Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Twisted Kern County

I was so excited to be going to the 2013 Discover Kern County (DKC) Rally.  I attended the inaugural rally in 2011 and also the 2012 rally.  Each one got better and better and I saw new and different things on each ride.  Kern County really has a lot to offer - don't let the freeway drive by fool you.  Kern County has a plethora of good, unique stuff to see.  And, ever changing scenery and terrain.  Yes, I was excited to get there for the 2013 rally.

The DKC Rally is a fund raiser for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation with all proceeds going to the charity.  Matt Pflug, our esteemed Rally Master puts on this wonderful event.  He spends countless hours scouting bonus locations and garnering sponsors.  This year was absolutely over the top fantastic!!!  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Eric and I left our home in Southern Utah on Friday. We stopped a scant 30 miles from home to have some breakfast and try our luck at the slot machines and Blackjack table.  We didn't last long as Lady Luck really wasn't with us.  I hoped that wasn't to be the case at the rally :-)  Our route to Bakersfield, CA was not exciting.  It was a slog down I-15, turn west on California Hiway 58 and roll on into Bakersfield.  Fortunately, the weather was kind and the traffic not too bad.  We arrived at the Howard Johnson Motel around 5pm and met up with several other rally riders who were also staying there.

Well, I really wanted my cocktail (hey, it was cocktail hour after all!) and the pre-rally dinner was about a mile away.  We NEVER EVER EVER drink and ride so I had the foresight to call a cab.  Several of us hung outside the motel and had our beverages waiting for the cab.  Six of us piled into a cab and made our way to the restaurant.  Bonus....riders were treated to a hosted dinner the evening before the rally.  This gave all of us a chance to meet each other and renew old friendships.  We had a wonderful time.  After dinner it was another cab ride back to the motel and off to bed.  After all, we had a big day ahead of us.

Saturday morning came way too soon and into our gear and onto the bikes, we headed to the Rocket Shop Cafe for the rider's meeting before the rally start.  We got checked in, filled out and signed the release forms and waited for the rally packs to be distributed.  Promptly at 7 am, the rally packs were handed out.  I was rider number 5 and Eric was rider number 6.

I quickly scanned the rally pack, got the gist of the types of bonus locations and points and then took a good, hard, long look at the map that Matt provided with all the bonus locations identified.  Well, looking at that map I decided to hone in on the area with the most bang for the buck and quickly wrote down the bonus numbers in the order I thought I should go.  This gave me a nice loop to ride in an area I hadn't been before.  A whole new area of Kern County!

I wasn't concerned about "winning" the rally.  I just wanted to have a great ride, find new stuff and go on unfamiliar roads.  Yes, I did want to be a finisher and that was always on my mind.  So, I go back to my seat and discuss my proposed route with Eric.  He was good with what I wanted to do.  We were going to ride together and have a fun time.  Whoopee!!  To be a finisher, you had to ride a minimum of 200 miles in 8 hours. Pay attention, this will be important later :-)

We had plenty of time to get ourselves prepared and ride ready since I didn't really plan anything but a fun ride.  8 am was the start.  We were number 2 and 3 out the gate and headed to our first bonus, the Mill Creek Water Wheel in Bakersfield.   Only worth 4 points but an easy grab on our way out of the city.

Eric's camera takes such better pictures than mine!  So, I'll post both or just his, since we went to the same places :-)

From there we headed to another Water Wheel bonus, the Hart Park Water Wheel.  Easy peasy since we had been to this park last year on the rally.

Interesting, huh?  Same place, totally different photos.  The most unusual thing about this bonus was the feral cats.  There must have been at least 30 cats here.  Someone had placed wet and dry food and water outside the fence for the cats.  My goodness, they were everywhere.  However, because of the good samaritans, the cats looked fat, sleek and healthy.  Just kind of weird.  I should have taken a pic but didn't think to do so.

