Sunday, October 6, 2013

Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona

I bet when you read "Route 66" a picture pops into your mind of the old Route 66 highway that stretched from Chicago to LA over 2,448 miles. Two-lane paved highway, family-run motels along the side of the road, big billboards advertising food, gas, and local attractions; and small, dusty towns separated by miles of scenery that vary from corn and soybean fields in the Midwest to the brown, dry hills of the Southwest.

While the majority of the old Route 66 that first opened in 1926 has been swallowed up by the interstate highway system, pockets of the old road still exist. Today we rode north from Prescott to Ash Fork, then turned west to Seligman where 80 miles of the original Route 66 head west to Kingman.

I rarely see trains in northern Arizona, but today we spotted several. Seligman was originally called Prescott Junction since it was founded as an intersection on the railroad line from Sante Fe to Prescott - where we live. 

Route 66 seems to define Seligman, at least the part of town lined up along Route 66 where we saw a pink 1959 Edsel in front of the Rusty Bolt store, old Fords, a purple Pontiac wagon with an orange roof, a lime-green VW bus, a rusty cabover truck sitting in a field, and a group of Harley motorcycles riding down the road.


We stopped for lunch at Westside Lilo's Cafe where the walls were decorated with Route 66 signs, photos, and newspaper clippings; a mounted elk head, stuffed mountain lion, and hundreds of German beer mugs.

Thanks to Mike's Garmin GPS, we discovered 17 miles of the old Route 66 heading east from Seligman until it joined up with I-40. We had the road to ourselves except for a couple of pick-up trucks, and we slowed down to read the Burma Shave signs along the road. These advertising signs with rhyming poems originated in the 1920's, and at one point there were over 7,000 signs spread throughout the United States. The signs are spaced along the right side of the road, with 2-5 words on each sign that add up to a pithy phrase. The first series we saw was:

The angels that guard you
while you drive
always retire
at 65
Burma Shave

followed by this second, tongue-in-cheek series:

Just one time
just for fun
you can finish
what we've done
We only rode 146 miles, but we experienced enough highway history and kitschy tourist attractions to make it a full and interesting day.
If you ever plan to motor west
Travel my way, the highway that's the best.
Get your kicks on Route 66!


  1. It is nice to see some of the old Rt 66 still rideable as Rt 66 and not just as interstates. I imagine all the little cafes are full of memorabilia and have tourists in mind. Of course tourists coming through are probably what keeps them in business.

    A good day for a ride. Thanks for sharing.

    1. There are pockets of the old Route 66 in several states, and it's been to search them out on our travels. I think you'll enjoy finding some yourself!