Barstow to San Bernardino (and Santa Monica)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
131 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven   Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Nine – our last day heading west! We got up and on the road pretty early. No alarms were set, but we were all itching to get going because – SANTA MONICA PIER! Princess and I grabbed Starbucks while QT and Ed gassed up for the drive. Our first stop was at the Route 66 Museum. I give you one guess which day of the week the museum is closed. Yep – Wednesday! So we walked around and looked at some of the stuff outside. Loved the old Studebaker!

After that, we pretty much cruised I-15 to San Bernardino. Not much to see on the way, so we arrived at our destination, the Wigwam Motel, around 10:00 a.m.

Our plan was to drop QT and Ed’s vehicle and camper, unload the FunRunner, and all 4 of us and the dogs drive the FunRunner to Santa Monica. Can I just say the owners of the Wigwam are AWESOME! They had one of our “rooms” ready, so they gave me the key and let us have it. We unloaded the FunRunner, locked up the camper, and away we went!

Of course traffic through LA was horendous, but we made it. Finally – the end of Route 66!

Princess had never seen a pier, and she thought it was especially cool that there was an entire amusement park right on the pier.

But what she was MOST interested in was THE OCEAN! I’m not sure if you know this, but Princess is part Mermaid. She LOVES the water! When we went to Atlantis last year over Thanksgiving, she wasn’t allowed in the water because of all the stitches and staples from her horse riding accident. She was awesome and didn’t complain, but boy was she disappointed she couldn’t play in the water. So the first thing she and I did was walk down to the beach so she could check out the ocean.

Glasses on. Hair still in a neat bun. Clothes dry. “I’ll just get my legs wet” she said. OK! 47 seconds later, this is what I see.

Having never been in the ocean, she had no clue about the undercurrent, even in shallow water. She was wiped out and soaked from head to toe! “Well, since I’m wet, I might as well swim!” And swim she did. She had a blast playing in the water, and I had a great time watching her enjoy it so much! This was probably the highlight of her trip :-)

After she was sufficiently water-logged and ready to leave the water, we caught up with QT and Ed, who had been wandering around on the pier. It was warm out, but the air still was chilly for a wet girl. So she and I walked a few blocks to the pedestrian mall and headed into the Nike store. We found some shorts and a t-shirt, which she changed into in the fitting room. Then we tracked down a guy who worked there, told him she was wearing what she wanted to buy, had him scan the tags right then and there, gave him the moolah, and we were off :-) Dry and happy! But hungry, apparently! We caught up with QT and Ed back at the pier and grabbed some bean and cheese burritos from the food truck. Yummy!

Of course the drive BACK to San Bernardino was even worse than the drive to Santa Monica. Traffic was absolutely terrible! Back at the ranch, Princess ran around with Max and got rid of whatever energy she had left.

Ed and I got out our lawn chairs and relaxed with some wine and whiskey.

Behind us . . . the NBC Nightly News crew! They were doing a story on Route 66 and our Wigwam Hotel owners. Our mini brush with fame. Check out the story here . . . at 2:08 our very own Max has a cameo as does my FunRunner.

After everyone got unpacked and settled and had a few minutes to relax, we were back at it again. It’s amazing how some wine and whiskey can convince you that setting out for even MORE driving at dusk to find a giant orange is a good idea! But we did it! And who couldn’t resist going to a town called Rancho Cucamonga? Bono’s Historic Orange. This orange was built in the 1930s and was a roadside stand where Route 66 travelers could get fresh orange juice.

Of course chicken and horse had to make an appearance!

And seriously . . . who could drive by a place called The Crazy Chicken without stopping for a photo op?!

In her road-tripped induced dilerium, Princess thought it would be the funniest thing ever to wear her horse head in the car and wave at people as we sat at stoplights. Love her sense of humor!

When we got back, we all congregated in our Wigwam and traded photos from the trip before heading to bed. The only plan the next day was to high tail it to Cedar City, UT. I hadn’t expected there to be any photo ops, but believe it or not, we found some! Check back to see what happened on Day Ten of our road trip!

 

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Eight – Kingman to Barstow, CA

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
206 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Eight was another day where Princess and I split from QT and Ed. We wanted to drive the Needles Highway and go through Oatman. RVs are not advised, and in fact, there is a sign that says “No vehicles over 40’ allowed” right next to a huge turn-around for anyone who had thoughts of actually trying it :-) The road to Oatman is anything but well-kept. It was fun and small and had sharp turns and had some great views. This photo shows the twisty windy road and just why RVs are not advised.