This ended our city bonus hunting and we headed off into the wilderness of Kern County.  A lovely ride that took us through a few oil fields and then into the golden hills with twisting, winding roads studded with fantastic rock formations with the sun shining down on us....oh bliss...this was wonderful.  Big sweeping curves, a decent speed limit and gold everywhere.  We ended up riding down a dead end road to End of Pine Mountain Road looking for a number on the gate at the end.  Here is what we found.

Yup, the answer was Number 11.  Got it :-)  We met up with a trio of other riders here that we had been leap-frogging with, Andy Mackey, Don Beaton and Jim Lerer.  Some awesome riders.  I figured if we're on the same route as these Big Dogs, then I must have selected a good route, hahahha!

Next bonus was the Granite School House.  That was a quick ride and easy photo.

On to the next bonus, a fun sign along the road of Poso we made our way there, the roads just got twistier and twistier with golds and browns and bright blue sky.  No traffic to speak of and fun, fun, fun!  We found the next bonus with no issues.  The bonus required answers to the questions of the population (a "few") and elevation (2,950) of Poso Heights.  Easy :-)
We then moved on toward the next bonus location.  Still riding remote country roads with golden fall colors and no traffic.  Yep, I loved this ride :-)  Poso Heights also has a school house no longer in use - our next bonus location.

Dang, you can see how much better Eric's camera and his picture taking ability is than mine.  Oh well....funny thing at this stop.  I pulled in across the street where there was a large parking, turn around area with two ranchers shooting the bull.  They looked at me and then I u-turned and u-turned again and ended back in the same parking area to take my pic.  Hahaha, bet they were wondering what the heck is going on here????  Anyway, bonus captured and off to the next.

Moving along, riding another wonderful twisty, turny, golden road, we came upon Glennville, CA and the Saddle Sore Saloon.  We pulled up and got out our flags to take the requisite pictures.  While we were there a local Sheriff pulled up.  We had already taken the pics and were putting stuff away, stuffing earplugs in and getting ready to roll, when the friendly Sheriff wanted to chat.  Apparently, he is an enthusiast and rides some foreign bike, oh yeah, a Moto Guzzi :-)  He wanted to know all about our farkles and so on.  I finally told him what we were doing and we need to move on and he was most gracious.  Cudos to Kern County Sheriffs!!!  Here is the bonus...

Moving along on the same beautiful road our next bonus was the Fulton Hot Shots Sign in remembrance of the 19 Firefighters killed in Arizona this year.  This was an easy score.
At this point we were riding California Hiway 155 which is a flippin fantastic ride.  Twist, turn, twist, turn and do it all over again.  The fall colors were magnificent.  It was so cool to watch Eric in front of me parting the path of fall leaves on the highway.  The sky was blue, blue, blue and the trees were golden and green.  The twisties were tight and all was good.  I actually scraped my right peg and toes on one turn.  Yippee!!!!  So wonderful, this kind of ride is what it's all about.

On to the next bonus, we rode over the mountain to Wofford Heights to cop the Antique Store bonus.  We had to answer a question - What happened here?  The answer was "Absolutely Nothing!".  Here are some fun pics of the bonus location.  We also ran into a half dozen other rally riders here.
 This was a very fun stop at a place full of crazy silliness.  My kind of fun :-)

From here we rode around Lake Isabella (sad that so much water is gone and it's not much more than a pond.)  However, the ride around the lake was awesome!  We stopped for a not so quick lunch at Mickey D's and then off to the next bonus.

A quick scoot along Lake Isabella brought us to our next bonus, a land locked boat for sale.

Backtracking (my bad) we then headed to the next bonus.  Up a goat trail of a road.  I seriously thought this might be an out and back because the road was a tiny, twisty no line road up, up, up, up, up the mountain.  More twists and turns and very SLOW!  I was worried about the slow but that's where the bonus was.  We got up to the top and over to the next side.  Seriously?  Surely this was a sucker bonus?  Nope, there it was.  Our next bonus,  Momma Bigfoot & Babies.  Well, we slowed waaayyyyy down to like nothing and couldn't find this bonus.  We were on top of a mountain with nothing around but a few worn out ranches.  We couldn't find it!!!!  We continued down the mountain of more twisties and curves and turns and finally reached a flat area where we parked and discussed this bonus.

