|Today we drove THE ROUTE west from Ash Fork to Hackberry, AZ. Many small, but interesting places and lots of gift shops. We took many, many pictures, but decided to only post a few. Many of the towns along THE ROUTE have long ago disappeared. A few of them survive by the skin of their teeth. And a couple survive thanks to the tourist dollars. Ask Fork is one of the not so lucky. Their main business is flagstone and the town is now the Flagstone Capital of the World. As we drove through, we counted at least 4 businesses that deal in flagstone. The town is on part of THE ROUTE which is not part of a continuous stretch of 66, so you have to get off I-40, drive through town and then get back on I-40. After leaving Ash Fork, we continued onto Seligman. From this point on to the AZ/CA line, you can drive THE ROUTE without getting back on to I-40. That makes this part of THE ROUTE the longest continuous stretch in the US. Seligman is the birthplace of the AZ Route 66 Association which is to encourage the preservation of THE ROUTE. The man responsible for starting the whole process is Angel Delgadillo. He owned a barber shop (which is now a gift shop which has many binders of media coverage and letters from all over the world and come back to visit Seligman many, many times.). There are a lot of gift shops, motels and eating places in Seligman, but not much else. We arrived just after 4 bus loads of tourists and amazingly most of them were French and various other foreign visitors. One of the eating places, the Snow Cap, is next door to the "barbershop" and was owned by Angel's brother. It is the funniest food place on THE ROUTE. The owner played jokes on his customers. There is a false door knob, they have "squirting" catsup bottles, and slightly used napkins. The backyard sort of looks like a junk yard with lots of old, rusty cars, chairs and tables. But everyone seems to enjoy everything Seligman has to offer. This week they are preparing for the annual fun run from Seligman to Topock. They usually have somewhere around 500 vehicles. I had read about it and it sounded like such fun, I originally had tried to plan this trip around it, but obviously it didn't work, maybe next year. On the way to Peach Springs, we stopped at Grand Canyon Caverns. What a hoot! (it really is showing it's age) It used to be called Dinosaur Caverns so there are a lot of dinosaur stuff around. It was discovered in the 1920s and until 1962, the visitors were lowered into the opening by rope and then finished the journey on a suspended swing bridge. In 1962 the owners installed an elevator and now it's much easier to descend 21 stories into the earth. About that time, the Cuban Missile Crisis happened and the caverns became a bomb shelter with enough food and water to support 2000 people for 2 weeks. (the food and water are still there!) The current owners have added more water and MREs in preparation for "the end". On top of that, last year they opened a hotel room in the main room of the caverns. Since it opened, they have had more than 500 people rent the room. It will sleep 6 and costs $700/night for 2 guests and $145 for each additional guest. It is a constant 56 degrees down there and no humidity, so it is very comfortable. They also have weddings down there and there are several wedding bouquets and a piece of wedding veil down there, all in near perfect condition. Back on top, we continued on to Peach Springs, the headquarters of the Hualapai Indian Reservation. They are the "owners" of the Grand Canyon Skywalk which is located on the western edge of the canyon. There is a hotel there and a few buildings, but not much else. Next in line is tiny Truxton, only a hotel is there now, then on through Valentine (old Indian school) to Hackberry. Only thing there is the Hackberry General Store (once again, kind of junky, but you know what they say, one man's junk is another's treasure). At this point we returned to Williams, mostly because the next town in line is Kingman and we had already been there, but also it was getting late and we needed to get back since tomorrow we leave for points east.