 

Here we are enjoying the view from the “summit” which always makes me giggle since our summits at home are 11,000’ and higher :-)

 

Here we got a good look at what happens if you speed and don’t pay attention.

 

We finally made it to Oatman, and pretty early in the day! We had fun checking out the old mine . . .

 

Taking goofy pictures in goofy cutouts . . .

 

And wandering around the many shops that had some fun and different stuff, like a Mickey Mouse shaped cactus :-)

 

But the real reason anyone makes the drive to Oatman is for the burrows! Every morning, the burrows come walking up the road into town, looking for food. They were a little late today because they’re all pregnant and it took them a little longer to get up and moving. Love how they just own the road (the UPS guy in the background was clearly miffed that he didn’t make it through town before the burrows got there!).

 

While we were shopping, we bought a bag of alfalfa squares to feed the burrows.

 

People feed them everything, from crackers, to french fries, to pancakes! Yup – we saw one guy feeding them pancakes! When our alfalfa was gone, we decided to get in the FunRunner and head out for the rest of our trip since we’d been in Oatman for a few hours. Little did we know, the burrows would come right up to the vechicle looking for food!

 

Princess reached into our food bag and pulled out the granola we’d been toting around for breakfast. Of course the burrows loved it! Princess, however, did not heed my advice and hold her hand out the window. Instead, she held it INSIDE the FunRunner so the burrows could stick their heads in the window and knock granola all over the floor :-)

 

On the road again, we saw some fun sights. Loved this wagon!

 

And of course, since we were travelling with our very own Ed, Princess had to take a photo of Ed’s Camp for him.

 

Princess was way excited to make it to CA! Boy was she disappointed when it looked the same as AZ :-) No palm trees? Dessert? What?! Then we made a turn to try to get on the old Route 66 and ended up at a resort. She was BESIDE herself when she saw palm trees :-)

 

We continued our actual Historic Route 66 drive by heading to Chambliss, Amboy, and Ludlow. And while we’d gotten the “fake” Route 66 road sign photo at the Midway Café, what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t tell my kid to “hurry up – get out and go stand in the road while I set the camera on the hood and set the timer for a picture before a car comes!” of a real Route 66 road painting.

 

While pretty much nothing on this stretch of the Route is actually still open and functioning, we did see some fun stuff along the way, like this mural (it’s too fun to be called grafiti!) on the wall of an old building.

 

When driving Historic Route 66, you never know which towns are actually open and functioning and which ones are just placeholders for towns of the past. We got in the habit of filling up for gas almost every time we got off the interstate just to make sure we weren’t “those people.” Glad we did this time! This gas station, in the middle of the loop, is open. But WOW!

 

The main draw of this part of the road, other than the drive itself, is the Amboy Crater . . . an old volcano. Pretty cool!

 

After the crater, we booked it to Ludlow where we’d get back on the Interstate for most of the rest of the drive to Barstow. We hadn’t been in contact with QT and Ed because no cell service out in the boonies! As luck would have it, we caught up to QT and Ed in Ludlow! Perfect timing! We got some lunch at a café, Princess and I grabbed some yummola ice cream from Dairy Queen, and we headed out.

We half followed QT and Ed and half did our own thing. There were some random things to see along the way, like the Bagdad Café (QT and Ed went there) and the Ski Lodge Roof House (we were together again and none of us could find it).

It was another hot day, so we pulled into our respective hotels (QT and Ed decided to hotel it again with the hot temps and windy windiness!) in Barstow to relax. Princess and I were thwarted again at the pool – this time the hot tub was broken and ice cold! So we hung out and relaxed before getting some dinner.

Tonight was drive-in movie night! We picked QT up at 7:30 and headed to the Skyline Drive In! It was $10 Tuesday – $10 per carload.

 

We got a great parking spot, opened up the back of the FunRunner, turned on ‘Party Mode’ for the back speakers, and blew up the air mattress. What better way to enjoy How to Train Your Dragon 2 than lying on an air mattress in the back of the FunRunner with surround sound, a giant popcorn, and an even more ginormous sprite?

 

Another fun day of adventure and surprises on our Route 66 road trip. Looking forward to Day 9, where we get to our final destination, San Bernardino and the Santa Monica Pier!