Eric turned around and went back UP the mountain to see if he could find it.  I waited, and waited and waited.  No love.  He came back and said he couldn't find it.  Oh well, on to the next bonus.  Turns out that everyone who went for this one couldn't find it.  We all determined that the ranch had been put up for sale and apparently the old owners had taken the Sasquatch and babies away....darn.

Moving on, we were still on this wonderful twisty, colorful, rural road taking us to the next bonus, the Havilah School House.

Bonus grabbed and off to the next one!  Man oh man, this was a fantastic road full of fall colors, twists, turns, rural scenes and blue sky.  The temps were perfect and I was having a ride of a lifetime.  People pay big money to have this experience and we were doing it on a rally :-)  Good stuff.  So, moving on...our next bonus was the Stutz Fire Engine and Hydrant bonus.  Easy peasy - well butt for the gravel and not so nice exit with ruts and grunk and stuff that I HATE!
 At this point, we are still high up in the mountains with lots of slow, twisty roads ahead of us.  We were more than halfway through the rally and I was looking for an exit in case time got short.  Well, we were in the mountains and there were no exits!  So,off to the next bonus :-)

We enjoyed our ride, nothing but rural Kern County with lots of golden fields, awesome rock formations, fall leaves and blue sky.  We headed to the Smiley Face Tank and found it quick enough.

I should have taken a pic but didn't.  Stopping here, a rancher, covered with paint (he'd obviously been painting something!), came up to the gate to ask how our Scavenger Hunt was going.  I'm guessing he had encountered a few other riders that day :-)  We had a nice chat and really enjoyed talking with him.  He made a point of saying how much he enjoyed our stopping by and not making a ton of noise like some of the other bikers do (not pointing fingers or anything here).  It was a good stop and photo op.

Okay, on to the next bonus.  The roads were perfect, traffic pretty much none and we were having a grand time in the twists and turns.  Yes, our route was slow due to the twisty roads but man oh man it was beautiful!  Picture fall leaves in the road on a nice twisty road.  The rider in front parts the leaves as they fly up and away and all is golden with shadows here and there.  Oh my, it was hard to concentrate on the ride with all the beauty of fall in front of me!

Butt, concentrate I must because these roads were twisty, turny and tight!  From our last bonus, we moved on to the Twin Oaks General Store.  Where we had to answer the question, "What Happened Here?"
From here we were directed onto the Caliente Canyon Road.  I should have realized from all the cow patties on the road that there might be cows.  Oh, yes!!! Lots and lots and lots of cows on both sides of a very, very narrow, twisty, winding canyon road that follows a river.  Although a fantastic road it was extremely slow both because of the turns and twists but even more so for all the cattle.  It was a beautiful time suck!

At this point I was starting to worry about getting back to the finish on time.  There was no grace or penalty window.  If you arrived after 4 pm, you didn't finish, period!  We finally got to the end of the cow road and made our way to Railroad Tunnel #2 where we encountered a few more rally riders.  The bonus asked the question, "How long is Tunnel #2?"  Answer 219 feet.

We then picked up the Caliente Historical Marker where we had to answer what year the Southern Pacific Railroad established construction headquarters in Caliente.  Answer 1875.

We were now pushing our envelope to get back to the finish on time.  We aimed toward California Hiway 58 and booked on toward The Chalet Basque Restaurant in Bakersfield which was the finish location.  We had to pass up our final two bonus locations as time was just too short.  Oh well.....that was 42 points we didn't get.

Oh, remember, we also had to have a minimum of 200 miles to be considered a finisher.  As we got within a mile or so of the finish location, I realized I needed a few more miles.  Hahaha, slog up and down the freeway a few miles in each direction and then we headed to the barn.

