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Route 66

Route 66 would have to be America’s most iconic highway.

It’s a road trip full of nostalgia; classic American dinners, bright neon signs, vintage cars and Airstreams.

In 1926 it was planned as one of the first continential highways in America.

Transecting the country diagonally from Chicago to LA and known as the “mother road” for decades, it remained the primary highway into the 1980’s.

Replaced by larger/faster interstates, the route was decomissioned in 1985, to the demise of many towns along the route.

However, the route has been immortalised in pop culture through songwriters, authors and filmmakers for decades, which ultimately led to it’s revival

Most famous would be the highways unofficial anthem by Bobby Troup; “get your kicks on Route 66…”

The 2006 Pixar movie Cars is also believed to have significantly contributed to the roads regained popularity (and, perhaps a stagnant economy encouraging road-trip vacations rather than overseas destinations for the average American has helped).

We join Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona. This is apparently some of the best surviving stretches of the route.  It’s a nice change of pace after whizzing along the I-40.

Our destination for the night is the town of Williams, which turns out to be a laid-back, charming place.  After a pre-dinner aperitif at the local wine bar and a chat to the friendly staff, we follow the recommendations to dine at the Italian Bistro.

Bearizona is a cheesy, but fun detour we make on the way from Williams to the Grand Canyon. It’s a drive-thru nature reserve.

They provide a GPS audio guide to talk you through the animals, which include: Mountain Goats, Bison, Alaskan and Artic wolf and American Black Bears.

After the drive you can visit the Fort Berizona with a petting zoo, as well as say hello to some bear cubs (no the bear cubs are not in the petting zoo).

Grand Canyon
From the east end of Williams, Hwy-64 continues to one of the natural wonders of the world – the Grand Canyon.

After visiting Copper Canyon in Mexico we are both looking forward to comparing the experiences.

Spending two nights at the Canyon we toured the Rim and enjoyed two spectacular sunsets. It’s an overnight hike to visit the Canyon floor, so we ventured into only part (a very small part) of the way into the Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.  Whilst the Copper Canyon is larger and deeper, I would probably say the Grand Canyon is just that; Grander.

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wpid-img_20150415_141343.jpgMonument Valley
In the distance fragile pinnacles of rock rise from the desert floor, carved by natural forces for over 50 million years to create a very dramatic landscape.

Monument Valley is recognisable to anyone that’s ever watched a John Wayne western. “Monument Valley is where God put the West”, he claimed.

We stay at The View Monument Valley, simply because it had just that – a spectacular view over the valley.

Watching the sunrise at 6am is chilly, but spectacular.

 

 

 

Some more pics…

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