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Seven – Williams to Kingman

Monday, June 16, 2014
115 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven   Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Seven we were back on the road! It was a short driving day, so we didn’t make any plans to get up and ready to go early. Princess and I were up and ready, so we decided to pack up the car and head out for a walk down Route 66 in Williams. We’d gotten a taste of it the night before on our carriage ride and decided to walk it to see what we could see – and maybe shop a little. After breakfast at a little coffee shop, we headed out and saw some awesome shops and buildings. Williams was the last Route 66 town to be bypassed by I-40, and they were doing a great job of keeping there Route 66ness alive and well. Princess liked these first two shots because Dude is a Coca Cola fan and she thought he’d like this (and after a week without him, I think she was actually MISSING her brother!).

 

We met up with QT and Ed at the RV Park around 10:00 and headed out of town! This part of Route 66 takes quite a loop north, and there isn’t much to see on it. So we set our sights on Seligman as our main stop, with a few random stops in Hackberry and Truxton. Seligman was a fun little town! They’ve worked very hard to keep their historic Route 66 vibe. At one general store, I asked the clerk what they sold before the movie Cars because they had so many Cars items outside and inside. She said that Cars only brought the Americans – foreigners have been touring Route 66 for decades.

We spent some quality time with Mater and the Gang in between shopping stops.

 

So glad we found this sign so we knew which direction to go!

 

Loved the frog band on top of this building.

 

And we took advantage of a couple photo ops with Route 66 signage.

 

My personal favorite stop was Delgadillo’s Sno Cap diner. So awesome!

 

This diner has been around forever! And the most awesome part is that the current owners keep it running just as it always has. Complete with fake mustard spray and hometown personality. This is the view from the counter where you order.

 

She couldn’t resist the door without a window.

 

It was great to sit in the shade and enjoy the yummiest lunch on the trip – complete with LARGE malts – none of that sissy small size stuff!

 

Walking around outside the diner was as much fun as ordering and eating the food. All kinds of fun and creative stuff to see. I’m omitting photos to encourage you to go experience it for yourself. On our way out of Seligman, we made a quick stop at the Road Kill Café – because you HAVE to. Not to eat, but for the photo op of course.

 

The rest of our drive on Route 66 to Kingman was – HOT and crazy WINDY. Do you sense a theme here? Seriously, so hot and windy that Princess didn’t even want to get out at the Exotic Animal Sanctuary! We stopped at a gas station in Truxton because there was supposed to be some awesome sign like there is in Mash. I filled up even though I didn’t need gas – I got $60 worth of gas because CHA CHING out in the middle of nowhere. We went in and bought some drinks. I asked if we could use the restroom. He said “The one inside is for employees only, but you can use the outhouse out by the road.” Are you effin’ kidding me? I just spent $60 on gas, bought drinks, and you won’t even let me use the bathroom? And by the way – your sign sucks. Couldn’t even take a photo of it because it was behind a fence. So ya – Truxton is OFF THE LIST. Don’t go there. Don’t stop. Don’t make the effort. Onward to Hackberry!

Now this place was cool. Just a little general store out in the middle of nowhere, but with the coolest stuff ever! Princess kept saying how she wished Dude were with us because he would’ve loved all the stuff there. We took some time to USE THE CREEPIEST BATHROOM EVER (clean, but there are creepy manequins in there looking at you while you do your business!), buy a few things, look around at all the cool stuff that I wish I had, and rest in the rocking chairs outside in the cool shade.

The rest of the drive into Kingman was nothing to write home about. Just Arizona in the middle of nowhere on a two-lane bumpy road . . . ahhhhhh Route 66! The minute we got to Kingman, QT called and said “We are totally willing to bag camping tonight and get a hotel if you are. We’re sick of the heat and wind.” Um – WE WERE WILLING! Princess and I had already talked about it – there was no way we were getting the tent up in the wind. This is the dust storm we got to watch the last 10 miles . . . yes, it really was THAT windy.

 

I found us a family suite at the Best Western Motel. They accepted dogs, so we took it! A nice relaxing room with a pool and hot tub and comfy beds and a shower. And a laundry – so we took the opportunity after the pool to make some drinks and do a little laundry while Princess relaxed in the room with the dogs and TV :-) A good choice if I do say so myself!

Day Eight takes us from Kingman to Barstow, CA . . . on the Needles highway! Can’t wait!

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Six – Williams and the Grand Canyon

Sunday, June 15, 2014
Grand Canyon

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day six – the first day NOT in the car – woot! We were REALLY getting our Sheldon on and taking a train ride to the Grand Canyon. Princess and I got up and ate breakfast in the hotel room – we’d made a trip to the grocery store the previous evening and were actually looking forward to yummy yogurt and granola before our train ride. We met QT and Ed outside the the train depot at 8:30 a.m. because you just HAVE to watch the Old West show before you board the train.

