Getting my Kicks

Some know the famous highway by the old song, “(Get Your Kicks) on Route 66.” Some know it from books like “Grapes of Wrath”. My daughter knows Route 66 thanks to the animated movie Cars, which is the biggest reason we took a detour prior to a Las Vegas vacation to spend a few days along the bygone-era interstate.

We started with a visit to the little town of Seligman, only a few hours from the Las Vegas airport. The route may not be very picturesque, but the destination certainly is. The adorable town might as well be Radiator Springs. The community embraces the comparison, with doppelgangers of beat-up antique vehicles in front of many homes and businesses. Seligman is positively bursting with photo ops for Cars fanatics.

There are several shops with quirky and vintage items, many with ties to the popular road and many catered toward the number of motorcyclists witnessed along the route.

Of Seligman’s several places to stay, we opted to spend the night at the Historic Route 66 Motel. The location lived up to its name. The clean room had a vintage vibe while still being large enough for a family of four. Plus it was affordable and offered a discount for dining at the adjacent Roadkill Café.

Eat Up

Of the main restaurants in town, Roadkill Café has the most varied dinner menu. Across the street, Westside Lilo Cafe’s dinner menu is German-inspired, which is not necessarily an ideal option for picky eaters. Breakfast at Westside Lilo’s made up for it, with varied and delicious options. Both restaurants have their own gift shop with plenty of Route 66-inspired choochkies.

For lunch or a midday snack, try Delgadillo’s Snow Cap. While the only dining is outdoors, the atmosphere is loads of fun. The ice cream and shakes were delicious, and the menu also has burgers and fries.

An hour to the east lies Kingman, with the Arizona Route 66 Museum. It’s a quick visit, a highlight being the Electric Vehicle Museum in the basement. Across the street, grab a snack or meal at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. While the current diner has only been around since the 1980s, the building is a former combination gas station and diner.

I’m still dreaming about our meal at Rickety Cricket Brewing. Normally breadsticks are boring and uninspired; these were saturated with thick cheese and full of flavor in every bite. If only they would deliver to Indiana… Enjoy games, live music, and comfortable seating on the outdoor patio.

The Burros of Oatman

While activities in Kingman are limited, the town of Oatman just a few hours away has some fascinating residents. Oatman is overrun by wild burros, which can be fed along the wooden sidewalks of the (nearly)

ghost town. The town can only be reached by following a narrow stretch of Route 66 winding through the mountains. Along the road, several burros stood as sentries at the edge of the pavement or high above the treetops, tracking our approach into the little town. The precarious drive is not for the faint of heart once the sun sets.

There seems to be plenty of entertainment in Oatman while the sun is up; we arrived after 5 p.m., when the town reverted to its ghost-town status. A few burros were still milling about, perhaps looking for a handout or maybe just serving as good hosts.

Sadly, much of the original Route 66 has disappeared. We intentionally chose a GPS route that would avoid the interstate to embrace more time there. The longer drive (by three minutes) was worthwhile. The relics of shops and restaurants were a sad reminder of a lost era, the same message that Cars promotes. An occasional view of wildlife – hawks, coyote, a deer – wouldn’t be as easily spotted along the interstate. The landscape surrounding Route 66 may seem desolate while driving along the sameness of the interstate, but the famous highway’s lack of guardrails made this bygone road feel somehow cozier.

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