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Day 12, Wednesday, May 31, 2017:
Williams, Arizona -> Ash Fork -> Seligman -> Chloride - Las Vegas, Nevada

Wednesday May 31, 2017 We woke up in the same place for the first time on the trip, at the Grand Canyon Railway Inn. We got our day started and headed down to the Café for the buffet breakfast. It was interesting watching people go through the same drill we experienced yesterday. At 8:45 the place cleared out as guests hustled out for the wild west show.

Today was going to have a lot of driving so we tried not to lose too much time. With the exception of a few destinations we planned to make it from Williams, Arizona to Las Vegas Nevada in the day. We had to get this right since we had show tickets to see Donny & Marie Osmond tonight at the Flamingo. The cooler got drained and dried last night, beverages were chilled in the room refrigerator and we just needed to stop at the Circle K convenience store for ice.

Before leaving Williams we made the 66 loop with the GoPro on a 2 second interval. When we walked the town I wasn't in the mood to lug a camera and I never made it back after dark to take pictures with the place lit up. Where does the time go, I didn't even blog on the overnight!

With that we were on the road. Route 66 west of Williams is buried under I-40 so that's what we drove. Did I mention that Williams was the very last town on 66 to be bypassed? Given that they have a major destination, the Grand Canton South rim to their claim I-40 may be a blessing. The village certainly could not handle today's interstate traffic or would have lost all of its charm trying. They have an exit at each end making it seamless to visit and the interstate makes it easy to get there from afar.

With that we were rolling on I 40. With a stretch of highway behind us we reached the village of Ash Fork, a town we bypasses in 2012. It was a small village largely abandoned with a few businesses hanging on. Ash Fork had been a major stop for the Santa Fe Railway and Route 66. The railway name is still marking the town's water tower. They even had a Harvey House, the Escalante. It closed in 1951 and was leveled in the 1970's. A 1975 fire destroyed much of the business district. Prior to 1976 all water arrived daily by train. We learned on the Grand Canyon train ride that water wells here in the high desert can be several thousand feet deep to reach an aquifer. You just don't drill down an easy several hundred feet for a private well like we do at home. Hence many haul water and municipal systems may extend farther out than we are accustomed to.

There were the remains of several motels, a church and some offices scattered along the east and west bound main streets. A few other places remained in business, others were hard to know and many were shuttered. There was one attractive restaurant at the east end of town.

The highlight, at least in terms of activity was Zettler's Route 66 Store, established 1929. It was a nice Route 66 Souvenir shop. In earlier days it was probably a general store. Now it looks like it is geared to be the center piece of RT 66 tours of the town. You can find us in the guestbook and one of their Tee Shirts in my closet. The couple was nice to talk to and the dog lay peacefully at the door.

Flag stone quarrying is Ash Fork's claim to fame. Pallets of stacked stone could be seen along the highway and the Post Office was clad in flagstone. The town is billed as "The Flagstone Capital of the World". Every place is special in some way.

After another run of I-40 we were back on 66 to head to Seligman. This would be a stretch of road that we traversed after dark to get to a motel reservation. What we may have missed as Saturday Night Love Song show played in the dark had been a mystery. Some scattered trees along the road in an area reminded me of an orchard. There was short loop of old pavement that turned out to be gravel that we took. The loop ran around a mountain slope that was latter blasted away to let the road run straight. Trees are a novelty around here in this high desert environment.

As we approached Seligman There were 3 different sets of classic Burma Shave signs. There was at least 1 other set facing eastbound traffic. We would soon be departing the east west rail corridor so I couldn't resist filming one more freight train for grandson Lex.

Seligman is the birthplace of historic Route 66. A local barber, Angel Delgadillo has been dubbed the guardian angel of Route 66. He was the driving force in getting the road recognized as a historic route in Arizona and that became the inspiration for all 8 states to join the movement. He's 90 years old and the open sign was out at his shop. Part of me wanted to stop hoping to thank him. It might have ended with a hug and tears. I love this road.

We had photographed the heck out of this place in 2012 so I let the GoPro rip at a 2 second interval and cruised across town to get back on I-40.

About 15 miles down the road the LOW FUEL light came on. After being parked in Williams for 2 nights the fuel routine got broken and I screwed up. My first thought was that would just stop at the next rest area or exit to a town. Just in case I pulled up fuel locations on the GPs, the nearest was 23 miles away, back in Seligman. After reversing direction at the next exit we doubled back. There were some really cool cuts in the mountains we'd now get to drive through 3 times. So on the return the GPS showed 24 miles to go and the car's fuel calculator showed 10 more than that. That was hardly a comfortable margin without knowing the precision of the vehicle. I set the car to a gentle 65 on the 756 MPH highway and slowly the margin grew by a few miles. When the vehicle estimate got down to about 7 miles remaining it stopped displaying a value. We were on our own for the last 5 miles. With every mile we made the AAA wait would be less! As we exited the Interstate I was very gentle with the fuel and we made it to the first available station. Whew!

