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 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. The town 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.
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, not necessarily an ideal option for picky eaters. Yet their breakfast was extraordinary. 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 a lot 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, with 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 diner has only been around since the 1980s, the building is a former gas station and diner.
I’m still dreaming about the award-winning pizza 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, a few hours away the town of Oatman has the most 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 stretch of Route 66 winding through the mountains along a narrow road. Along the road, several burros were sentries by the roadside 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. The longer drive (by three minutes) was worthwhile. The relics of shops and restaurants were a sad reminder of a lost time. 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 and, but the lack of guardrails and sameness along the interstate made this bygone highway feel somehow cozier.