My Kern County ride was indeed TWISTED!!!  I finished with 7 minutes to spare and had 201 miles on the odometer!  Our final score was 579 and we placed 14th.  Had we scored the last two bonus locations we would have only moved up one spot.  I have to laugh at how few miles we rode and we did ride all day but for a lunch break.  Well, I choose a route that was all tight, twisty, meandering, mountain roads and it was a blast!  We saw yet another part of Kern county that we hadn't explored before and once again we were amazed at all the cool, wonderful stuff we saw.  Our efficiency was 2.88 points per mile and the winner, Erik Lipps rode 3.39 points per mile.

Matt Pflug put together a fantastic rally with many, many choices of places to go.  His bonus locations were creative and fun and everything was straight forward.  No riddles or games, just ride and grab the bonus photo or answer the question.  Scoring was quick and easy.  We self scored with the top five being audited.  Everything went smoothly and all riders were safe and accounted for.

The finish dinner was awesome.  A Basque meal served family style that we all enjoyed.  Following our meal, it was raffle time.  Many of us bought raffle tickets for some really cool prizes.  Although I didn't win anything I had a lot of fun checking my ticket numbers and cheering for those who did win.  After the raffle was an auction and I was lucky enough to be high bidder for a new waterproof Nikon Cool Pix camera!  Yippee.  All proceeds from the raffle and auctions were donated to the charity.

Finally it was time to call the winners - Erik Lipps in first, Jerry White in second and Ted Bosch and his wife LeThanh were third.  This was Ted and LeThanh's first rally together and they rocked it!  Jerry White rode a great rally and was only three points away from the win!  Erik is having a fantastic year winning and placing on the podium on several rallies.

The Discover Kern County Rally is just a whole lot of good, silly fun.  This year we had at least half a dozen or more newbies along with half a dozen Iron Butt Rally vets.  The DKC Rally has something for everyone and it packs a lot of fun into 8 hours!

A great, big THANK YOU to Matt Pflug, his lovely bride Andrea, Wendy Crockett and all the volunteers and sponsors for putting on such a high quality event.

Click here for photos taken by Matt of the pre-rally dinner and start.

And click here for finish banquet and award photos provided by Matt.

You might want to put the DKC Rally on your calendar for 2014.  It's sure to have something for everyone and lots of fun for all!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Getting My Kicks on Route 66

We didn't have any plans for Labor Day Weekend 2013 so on a whim I suggested we ride to Williams, AZ to ride the train to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  After further investigation, we decided to ride Route 66 to Williams rather than I-40 to kind of spice things up a bit.  Oh boy, a plan is hatched.  I made reservations at Williams for two nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel along with two tickets for the train ride to the South Rim.

Now, we just had to pack up the bikes and head out.  We left Friday morning and took old Hiway 91 to I-15 which we rode for a short time and took the Overton exit.  The road around Lake Mead is fabulous - freshly paved, smooth as butter and very little traffic.  The weather was looking quite ominous but somehow we managed to dodge the huge, violent thunder showers and only got a few sprinkles.  We took a small detour to Boulder City, NV.  In particular, we were headed to the Coffee Cup Cafe (as seen on TV's Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives), for brekkie.  If you are ever in Boulder City, NV, stop here for a meal!  It's kitchy, fun and the food is fabulous. No wonder Warren Harhay loves living here.
We left a DPK sticker at the front door.

