Your Passport to Route 66

By: Teresa Bitler

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December 3, 2011

Explore Arizona's stretch of the Mother Road, one passport stamp at a time.

About the author

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler

Teresa Bitler is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Sunset and Valley Guide magazines. She is the author of Great Escapes Arizona as well as four Arizona-related iPhone travel apps and is currently working on her second guidebook, Backroads & Byways of Indian Country. She can be reached at

You don’t need a time machine to revisit the drive-ins, motels and attractions of Route 66 – just a “passport.”

The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona’s Route 66 Passport takes you from Topock, on Arizona’s western border, to Lupton, on the state’s eastern edge, with stops in nine nostalgic communities along the way.

Get Your Motor Running

Begin your journey by collecting your passport at the state welcome center, any visitor center along Route 66 or at any participating attraction.

Then, as you pause along the route to sample fresh-brewed root beer or for a photo op with a vintage gas pump, collect a stamp for your passport.

Seven stamps earn road warriors a certificate commemorating their journey. For a chance to win the annual Route 66 memorabilia grand prize, collect stamps from all nine communities plus one from several wildcard stops.

Hit the Mother Road

Of course, in addition to the passport stamps, each community offers a unique look back into another era. Here are a few highlights of the journey.

You may be on Route 66, but burros – descendents of the pack animals used in nearby mines – have the right of way in the town of Oatman. Feed them carrots, watch the daily gunfights, shop, or grab a bite to eat at The Oatman Hotel.

Considered the Heart of Route 66 because it sits midway along the route’s longest remaining stretch, Kingman embraces the nostalgic spirit. At the Historic Route 66 Museum, you’ll find exhibits on the evolution of the road, vintage cars and life-sized dioramas. Nearby, Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner serves homemade root beer, burgers and baby-back ribs.

In the town of Hackberry, the Hackberry General Store displays the “mother lode of Mother Road memorabilia,” including vintage gas pumps, Berma-Shave road signs and a Model T flatbed truck.

Historic Route 66 runs through 1 million acres of the Hualapai Reservation. Experience the tribe’s culture with a stay at the Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs. The town also serves as the starting point for trips to Grand Canyon West – where you can hover high above the floor of the Grand Canyon on the clear-bottomed Skywalk – and Hualapai River Runners’ rafting adventures.

When the United States Department of Transportation decommissioned the Mother Road in 1985, Seligman’s Angel Delgadillo fought to preserve its history by forming the first Route 66 association. Visit with the retired barber at Angel & Vilma Delgadillo’s Route 66 Gift Shop and grab a bite to eat at another Delgadillo family institution, the Snow Cap Drive-In.

Williams – known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon – is home to the Grand Canyon Railway, which transports visitors to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon 364 days a year. As a hungry motorist, though, you’ll appreciate the local diners, like Twisters Soda Fountain.

Route 66 runs alongside the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad in Flagstaff. Stop by the visitor center, housed in a 1920s-era train station, for Route 66 souvenirs. Then cross the celebrated highway to browse the boutiques, outdoor outfitters and art galleries of Flagstaff’s historic district. Extend your stay with visits to the Riordan Mansion, the Arboretum at Flagstaff, the Lowell Observatory and the Museum of Northern Arizona.

If you’ve sung along to The Eagles’ “Take It Easy,” you’re familiar with Winslow. Spend some time standing on a corner at Standin’ on the Corner Park before paying your respects to the fallen at the 9/11 Remember Garden, featuring 14- and 15-foot beams from the tragedy. The La Posada Hotel shouldn’t be missed either. Designed by architect Mary Colter, it is the last of the famed Harvey Houses.

Route 66 fanatics will recognize Holbrook’s iconic Wigwam Motel. One of seven such motels built in the 1930s, Holbrook’s Wigwam Motel No. 6 is one of only three still in existence. If you don’t have time to spend the night, relive Holbrook’s Old West past at the Navajo County Museum, located in the historic Navajo County Courthouse.

Collect the Route 66 Wildcards

Throughout your expedition, squeeze in a side trip or two to round out your passport with wildcard stamps at additional Route 66 attractions.

Stops include the Cool Springs gas station between Oatman and Kingman, Keepers of the Wild Nature Park east of Hackberry, Grand Canyon Caverns near Peach Springs, Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, and Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert Visitor Center east of Holbrook.


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