Exploring Arizona’s Roadside Icons

Route 66 Road Trip - Part 2

Photo credit: Krista | www.ladybugblog.com

“…Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see…”

(“Take It Easy” by the Eagles)

On our road trip from California to Kentucky, the first state we traveled through heading east was Arizona. As you may recall from Part 1 of this Route 66 series, we followed Route 66 for as much as we could and enjoyed seeing the sights of the historic Mother Road. This is Part 2 of the series about our adventures and time exploring America’s Main Street during our June 2017 trip. The focus of this post is the Route 66 places we stopped and explored in Arizona, the Grand Canyon State. Let’s go!

According to the Legends of America website:

“Arizona’s stretch of Route 66 is one of the most picturesque along the entire route. From volcanoes, to painted deserts, to lush green forests, your journey provides numerous scenic photograph opportunities as well as a wealth of history, great side trips, and a volume of Route 66 era icons.  In 1926, some 400 miles of Route 66 passed through Arizona, but very little of it was paved. That changed in 1933, and it was finally completed in 1938. Enjoy your beautiful journey through the Grand Canyon State.”

This post covers a section of Route 66 that is approximately 100 miles long between Winslow and the New Mexico state border. According to Google Maps, it would take approximately 1 hour, 44 minutes to travel this distance without any stops, but what is the fun in that?!? Of course, one must make stops when exploring Route 66. In addition, there are many unique sights to see from the car window as you travel across Arizona:

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Route 66 locations in this post:

Winslow, AZ – “Standin’ on the Corner”

Joseph City, AZ – Jackrabbit Trading Post

Holbrook, AZ – Wigwam Motel

Lupton, AZ – Teepee Trading Post

WINSLOW, ARIZONA

Winslow, AZ – Vintage Post Card. Available for purchase at www.store.legendsofamerica.com. Image courtesy of Legends of America website.

The first place along Route 66 we stopped in Arizona was Winslow. Our route from San Diego, California took us east on Interstate 8 and then north to Phoenix. From there we traveled through the Tonto National Forest via State Route 87 and intersected with Interstate 40 (Historic Route 66) in Winslow. We made two stops in Winslow – one heading east and another one on our return trip heading west.

Winslow (elevation 4,850 ft.) is a charming town that was founded in 1880. It is located east of Flagstaff and is about 100 miles from the New Mexico state line. If you want to explore the historic section of Route 66, you will want to exit from Interstate 40 and drive through town on Old Hwy 66. Heading east, Old Hwy 66 is a one-way street, also known as E. 2nd St., that goes past Standin’ on the Corner Park. Heading west, Old Hwy 66 is a one-way street, also known as W. 3rd Street.

Standin’ on the Corner Park – 100 E. Second Street; Winslow, AZ 86047

Be sure to stop at the corner of E. Second Street and N. Kinsley Avenue and explore the Standin’ on the Corner Park. The park was created in segments and dedicated in September 1999. Each September, a Standin’ on the Corner Festival is held. In 2017, the 19th Annual Festival will be held September 29 – 30. The Standin’ on the Corner Park was inspired by the song “Take It Easy” written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. “Take It Easy” was recorded by the Eagles, with Glenn Frey singing lead vocals, and released on May 1, 1972. “Take It Easy” is listed as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

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Sipp Shoppe – 101 W. 2nd Street; Winslow, AZ 86047

Across the street from the Standin’ on the Corner Park is a fabulous eatery that serves old fashioned malts, floats, shakes & sodas along with hot dogs, soups, salads & sandwiches. Located in a historic bank building, the Sipp Shoppe is open Monday thru Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. The full menu, which also includes breakfast items, is served all day. The coffee is freshly roasted in Winslow. I enjoyed a delicious root beer float and a “Take It Easy” hot dog. The architectural details of the old bank building are intact – including the old bank vault.

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There are other historic Route 66 places in Winslow that you may want to explore. The Standin’ on the Corner Park and the Sipp Shoppe are the ones we visited on our road trip.