 

These men all work on the train as well, singing and providing entertainment.

We were the luckiest people on the train because QT and Ed have good friends who LIVE at the Grand Canyon! Rick is the project manager for the clean up of the Uranium mine at the canyon. They met us at the train, put us in their vehicle, and we drove through the gates to a great picnic area. Another hot and windy day so we were happy for the ride rather than having to take the hike! They made us an amazing picnic lunch! After lunch, we did some driving and some hiking to maximize the “stuff” we could see in our time at the Grand Canyon.

Princess kept wondering why we were taking a train to see a canyon when see them al the time in Colorado. I tried to tell Princess that she had never seen anything like the Grand Canyon. She just couldn’t understand how anything could be so big that you couldn’t even take a picture of it. When she saw it, she finally got it :-)

 

We got a fun spot with awesomer views where you could see the Colorado River. I was trying to take a picture of some rafters that we could see down there. Princess kept getting her elbow in the pictures. So I finally said either get in or out. Of course, she chose in :-)

 

We had planned to take a short hike down one of the trails with Lynne (Rick’s wife), but we had to choose between that or the gift shops. We chose the gift shops :-) We were actually bummed about not having enough time to hike, but it gives us reason to come back again! After 3 hours at the Grand Canyon, we were back on the train for our 2.5 hour ride back to Williams.

 

The Cowboys provided us with more entertainment.

 

Princess showed us some of her party tricks.

 

And we enjoyed champagne and apple juice.

 

Then we WERE ROBBED! Yup. The train was robbed. How the guy who was JUST singing to us got off and on his horse that quickly is beyond me, but he did. It was so fun to see the robbers out on the range following the train with their horses.

 

They got on the train in the middle of nowhere and proceeded to rob the passengers. A fun way to give/get tips instead of just asking! The only thing they did ask was that you put the money somewhere they could see it and act scared when you were robbed :-) QT is a bit better at acting than Princess ;-)

 

Despite the most annoying kid on the planet being in our train car (Diego – oh Diego! And your clueless overwhelmed parents. We will never forget you, Diego!), we enjoyed our trip to the Grand Canyon.

 

When we got off the train, Princess spotted a giant horse and carriage. And when I say giant horse, I mean GIANT horse. Mike the horse is 21 hands! Our lovely little Cowboy is 14-3 hands. He could almost walk under Mike! Mike is the largest horse breed – Shire. His owner rescued him from a very abusive man. In 10 months, he earned Mike’s trust, taught him to walk the streets of Williams pulling a carriage, and even taught him to parallel park the carriage. The man used his giant horse to parallel park a carriage! I still can’t get over it. Of course we took a ride. It’s meant to be a tour of Historic Williams, but we were more interested in Mike and his history. We enjoyed the sights and learning a bit about Williams (lots of the scenes from Cars were based on Williams – Luigi’s shop, Doc Hudson’s garage, etc. They look exactly how they are in the movie!). But we enjoyed learning more about Mike and his situation and his training – and his SIZE! Man he was tall! It was a nice way for me and Princess to end the day before grabbing some dinner and heading back to the hotel for some pool time and R&R.

Tomorrow we’re back on the road headed to Kingman for Day Seven!

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Five – Gallup, NM to Williams, AZ

Saturday, June 14, 2013
220 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day 5 was one of our longest days, with 220 miles to drive. And it took quite awhile to drive those 220 miles with all the fun stops we made along the way!

Princess and I started our morning by making a breakfast run for everyone while QT and Ed packed up the camper. We started our morning with coffee and awesomely fresh donuts from a bakery in Gallup. Yummola!

We finally made it to ARIZONA! Woot! It was super hot and crazy windy, so our outside time was dwindling as we raced back and forth from “sight” to car :-)

 

A giant teepee trading post at the Arizona welcome center. Of course we had to go in – and of course Chicken and Horse needed a photo by the giant teepee :-)

 

And next to a creepy wooden Indian statue in the lobby.

 

We drove through Holbrook to see one of the three remaining Wigwam Motels. This one is a little different than the one we’ll be staying at. They’ve got an old car parked in front of each one, which is fun!

 

Seeing this Wigwam Motel made us even more excited for our stay in a Wigwam at the end of our trip!

While we were at the Midpoint Café a couple days earlier, we were looking at some photos on the walls. One was of a man sitting on a giant rabbit. We asked where it was, because DUH, we needed to do that! The lady said “Near Holbrook” which was another reason we drove through town.

