Spring is in the air on Route 66, at least here in Arizona. Well, that was the feeling most every day of this last week as I bicycled to work along old Route 66.
Thoughts of Bob Stevens adventure will surely cross my mind on more than one occasion during the drive in the morning. His tale of piloting a Studebaker Gran Tourismo Hawk through the largest snow storm of the past century is an epic adventure. Details and photos of this wild ride are found in the March issue of Cars & Parts magazine.
Needless to say, the trip home on the Williamson Valley Road, forty plus miles of dirt road that crosses several steams, may be put on hold. Envisioning the landscapes along that old road dusted in snow with clouds hanging low on the mountains make that decision very hard. Still, I know quite well how muddy this country can be. Some years ago I was working in the old town of Drake on the far side of Chino Valley, south of Ashfork and Williams.There are some great old highway remnants in this area. Counted among these are interesting old bridges, including one over Hells Canyon, similar in construction to the National Old Trails Highway Bridge at Two Guns. When I first began working there my transportation was a 1978 Chevy pick up. This was a great truck for highway travel but it faired poorly in the pudding and gumbo these dirt roads became with a few days of snow and rain. I lost track of how many times that truck sank out there. Then, on a trip into Kingman via old Route 66, I sold that Chevy and bought a very nice, bone stock 1946 GMC. This was in late 1981,The trip home to Drake took a bit longer as the top speed was somewhere around 45 miles per hour. As I never again spent an hour or two in the mud digging my truck out this was a very small sacrifice. With those thoughts in mind, even with the Jeep, if this storm proves to be as big as predicted I think we will find another adventure for the return leg. I am thinking that perhaps its time to revisit Skull Valley and Bagdad. Then, if the lower deserts are a bit drier, we can take the old road from Wikieup to Hackberry on Route 66. That would give us the opportunity for some back country adventure that we have been looking forward to but without the added thrills that come from tossing all semblance of sanity out the window.
The Hackberry General Store is now a true icon of legendary Route 66. Dating to the early 1930s the old store is the real deal. Still, most of the folks that stop here don’t realize that the town is on the south side of the tracks or that the town of Hackberry has a very long and coloroful history. Even fewer are aware that this empty little place was once so prosperous that serious consideration was given to making it the Mohave County seat.The National Old Trails Highway, and the first alignment of Route 66, rolled right through the center of town. The current store is on a post 1937 alignment.Another interesting footnote pertains to the old school there. Its closure in the early 1990s marked the end of an era as this was the last two room school in the state of Arizona. As a final note I offer congratulations to Marcia Parnell. She is the winner of our drawing for a signed copy of Ghost Towns of the Southwesthttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=1968adventurer&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0760332215&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr.