Route 66 Caravan

America's Biggest Road Trip!

Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
May 07, 2003

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Grand Canyon Caverns

Note: For the astute Road Wanderer you may notice that the Route 66 Caravan is doing a little backtracking from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon Caverns and Seligman. Our Schedule made this necessary, but it really doesn't matter. I particularly like it because it gives me a chance to get the pictures I missed the day before! Seems like I see something new every time I take the Mother Road ~ no matter how many times I've driven the route before.
Walter Peck never dreamed that in his haste to get to a poker game with friends he would literally stumble onto a gold mine - or so he thought. It was 1927 and Walter, a woodcutter for the Santa Fe Railroad, was late for his game so he took a short cut through the woods. When he tripped and fell he found himself staring into sinkhole that looked like a bottomless pit. Walter thought he could make out the dull white gleam of bones far below and knew he had narrowly missed adding his own to the collection.
Grand Canyon Caverns The future Grand Canyon Caverns had been discovered. Though Walter originally thought he had found a lost gold mine, further investigation proved that it was a natural limestone cave that contained no gold or precious gems at all.
Walter wasn't about to give up though. The new U.S. Highway 66 passed close by and with a little promotion he thought he could entice visitors to pay a quarter to see his cave. After he lowered them down into his hole he also thought he could entice visitors to pay 50 cents to be hauled back out too. Walter was a true entrepreneur it seems.

John McEnulty Gives Cave Tour
John McEnulty, one of the owners, escorts our group
through the Caverns.

Today things have changed quite a bit. No longer are visitors lowered down into the caverns on ropes but in modern elevators. Instead of kerosene lanterns, electric lights illuminate the natural wonders of Grand Cavern Caverns. There is a modern motel; restaurant and gift shop for the enjoyment of the new Route 66 traveler.


Delicate Selenite Crystals grow from the cave's ceiling in this underground fairyland.

Selenite Cave Crystals


Gertie the Ground Sloth
Gertie the Ground Sloth

Cave Ice Minerals
Cave Ice (a mineral) glistens under the light of my
camera's flash.

There's much to see underground in the caverns: a mummified 150 year old bobcat, civil defense supplies left in the cave from the days of the Cuban Missile crisis, and a recreation of an 18,000 year old Ground Sloth, Gertie, whose bones were found in the cave. This is a real Route 66 Attraction that has been in operation since 1927. It is indeed a must see resort destination.


Route 66 Roadside Attraction

Kevin and Jim mount the new Route 66 Roadside Attraction sign before the ceremony begins.

Sign Installation

Jim Conkle and John McEnulty

Roadside Attraction Sign ceremony with Jim and John McEnulty.


The folks at the Grand Canyon Caverns rolled out the "Red Carpet" for our Route 66 Caravan. The atmosphere couldn't be beat. John McEnulty told us about the future plans for the attraction that included a rodeo arena, newly refurbished bar, and vintage gas station complete with classic cars. Yes, the Grand Cavern Caverns has evolved into a resort destination that old Walter Peck would be proud of.

John & Sammie the Bear
Sammie the Bear is Grand Canyon Cavern's mascot 

Caverns Roadside Attraction Sign
Glassford Hill Middle School Enjoys the Caverns

Glassford Hills Middle School checks out the Grand Canyon Caverns and the Route 66 Caravan RV. What a field trip from school!

Greg Bohannon provided the music for the Route 66 Roadside Attraction sign ceremony. The whole production was professional and a lot of fun.

Greg Bohannon Music Maker


Mike Landis ~ Arizona's Most Celebrated Cowboy

Mike and Karen Landis Mike and Karen Landis have a Dream! Theirs is a Route 66 business that caters to the traveler looking for something different. They run a "Tent N' Breakfast" next to Grand Canyon Caverns where the visitor can camp out, horseback ride, explore the Grand Canyon and enjoy the clean invigorating western Arizona air. Breakfast is cooked over a campfire in a Dutch oven at the crack of dawn.
Mike and Karen know what they are doing too, they have operated their ranch here for decades. In fact Mike came out to this country in 1947 and has been rated Arizona's #1 Cowboy. He has been featured many times in the magazine Arizona Highways. He's 74 years old and still going strong. Just look at that photogenic face will you.

Their ranch is located at mile marker 119 1/2 on old Route 66. Interested city slickers can contact them at P.O. Box 502, Peach Springs, AZ 86434 for the experience of a lifetime on old Route 66.


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