Turns out we did NOT find the giant rabit in Holbrook or near Holbrook. But apparently we didn’t have to worry, because from the Interstate about 25 miles further down the road, you see this:

 

Totally can’t miss the sign. So of course we pulled off! And what do you do when there’s a giant statue of a jackrabbit, complete with a saddle?

You ride it! And maybe do some other goofy things on it :-)

 

Ya – I don’t know why either :-) Just seemed like the thing to do at the time!

Moving on down Route 66 (oh yeah – we took some Interstate and some Old Route 66 – that whole random dead ends thing again!). We stopped to play and have some lunch in Winslow, AZ. Yup – we had to do it.

 

Winslow, AZ. Corner. Flatbed Ford. Girl. We got it all! And now we all got a song stuck in our heads!

The corner in Winslow, AZ is an actual live intersection. This photo makes me giggle because of all of them we took, this was the best one – and only because there wasn’t a car right in front of us :-)

 

Notice the mini van almost in the intersection. Notice the guy by the statue behind us getting direction from the picture taker on where to stand so they can get the most in the photo. Notice that the “building” behind us is actually just a large wall being held up on the other side by giant wooden supports. Love it!

After lunch in a very welcomed air conditioned bar (superer hotter and crazier windier even!), we headed back out on the road toward Williams. Just outside Winslow, we noticed smoke. Oh how THAT brought back memories of our forest fires from last year! I wonder how long it will take for that sensitivity to the smell of fire and the large plumes of smoke to go away?

Anyhoo, we kept on driving until the turn off for our next stop, the Meteor Crater. As we drove the road out to the crater, we were driving right toward the smoke, which seemed very wrong. But, we made it to the end of the road at the crater, and the smoke was still miles away.

The crater was COOL! It’s just a giant – well – crater that was formed by a meteorite many moons ago. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but it’s HUGE. Not Grand Canyon huge, but huge! Especially considering the relatively small size of the meteorite that hit it. The introductory movie and talk by the expert was really neat, explaining how long it took for someone to finally realize this was from a meteorite and how they proved it. In the bottom of the crater, there is a little building, an American flag, and a 6-foot tall statue of a man. They are SOOOOO tiny that you can’t see them without the aid of binoculars . . . shows just how large the crater is!

 

After the crater, Princess and I broke off from the mini caravan and took more of the historic Route 66 into Williams. Tonight (and tomorrow), we got our Sheldon on and stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. QT and Ed stayed at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park just next door. We all got unpacked (staying two nights – we took the time to unpack and organize!), made some yummy drinks in the appropriate plastic containers, and headed to the pool at the hotel. The hot tub and pool were nice after the hot, windy, dusty day driving.

Then it was a late night snack at the hotel bar before heading to bed. We had a train to catch in the morning for a ride to the Grand Canyon!

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Four – Santa Fe to Gallup

Friday, June 13, 2014
198 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Day Four was the first day of the trip where we actually wanted to be somewhere by a certain time, so we got up and going. We met QT and Ed for breakfast at the awesome Harry’s Roadhouse in Santa Fe. Yum yum yum!

 

There were a few things on the to do list, so we took a vote at breakfast. Everyone wanted to see the ice cave and volcano as well as Tinkertown. Because Tinkertown was south of Santa Fe on I-40, we went off of our Route 66 road trip and down through Madrid, NM. Nice drive and cool little town!

Tinkertown was amazing! We had no clue really what it was, but we were not disappointed. Basically, a man collected a bunch of things and made a bunch of models of stuff. Then he collected a bunch of bottles and used them to make walls with the cement. Then he collected a bunch of horseshoes and put them in the floor. The end. It was way cool! Nothing you can really see the coolness of through photos. The detail is amazing. Some of the pieces and parts move. The circus big top was amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

They even had the biggest man’s pants and marked his shoes on the floor!

 

After Tinkertown, we hightailed it to the ice cave and volcano. It’s quite a drive off of the interstate, but well worth it! In one location, you can hike to an old volcano caldron, seeing volcanic plants and twisted trees along the way. It’s nothing like the volcano in Hawaii, but it’s still pretty cool.

We’re holding up this wall of volcano stuff :-)

 

The caldron in the background. It’s been a long time since this volcano did anything, so the “stuff” is falling back in on it.

 

In the same location, just a mile hike away, is a natural ice cave. It’s so cool – literally! There used to be a bar and restaurant on this location a long time ago. They used the ice cave to keep the beer cold. They also chipped the ice out of the cave for drinks. The ice cave is in a collapsed lava tube. The combination of cold air settling and the insulation of the lava keeps the ice frozen year ‘round.

