My husband and I are planning a road trip from Kingman, Arizona to Amarillo, Texas this fall. We both love classic cars and Route 66 history, and we are hoping to find some fun and accessible roadside attractions along the way. My husband uses a manual wheelchair. Do you have any suggestions for us?
At the top of the new list is Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona. Located on the corner of 2nd Street (Route 66) and Kinsley, this roadside attraction brings to life the lyrics Take it Easy, the 1970 Eagles hit. It features a mural by John Pugh, which depicts the famous lyrics — “a girl, my lord, in a flat bed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.” There is also a bronze sculpture by Ron Adamson of a musician with a guitar “standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” in front of the mural. There’s level access along the walkway in front of the mural, and barrier-free access to the surrounding stores which hawk some kitschy Route 66 souvenirs. And if you’re lucky, you’ll also hear strains of the hit tune coming from one of the stores.
Over in Holbrook, Arizona, the Wigwam Hotel (www.sleepinawigwam.com) is also worth a stop. Just take exit 285 and head east on Hopi Drive — trust me you can’t miss it. This hotel, which features 15 individual “wigwams”, first opened in the 1950s and was very popular in they heyday of Route 66. Although the hotel is still in operation, they don’t have any accessible rooms. That said, it’s still worth a stop for the photo op, as there’s a nice collection of vintage cars parked in front of the wigwams. Access is good around the property too, as it’s all level. Additionally, the property is still owned by the same family that built it, and they love to chat about Route 66 history.
Just up the road in Gallup, New Mexico, there’s another classic Route 66 roadside attraction — the giant kachina. At one time she welcomed weary travelers to Gallup, but sadly the welcome signs are gone today. The kachina is located at the Greyhound Terminal on Montoya Boulevard. Just take exit 22 from Interstate 40, drive north on Ford Drive, then keep left until you see the statue on the right. There’s plenty of room to park, and a nice level area to get out and take in this beauty.
Since both you and your husband love classic cars, Russell’s Travel Center (www.russellsttc.com) near Springer, New Mexico is a required stop. It’s easy to pass by this cool museum, as it looks like a run-of-the-mill truck stop from the outside. But if you venture inside you’ll be treated to an impressive collection of vintage cars. Along with the 20 or so cars on display, there’s also a lot of Route 66 memorabilia and some very cool old photographs. And don’t miss the equally cool 1957 pink Thunderbird convertible. There’s level access to the building, and plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair in the museum. Best of all, there’s no admission charge. It’s also easy to find, as it’s located just off the interstate at exit 369.
Finally, don’t miss Cadillac Ranch, located on South Frontage Road, between Arnot and Hope Roads, on the outskirts of Amarillo. This public art display was created by an artist’s collective called The Ant Farm, and it features 10 Cadillacs planted nose first into the ground. Built along the remains of Route 66, they were meant to symbolize the “golden age” of the American automobile. The cars are routinely painted with graffiti and even dressed up on some holidays. There’s just a wide spot on the road to park, but there’s plenty of room for an accessible van. The entrance gate has a 24-inch clearance, but after that there is a six-foot wide hard-packed dirt path out to the cars. And if you can’t manage the walk, you can still a good view from the road.