JOSEPH CITY, ARIZONA

Jackrabbit Trading Post is located on the outskirts of Joseph City and should not be missed when you are traveling on Route 66! Joseph City (elevation 5,000 ft.) was founded in 1876 by Mormons. As you drive along Interstate 40 (Route 66), the “HERE IT IS” billboards will first catch your attention. It is worth the time to stop and explore this one-of-a-kind road side gift shop. The Jackrabbit Trading Post was established in 1949 and has been operated by the same family since 1961. Phil & Pat Blansett bought the Trading Post from Phil’s father in 1969. Phil’s daughter, Cindy, and her husband bought the Trading Post in 1995. The YouTube Channel “1959 Cadillac on Route 66” has a great video (approx. 9 mins.) from the 1990s with footage showing the inside of the Jackrabbit Trading Post and chats with Phil Blansett. Check out the video here.

Inside the trading post, there is a wide assortment of Route 66 themed gifts and souvenirs. I found several great trip keepsakes at this shop and was happy to support a local, family-owned business. The family also has a “Jackrabbit Room” and a “Route 66 Room” with themed items on display. Photo opportunities include an oversized jackrabbit statue and one of the “HERE IT IS” billboards.

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HOLBROOK, ARIZONA

Holbrook, AZ – Vintage Post Card. Available for purchase at www.store.legendsofamerica.com. Image courtesy of Legends of America website.

Holbrook (elevation 5,080 ft.) is a town that was founded in 1882. Holbrook is another example of a town where you will want to exit from Interstate 40 if you want to explore the historic section of Route 66. Each year, Holbrook hosts a Route 66 Festival. In 2017, this festival was in June. We briefly stopped in Holbrook and made sure to stop at the Wigwam Motel, which was the inspiration for the Cozy Cone Motel layout in the movie Cars.

Wigwam Motel – 811 W Hopi Drive; Holbrook, AZ 86025

Have you ever wanted to sleep inside a wigwam? If so, you will want to check out the historic Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. This wigwam village is one of seven in the United States and this location opened for business in May 1950. Each of the fifteen large wigwams is its own unit, complete with bed(s), a small bathroom, air conditioning, and cable TV. Advance reservations are recommended.

We enjoyed looking at the vintage cars that are parked outside the wigwams. As we were exploring, I asked one of the housekeepers if I could peek inside one of the wigwams that she was cleaning. She agreed, and you can see the pictures below. On a future road trip, we definitely plan on staying overnight at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook!

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LUPTON, ARIZONA

On the eastern edge of Arizona, less than a mile from the New Mexico state border, is Speedy’s Truck Stop and the Teepee Trading Post. The red rock cliffs behind the Teepee Trading Post were used as the inspiration for the landscape of the Radiator Springs Racers ride in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

We stopped at Speedy’s Truck Stop on Grant Road for gas and a bathroom break as we headed west on Interstate 40 (Route 66) toward home. Down the road from Speedy’s is the Teepee Trading Post and there are some great photo opportunities out front. The Teepee Trading Post is open daily; however we didn’t have a chance to explore inside on this trip. After I took a few photos here, we then crossed under the freeway to the Lupton Frontage Road to see and photograph the abandoned buildings on the other side.

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There are, of course, other Route 66 locations in Arizona that are not covered in this post, especially from Flagstaff heading west to the California border. We are planning to go on another road trip (hopefully soon) that covers this stretch of the historic Mother Road. If you are interested in purchasing some Route 66 artwork for yourself, like the historic postcards of Winslow and Holbrook shown in this post, be sure to check the “Legends of America” online store at this link. Part 3 of this series will cover the Route 66 places we explored in New Mexico. Look for this post soon!

What are your favorite Route 66 places to visit in Arizona? Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

State of Arizona Fast Facts | Image courtesy of www.rememberingletters.wordpress.com/category/usa-arizona/

Updated August 31, 2017:

Part 1: Why We Took an Old School Road Trip (Route 66 Road Trip)

Part 3: Discovering New Mexico’s Historic Gems (Route 66 Road Trip)

Part 4: Sightseeing Texas’ Route 66 Stars (Route 66 Road Trip)

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