Princess hiking down the steps to the ice cave.

 

QT and Princess at the bottom. It’s so weird! It was super hot outside this day. There is one particular step where suddenly, your front side is cold and your back side is roasting.

 

The ice looks green. It’s very smooth – I wanted to ice skate on it!

 

Me and Princess being cold down in the cave.

 

The rest of our ds uneventful. Princess and I continued on most of the Old Route 66 and drove right through Gallup. Interesting little town! USA RV Park was great! We had rented a cabin for the night – it wasn’t supposed to have any electricity or anything – just a bunk bed. Turns out, it had a light, window air conditioner (that was worthless), queen bunk, and regular bunks. The mattresses were horrible, so we blew up the air mattress and put it on the queen bed to sleep :-)

 

There was a pool that Princess was dying to swim in. So she got all ready, dipped one toe in, and decided it was too cold :-)

After we got cleaned up, we headed out to look at all the fun neon in Gallup before enjoying a couple drinks at the picnic table then calling it a night.

Another fun and interesting day on Historic Route 66! Looking forward to Day Five, where we head into scorching hot Arizona.

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Three – Tucumcari to Santa Fe

Thursday, June 12, 2014
170 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

On Day Three, we woke up to cloudy skies at the Kiva RV Park in Tucumcari, NM. Woot! Finally some cloud cover for the hot temps! We got up and as ready as we were going to for the day (hat on head, teeth brushed!) and headed out for some breakfast. We were looking for coffee. We’d remembered a coffee shop while driving around the previous evening, so we headed out to find it. After going all the way to the other end of town, we came back only to realize it was JUST outside the entrance to our RV Park, but the other direction. We could’ve walked. Anyhoo – we had some awesome coffee, muffins, and breakfast sandwiches. But the best part of breakfast was purchasing a Route 66 Souvenir map. Seriously, this thing had the awesomest and most accurate map of where Route 66 went in relation to I-40. Saved us many times!

After breakfast, Princess and I wandered around the RV Park a bit for some photos while QT and Ed packed up the camper and dogs. A few photos of the pink and blue that is ALL OVER, as well as the fun little camper at the entrance to the park.

 

We got all loaded up and headed out of town. We had run out of daylight the previous evening, so we took an opportunity to stop and snap a few more pictures of some of the awesome murals in town.

 

Princess mimicking the gas guy in the doorway.

 

Love this one of the horse tail painting the mural!

 

And this one is GINORMOUS! It’s the entire side of a grocery store . . . and we couldn’t even get it all in the photo. You can see how big it is by spotting how small we are.

 

Here’s the Blue Swallow motel during the daytime. The outside is in good shape, but the insides of the garages are painted with awesome murals from the movie Cars. Love that all the rooms have 100% Refrigerated Air – i.e. Air conditioning J

 

And of course the Palomino Motel. The girl who owns a palomino pony had to have a picture – with a girl wearing a chicken head J Had a great time chatting with the owner while he showed us a photo album of all the palomino ponies that have crossed his path during his time in America.

 

This was a day that Princess and I decided to drive as much of the actual Route 66 as possible, starting right outside of Tucumcari. QT and Ed didn’t drive as much of it as we did because they were pulling the camper and the guide book said “Not suitable for RVs.” And boy was it right!

We started out by crossing back and forth under the Interstate a few times through very narrow waterways. Then we finally got cruising, right along I-40, when we ran into a section of the road that actually had water on it! I could see that it wasn’t too deep, but I still didn’t want to be “that guy” – out in the middle of nowhere getting stuck on Old Route 66. So we decided to turn around and head back the 8 miles to the access to the Interstate. BUT, on our way back, we saw a pickup truck driving toward the water. Princess and I decided to turn around and follow him and see how deep the water was. He was going about 20 mph and did not like us following him, so he pulled over. Awesomely nice Hispanic man who spoke just enough English to understand my question of “Can I make it through the water?” and answer “You have 4 wheels drive. You use that. You make it fine.”

So we did – and we made it just fine :-)

One thing that happens when you drive the actual Route 66 is that you watch vehicles fly by you on the Interstate just to your left. Anyone who knows me and my driving habits knows how difficult it was to accept the fact that I COULD be getting there faster ;-) But this is a honest to goodness actual ROAD TRIP. The road is the trip. So Princess and I enjoyed our time on the old bumpy tiny slow speed limit road. We also saw this van drive by!

