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  • Writer's pictureGareth Owens

Route 66 - Day 15 Winslow to the Grand Canyon

Google mileage: 136

Actual mileage: 162

Total trip miles: 2093

So you might be able to tell from the title that we are taking a bit of a detour. We plan to go off Route 66 in a horseshoe shaped northern loop, taking in the Grand Canyon, Page, Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon and Las Vegas before returning to the 66.

We finished last night with cocktails at the bar and then a lovely meal at La Posada. We awoke early in the morning and headed into town before breakfast. By 7:30 we had walked a couple of blocks to the corner supposedly made famous by the Eagles song "Take it easy" which features the lyrics:

"Well, I'm standin' 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"

Here you can find a statue called 'Standin' On The Corner' in a mock up scene to fit the song. We had fun playing tourist and taking photos for ourselves as well as a couple of other early birds. It's strange that something as simple as this is a draw for tourists from all over the world.

It looks like Winslow needs the trade, it appears a nice little town, but one that's just hanging on commercially, by the look of the many closed up stores.

After our walk around Winslow and a morning coffee, we walked back to La Posada, where we had a fine breakfast. We strolled around the hotel (one of the famous Harvey Railroad hotels designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter) checking out the decor, many artworks on display and the excellent gift shop. It's the one place where we regretted not having space in our panniers for some mementos.

Eventually the lazy morning ended and we hit the road once again. About thirty five miles outside of Winslow, two thirds of the way to Flagstaff, we pulled off the Interstate to check out the Canyon Padre Trading Post also known as Twin Arrows. This was a diner, racing post and petrol station built in 1949 which is now derelict. The place had gone to rack and ruin, but still retains the arrows that made it an attractive stopping point for 66 travelers.

Soon after our stop here we officially began our detour off Route 66. Turning off the I-40 just before Flagstaff we headed north on highway 89 which climbs past Sunset Crater Volcano through lush woods and meadows and then runs down the other side becoming desert at the bottom of the hill. It's amazing how the landscape can change so quickly and so dramatically!

We filled up with gas at the junction of highway 64 and turned left towards the Grand Canyon National Park. Even before we got to the park I jumped off the bike to get some pictures of the amazing scenery. If the other national parks are anything to go by I'll be stopping for pictures every mile.

Another colourful Grand Canyon Tourist

The road through the park is approximately 40 miles, through natural woodlands, with regular stopping and picnicking points that offer great views of the Canyon. We stopped off at the Famous Desert View Watchtower to climb it, take in the view and then grab lunch. The day was really warming up and we were hot after our desert ride so we rested for a while drinking soda and eating ice cream.

The 40 mile ride through the park took us almost 3 hours. We stopped constantly to view the Canyon. It's difficult initially to grasp the scale and photos never seem to do it justice. 

Eventually we made it to Tusayan, AZ and our hotel for the night. The town is just a short run of hotels with a couple of shops and restaurants, all there to service the Canyon visitors. The only real bar was in the Best Western Hotel, so we headed there for a quick beer. 

Here we met yet another British couple, David and Jo, who were on their honeymoon. We ended up swapping stories of our road trips, drinking beer, eating hot wings and losing to them at pool. They (like the travelers we previously met) recommended Zion National Park, so we made up our minds to add this to our detour. After a tiring day, and a little too much to drink, we hit the sack.

Grand Canyon National Park Panorama

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