Route 66 - 2 Germans on Mother Road

From Nature to Plastic City - Sitgreaves Pass from Arizona to Las Vegas

"With a name like Smuckers it has to be good" - the claim of America's number one Motel jam served at the typical "Continental" breakfast. I could not to resist quoting this one. How a company can become that big by selling a flavoured and coloured artificial mass and calling it a jam is a phenomenon that Harvard Business School should investigate. As they do not need any fruits to prepare it, the margin must be astonomical. Fortunately my Cousine Catherine, living in the SF bay area is a master jam cook and we can't wait to taste her delicious peach jam when we visit her and husband Barry at the end of our trip 😀. Yesterday was again a day of great contrasts. We drove through abandoned, beautiful desert and mountains to arrive at what I call the Disneyland for grownups Las Vegas. We decided to take the original Route 66, the Sitgreaves Pass from Arizona to Nevada and that turned out to be a perfect choice. A super curvy, small road that first goes through the desert and then climbs slowly up the black mountains. I think we maybe saw three or four other cars on the whole tour. An interesting anecdote from the times big times of Route 66 is that the old Ford Model T (the most popular car then) did not have a fuel pump. The gas was transported purely by gravity from tank to engine. As Sitgreaves pass in some parts is quite steep, the gas simply did not get to the engine anymore. As a result, many of the poor travellers going West had to climb the pass in reverse (the gas tank was then higher than the engine and the system worked). The road even today is listed as a very dangerous road, so imagine going up there backwards. I am sure not everybody made it up safely. On the way we passed the little town of Oatman, one of the typical Gold Rush towns. At the peak of the Gold hype, 10.000 people lived here. Today there are only a few hundred left plus the donkeys that where lef behind when the gold seekers left. They are now wild and live on the black mountains. Oatman was named after Olive Oatmam who was kidnapped by the Yavapai Indians in thsis region and later sold to the Mohave Indians. She was only rescued after 5 years, being tattooed in the face ("The blue tattoo" google the story, it is quite fascinating). Coming down from the black mountains, you suddenly see Las Vegas at the horizon, quite an amazing site. We moved into our Hotel and walked up and down Las Vegas Strip, in and out of the gigantic casinos. At the Venetian we found a nice Italian Restaurant (strangely right at the indoor Canale Grande...) and where served by an Italian waiter. The guy was so happy to have European guests that we had a good chat and he served us a huge complimentary dessert. Pasta and Pizza where very good and the days 40 degree outside temperature together with the Prosecco made us decently tired.... Quote of the day: "Las Vegas is sort of how God would do it if he had money." Steve Wynn. Stay tuned to hear more about Las Vegas...

24.6.15 17:03, kommentieren

Flagstaff, Seligman, the Burma Shave, Bikers at Hackberry, Daiquiries at Kingman

At this mornings "Continental" breakfast in Flagstaff - thank God - we where back to the good old styrofoam cups, plastic plates and knives. Original American Motel Feeling completely restored...Flagstaff, as described in yesterdays post is a Ski Resort in the Arizona mountains. It reminded us of Lake Tahoe with its rather European looking Downtown, less chain restaurants etc. Really a nice place. Only a few miles away lies the Red Rocks National Park in a truly breathtaking Landscape. The high content of iron has given the mountains their destinct looks and erosion has formed the bizzarre shapes. We joined a Nature Hike, guided by a Ranger and enjoyed the explanations about History, Fauna and Flora of the park. Driving further West, the landscape again changed every few miles. The further West, the more Desert-like it gets. The temparature constantly rose up to about 37 degres. Our first stop was the little town Seligman, where the Route 66 cult is celebrated with real enthusiasm. Restaurants, Bars and Souvenier Shops along the main street accompanied by a few restored Gas Stations and Motels. Driving through the desert, we repeatedly passed by old Burma Shave Advertising from the mid 1920's to the 1960's. In the old days parts of Route 66 where marked with small signs carrying advertising jingles by the Minneapolis-based Burma-Shave Company (Burma-Vita). The catchy short rhymes were written on a series of five, sometimes six small wooden signs, each placed about 100 feet apart. The last sign always said BURMA-SHAVE, which, in order to create a brand awareness, advertised the company's "new and revolutionary brushless" shaving cream. These Burma Shave signs were the precursor of the modern billboard signs. A few of the original signs remain on Route 66. Especially for the Marketers amongst us - really cool ! At Hackberry we met a few German Bikers who also drove 66 and enjoyed the atmosphere at this special place, decorated with old cars and memorabilia. It seems that especially the Germans are somehow fascinated by the whole Route66 story. We found a nice hotel at Kingman and went out to Dinner at a local Mexican Family Restaurant that offered good food and even better frozen Daiquiries ! Tomorrow, we will leave Route 66 for a short trip to Las Vegas. Lets see if we can get last minute tickets to one of ghe shows. Stay tuned.... Quote of the Day: "Don't lose your head to gain a minute - You need your head - Your brains are in it !" Burma Shave Ad

23.6.15 05:46, kommentieren