 After stuffing ourselves, it was back on the bikes, across the new bridge at Hoover Dam and on to Kingman, AZ.  At Kingman we picked up Route 66 and headed to Peach Springs.  The hiway was great, the weather was tumultuous but the skies opened up to the left and to the right but never right on top of us.  We got a few sprinkles but stayed dry.  We rode along at a pleasant pace enjoying the scenery and the occasional roadside attraction.  I was craning my neck and gawking at some of the fun sights along the way.  We finally took a break in Peach Springs, AZ.  There is a very nice, new Indian lodge, Hualapai Lodge, with a restaurant, gift store and hotel.  While dinking around and looking at the gift shop I spied a display for the Route 66 Passport Program.  Hmmmmmm......what is this?
Woohoo!  Similar to the Nevada Hiway 50 Passport, the Arizona Route 66 Passport is a program where you follow Route 66 and stop at all kinds of fun places to get a stamp.  You have to obtain at least 7 major stamps and one Wildcard stamp to complete the program.  However, there are many, many more places to stop.  Yup, that sounds like a level of fun to add to our ride.  So, we got the Peach Springs stamp and went in search of more.
 Of course, at this point we were already a ways into Arizona Route 66 so we missed the stamps before Peach Springs.  No problem, we quickly changed our plan to complete the Passport.  On we went from Peach Springs to Seligman, AZ.  Now, this is a kitchy, cool place to take a stop.  Our stamp was located at Angel's Barbershop & Visitor Center.  Angel Delgadillo is a business owner in Seligman, Arizona who has been dubbed the 'guardian angel' of U.S. Route 66. He is a founder of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, established in 1987 to campaign for "Historic Route 66" signage on the former US highway; similar initiatives have since been established in every U.S. Route 66 state.  Basically, he's the awesome guy who made the Arizona Route 66 Passport Program a reality. 

Here are some pics of Seligman Route 66 coolness.

This is a very fun, historic place to visit.  We would return here on our way back home!

After collecting our Passport Stamp for Seligman we continued on Route 66 to the thriving metropolis of Ash Fork, AZ.  Ash Fork is the Limestone Capital of the US, go figure.  The guys who knock off slabs of limestone are called "Doodlers".  We learned a lot at Ask Fork!  We took time to visit their very well done museum and visit with the locals.  It was worth the stop.  While there, we took the opportunity to snap some photos.  They have a mock up of a real jail cell from Ask Fork - don't want to stay there!

 Apparently, gambling was a big draw for Ash Fork way back when.
 As you can see, I held the winning hand :-)
From Ash Fork, we headed on to Williams, AZ and our destination.  Again, dodging massive thunder cells and spotting lightening all around, we managed to stay relatively dry with no down pours.  We arrived at Williams and immediately went to the Visitor Center to get our Passport Stamp.  We also got a stamp for the Grand Canyon Railway.  Double bonus!  We parked our bikes and covered them up, we were going to spend the next day as tourists in tourist clothes!  We checked into the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and were very pleasantly surprised at how nice our room was.

I'd been here many years ago and remember hearing a LOT of trains but the hotel has been re-done and we didn't hear a thing.  Bliss.....  Our hotel/train package included two dinners and two breakfasts at the hotel restaurant.  Nice, but not great.  Both meals were buffets and just okay. was included so we did it. 

The next morning we got up and donned our best tourist attire including my belly bag!  After our buffet brekkie, we headed to the outside show area for a Wild Wild West show that was a lot of fun.  Yes, kitchy, but fun.

The show was entertaining, funny and not too long but just right.  It was the perfect intro to our train ride.  We were off to hop the train.

This isn't the engine on our train but it is the engine on display at the tracks.  We had a diesel engine.  While waiting to board the train we were entertained by the huge ravens hanging around :-)

 The ravens were awesome - huge - and silly.
Here is a photo of our train.  We had booked the "Luxury Parlour" car and we were not disappointed.  This gave us full access to the entire train including the dome cars.  Our package included a simple buffet of pastries, fruit, yogurt and other goodies along with beverages.  Liquor was extra but it was too early for that anyway! 
 The train ride was about two hours.  We had a lovely, comfortable car and fun folks to visit with.  During the ride to the Grand Canyon we were serenaded by a Cowboy toting a guitar. He was tons of fun.
We arrived at our destination and immediately boarded a coach bus for a tour of the South Rim.  You can drive your vehicle to the South Rim but you cannot drive along the Rim itself.  That is limited to tour buses or you can drive to the Visitor Center and buy a ticket for the Grand Canyon Shuttle to get you around the rim.  Our tour included a private coach bus tour and it was fabulous.  We only had a dozen folks on our bus and the driver was a lot of fun and full of interesting tidbits of information.  It was a very good time.  The tour took about an hour and a half.

