Day 3: Peach Springs to Seligman - Indian Country part two, 2018 - CycleBlaze

May 11, 2018

Day 3: Peach Springs to Seligman

I got on the road at 7:45 after breakfast at the hotel's restaurant. My $149 room does not include breakfast.

The temperature was only 70F (21C). No worries about heat today! The day started with a gentle 600 foot climb through juniper-dotted hills. It's nice to see junipers. Evidence that I'm in the high desert, far higher than where the tour started.

View of the 1930's alignment of Route 66. Most of the pavement is still there.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today I had several views of the old alignment of Route 66. I suspect the old road was built in the 1930's. The 1926 roadbed is long gone. A fence always separated the highway and the old road, so I wasn't able to walk onto the old road.

Riding on the 1960's alignment of Route 66 with a view of the 1930's alignment below.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I left the Hualapai Nation after a few miles. Route 66 passes through just the southeast corner of their 1142 square mile (2960 square km) reservation.

Heart 0 Comment 0

I don't notice much difference after leaving the Hualapai reservation. The area is so sparsely populated that there are no ranch gates, roads, or houses. Just fenced high desert grazing land.

After the big hilltop was a short descent to the next valley which is all grass with no junipers. The east side of the hill is noticeably more dry.

In the valley I turned right into the Grand Canyon Caverns property. A large motel, restaurant, and convenience store are adjacent to the highway. Unfortunately the caverns is 1.3 miles up a steep dead end road. No problem. I have plenty of time to spare today.

In the caverns gift shop I took a photo of an "Indian Ten Commandments" poster. I have no idea how authentic or universal the commandments are among Native Americans.

At the Grand Canyon Caverns gift shop.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I arrived at the caverns at 10:15 and bought a ticket for the 11 AM 45-minute guided tour. I have time to kill because the restaurant doesn't open until noon.

Grand Canyon Caverns.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Grand Canyon caverns is privately owned. The cave was developed in the 1950's. It took several years to install the elevator, lighting, concrete walkways, and railings. Access is very easy because an elevator takes visitors 250 feet underground.

Theater and rental apartment in Grand Canyon Caverns.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The caverns has a theater in a large room. Adjacent to the theater is an apartment that can be rented. Bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom.

Disaster supplies stored in Grand Canyon Caverns. 250 feet underground.
Heart 0 Comment 0

One area of the caverns has an extremely large cache of disaster supplies funded by U.S. Civil Defense. I didn't know that agency still existed after the cold war. The supplies are enough to keep 2000 people alive for several weeks. Assuming anybody can GET to the supplies after a nuclear apocalypse.

Heart 0 Comment 0

I liked the cave tour. The cave wasn't very cold, about 62F (17C). The tour requires a lot of walking, some of it on steep slopes. Most cave tours are 10% walking and 90% standing still (and freezing) while the guide lectures. This tour had plenty of walking to keep me warm. I walked about a mile inside the cave. The cave is totally dry. No drips, no pools of water anywhere.

There is no evidence that animals lived in the cave. The bobcat most likely fell into the cave by accident.
Heart 0 Comment 0

While I was waiting for my tour I saw a group of motorcyclist arrive, saying they had a reservation for lunch in the caverns. I ate lunch at the restaurant on the surface. Same food, 1/10 the price.

Underground dining room in Grand Canyon Caverns. $95 per person for lunch, with 2 alcoholic beverages included.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The temperature was 75F when I left the caverns at 12:30 PM. Perfect except for the strong wind.

After leaving Grand Canyon Caverns Route 66 goes southeast. I wasn't expecting to have a tailwind today. Instead I had an extremely strong crosswind which slowed me down to 7-8 mph. Wind made the weather seem almost cool even though the temperature was 80F. Good thing today's ride is relatively short with moderate climbing.

View of the Coconino plateau ahead.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Ahead I could see the immense Coconino Plateau. I will be on the plateau tomorrow.

Route 66 turned south for 3 miles to get around the southern tip of the plateau. Gentle uphill with a 30 mph headwind. Painfully slow.

For much of the day I saw a nearly constant parade of trains go by on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad.

Climbing to Seligman alongside the train.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The southern tip of the plateau has exposed red rocks. The only red rocks I saw today.

After having somewhat heavy traffic yesterday, I was pleased that today had very little traffic and the shoulder is well paved.

The only red rock formation I saw today.
Heart 0 Comment 0

After fighting the wind most of the afternoon it was a relief to turn east for the final 3 miles to Seligman. Finally a bit of tailwind to end the day.

Note the erect flags on the left.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Seligman was founded as a railroad town but today it is very much a Route 66 tourist town. The birthplace of the movement to get Route 66 designated as a national scenic byway. Population 10,031 but it seems smaller.

Tourist stuff in Seligman.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Inside the jail. Not sure if it is restored original or a reproduction.
Heart 0 Comment 0

I enjoyed looking at all the Route 66 themed stuff in Seligman. That's why I'm here. That's why every visitor is here. At 4:20 PM I checked into my $82 reserved room at Historic Route 66 Motel.

The Arizona flag shows that the wind was very strong.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Dinner was next door at the Roadkill Cafe, not the best dinner of the trip.

I had dinner at the Roadkill cafe.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Even my motel room was decorated with Route 66 paraphernalia. No shortage of Route 66 icons in Seligman!

Every decoration in the room has a Route 66 or automotive theme.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Seligman is 5242 feet (1588 m) elevation. Today had a high of only 82F (28C). The relentless southwest wind kept me cool and dry. It was an easy bicycling day despite unfavorable wind.

It was also a good tour day. The caverns tour was a nice diversion in the morning and Seligman had a lot of interesting Route 66 stuff to see in the afternoon.

Distance: 40.3 mi. (64.5 km)
Ascent/Descent: +2194/-1749 ft. (+665/-530 m)
Average Speed: 7.9 mph (12.6 km/h)

Today's ride: 40 miles (64 km)
Total: 128 miles (206 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0