We have stopped at every welcome center along the way and this is the first time I have gotten a picture of all of us. A sweet man offered to take our picture and I didn’t turn him down! The Arizona sign is behind the pink tree. You can see the red and yellow from the sign.
We were a bit far from Williams, AZ, so I looked on the map to see if there was a place we could stop for the night and not have to drive so far. That’s when I saw the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. That sounded interesting, so we made a reservation for one night in Holbrook, AZ at the OK RV park.
This campground is exactly that, OK. It was safe and just what we needed for one night. We unhooked and Mike had some work to do so Micheal and I headed back east 20 miles or so to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.
We got to the park, stopped at the visitors center and realized that you drive about 18 miles through both The Painted Desert and into The Petrified Forest. There are places to stop off and take pictures or go on small hikes along the way. We started in the Painted Desert. I have never seen anything like it.
As you keep driving the colors start to change.
Then we get to The Petrified Forest. I could not capture in a picture what these logs are like so I will try to explain. (with Micheals help of course)
It looks like it has bark, right. That may have been bark at one time but it is now smooth rock. The inside looks like crystals or quartz rock. It is truly one of the weirdest things I have ever seen! We couldn’t stop touching it. Of course they want you to believe that it took millions of years for this to happen but we know the real truth.
After an hour at the park, we head back to Holbrook to get Mike for some food. You have to feed Micheal to keep him happy. I read about a place on Route 66 that was the inspiration for the movie Cars. I love that movie and luckily for us the restaurant got great reviews.
This restaurant has been on Route 66 since 1943. It is owned by a man named Stanley. (Anyone remember the name Stanley from Cars?) John Lasseter came through town and stopped by to eat. He met the owner and was inspired so Stanley became a character in Cars.
The owner’s son was working the night we were there and he was so welcoming, like we had come to his house to eat. They showed us all the memoriablia that Pixar had sent and were more than happy for us to look through their scrapbook and their memory wall.
It also helped that the food was good too! I had the fry bread filled with meat and cheese and the boys had chicken fried steak with fries. So the sign was true when it said American and Mexican food.
Holbrook also is responsible for inspiring the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie Cars with this fabulous Route 66 hotel, The Wigwam Hotel.
Now funded by the government, this hotel is only one of three original wigwam hotels. There are antique cars permenetaly parked in front of the wigwams to give it that special Route 66 feel.
The next morning we hook back up and head out for Williams, AZ. The landscape changed much to our delight and went from dirt to trees and some grass. Oh how we have been missing the trees and the grass!
We kept our eyes set on the mountains and kept driving….
We finally arrived in Williams, AZ, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon…
Williams is about 60 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Due to Mike working on this trip (you didn’t think we were just on a long vacation, did you?) we have to have Wifi and Grand Canyon is not the place to stay for that. Anyways, we got to our campground and we were very pleased. The Railside RV Ranch is owned by two delightful people, who will go out of their way to help you. Think of the Four Seasons with concierge service, that’s the service I am talking about.
This campground is most definitely rail side. The Grand Canyon Railway runs past the campground twice a day and it is always on schedule. The train leaves the Grand Canyon Hotel at 9:00 and returns at 5:00 everyday.
The owners of this campground will stop what they are doing and go out on the porch and wave to the train passengers as they are leaving.
This campground also had a free shuttle to and from town. When you got ready to come back you would call and he would come pick you up. Also, from 8-10 every morning there was a continental breakfast and waffle makers for fresh waffles. We helped ourselves to that a couple of mornings. I told you this was like the Four Seasons.
Williams is a nice little town where you can park your car and wonder around looking in all the shops, or you can eat at one of the many restaurants in town.
If your lucky you might even meet Elvis!
Williams is full of history and has a great visitors center/museum. If you ever get out that way and you don’t mind staying in a town with no Target, this is your place.
Up next we take a visit to Sedona and the biggest hole in the United States!