Remember the quote “best laid plans often go awry” coined by Scottish poet, Robbie Burns? Unfortunately that rang true regarding a repeat visit to Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon booked for five nights.
So what happened? Nothing that was within our control – the darn weather! The forecast predicted lows in the 20’s at night and the highs in the low 40’s during the day! BRRR! BRRR! BRRR! At those temperatures, and not even accounting for wind chill, it definitely would not be enjoyable. And of course there was always the possibility of snow. But we have been to the canyon enough times, so it was almost with an element of relief that we cancelled our reservation. Instead we made a reservation at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park (see our previous post) in nearby Williams, AZ, a park we have been to several times before. Still chilly there, but not quite as cold as it would have been sightseeing in the canyon, plus we were only staying for two nights!
As we left Dead Horse State Park behind, we once again had to travel through the land of roundabouts on AZ-260. There were a dizzying 7 between Cottonwood and the intersection at I-17. From there, we took I-17N, then climbed the “big hill” rising about 3100 feet in elevation by the time we exited onto I-40W near Flagstaff (7000 feet above sea level). There was plenty of snow on the side of the road up there.
The stretch of I-40 between Flagstaff and Williams a few years back was one of the roughest interstate section we have ever experienced. This time, the initial stretch was kind of crappy, but as we travelled further west, the highway smoothed out as it had finally been resurfaced.
Arriving in Williams in the early afternoon, at check in, we were assigned to site #326. Since we had been to Williams several times before, which you can read about in our previous posts from 2021 and 2017, we didn’t have a a great desire to race around sightseeing. Been there and done that! But we did take a walk around town during the day and later when it got dark to see the Christmas lights. Such a cute town – we never tire of hanging out here.
A repeat drive along the very scenic Purple Heart Trail, the old Route 66, with its spectacular view of the San Francisco Peaks was awesome as well.
Rising earlier than usual on the day of our departure, off we went to the Pine Country Restaurant for breakfast. Perfect time to go, hardly anyone was there until around 8:45 a.m. when it started to get busy.
Back at the coach, we slow rolled our departure from Grand Canyon Railway RV Park so we wouldn’t arrive before check in time at our next stop, Tradewinds RV Park in Golden, AZ.
It was another pretty drive to Kingman, going down another “big hill” on I-40. Although, the condition of the interstate gradually deteriorated, with increasing rough sections and potholes as we approached Kingman. Williams is about 6800 feet above sea level, so we dropped 3500 feet in the 100+ miles to Kingman, AZ. Then another 700 feet by the time we reached our destination in Golden Valley 15 miles away. If you haven’t been out west, note that the primary contributor to climate in these mountainous areas isn’t so much how far north or south you are, but how high or low you are. The temperature varies dramatically with elevation, and in the 2 hours and 4000 foot drop between Williams and Golden Valley we went from running the heater to running the A/C.
When we arrived at Tradewinds shortly after 1:00 p.m., the office was closed because of T-day pot luck dinner. I was surprised no one mentioned that when I made our reservation!
During our stay, we headed over to Bullhead City to stock up on supplies at Sam’s Club. Gorgeous drive thru the mountain pass on AZ-68.
Although we’ve passed through the town of Kingman several times before, we had never did too much exploration, so on Tuesday we drove there, stopping at Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner for breakfast. Rob stuck to his latest craving – country fried steak ($12.99) and I had a Denver omelet ($10.99). Decent breakfast.
After breakfast we made a quick stop at the Beacon Truck Wash to make sure that they would be open on the day before Thanksgiving, which was the day of our departure from Tradewinds. Our coach was pretty dirty from all the blowing dust during our journey – a bath was needed desperately.
Another stop was at the Kingman Visitor Center located inside Kingman’s historic Powerhouse. A plaque on the front of the building says “The Powerhouse, Arizona’s oldest known reinforced concrete industrial building, generated electricity from 1909 to 1938. After serving as a substation and later a recycling center, it was renovated to its current use and condition in 1997 by the “Powerhouse Gang.”
Inside exhibits, according to Roadtrippers.com, “present the historical evolution of travel along the 35th parallel that became Route 66. Brilliant murals, photos and life-size dioramas capture each of the groups that have traveled what came to be known as the Mother Road.”
The gift shop carries primarily American-made products, brochures on attractions all over Arizona, and provides free state highway maps for all surrounding states. Admission to the Visitor Center is free but there is a fee for the museum: general admission – $10.00; Seniors and Mohave County Residents – $6.00; children 12 years and under free. Party of 3 or more $30.00.
Our visit to the Visitor Center was followed by a drive around town. Always fun seeing the buildings and signs from the 50’s and 60’s along Route 66!
When we headed back towards Tradewinds RV Park, the traffic coming into Kingman on AZ-93 from the north and west was horrendous, backed up for several miles. This stretch of 93 is the only route thru the area and the traffic lights on it prior to reaching I-40 wreak havoc with the traffic flow. Traveling north or west isn’t as bad. The reason we were keen to get the coach washed, even though we had to back track a few miles from our intended route, was because we would be at our next stop for an extended period and they don’t allow washing of vehicles.
We planned to depart early the next morning, heading for Beacon Truck Wash in Kingman with hopes that there wouldn’t be too much traffic that early in the morning.
On November 23rd, we were on the road by 9:15 a.m. and luckily had smooth sailing all the way to Beacon. Even more good news, there was just one truck in the bay being washed, then a pickup truck with a small boat ahead of us.
One of the employees came over to ask us specifically what we wanted. We ended up having both the RV ($42) and Jeep ($20.60) washed, wheels power washed ($6.60), RainX (wouldn’t have done next time) RV ($13.10) & Jeep ($6.10), and under carriage rinse ($7). A short wait, then we were instructed to pull forward into the bay where the initial process started. Once the truck and boat left, we were told to pull forward where the rest of the wash was completed. During that process, Rob was asked to go in and pay (total was $95.40).
Excellent job! Now if only we can stay away from dust and dirt!
Once done there, all clean and sparkly, we were on (the hopefully dirt free) road again, heading to another favorite in Willow Beach, AZ. Woo hoo! Again traffic wasn’t bad considering it was the day before Thanksgiving.
Here are some more photos!