Seligman, Arizona – Historic Route 66

Route 66 was originally the first and only east-west road connection in the United States. Once it connected Chicago with Los Angeles before it was built over for hundreds of miles of Interstates and substituted by them. The remaining parts noticeably decay except for a few stretches. Today the road mainly consists of nostalgia, myth, and loneliness. The section between Amboy, California, and Seligman, Arizona, is mostly a dead straight track. An exception is the part around Oatman where we cross the Black Mountains on the 3550 ft / 1082 m high Sitgraves Pass.

Since we reduced fuelling to a minimum in California due to the high prices we have to bunker diesel today. Instead of paying 5.10 $ per gallon on the Californian Route 66 we pay 3.90 $ in Kingman, AZ. I find the beggar remarkable who offers us his coke. As we refuse with thanks, he gives Joerg a freshly minted dollar coin from his collecting box. Do we already look as if we needed it more urgent than he does?

The major part of the tourism-oriented infrastructure in Route 66 is either decayed or no more existent. There are a few down-and-out motels, pubs, and diners. In Seligman the whole thing is charmingly fallen into disrepair. Several souvenir shops invite to rummage about and buy for fair prices. The diners traditionally offer milkshakes, hotdogs, and burgers. We stop off at Delgado’s Snow Cap where hundreds, if not thousands of people left their business cards. We take a leaf out of the other visitors’ book. The diner is set up with lots of humour. There are two door handles from which only one works. In the toilet is a – hopefully not connected – video camera. Asking for some tape to fix the business card it can happen that you receive a music cassette. Lovingly restored old cars stand in front of the family business in third generation. It might have flourished one day; today it is just a relic of the past that still shows up in some travel guides.

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