We didn't have much time to spare and it was well into lunch time so we would not be revisiting Kingman for lunch. The Convenience store at the filling station had an A&W concession. We had not had A&W food in a long time so this was the choice. Actually it was pretty good and was something of a déjà vu moment.

We then headed out to see that section of I-40 for the 3rd time. As much as I am partial to the local roads for interesting sight-seeing the interstates do have some amazing panoramic views and an occasional turnout. With every day that passes I have more appreciation for the GoPro. To keep it out of the way catching some of the hood is inevitable and it's the mercy of the sun's glare but I can pick and choose images and crop to clean things up.

At Kingman we got off of I-40 to take Route 93 north to Las Vegas, Nevada, the second Las Vegas of the trip, hence the explicit reference. We missed at the time but shot through the town of Santa Clause on the highway.

As we were heading up the road I spotted a sign for the town of Chloride and I remembered somehting. Sometime in the past year, Route 66 Magazine ran a feature on rock wall murals painted by Roy Purcell, they actually helped launch his art career. They were originally created in 1966 and restored by the artists and friends in 2006. Our schedule already was hurting but what are the chances of me visiting Chloride Arizona again? We drove into the little virtual ghost town and stopped at a jewelry store to inquire about the murals. We were directed up the road and a few turns beyond that. As we got in range we began to see abstract arrows painted on cliffs leading us onto progressively narrower dirt roads. We arrived at the colorful cliff and took a few dozen photos. It referenced a journey so we figured there must be more. We kept driving expecting a surprise around each bend. By the time we decided there were no more the road was too narrow, running along a cliff and with no guard rail to turn around so we kept going until we had a safe turning point. We made it out to the main street and cranked the GoPro frame rate to catch what we could. Off too Vegas!

We decided to skip Hoover Dam, hoping to pick it up as we left Las Vegas. We had 7:30 tickets to see Donny & Marie and were confused about the time. Arizona is in Mountain Time but does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Nevada being due north led us to expect we would be getting the hour back which I now realize is backwards. Nevada is on Pacific Daylight Savings Time making it the same as Arizona on Mountain Standard so cell phones and GPS were not changing. We never reset the vehicle clock from Mountain DST so that just added to the confusion. Panic and contusion the asset in, well maybe not panic. All we could do was plug ahead.

The GPS led us right to the Flamingo and once we figured out the parking scheme we schlepped our stuff to the registration desk, not sure how much time we had to pick up our show tickets. My heart sunk when realized the long line waiting to check in. My heart rose to see the local time displayed, now we had a time cushion to work with. The line was still annoying. I looked at my confirmation email and it mentioned going to a check in Kiosk. I looked behind me and there they were! I left Lorna to hold our place in line and worked the kiosk. In a few minutes it has issued key cards and printed directions to our room. Up we went.

The room was awesome, a strip view from the 16th floor. It was a "GO style room" It was really nice with something of a retro feel. We settled in PDQ and went down to retrieve our tickets. The computer was down and the line was stalled. It was still about an hour to show time. Things got going and we were off to the theatre. The room was one of 2 remaining table seating theatres with straight tables and alcove booths, really cool and not a bad seat in the house. The 90 minute show was fun, a Vegas show, not a concert. There were 8 or so in the band including percussion and brass and as many dancers. We ended up sitting with 2 couples one from Ohio, the other Australia both also on road trips of their own.

After the show we headed across the street to Caesars Place for diner at Planet Hollywood. We walked forever to the restaurant at the far end of the complex. Along the way we passed through a marketplace area that had a blue arched ceiling painted and lit to look like the brightest bluest sky seen. I had to remind myself that I was indoors.

After dinner we got out on the street for a while. Everything was so over the top in scale and detail. There is so much packed in everywhere. Rather than conventional crosswalks there were bridges across the 4 crossings of the intersection with open air escalators. The things you can do out in the desert! It was getting late and time to wrap it up. Before going to our room we decided that leaving tomorrow made no sense, we wanted to stay a second night to get a better sense of Vegas. We stopped by the desk and extended our stay. We headed up to wrap up the day and watch the traffic wind down from our room.

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Created May 14, 2017