Traversing the Mojave Trails

I wasn’t sure earlier this week if I was going to get this post online this week or not. Ignoring my computer most nights this month has been a nice change. Also, when I tentative planned this post and edited the photos in late January, the brainstormed idea was completely different that what I ended up writing up last night.

On our way into California, we passed through part of the Mojave Desert during the late afternoon through nighttime hours.

Sidenote: places that take FOREVER to travel across/through — East to West Texas. The mostly pine covered northern region/panhandle of Florida. And the daggum Mojave. Nothing personal, Mojave, you’re pretty spectacular so long as it isn’t a long and hot driving day!

From the time we left Seligman, Arizona until we pulled in to our hotel parking lot about an hour out from Sequoia NP, it took another 7 to 8 hours of travel, including two fairly quick stops in blazing 106° F hot Needles, California to get something to eat and to find/get gas.

Another sidenote: if you’re traveling into California on I-40 West, stop for gas while in Arizona, you’ll save close to a dollar a gallon doing so. Eastern Cali gas prices are cray cray for lack of a better (read: family friendly) way to put it.  
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Getting back on track now …

I mentioned the other day about a new National Monument — well, three actually — that were recently established in California. The one in particular that ties in with this post is Mojave Trails National Monument.

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The lands in these photographs is that national monument (see the official proclamation here). In the last century, this land has seen troops preparing for war and wanderlusting travelers along Route 66 — as well as those migrating westward during the Dust Bowl era for a better life in California. Even before World War II and automobiles were a thought, this land had already seen so much.

And, thankfully, its now protected for future generations to enjoy.

From Whitehouse.gov:

Spanning 1.6 million acres, more than 350,000 acres of previously congressionally-designated Wilderness, the Mojave Trails National Monument is comprised of a stunning mosaic of rugged mountain ranges, ancient lava flows, and spectacular sand dunes. The monument will protect irreplaceable historic resources including ancient Native American trading routes, World War II-era training camps, and the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of Route 66. Additionally, the area has been a focus of study and research for decades, including geological research and ecological studies on the effects of climate change and land management practices on ecological communities and wildlife.

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The BLM will be managing this National Monument (map) — one that I need to go back and visit (preferably during the winter months) for the Parks Passport stamp after spending a few hours viewing it from the air conditioned back seat of my SUV.

Forgive the bug splattered windshield, t’was not a priority to clean it at the last gas station stop due to the aforementioned 106° F outside temperatures.

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Also, a confession: these are all smartphone photos. I stashed the cameras away after Seligman and was too tired/lazy to dig one of them back out to take photos later that afternoon/evening.

When you think of the deserts of the Western U.S., is this what you visualize it to look like? How likely are you to visit this corner of Southern California?

Strolling through Seligman {Arizona Route 66}

Our last (& very brief) stop in Arizona before making our way into California was at Seligman. Seligman was a popular Route 66 stop until The Mother Road was decommissioned in the area in the late 1970s. In the late 80s — after all of Route 66 nationwide was decommissioned — the town’s citizens were successful in getting the state of Arizona to dedicate Route 66 as a historic highway, thus becoming the “Birthplace of Historic Route 66.”

There was two places in particular in Seligman I wanted to visit — both started by the Delgadillo family — the Snow Cap Drive-In (pictured in the first two photos) and Angel and Vilma Delgadillo’s gift shop. The Delgadillo’s have played a huge role in the preservation and resurgence of Route 66, so I was hoping I might just be able to meet and say hello to Angel himself.

