Route 66 Caravan

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Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
May 09, 2003

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Arizona Route 66 Trading Posts

Some of my fondest memories of road trips I took with my family when I was young involve those "tourist traps" along the highway. Along New Mexico and Arizona Route 66, Trading Posts were the order of the day. Those colorful outposts always had a wealth of treasures to enchant a young lad such as myself. Souvenir postcards of jackalopes, packages of rattlesnake eggs, cactus candy, tumbled stones, Indian goods made in Japan, and such, made it hard to choose what to buy. There was always something to take a picture of - concrete teepees, giant petrified logs, colorful billboards, and even a small zoo. All this could once be found along this stretch of Route 66. The coming of the interstate changed all that. I guess we got to be in too much of a hurry for amenities of the country we were passing through. You know what? Some of those Trading Posts are still in operation today. One such, the Meteor City Trading Post is open again and is being honored by Hampton's Save-A-Landmark program. If you are in the area please stop in and support your Route 66 businesses. If we don't support them they may go the way of the Trading Posts pictured below.

Twin Arrows Trading Post
courtesy Shadows of Old Route 66

Twin Arrows Trading Post

Twin Arrows is located a few miles east of Winona where old Route 66 started to climb into the wooded foothills of the Colorado Plateau. Twin Arrows Trading Post closed a couple of years ago. The price of gas is frozen at $1.39 a gallon, and the old Valentine Diner sold its last hamburger a long time ago.

The picture above was taken back in 2001 when you could actually park next to the old trading post. Today the site has been barricaded off and you can not park there. It is now state trust land. We pulled off the Interstate at the Twin Arrows exit to check out Twin Arrows but found we couldn't park the RV along the road. A small car could get away with it though, but not our 66 Caravan RV. Forgive me for using one of my "file photos" but the site is too interesting not to include in our caravan road log. The future of Twin Arrows is in doubt. We can only hope this little site is preserved for future travelers on Route 66 to enjoy.

Meteor Crater Observatory

Meteor Crater was formed about 20,000 years ago from a meteor impact. It is well worth the side trip to view this natural wonder. Route 66 travelers felt the same way as this site was listed in Jack Rittenhouse's Route 66 Guidebook published in 1946.

Meteor Crater Trading Post Ruins
courtesy Shadows of Old Route 66

The Observatory was built by D.M. Barringer during the hey-day of Route 66. It has been said that the view from the observation tower was disappointing. I'm sure the Observatory was located this far from the impact crater because it was right on  Route 66 and could lure travelers in. "Easy Off - Easy On" even back then. For 25 cents one could view the crater through a telescope, and if the weather was clear - actually see it! All that is left of the observatory today is stone ruins. Back in the 1940s this was the place to be. It must have been a pretty exciting place for travelers heading west from back east. Ah, if only those stone walls could talk ~ maybe they can if we stop long enough to listen.

Two Guns

The name Two Guns is as wild west a name as you will find anywhere. Believe it or not, it actually comes from the original inhabitant of the area, a wild, violent individual called "Two Gun" Miller. It is said that this eccentric hermit lived in a cave in nearby Canyon Diablo and was hostile to visitors. For the past few years Two Guns has been closed, fenced off and posted. Just recently the gates were opened and the No Trespassing signs came down. The only pictures of Two Guns I had were taken with a telephoto lens. Today Jim, Kevin and I were going to make up for that. Though our time was limited and the wind was blowing with gale force intensity we were going to do some photographic exploring!
  Two Guns Zoo  

Two Guns Ruins

Two Guns has a colorful Route 66 history. Just west of the closed gas station and campground you can still see stone ruins left over from the heyday of Route 66. Tourist stops like the Apache Caves and Trading Posts lured the Route 66 traveler to stay awhile in Two Guns once. There was even a small zoo located here for the pleasure of the tourists who came through. All that is left of them are the stone ruins along the rim of Canyon Diablo. It was at this point that Route 66 crossed Canyon Diablo.
Route 66 Canyon Diablo Bridge

Indian Caves at Two Guns


Canyon Diablo Route 66 Bridge

Apache Caves Tourist Stop Ruins

Two Guns Arizona

Our Route 66 Caravan visit at Two Guns was great, though I almost got blown into Canyon Diablo more than once by a sudden gust of wind while taking pictures. I think the highlight for all of us is when we drove across the old Canyon Diablo Bridge. We used my car ~ not the RV! I could easily spend days here exploring. This must have been on massive tourist stop on old Route 66 once. The stone ruins attest to the fact that this once was no small operation.


Meteor City

Meteor City Just off Interstate 40 you will see the Meteor City exit. You can't miss this place. It has recently reopened and is now serving the Interstate traveler. The Trading Post is located on the frontage road which is actually old Route 66.
  The new owners, Richard and Ermila Benton, invite you to peruse the many items they have for sale. This is a real vintage trading post too. It was built in 1938 and has seen a lot of the Mother Road in that time. The distinctive dome was built in 1979 and can be seen for miles along this stretch of Route 66 (now I-40).

Worlds Longest Map

  Richard & Ermila Benton Route 66 Roadside Attraction Sign

Richard and Ermila Benton are keeping the Route 66 Experience alive at Meteor City, Arizona.

A Well Deserved Recognition!

Richard Benton and one of his TeePees

Last year Hampton Inn employees helped refurbish the old trading post. They painted the teepees and repainted the longest Route 66 map on the highway. The original Route 66 map had been a landmark of Meteor City for decades. Please stop in and say hi to the Bentons. While you are there be sure to check out the largest Dream Catcher in the world. It can be seen from the Interstate!

Richard stands outside one of the newly refurbished teepees at Meteor City


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