With completion of the latest adventure it seemed an excellent time to update my list of favorite places. Additionally, it seems that this trip has made it impossible to crowd any more places in my top ten list so we may have to make that a top twenty list.
As I am a product of the desert southwest, and the independent, free spirited romanticism that molded me during the formative years, I have to top my list with most everything within one hundred miles of Silver City in New Mexico.
The town itself is a very fascinating blend of ultra liberal thinkers (tree huggers for those with a redneck view of the world), the Santa Fe and Sedona art gallery set, miners, real cowboys, families whose Mexican lineage spans more than a century and half, and simple people who find solace in a plot of ground they can call their own and where they can raise a garden, which gives the place an interesting atmosphere. Much of the historic district is a bit down at the heels but you can still find multi generational cafes, and even a barber shop in operation for more than a half century.
The countryside that ranges from deeply forested wilderness to stark desert plains rates high on my list of the most beautiful places in America. Sprinkle in a few historic sites such as pre Colombian cliff dwellings and a wide array of ghost towns that have links to Billy the Kid as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and you have my version of paradise on earth.
A close second would have to be the Ozarks of Missouri. I had almost forgotten how beautiful this country is and how delightful the little towns sprinkled along the streams and rivers are. It was a real treat to be able to introduce my dearest friend to this wonderland as we motored along Route 66. 

Any question as to where this photo was taken?



As to favorite towns, I still lean toward Prescott in Arizona. Even though the modern era has engulfed its historic core, and the western way of thinking is fast becoming an historical footnote, this old place has a special place in our hearts.
Perhaps it is the links to our courting days or the honeymoon, or my dearest friends family who have very long roots here, but more than likely it is just the fact that here in the blocks surrounding the courthouse it is still 1958. There are not one but three historic hotels that offer quality service and clean rooms as well as a one hundred year plus tradition, excellent restaurants for every taste, a micor brewery, an excellent museum complex, and even a saloon that is a near perfect time capsule from the pre statehood era. 

On this last trip we found a couple of really good contenders for this spot on our list in Dwight, Atlanta, and Pontiac, Illinois, as well as Lebanon and Rolla in Missouri. However, it was Cuba in Missouri that really grabbed our attention and heart.
To a large degree it was the stay at the Wagon Wheel Motel, as well as the friendly and enthusiastic people we met there, that made such an impression. Of course the mountains and scenery’s in the neighborhood also played a part in us entertaining thoughts of relocating to greener pastures.
That reminds me, I forget to provide the promised view of the shower in the suite at the Wagon Wheel Motel. Connie has gone to great lengths to ensure the modern veneer is a thin one and this shower is one concession. 

I often jokingly refer to my dearest friend and I as the Hinckley hillbillies. You can imagine the fun we had figuring this out. I just hope we didn’t wake the neighbors but this gadget provided more than a great deal of entertainment as we worked to figure it out in the wee hours of the morning in a half awake state.
In yesterday’s post I noted a few great places to eat along Route 66. Well, for quite some time the honor for our top spot to eat on Route 66 has been the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, Arizona.
That spot on the list is also getting a bit crowded as we have had to add a couple of others. One, the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois, is still going strong after more than three quarters of a century. The other, Zenos, has succumbed to changing times and will be closing its doors as of the 22nd of October. The third, the Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma, represents a new era on Route 66 and hints that this old road will remain a treasure for years to come.
I would be remiss in compiling my updated list if the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon was not included. For quite some time staying here has been on my list of things to do and I must say it was worth the wait. 

Clean and simple at a reasonable rate are the frosting on the cake. It it the hospitality of the owners, Bob and Ramona, and the near perfect preservation, not recreation, of this motel that make it truly unique on Route 66 or most any place else. 

If you enjoy Jim Hinckley\'s America, take a second to support jimhinckleysamerica on Patreon!