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Unfortunately for us, our timing arrival-wise meant that meeting and saying hello to Angel was a definite no-go. Two tour buses had arrived in town just ahead of us and the two block area we were going to explore for a short bit resulted in a 15 minute in & out visit — we were lucky to even find a parking place. I managed to squeeze my way into the crowded shop and buy a few postcards but a cold treat from the Snow Cap meant a way too long wait that we just didn’t have time for that afternoon …

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The massive amount of tourists wouldn’t have been so bad had some of them not been so rude. I was taking some detail shots of the Snow Cap with my phone and Fuji Instax camera and had several loudly talking and laughing in a couple different languages, one of which I didn’t recognize, while my back was to them. When I turned to look at them, they were all staring at me and started laughing even harder. I was so annoyed at their rude behavior that I walked off before realizing that I didn’t snag a photo with my mirrorless camera of something I thought was blog-worthy. I’ll eventually get around to posting it on IG …

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We — the bro and I — managed portraits by the post below as well (here’s mine + the bro’s). Obviously a return trip is a must, and obviously not during peak tourist season, i.e. mid-summer!

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Read more about Seligman & the Delgadillo family …

The Road Wanderer (one of my favorite sites to reference when Route 66 trip planning)

Seligman, Arizona website

Seligman Historic District — NPS.gov

Angel & Vilma’s Route 66 Gift Shop

YouTube videos of Angel Delgadillo

The Delgadillo Family – National Museum of American History

Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow … {Arizona Route 66}

Oh how I seriously considered bumping this post to last week with the news of the passing of Glenn Frey, but I stuck to the plan of blogging this segment of the 2015 Roadtrip as planned.

Many a roadtrip mix tape or cd has been made over the years with the hit song by The Eagles, Take it Easy. And, being a Route 66 lover, obviously the lyrics below is the part of the song is where I crank the radio up and sing along loudly:

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy

Lyrics by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey

Standin' on the Corner in WinslowIt was a given that a stop here was going to happen one way or another. We were a bit behind on where we needed to be, but, as I was the one driving at that time, I justified the exit off Interstate 40 as “We need gas. Oh, and there’s a cool park we need to stop at to photograph.”

Standin' on the Corner in Winslow

That park is the Standin’ on the Corner Park, located at the corner of Old Route 66 and N. Kinsley Avenue. As you can tell above, its a small park with a bench, a statue, a mural, and the old red Ford flatbed truck.

winslow-standing-on-the-corner-park2-christinamccallIf you glance past said red Ford flatbed truck two vehicles back is dear ole Chip Xterra making a cameo 😉

In addition to this small park, there’s a ginormous painted highway sign in the middle of the intersection, as well as a couple of gift shops across the street from it.
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A couple blocks away is the La Posada Hotel, an old Harvey Hotel (like the Painted Desert Inn). Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to hoof it down the street for photos of the hotel, so its on the list for the next time I pass along this stretch of Route 66!

In addition to the Standin’ on the Corner Park and the La Posada Hotel, there’s one other spot worth a stop just as you enter Winslow from the exit coming in from the east on I-40 …

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Has a song ever inspired you to visit a destination? 

Linking up with Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday

Five Reasons The Lone Star State Is Worth A Visit

I know we’re all (well for the most part!) proud of our home state or country, which is why I’m making the case for anyone who hasn’t been to Texas already to head down to the Lone Star State, whether for a weekend trip this year or for a much longer vacation …

FYI, spring and fall are the best times to visit IMHO unless you LOVE the heat AND humidity 😉

Spring Blooms - Bluebonnets in Ennis, Texas and Dogwoods in Tyler, Texas | Christina McCall

We roll out the red, white, and blue every spring to visitors.

No, really, we do. Make the drive through the central portion of the state, from the DFW area southward to the Hill Country, and you’ll see roadsides covered in bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. Head a little eastward and you’ll see the dogwoods in bloom.

Azalea Trail - Tyler, Texas | Christina McCall

We have a festival for just about everything.

