(Reality) West of Winslow
Now we are getting somewhere. Out here, somewhat west of Winslow, Arizona, there really is a “girl in a flatbed Ford,” and unconnected bits and pieces of Route 66. We invite you to explore this big, big country.
This is where antelope find you, curious. This is where you can feel a desert shower. And as much I would like to pretend that my video tells the picture, it doesn’t. This is truly freedom of the road. You need to visit this land yourself.
Need more excuses? How about being interested in amateur anthropology? Here are the directions, to the junk pile featured at the end of this video.
We found it at historic milepost 149.1, described in the Point of Interest Tour Guide we had purchased from the Historic 66 Association (mailing address is POB 66, in Kingman, AZ 86402) listed as “a non-improved, former rest stop.”
The first time here we pulled off the blacktop onto an actual section of Route 66 that have been returned to gravel as the old macadam had weathered, and been bladed to the side. Bobby grabbed a piece of discarded asphalt as a true 66 souvenir. We uncoupled Casper (our towed dingy) to explore, but that wasn't necessary.
A short mile down this loop, seemingly so isolated from Interstate-40, and the railroad, and today’s Route 66, though all were in distant hearing, we came across a place to park 27 foot motorhome, for a day or two, under the outspread branches of a very large juniper.
We had this camp all to ourselves.
In our isolation, setting around a campfire, it was easy at night to hear voices from the past. As much of the original route was laid out as a natural way through rolling desert hills, instead of the modern highway practice of cut and fill, this ancient tree we are camped under most likely provided shade for the Anasazi (or ancient ones who built the rock walls shown here), the first European explorers, the railroad surveyors, the first cross-county motorists, and those from the Oklahoma migration.
In the flickering dimness of twilight I imagined a 12-year-old boy in tattered bib overalls, playing with other migrant workers children. I wanted to call him over, pull a ice cold cola from our propane operated refrigerator, and ask, in return, if he had any idea what all lay ahead in his life. As living out the Depression, and World War II, for starters.
I did have the feeling, though, that no matter where that boy traveled, that one day he would realize that having done Route 66 was something that always would be remembered as a good life, lived. As it always will be for us. That is the “kick” we got out of Route 66.