Our journey to the National Parks of Southern Utah and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was delayed a year, thanks to the failure of a water pressure regulator that resulted in our home being flooded and us being evicted for three months while all of the repairs were completed. Wow! That was a long sentence. We hit the road right after Labor Day for a 17 day adventure. We were set to explore places we hadn’t been since the mid 70’s. When you travel in an RV, it takes a little longer to get places than in a car. We tend to drive around 65 to keep the vehicle from sucking down that gas!! The first day we stopped at our favorite destination for lunch, La Posada Hotel in Winslow Arizona. If you have never been, you need to treat yourself. Get off Interstate 40 and drive to Second Street aka Route 66 and spend a few hours visiting this unique historic property and treating yourself to a meal in The Turquoise Room. Standing on the Corner is just a short walk down the street. Our first night’s destination was Meteor Crater RV Park, on the road to Meteor Crater. It’s a nice park, friendly staff and you can walk Route 66 and watch the sunset behind the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.
Before we checked into the RV Park we decided to head down the road and visit what’s left of Meteor City. Meteor City was never a city, it was a trading post alongside the Mother Road, Route 66. In 1938 a gas station was built and three years later a trading post. How many people pulled off the road to gas up their vehicle, maybe get something cold to drink or a souvenir. The memories of the past were in the high desert wind.
Once upon a time, there were huge yellow signs all along Route 66 advertising souvenirs, exotic animals, discounted merchandise, cold drinks and more. The Arizona Indians didn’t live in tepees, but feathers and tepees were what Easterner’s expected and the trading post fulfilled their fantasies. This sign was in great shape compared to this one.
We don’t believe Meteor City is abandoned. There is an old trailer out back and the front door to the dome was open and it appeared a TV was on inside. I did my best not to investigate who was inside to hear their story.
Dreamcatchers are another item tourist like to purchase. What better lure to get you to pull off the road than the world’s largest dream catcher. It appears to be in decent shape. What’s the dreamcatcher story? Dreamcatchers are an authentic American Indian tradition, from the Ojibway (Chippewa) tribe. Ojibway people would tie sinew strands in a web around a small round or tear-shaped frame, in a somewhat similar pattern to how they tied webbing for their snowshoes, and hang this “dream-catcher” as a charm to protect sleeping children from nightmares. The legend is that the bad dreams will get caught in the dreamcatcher’s web. Traditionally Native American dreamcatchers are small (only a few inches across) and made of bent wood and sinew string with a feather hanging from the netting, but wrapping the frame in leather is also pretty common, and today you’ll often see dreamcatchers made with sturdier string meant to last longer and decorated with beaded thongs. During the pan-Indian movement in the 60’s and 70’s, Ojibway dreamcatchers started to get popular in other Native American tribes, even those in disparate places like the Cherokee, Lakota, and Navajo. So dreamcatchers aren’t traditional in most Indian cultures, but they’re sort of neo-traditional, like frybread. Today you see them hanging in lots of places other than a child’s cradleboard or nursery, like the living room or your rearview mirror. Some Indians think dream-catchers are a sweet and loving little tradition, others consider them a symbol of native unity, and still others think of them as sort of the Indian equivalent of a plastic Jesus hanging in your truck. (Native Languages)
First we traveled on foot, horses were introduced by the Spanish, followed by wagons, and then came the railroad. The mass production of cars allowed people to have more freedom to come and go as they pleased. Old trails were paved and converted to two lane roads. The Interstate Highways were built for speed, bypassing small town America and many of these tourist destinations. This track sees two Amtrak trains a day, one Westbound from Chicago and an Eastbound train originating in Los Angeles. Plenty of freight trains can be seen throughout the day and heard passing throughout the night.
The dome was where we saw the open door and the glare of a TV. Time to head on down the road and set up camp for the evening.
Once we were settled in, we decided to take a walk along the decommissioned Route 66 road. When I was young teenager, my family traveled from Pittsburgh PA to the Grand Canyon. We picked up Route 66 in St. Louis and headed West. Many decades ago, I spent time on this road. If we could only remember everything we saw back then.
You can still see chunks of the road along the way. Our nation’s transportation history slowly dissolving back into the earth.
Parts of the curb are still in place. Hard to believe how narrow this road was back in it’s day. We got to experience it last year driving to Oatman and then heading north to connect to I40. Would love to spend more time exploring the old roads.
Walking into the sunset with the San Francisco Peaks in the distance. The end of another day on Route 66. The end of our first day on the road with Tucson Kathy.
If you’re in the area would highly recommend a side trip to Meteor Crater. We visited there earlier this year. If you stay at the RV Park, you will get a coupon for discount admission.
Our next stop, Monument Valley. Happy Trails!