Day 17 – Friday
Flagstaff To Needles
It’s fair to say that today was one of the low points of the trip so far!
A big factor was the awful weather, as it rained all day – heavy rain through to drizzle, but altogether damp and miserable.
Flagstaff really wasn’t seen in its best light. It seemed to all intents and purposes a lovely alpine resort. We could just about make out some surrounding mountain ranges through the low cloud and mist, but other than a quick drive through a relatively pretty downtown, it seemed the best call to move on and hopefully out of the rain! Maybe one for a future trip in summer time?
Today’s drive was the last in Arizona and overnight is Needles, the first stop point for most travelers westbound as they reach California. We have our final time change today, gaining an hour as the differential grows to 8 hours from London time.
The main stopping highlight today was Seligman, a relatively well preserved Route 66 community, with pretty painted buildings, murals, and signs. Angel Delgadillo’s barbershop and gift shop was a real highlight. Angel is a Route 66 veteran, and his shop was one of the best Route 66 stores we’ve seen on the trip. Last stop in Seligman was the genius road kill café….’You kill it, we’ll grill it’!
100 miles or so now left to go to Needles….so let’s get our foot down out of this lousy rain, and enjoy a spot of train chasing!
Unfortunately 10 minutes later we passed a parked patrol at on the opposite side of the highway. Whilst we were below speed limit, he had zapped us a mile back on the road doing 78 on a 65. 20 mins and a ticket later, any fun we were trying to salvage out of a an already grim day had no chance….:-(
It was dark by the time we reached Needles and things didn’t improve! Our Quality Inn room (best hotel option out of 10 in Needles) was absolutely fine, but the three story motel block had that 1970’s estate feel about it, with a grim outdoor lift and a faint smell of weed in the air. A couple of ladies of the night were loitering hopefully outside Jack in the Box opposite, and it was the first evening that I took my laptop and iPad out with me for dinner! We got a little lost on our way out, and the lack of street lighting and desolate streets, with a backdrop of parked up rolling stock was pretty creepy! We eventually found our chosen restaurant (again, from a very limited list of options), which was really a Chinese takeaway with a few tables in the waiting area. But the food was delicious so thankfully we picked well!
All in all though, a grim day and grim place. Welcome to California!