The Mother Road and a Dam Journey to Las Vegas

We checked out of the hotel in Williams and decided to pay a visit to the Red Garter for coffee a few blocks away.  The folks running the joint told us that hundreds of classic cars that would be cruising Historic Route 66 and said we’d probably be in the middle of it all.  These cars would be traveling our route before parting ways at Kingman, Arizona. They would continue on toward Los Angeles as we head north to the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.



We ordered “two out of five star” coffee cake. When the Red Garter folks  asked us how the renovations went at our hotel, we responded with “what year did that happen?”  It was hard to believe that the hotel had been renovated in this century, as it was the worst on the trip. The magic fingers advertised in the lobby were no where to be found.


When we got to Seligman, the traffic was backed up.  People lined the streets to look at all the classic cars. The town was full of nostalgic restaurants, shops, and motels.  The rented Dodge Charger fit right in with all the other Detroit Muscle Cars and I’d bet money that ours was the only one sporting an authentic bullet hole.


Between the actual towns of Seligman, Peach Spring and Kingman, Route 66 was nice but barren. If pressed for time, you could check out just the towns and hop on Highway Route 40 instead of Historic 66.  It’s a more direct route and you really wouldn’t miss anything except for the classic Burma Shave signs along the way.  They had clever sayings such as:

– If Daisies are…

– Your favorite flower…

– Keep pushing up…

– Those Miles Per Hour.

Since we were traveling Route 66, we wanted to have lunch at a drive in.  The best we could do was to try a Sonic in Kingman right off the highway.  When I voiced my concern about eating in the Charger and having to endure the wrath of Yolanda in a few days, I was reminded that she’s probably not a morning person, and goes directly to her night job on the streets at 10 pm when she completes her shift at Fox Car Rental.  The Sonic bathrooms were absolutely filthy, in case you were wondering. We were not impressed and were glad that we didn’t go out of our way to get there.


We went to Big KMart to get some money and then we were on our way to Las Vegas via Route 93.


A few miles before the Hoover Dam, the landscape along Route 93 becomes more rugged. We saw a sign for the National Recreation Area so we followed an access road three miles all the way to Willow Beach on the banks of the crystal clear Colorado River.  There was a beach, a boat launch and a lot of palm trees.  Very unusual to see this the the middle of the desert.  We got ice cream in the store and the cashier told us that the actual visitors center was located on the other side of the Hoover Dam. She reported the trip across the dam was currently taking 1.5 hours.  It was wicked hot, unlike the time we spent at the Grand Canyon yesterday.


We returned to route 93, stopped at the police checkpoint and crossed the dam.  Although the crossing only took an hour, it didn’t seem that long because of all the lovely sights.



On the other side of the dam, we stopped almost immediately at the Alan C. Bible Visitors Center where I got two more stamps for the passport.  One was for the Old Spanish Trail, Boulder City Nevada, and the other was for Lake Mead National Recreation Area. My younger sister is going to be green with envy, as I have so many stamps from this trip that I have lost count.


We drove through Henderson, Nevada, passing miles of identical-looking houses.  There was a huge casino on the side of the hill that advertised $7.95 steak dinners and $1.00 Strawberry Shortcake. Had I been the driver, the strawberry shortcake deal would cause me to slam on the brakes.  We kept going and stopped at a 7/11 convenience store where we signed onto the laptop and tried to book a hotel room on  No luck, so we called a few hotels directly. The Railroad Pass Casino offered rooms for $69.00, easily half the price of the cheapest room we could find elsewhere.   We obediently followed the directions provided by Vivian, the warm voice from the GPS.  Would you believe, she guided us right back to the same place that was offering $1.00 portions of strawberry shortcake?  As you can see below, the biggest challenge was trying to locate the entrance to the building. The signage was very confusing.


We checked in, lost a couple of dollars in the slots and then made a beeline for the buffet.  This was a far cry from the Golden Corral and it’s a shame that Carolina and Oscar weren’t here to whip these people into shape.  And, come to think of it, I never did see the strawberry shortcake. First the Magic Fingers, and now the Strawberry Shortcake?  I was “this close” to calling the Better Business Bureau.





Immediately after dessert, we thought it would be fun to return to the slots to watch our money disappear. After losing three more dollars, I called it quits.  I am convinced this is what the phrase “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” really means.   (Incidentally, I can’t figure out what is going on in the picture below.  It appears that the cashier is picking up silver dollars with paper currency.)


Thanks for reading… tomorrow we get to hang out with the locals!

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 3:40 am  Comments (5)