 

Turns out, it’s a Russian Elvis impersonation group. LOL! I don’t know if you can read the words on the top, but it says “Kick Ass Rokanrol from Russia.” HA! Love it. I didn’t get a photo, but did “radio ahead” to QT and Ed and ask them to be on the lookout. They caught them at the next gas station, where we caught up to them and took the opportunity to touch base.

 

After the gas station stop, Princess and I headed back onto the actual Route 66 to cross under the highway and get some photos of a town that did not make it – Cuervo, NM. Princess loved taking pictures of the old buildings and seeing Churches and homes and schools and grocery stores.

 

At times throughout history, Route 66 was rerouted “just because” or because of I-40. The drive to Santa Fe is part of the Historic Route 66 before it was rerouted in 1937. Driving this piece of the old highway was our main reason for going to Santa Fe, since we live fairly close and didn’t plan on doing any real sightseeing while we were there.

QT and Ed were staying at an RV park just outside of town, and Princess and I decided to stay at a nice Resort and Spa. Hubby had gotten us a free room there, so why not? We were going to meet QT and Ed at the RV park after we got settled, then we decided to just hang out and enjoy our awesome room (they upgraded us – woot!). We made reservations for mani/pedi at the spa and hung out at the pool. I had an awesome margarita while Princess swam with some new friends she’d made. We cleaned up in time for our spa appointment. After our nails were all prettified, we headed back to the room where Princess picked a movie and chose what to order for room service.

It was a pretty rough evening for the both of us, but we somehow survived ;-) We headed to bed at a reasonable hour since we had to meet QT and Ed at 9:00 for breakfast.

Looking forward to Day Four and the Bandero Ice Cave and Volcano!

Get Your Kicks . . . Day Two – Amarillo to Tucumcari, NM

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
120 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

While Day One was used to get us TO Route 66, Day Two was the official start of our Route 66 Road Trip. Woot! After a couple hiccups in the morning finding a Walgreens to pick up a few things Princess had forgotten to pack, we were off! First stop, Cadillac Ranch! It’s a fun site out in the middle of a field. A dozen or so Cadillacs planted nose down in the dirt.

 

I had to giggle at this sign just outside the field fence:

 

And right below it was this dumpster:

 

HA! You got to walk through a funky little turnstyle to get out to the field. After that, all was fair game. You got to get up close and personal with the cadillacs. All grafitti was acceptable and encouraged – even on the ground!

 

Unfortunately, we’d totally spaced off getting spray paint (bad Mom!), but that might’ve been OK. It was crazy windy out and the paint was flying! Princess picked up an empty can from the ground and had fun spray painting with anything that was left in it. Love her clothing choice for the day – goes well with the cars :-)

 

We spent quite a bit of time looking at all the fun grafitti before heading off to load up with gas for our drive to Tucumcari, NM. While QT and Mr. Ed went back to get the camper from the RV Park, Princess and I checked out the Cadillac Ranch RV park that was just down the road. Who can resist stopping when there’s a ginormous cowboy’s boot to sit on?

 

There were a few Cadillacs on display – one had John Wayne in it, another had Elvis, and the third had Willie Nelson in it. I have no idea what Princess is doing in this picture, but she insisted :-)

 

We finally got out on the road, headed to Tucumcari! For this part of the trip, we took mostly I-40. Route 66 paralells the Interstate very closely for this part of the Route, but there are a lot of dead ends, so you can’t really just get on Route 66 and drive it. We did get to see it the whole way, though! It was pretty interesting to see how Route 66 would turn away from the Interstate for just a little ways and the towns were just left out there. Some of them had to work really hard to keep alive. One that did is Adrian, the midpoint of Route 66 from Chicago to LA. We of course took this open part of Route 66!

 

And what good mother doesn’t tell her daughter to “Quick! Go stand in the road so I can get a picture of you before any cars come!”?

 

The store signs were pretty neat. Not sure why this one is so tall since it’s actually right on Route 66 and you’d have a hard time missing it. Guessing they raised it when the Interstate went in so people could see it from the highway and weave across lanes of traffic at the last minute to get off :-)

 

We had yummy lunch at the MidPoint Café! The owner was so nice and wanted us to only relax and enjoy the atmosphere. We ordered yumminess like grilled ham and cheese with homemade potato salad. Route 66 Root Beer floats were a must, as was some world famous Ugly Crust pie. Yummola! Photo op after lunch :-)

 

Whew! I’m glad we had these signs to clear up the way to Tucumcari for us!

 

We basically just booked it to Tucumcari on the Interstate from this point because of the random dead ends on Route 66.

