blogging kp!

some of my travels with random musings & silliness mixed in

Arizona Route 40/66 – The Wigwam Motel January 3, 2011

Have You Slept in a Wigwam Lately?

That is the slogan of one of the most beloved attractions on Route 66… The Wigwam Motel.

Built in 1950 in Holbrook, Arizona, The Wigwam Motel was opened and very quickly developed a very enthusiastic following.

The Wigwam Village concept actually began in 1935 east of Holbrook in Horse City, Kentucky. Frank A. Redford was the gentleman behind the concept. All of  the “rooms” are individual concrete wigwams… errrr…. teepees.

While visiting Cave City, Kentucky, Chester Lewis, saw his first Wigwam Village and decided he wanted to build one in Holbrook. Chester and Frank talked and hammered out a deal to make this happen. Frank would provide the building plans. Chester would build out the plans in Holbrook.

Back then the franchising concept wasn’t really around.  So, all fifteen rooms would have a radio in them. Motel guests who wanted to listen to the radio, would drop a dime in the radio for 30 minutes at a time. Chester would collect the coins from the radios and the proceeds would go to Frank. This agreement was in place for awhile.

The Holbrook Wigwam (#6) was one of seven built from Kentucky to California. Ole #6 was quite popular since it is located on Route 66. At the time, Route 66 was the only way to cross the US… it was the “Mother Road”.

Unfortunately for the Wigwam, the new highway… Interstate 40… opened in 1974 and bypassed downtown Holbrook. Business slowed and eventually, the hotel was closed. Chester’s children renovated the motel and re-opened it in 1988. In 2002, the motel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Classic car buffs will enjoy walking around the parking lot. Fords, Buicks, Chevys all found their permanent place in the Wigwam’s parking lot.

Oprah fans might remember the Wigwam from her roadtrip across the United States with her friend Gayle. Unfortunately, Oprah couldn’t stay. The interior of the room was too small for her and her claustrophia kicked in.

While I understand claustrophobia… the inside of the wigwam can feel small and there is only one small window… I felt the editors of her show portrayed her issue in such a way that made the Motel seem subpar. I have stayed here and have always enjoyed my stay. Remember, this is a 60 year old MOTEL not a Hyatt.

Those of you with children, might recognize the motel as the “Cozy Cone Motel” from the original Disney / Pixar movie “Cars”.

Today, only three the of the original motels remain: Cave City, Kentucky; Holbrook, Arizona; and Rialto (San Bernardino), California. Now I want to stay in the other two Wigwams!

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Arizona Route 40/66 – Holbrook, AZ

Pow Wow Trading Post

Once I left Exit 303, I continued on to Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook is a great little town full of all the old vintage signs I love and the history of Route 66.

What’s crazy is that five days ago on my way to Santa Fe, NM, I drove through Holbrook and I was in the middle of a BLIZZARD. Driving through it today, there is hardly any snow on the ground. Pretty amazing how quickly the weather can change… like “on a dime”!

I have always wanted to go back to Holbrook. I have been through once or twice and have always been in a hurry. I really want to photograph the vintage signs at night… get them in all of their glory. However, I never seem to make it through at night.

I pulled off the 40 onto Navajo Boulevard into Holbrook. Straight down Navajo is the Pow Wow Trading Post. I have always loved that place, but alas, it appears to be closed. There is a large chain link fence all around it. I really hope that somehow new life is breathed into it. I got my camera out anyway and took what photos I could… the chain link fence and electrical wires made it difficult to get some shots but I was out of the car and enjoying myself.

The Plainsman

My next stop is a little further down from the Pow Wow on the opposite side of the road. It is a fairly famous bar called Young’s Corral. I have never been inside but the horse’s ass on the sign always makes me laugh. On the side of Young’s there is a mural the length of the building. The mural is an homage to the desert, motorcycle riding and classic cars. Of course I stopped to photograph the mural. I wonder to myself why residents look at me funny… you would think that being a big city on Route 66 a tourist taking photos wouldn’t be an oddity!

I turned right onto West Hopi Drive and found myself in old motel / restaurant sign HEAVEN. My favorite is the Plainsman… a steakhouse whose sign is in the shape of a rifle with a powder horn! I’d get out snap some photos and then drive to the next place… I was lost in my own little world.

Sadly, the one sign I want to photograph…. is somewhere in Holbrook (I know because I have photographed it before.) but I could not remember where. It is of a large neon Indian Chief… not the motorcycle… I suppose I could have asked but I really needed to get back on the road. sigh. Next time I WILL FIND IT!

Next stop on my photo expedition… The Wigwam Motel!

See more of my photos here: http://wp.me/pyPkl-dM

Young's Corral

 

Arizona Route 40/66 – Exit 303 Stewart’s

I suggest exiting now!

So, after perusing and photographing Route 40’s Exit 303 and all of it’s “attractions”… I crossed over to the other side of Route 40 and found Stewart’s Petrified Wood.

What first caught my eye was the dinosaurs and the tiger… but as I drove closer all the signs and goofy other statues… dilapidated school bus and other crazy things really caught my attention.

All the dinosuars had female mannequins hanging from their mouths… some were bloodied… some were not. One dinosaur (looks like a Brontosaurus) is wrapped in lots and lots of lights… I imagine at night he’s brighter then a half dozen Christmas trees!! Upon closer inspection, I noticed some of the dinos appeared to have mechanical parts, so, maybe they moved at some point in time.

Rumour has it the owner (Mr. Stewart) and the owners of the the trading posts across Route 40 had a disagreement over who owned the rights to a dinosaur. Stewart apparently put his handmade beauties up AFTER the people across the street did. But alas… there are no rights to ownership of a dinosaur and Stewart’s look significantly different.

The dinosaurs are not the only items in / around the parking lot to capture your attention. I would be remiss not to mention the tiger, the ostriches and the old cars. The cars sit in the parking lot to try to fool the passersby into thinking the store is busy.

I would really like to go by at night and see Stewart’s all lit up… it would be even better to see the mechanical monsters moving too!

Click here to see more! (You won’t regret it!) http://wp.me/pyPkl-dq

 

Arizona Route 40/66 – Exit 303 Adamana

He looks hungry!

I have to say that I LOVE the goofy old roadside attractions / stops that America offers along it’s highways and byways! One such area for satisfying my love of all things kooky…  is of course Route 66. Yes, you can get your kicks there… but on Highway 40 there is another place… Exit 303… Adamana.

Petrified wood… rocks… Native American wares… you name it…. but the best part is all the different ways the owners of these establishments have chosen to get your attention from the highway! Giant dinosaurs… teepees… giant Kachinas…

I was on the way to Las Vegas (the Nevada one) from Santa Fe, New Mexico, this past New Year’s and I had to stop… it was the time of day where the sun is directly overhead but I took some photos anyway!

Watching the cars go by.

See more of my photos:   http://wp.me/pyPkl-cU

 

The Grand Canyon! September 4, 2009

Is there really anything left that can be said about the Grand Canyon? Hasn’t every adjective possible been used by now… gorgeous, breathtaking, stupendous, beautiful, amazing, freaking insane, epic, gnarly, wow, holy shit, awe inspiring…. so, really what’s left?

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One of my favorite quotes of all time is by our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt in 1903:

Roosevelt Point, North Rim - Grand Canyon

Roosevelt Point

 

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which so far as I know, is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world… LEAVE IT AS IT IS. YOU CAN NOT IMPROVE ON IT. THE AGES HAVE BEEN AT WORK ON IT, AND MAN CAN ONLY MAR IT. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children and for all who come after you.”

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I think Mr. Roosevelt covered all of the bases in his quote… what do you think?