Here are some pics but honestly, you had to be there.  Or at least have a great camera.  Our little point and shoots didn't do it justice.  Take my word, it was awesome beyond belief.  We had clouds moving in and out of the canyon making it seem surreal at times.  Sun would peak out and surprise us with a fantastic view only to have mist move in and make everything mysterious.  Oh yes, this was awesome indeed!

Here you can see a bit of the Colorado River which was running mud from all the rain storms.
 Our little cameras simply don't do the canyon justice.  It was incredible :-)
 Eric took a couple of videos that help you get some perspective on the vastness of the Grand Canyon.

A kind tourist took our photo at the rim.

 Some more panoramic views.
 A long, long, long way down!
 I should have been a tour guide :-)
 More panoramas!

 Cloud mists rising out of the canyon. 
 Gnarled juniper trees along the rim.
 Here you can see part of the trail that hikers and mules take to the lower part of the canyon.
 More of the trial.

We found these markers all along the rim trail.
 Isn't this just fabulous?
 Down in the valley where you see the trees is the Ranch where the hikers and mule teams stop for the night.
We had a fantastic bus tour with many stops along the South Rim.  Our bus took us back to the South Rim Village and we spent some time looking at all the buildings, cabins and galleries.  While there we got several National Passport Stamps.  Who knew there are FIVE different Grand Canyon South Rim stamps?  We managed to get three.  While at the South Rim, the weather was off and on but we managed to dodge the rain until.......just about time to head back to the train depot.  And then....the heavens opened up big time.  Neither of us had rain gear, umbrella, plastic bag, nothing.  I improvised and used my little string backpack for a hood and tucked my belly bag under my jacket to keep it dry.  I'm rather pleased with the result.
I've always been rather fashion conscious and I think this picture says it all, lol!!!

We managed to slog our way back to the train depot and board our luxury parlour car for the return trip to Williams.  Our car had a viewing platform off the back so we took the opportunity to snap a few more pics.
The scenery was fantastic.  We saw a few deer and lots of greenery.  The train ride was totally fun :-)
On the return train trip, we were served Champagne along with chocolate covered strawberries, cheese and crackers (oh gourmet cheeses by the way!), fruit and other goodies.  They took very good care of us.
 I think Eric enjoyed the train ride almost as much as I did.
 Oh yes, the car was elegant and the accommodations were excellent.  Our car was not full but the folks were fun.  Everyone was either celebrating an anniversary or birthday.  We were all in party mode!
 Enjoying our champagne and snacks, imagine our surprise when looking out the window we saw this!  Outlaws on horses chasing down our train.  Oh no, this can't be good....

These outlaw cowboys actually stopped the train to rob us!  Yikes! 
 Don't we look scared?
 Don't they look menacing?
 What a motley crue!
 Is it a coincidence that these are the same cowboys who gave us a show in the morning?
Hahahaha.  The train robbery was a good bit of fun.  We also had another cowboy serenade us on the way back to Williams.  Everyone involved from the conductor to our car hostess to the singers to the robbers were all good fun and made a great time for everyone!

We arrived back at the Williams Depot and headed to our room for a pre-dinner cocktail.  Again we went to the buffet (okay at best) and turned in for the night.  Tomorrow would be another day of riding Route 66 and I was pumped about that.  Our train trip and tour of the South Rim were memorable and I highly suggest this to anyone who wants that experience.  You can probably arrange your tour a little less expensive and stay elsewhere in Williams and enjoy some of the eateries in Williams for less $$ than we spent.  If we do it again, we will explore options.  However, this package was loaded with fun and we had a blast.  An incredible, good, fun memory!

The next morning we partook of the breakfast buffet and started to load up our bikes.  We encountered some of our trainmates in the parking lot and had a pleasant time chatting and exchanging good byes and good travels.  We took our time and leisurely saddled up to move on back to Route 66 and our Passport Stamp collecting.

