You meet the most fascinating people on a Route 66 adventure. That, I suppose, is the magic that makes this old road so popular. This is why the iconic double six is so appealing to an international audience.
This past Sunday my dearest friend and I set out on a date. We never need an excuse for a road trip or for a date but the pretext for the little adventure was to deliver signed copies of books to the Antares Point Visitor Center about 20 miles east of Kingman on Route 66. In recent years this old place has become internationally recognized as the home of Giganticus Headicus that was created by Gregg Arnold. The misplaced Easter Island Head has become quite an attraction.
A year or so ago John McEnulty of Grand Canyon Caverns acquired the property and has slowly been rolling back the hands of time. The old restaurant and gas station that opened in 1964 now houses a delightful cafe as well as tasteful gift shop that features my books as well as my dearest friends photography. Also on display is a model of the Twin Arrows Trading Post created by Dutch artist Willem Bor. And of course, just as when it first opened, the major attraction is a dining room with million dollar views of the sweeping Hualapai Valley.
Meet Whitney, Wanda and Dino, the managers, cooks, waiters and waitresses, and smiling hosts at Antares Point Visitor Center. All three were pleasant and amicable. All three were obviously enjoying their job immensely. All three were enjoying meeting with visitors. However, it was my conversation with Dino that sparked reflection on what an amazing place Route 66 has become in the era of renaissance.
Dino was born in 1942. His father was an Italian soldier. After the war the family immigrated to South America, first to Argentina and then Chile. After years of dreaming about America, Dino immigrated to the US and settled in northern California. Relocation to Arizona came after retirement. And that was where his fascination with Route 66 began as he has a deep fascination with history. I should note that for our foreign visitors traveling on Route 66, Dino is fluent in Italian, French, English and Spanish. What a fascinating fellow.
Now, let’s talk about the food. As with the Grand Canyon Caverns, John insists on quality as well as presentations. The setting is a delight, and as noted, the view is breathtaking. The offerings are simple fare; grilled sandwiches, fresh pie, salads, soup and a few specials. Our lunch was delicious, and the coffee was fresh. It was uncharacteristic of me but I was simply to stuffed to sample the pie or ice cream. That, however, gives incentive for the next trip.
I can highly recommend Antares Point Visitor Center as a stop on a Route 66 adventure. Photo ops, smiling faces, interesting people, good food, and a gift shop with some unique offerings (as well as signed copies of my books), what more can one want in a Route 66 destination?
Jim Hinckley’s America, always an adventure.