Tucumcari is a part of Route 66 that has gone to great effort to remain alive and kicking! There’s a cheese factory (very different than a CheeseCAKE Factory!) that we were excited to tour, only to find out they cut off all public tours due to some new cleanliness regulations – what (pause for dramatic effect) EVER! We didn’t have a hard time finding things to do, though.

We stayed at the Kiva RV Park. So fun! It’s very light blue and pink, and run by 3 guys. These men have a 1930s era radio booth in the offic and have a daily radio show. The RV park could use a bit of love – mainly the ‘rooms’ that could be for rent – but we loved it! Princess and I were tenting, so they let QT and Ed park the camper in a closed spot so we could be close to them on the grass. It was only closed because the electrical hookups weren’t working, so it was all good. They also opened up Room 4 for us to use the bathroom and shower. We enjoyed some relaxing time with drinks while we waited for the heat to break a bit.

When it got a little cooler, we headed out to check out the town. All the businesses on the main Route 66 drag have done an awesome job of keeping their authentic Route 66ness while making sure their buildings look nice. Each one had murals painted on it depicting something historical about Route 66. I love this one that has a Route 66 mural, but has large bugs crawling on it since it’s an exterminator’s office :-)

 

Just thought this one was fun.

 

Mom – this one’s for you. An original Best Western Hotel? Think they’d give you the discounted rate? :-)

 

We caught an awesome sunset before we got some dinner and headed out to check out the neon signs.

 

One of my favorites was the Blue Swallow motel. If you’ve seen the movie Cars, you’ll remember this. This is the motel where each room has its own garage.

 

They’ve done a great job of keeping the neon up and running and keeping the feel of Route 66 with an old car out front.

Back to the RV Park to wind down and head to bed. Even though Princess and I were tenting, we didn’t bring a lot of “camping” stuff with since we didn’t need it often and the FunRunner was pretty full. So we borrowed a lantern from QT and Ed. Turns out, we didn’t need it! The guys at the Kiva RV Park had so many lights strung around the trees and so many lanterns going that it was like THE SUN all night :-) This picture doesn’t do the awesome awfulness of it justice. All I need to say is that we never had to worry about finding the bathroom if we had to get up in the middle of the night.

 

Day Two was a fun first real taste of Route 66! We’re looking forward to Day Three, our drive from Tucumcari to Santa Fe.

Get Your Kicks . . . Day 1 – COS to Amarillo, TX

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
370 Miles

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Day Four    Day Five    Day Six    Day Seven    Day Eight    Day Nine    Day Ten

Hubby and Dude were headed out on a 12-day backpacking trip while Princess and I headed out for a 10-day road trip of Route 66 with QT and Ed. We may have packed a little more than the boys! They each had their one hiking backpack – about 45 pounds each.

 

We, on the other hand, had the entire cargo area of the FunRunner full!

 

In our defense, we had to pack for tenting, staying in cabins, and staying in hotels. After a quick stop at Starbucks (required for every girls’ trip!), we met up with QT and Ed at 9:00 a.m. and headed out for Amarillo! This day was a driving day to get us to Route 66. We made the requisite stops at each state sign – Oklahoma and Texas – for photos on the way.

 

QT and Ed are pulling their 1964 Shasta camper on the trip. They were leading our caravan of 2, so this was the view Princess and I got to see the whole day J

Pretty fun! They are staying at RV parks on the trip while Princess and I are staying at a bunch of different places – we brought the tent to camp with them a few nights, we’re staying at a luxury resort and spa, at a couple hotels along the way, and in a Wigwam.

The drive to Amarillo was uneventful. Princess and I checked into the hotel, QT and Ed got the camper set up, and we checked out the awesome cactus at the campground.

 

After we cleaned up a little, we all headed out to The Big Texan Steak House for dinner! Have you seen the movie The Guilt Trip? Barbra Streisand eats the 72 oz. steak dinner in an hour? Yup – THAT’S the Big Texan Steak House!

 

None of us were brave enough to try the challenge, but we did get to see a couple people try complete it while we were there! BTW – the record time for eating a 72 oz. steak, a salad, mashed potatoes, and a roll is just under 5 minutes! The record time for eating TWO steak dinners? Just under 15 minutes! Both records were set by the same 120 lb. woman in May of 2014. Yikes! After dinner, we had fun in the gift shop before heading back to the campground and hotel for the night.

Um yeah – QT and Princess decided to buy a chicken head and a horse head in the gift shop. They also feel the need to have their picture taken in them – often!

Day One was uneventful, but fun! Check back to see what adventures we had on Day Two of our Route 66 trip!