From Williams, our next Route 66 stop was Bearizona.  This is a drive through park loaded with wildlife in a natural environment.  Of course, they don't let motorcycles ride through.  There are wild animals after all!  However, we pulled up to the pay station and told the staff our mission.  They were very accommodating and stamped our passports and let us through the gate to turn around.  We then headed to Flagstaff.  Right downtown to the old, historic district, we found the visitor center and grabbed the requisite passport stamp.  From there we headed up to the Lowell Observatory for yet another passport stamp.  Next time in Flagstaff, we'll take the time to really explore the historic downtown and the Observatory.  Good stuff there!

Deviating from our original plan of a loop back home, we instead headed east on Route 66/I-40 to collect more passport stamps.  We made a quick trip to Meteor Crater to collect a stamp.  We'd been there before so didn't pay to go inside.  However, if you haven't been here, do take the time.  It is mind boggling!  From Meteor Crater we slogged on the I-40 to Winslow, AZ.  You know, the place made famous by the Eagle's song, "Take it Easy".  Anyway, we did take it easy.  We stopped at the visitor center only to find it closed.

So, we moved on to the bustling (not) downtown for a picture on the corner.
Although not much was happening on a Sunday afternoon, I found this place to be very cool.  We shopped a bit at the corner store and contributed to their economy albeit in a small way.  Notice the Flatbed Ford on the corner :-)
 The corner is dedicated as a Route 66 Roadside Attraction and rightly so.

Following a pleasant interlude in Windlow, we moved on toward Holbrook.  We were heading east, way further east than our original plan.  But, heck, we were on the hunt for Route 66 passport stamps.  So, Holbrook it was.  More slabbing along I-40 took us to Holbrook.  We slid through town and found the visitor center which was open, hooray!  We quickly got our stamps but the museum/visitor center curator insisted we take a look at the old jail cells.  So, we complied.  Yikes, no photos but these hot box cells were used until sometime in the 70's.  Totally worth a stop and look.

From Holbrook, we did an about face and headed back west on I-40 to collect the stamps we missed on the way east.  We made a brief stop for a late lunch just east of Joseph City at a Love's Truck Stop.  Eric was thrilled they had a Chester's so he could pig out on deep fried gizzards (ugh!).  I was happy they had a Subway.  As I was waiting in line a young man came up to me and asked if I was hot in all that gear.  Nope, I told him as long as I was moving I was quite comfortable and explained a bit about LD Comfort and how to stay cool.  Then....I really took a look at the young man.  LOL, he was a 1%'er, a Bandito.  Hahahaha.  Eric and I sat at the dining area to chow down and a group of Banditos took tables there as well.  (Another family decided to eat outside).  I chatted with them about their ride.  I had forgotten, but the Banditos held a big rally at Duck Creek, UT over Labor Day weekend and these guys were returning home from there.  The rally was a success with no issues and these guys were just about as friendly as any bikers I've ever met.  Yes, a bit tattooed, pierced and definitely wearing pirate leather...but just guys out having a great weekend riding!  And, I think the young man who asked about my gear might just look into some armored, textile gear.  It was a good lunch :-)

Our next stop for Route 66 passport stamps was the Jack Rabbit Trading Post at Joseph City.  Hahahahahaha.....a must stop even if you aren't collecting stamps.

We motored on from Joseph City, backtracking toward Seligman where we ended up for the night.  We rode through town looking for just the perfect place to bed down.  There are several nice looking places in Seligman but we decided on the Route 66 Motel, right next to the Roadkill Cafe.  Could it get any more perfect?

An original Route 66 Mom & Pop motel.  The rooms were large and clean.  Somewhat updated and a nice stay.  I'd do this place again in a heartbeat.  We got to park right outside our front door...and there was plenty of ice :-)  Big flat screen TV in the room and lots of space.
Why is my honey still in riding gear?  He should be in shorts with a cocktail in hand!

 We were only a parking lot away from the Roadkill Cafe.  We had dinner here which was just okay.  We later found out the diner across the street was better.  Oh well, it was still a good time :-)

 From Seligman, we continued along Route 66 (the way we originally came) to the Grand Canyon Caverns.  We were way too early for anything but a photo.  They do have a restaurant here as well as a campground and the caverns.  I'd love to go back and tour the caverns as they are really supposed to be a treat to see!