I’d show photos of them all … but it would take forever to load. Just within an hour or so drive of where I live there’s the Dogwood Festival in Palestine, the Azalea & Spring Flowers Trail (pictured above) and the Texas Rose Festival in Tyler, the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview, the Yamboree in Gilmer, Tomato Fest in Jacksonville … and many many more that aren’t food or floral related! Like the Texas Rattlesnake Festival in Sweetwater … no, I haven’t been yet. And that’s besides the Old Fiddler’s Reunion in my hometown that I’ve previously featured …

The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas | Christina McCall

Texas may not be the oldest state in the Union, but we have a long history …

Besides the whole Six Flags over Texas (and I don’t mean the theme parks), we once were our own country — yes, the Lone Star State was known as the Republic of Texas from March 2, 1836 to December 29, 1845 (and we had an embassy/legation in London, Paris, & DC to boot). Most everyone has heard of the Alamo, but most don’t realize there’s four other missions in San Antonio as well (one of them is pictured below). We also have some pretty old dance halls as well … like the one in Gruene (pictured below, near New Braunfels)!

 

Mission Conception - San Antonio, Texas | Christina McCallMission Concepcion – San Antonio, Texas
Gruene Hall - Gruene, Texas | Christina McCallGruene Hall – Gruene, Texas
Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 - Amarillo, Texas | Christina McCallCadillac Ranch on Route 66 – Amarillo, Texas

Looking for some iconic stops that aren’t history related?

The Panhandle has a stretch of Historic Route 66 passing through it, including the midpoint, and there’s the State Fair of Texas every September/October; Fair Park has a number of Art Deco buildings on the grounds if architecture is your thing. BTW, the Big Tex pictured below is the one that went up in a blaze of glory a few years ago, not the new one …

U Drop Inn on Route 66- Shamrock, Texas | Christina McCallU Drop Inn on Route 66- Shamrock, Texas

Big Tex & the Cotton Bowl - Dallas, Texas | Christina McCallBig Tex & the Cotton Bowl – State Fair of Texas Fairgrounds in Dallas, Texas

The skies at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas …” is more than just a song lyric.

Get away from the big city lights and you can see millions of stars. The photo below was taken in East Texas, less than ten miles from the nearest town, but if you head towards Big Bend National Park in the southwestern part of the state, there’s zero light pollution and the Milky Way can be seen with the naked eye from what I hear …

Starry Night in East Texas | Christina McCallStarry Night in East Texas

So … have I convinced you to give Texas a try for your next getaway?

A Tour of The Painted Desert Inn

Recently I shared images from our stop in the Painted Desert while passing through the Petrified Forest National Park … today, we’re touring the Painted Desert Inn that is located at Kachina Point.

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The inn was designed by Lyle E. Bennett, a popular NPS architect in the 1930s; the property is now maintained by the National Park Service although its ownership has changed hands a few times over its 90 year history.

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The current building was redesigned in the Pueblo Revival style when renovated/rehabilitated in the late 1930s.

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The inn has also operated as a Harvey House property (from 1947 to 1963) and received National Historic Landmark status in 1987. While closed for several decades, it reopened to the public as a museum and bookstore in 2006 after undergoing extensive rehab/restoration.

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These skylights were painted by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the Great Depression. Aren’t they gorgeous?

(I’d love a sunroom with the ceiling covered in panels like these)

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The Inn’s murals were added much later; they were commissioned by Mary Jane Colter and painted by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. The photo on the easel shows the original curio room …

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The main inn building also housed dining facilities, which have been restored (pictured above as well as below)

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The original Inn was known as the Stone Tree House. The building was built out of petrified wood; the adobe facade we see today was due to a 1930s renovation.

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Above left, looking down the stairs at the original tap room/lobby … on the right, views out some of the windows …

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To learn more about the history of the Painted Desert Inn

National Park Lodge Architecture Society

National Park Service

The Fred Harvey Legacy

Have you ever heard of the Harvey House chain? Would you like to go back in time and stay in a place like the Painted Desert Inn? 

PS … want to share/pin this post or any other on Route Bliss? Use the buttons at the bottom of each post for fast & easy sharing! (I removed the pinning plug-in for the images themselves as none of them are working properly for some reason)