Day 11: Sunday 14th July 2013
After my riding day yesterday had been cut short by the rain, I was glad to see the sun out again when I loaded the Trooper. Having only spent one night in Chicago at the start of my Route 66 adventure, I still had a day in hand, so the fact I hadn’t made it into Arizona wasn’t crucial. As long as I made it to San Francisco by Saturday was all that was important.
As soon as I crossed the state line into Arizona, I began to feel as if I were riding through the back drop of an old western movie, and for some reason Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive kept going through my head. You know the line “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride”. Cheesy, I know.
I didn’t stop for the Petrified Forest or the Painted Desert, as I had visited both in 2011. But if you’ve not seen them and you are riding Route 66 then I certainly recommend you pay a visit.
Nor did I head north from Flagstaff to visit the Grand Canyon, whilst I had visited it in 2011, it had been shrouded in fog, so I didn’t see too much and I would have welcomed another visit. The reason I didn’t go north this time, is that I would be re-visiting this area again after Doreen arrives, and I planned to see it with her.
I carried on through Flagstaff still humming Bon Jovi to myself. I had to stop in Williams due to more rain. It caught me on an interstate section, and I had no time to pull my waterproofs on, so I pulled into Williams with soaked jeans and t-shirt. The rain passed after about an hour, and one of the benefits of being in Arizona is that as soon as the rain has gone, it is hot and sunny again so wet clothes dry out quickly, especially with the help of the wind as you cruise along on a bike. And it has been very windy, I’ve been riding through most of Arizona with the Trooper leant over to counter that wind.
I’d read a bit about the quirky town of Seligman but hadn’t seen any pictures before I rode in, but it lived up to my expectations. Probably the famous store in Seligman is Seligman Sundries with it’s display of old cars outside, as the photos below show.
Seligman proclaims itself the birthplace of Historic Route 66, not the original Route 66, for it has here, in 1987, that residents of Seligman founded the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, along with other enthusiasts in Kingman, and through their efforts the State of Arizona dedicated US 66 from Seligman to Kingham as “Historic Route 66”. Since that initial dedication, all the other states along Route 66 have pretty much followed suit.
On my ride into Seligman I had managed to break my sunglasses. With the rain in Williams, I had taken them off, but on rounding a corner I had ridden into glaring sunshine from the West ahead of me. In trying to pull the sunglasses from my jacket pocket, I had broken off one of the arms. Bolts, which proclaimed itself to be a biker shop, looked as if it should be just the place to get a replacement.
Emerging from Bolts with new “biker” sunglasses (they have padding around the inner frames to stop the wind or anything else getting in), I wandered up Seligman main street and took a few more photos.
It was now around 5pm but after my ride had been cut short by the rain yesterday, I thought I’d go the extra 60 odd miles to Kingman. As I rode along the road out of Seligman, I saw the Grand Canyon Caverns, a tourist attraction, to my left. If it had been earlier in the day I may well and stopped by for a visit.
About 20 miles out of Seligman, I could see those pesky rain clouds closing in again. I was beginning to see a pattern here, after very hot and sunny mornings, the rain clouds seem to form in the mid-to-late afternoon. I carried on for another mile or two, but I could see no break in the cloud, Did I really want another soaking today, possibly without a chance to ride myself dry afterwards? I decided not and turned the Trooper around and headed back to Seligman seeking shelter for the night.
I’d noticed several motels which looked the kind of motel that would be in my preferred budget range. The first one I tried was the Romney Motel, principally because it was next door to the Black Cat Bar. It had rooms for the right price – $40 cash. The rooms, as I’d expected, were basic, but it was clean and the bed comfortable. I decided to give the Trooper a clean after the earlier rain, and the guy running the motel offered me a fresh bundle of rags for my cleaning stash. You don’t get that service from the big chains.
I had to ride down the road to eat, but that was OK. It’s beer and bikes that don’t play well together, not bikes and the fish and chips I had for dinner. I rode back to Romney’s, said goodnight to the Trooper and visited the Black Cat.
I was the only customer in the bar when I went in, but a couple of French Canadians came in after a while, and had good taste in music if their juke box selections where anything to go by. They had also been seduced by the allure of driving along Route 66.
By around 10pm, a few locals also started to drift in, but by then it was time for my to leave. Some nights a couple of beers is just enough, and to have more would spoil it.