Eric very kindly poses for a picture :-)
 Some of the old, antique vehicles parked outside.
 Me and my LD bike, ready for anything, posing for the requisite picture!

Just a few of the very interesting bikes we found at the Grand Canyon Caverns.  We had a lot of fun talking about restoring some of these rides.
Then we were off again heading to Valentine, AZ for a photo for our passports.  The score here was the Keepers of the Wild Nature Park and Animal Sanctuary.  We were a bit early so we took photos of the signs.

Needless to say, we were having a marvelous time riding Route 66 and stopping at all the silly, kitchy places to get passport stamps or take photos. 

Maybe one of the funnerest places (a RenoJohn expression) was Hackberry, AZ.  Nothing more than a blink of the eye and you miss it kind of place.  This stop was packed full of nostalgia from the gas pumps out front to all the kitch inside.

We were still early and not sure it was open.  We parked and I gently pushed on the door and it was open!!! Yay!  The owner was behind the counter and welcomed us.  We perused the store, bought some silly stuff and had a good talk.  What a find...this place has it all including a Corvette parked outside, the perfect Route 66 stop.

Hahahaha, had to get pics of my bike in all the photos :-)
Does it get any better?  Well, apparently it does....

We were on target for our next stop at Valle Vista, a community just off Route 66.  It was brekkie time and we were headed to a golf course country club.  Perfect!!!

We got our Route 66 Passport stamp at Valle Vista and had a wonderful breakfast for a good price.  Not much on ambiance but big on good food.  The waitress was a hoot and we had a great time here. 

Sorry, no pics of this place but it was probably the best food we had on this trip!

Now we were only minutes from Kingman, AZ.  So, on we scooted..... We followed Andy Devine Avenue through Kingman, AZ.  What fun....I was gawking all the way, both sides of the road had evidence of the original Route 66 with old motels, restaurants and buildings.  Some were restored and still open for business and some very sadly were decrepit and in disrepair.  But all in all, a great time looking from side to side.  Fortunately there was very little traffic and I could look to my heart's content.

We finally arrived at the Kingman Powerhouse Visitor Center.  We climbed off the bikes and got into tourist mode as we strolled through the gift shop and visitor center.  They  have a great museum upstairs that is a must see.  The attendants at the visitor center were wonderful and full of information.  They were tickled we had done the Route 66 Passport trip and were happy to give us our stamp and certify our tour.  We received a certificate of completion although we still had a few more stops we wanted to make.

 Here is a pic our our passport with the Seligman and Ash Fork stamps and a note that we took a picture at the Grand Canyon Caverns.
 At the Kingman Visitor Center, we were rewarded with a certificate for our Arizona Route 66 Ride!

Well, although we got the finish cert at Kingman, there were still three more stops to really complete our Route 66 tour.  However, gosh darn, gee whiz....the rains and flash floods in the area put the kabosh on that idea.  We were going to hit Cool Springs, Oatman and Topock but the roads were closed, from both directions!  So, we didn't get to go there for more passport stamps.  No problem, that gives us a reason to go there another time :-)

We simply turned our bikes once again toward  Hoover Dam and home.  We did take a side trip to Temple Bar along Lake Mead....nothing to see here folks, move along.

Backtracking, we rode the Lake Mead road to Overton and I-15, scooted up the interstate to Old Hiway 91 which took us home.  We did stop at the Springs but didn't see any turtles or cool stuff, just had a nice rest  break.

All in all, this was a fantastic 4 day holiday ride.  I had a great time riding Route 66 and collecting stamps for my passport and a lovely train ride to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Heck yes, I'd do this again and highly recommend it for anyone who is out this way.

As a matter of fact, I'm still smiling about the trip and yes, we will ride out to Oatman and Topock to finish the grand tour of Route 66.  By the way, the Arizona section of Route 66 is the longest existing section of the original go there, do that and get your passport stamps.  It's a ton of fun!!!

See you on the road......