Odometer (Legend): 515,564
Odometer (ILX): 15,127
I get a kick out of visiting offbeat roadside destinations! Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Roadside America is one of my favorite websites to kill time on. After seeing this music video which was put to Depeche Mode’s song “Route 66,” I was intrigued by a set of matching arrows made from telephone poles featured multiple times during the song.
After a little more research, I was inspired to take a 360-mile round trip Saturday drive in the Acura ILX to find these very same arrows.
The arrows lie along what is now Interstate 40, about 25 miles east of Flagstaff Arizona. For me, that meant climbing from about 2,000 to 7,000 feet elevation and into Coconino County where the Ponderosa Pines dominate the landscape. Perfect weather and a full tank of gas to burn? That’s all the reason I need.
Interstate 17 northbound from the Phoenix area was pretty much wide-open. I set the cruise control in the ILX to 80 and enjoyed the scenery. I did discover one inconvenience. My ‘main’ iPod (a beastly 80 gig “Classic”) has 15,605 songs on it. It was handy to be able to control the iPod using the audio interface on the instrument panel, but when I had a craving for a particular Hoobastank song, I had to scroll through 1,011 artists manually until I got to Hoobastank. There must be a more convenient way to do that! I’ll have to research it when I get time.
A quick side-trip to view a quaint looking log cabin estate alongside the interstate. Six “No Parking” signs in a row. Yet I parked there! But only for long enough to capture this picture of something that I thought looked pretty absurd.
Finally I connected with Interstate 40 in Flagstaff and took it to Exit 219 where the Twin Arrows lie.
Twin Arrows started life as the Canyon Padre Trading Post in 1949. By 1954 when this picture was taken, it was a bustling stop along Route 66. Interstate 40 came along in the 1970’s and paralleled the old road, but probably pulled business away from Twin Arrows because it made Flagstaff (just 25 miles away) even more readily accessible.
Even up until this picture was taken in 1998, the cafe was pretty well kept. In further research, I learned that this cafe is in fact a “Valentine Diner.” A Kansas-based company mass produced these metal diners and delivered them to their destinations on flatbed trucks. This is reportedly one of 7 remaining prefabricated Valentine Diners left standing in Arizona.
However, the cafe was closed that year and the last 14 years have really taken their toll. The arrows themselves were restored in 2009 but the rest of the property has become a trash pile.
The price of the last fuel dispensed at this station, according to one online resource, was $1.39/gallon.
In 2003, concrete barricades (visible in the background of the above picture) were installed along the frontage road preventing access to the site. However, I was able to drive around the barricades about 1/2 mile up the road and back-track on a dirt road to get to Twin Arrows for a closer picture.
My mission of getting to the arrows had been accomplished, but I wasn’t finished with my adventure. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see what the inside the buildings might be like. I don’t think this stove has cooked a meal in a very long time.
Ever heard of Urban Exploration? Little did I know that there is a whole ‘hobby’ around going into abandoned buildings and taking pictures there. I’m fascinated by it. In fact, there’s even a website/forum dedicated to providing a venue for people to share their experiences. It’s called the Urban Exploration Resource.
I had to be careful where I stepped since I was in flip-flop sandals and there was broken glass everywhere. Also, if the pictures appear blurry it’s because I was in a hurry! I didn’t want to A) get caught inside in case it was trespassing, B) get attacked by anyone who might be crazy enough to live inside this place, or C) encounter any rabid animals who’d made it their home.
An eery feeling overcame me as I saw a remaining booth from when the diner was in operation.
This garage didn’t have any cool treasures inside it, but I looked.
Finally I’d had my fill of Twin Arrows so I decided to head back to Flagstaff.
Having worked up an appetite, and determined to continue to experience some historic landmarks, set my sights on one of the few remaining restaurants that’s still in operation from having been around during Route 66’s heyday: Galaxy Diner.
On the way there, I spied some other interesting places, like the “Route 66 Dog Haus” where you can drive through the center of the building to get take-out. The lettering above the opening reads: “IF IN DOUBT, BACK IT OUT.”
Historic downtown Flagstaff.
And my next destination, Galaxy Diner at 931 West Route 66 Drive.
Stepping into this place was a trip back in time.
I sat at the bar and chatted it up with a few locals who were enjoying lunches as well.
And the temptation was just too strong – I caved and got dessert. I asked the waittress, “Can I just get a small vanilla sundae with a little hot fudge?” She brings me this creation and asks, “Is that all you want on it?” Holy cow! Sugar overload.
The Galaxy hosts a hot rod car show every Friday night. Plenty of great selections in that jukebox!
Farewell, Galaxy, and thanks for a great meal.
Back to Phoenix I went. About 20 miles south of Flagstaff, I hit 15,000 miles. Here’s a video I captured. I’ve realized it’s a lot more “suspenseful” to watch the miles roll by for this car than for the Legend because there’s no tenths digit in the odometer! I had to keep the camera glued to the display while I waited for it to turn. Skip past the first half of the video – it’s boring!
The great news is that my ILX is getting phenomenal gas mileage. This trip meter was reset when I got an oil change 395.8 miles ago. The car has achieved 34.7 miles per gallon since then. Awesome!
Other High Milers
My friend Wayne in Houston who bought my old 1994 Legend GS sedan in Sirius White Pearl sent me an email today. His service advisor at Sterling McCall Acura shared some pictures of a 1993 Honda Accord that’s well into “driven to five” status. This sedan has over 566,000 miles on the original engine. It’s had one transmission replacement. Remarkable! This 1990-1993 bodystyle of Accord is so bulletproof. It’s the same drivetrain that achieved 1 million miles in Million Mile Joe’s car last year.
Check out Margaret Dunning from Plymouth, Michigan. She’s 102 years old and still driving a 1930 “straight 8” Packard.
Margaret is an inspiration! At her age, she’s still probably a better driver than most young folks on the road. Best of all, she appreciates each vehicle for its truly unique characteristics – because not every car is just “four tires and a steering wheel.” My favorite part – and you’ll have to watch until the very end of the clip – is when she puts out a towel on the running board of her Packard before she gets inside. Love this lady! She reminds me a little of Rachel Veitch who I blogged about in April as still driving her 580,000-mile 1964 Mercury Comet. Keep on rolling, Rachel and Margaret!
Ever wondered how to capture that perfect automotive photograph? This short 3-minute video highlights a few of the tips that I’ve used over the years and easy tricks that I’ve also seen the professionals use. Thought some of my readers might find it interesting.
Happy hump day!