Day 5 – Rock On


This was a day of wide swings–temperature range, start time, side trips We began a bit later than our usual start time for various reasons, including the not-well-known (at least to us) fact that Arizona does not go on Daylight Savings Time, and a couple of early in the day unplanned side trips (aren’t those great?).

First, before we left Holbrook, Arizona, a chance encounter at the petrol station with a prison corrections officer who told us that his neighbor had several Corvairs resting in his yard compelled us to take a look and sure enough there was at least one from each of the five years (1960-1964) of the first generation.

Tony also told us we shouldn’t buy any petrified rocks–and without us asking why he said–because you can get them free, they are laying around in lots of places and he gave us a couple from his yard. Second, once again on the way out of town (we thought) we saw Kesters Volkswagen Werks, a garage with an assemblage of interesting (to Steve, anyway) vehicles, mostly VW or derivatives thereof, including a stretched bug limo.

We had an interesting chat with the owner who shares the same last name as Steve’s mothers maiden name–small world.

Here is an update on the performance of the Corvair: nearly flawless execution of what has been asked of it (a lot) as we have gone from just below freezing temperatures (Michigan, where else?) to quite hot 90s in Arizona.

Two days ago, in Oklahoma, we added one quart of oil, nothing since and this morning tightened the fan belt as it had probably stretched with the 2,000 miles it had kept the generator charged and the engine cooled. Quite satisfactory performance (can you say exceeds expectations?) for a 50-year-old motor vehicle would seem to be an appropriate description.

Driving on to Flagstaff and climbing thousands of feet in elevation, we found old Route 66 and followed it into the Historic District where we lunched. The temperature was in the low 60s with a nice breeze and ample sunshine, most definitely what passes for a nice day in Michigan! It is often a quandary where to eat in a strange/new locale, so we asked a young lady, what she would suggest.

Without hesitation she said the Lumberyard Brewing Company, right across the street, and suggested the Hummus Reuben, which was a great vegetarian choice (Steve would have gotten one to go for his wife, but was sure it would not keep and had have to eat that one, too).

Mark had a gluten-free burrito and coffee and Steve enjoyed a pint of their IPA–in case you are wondering, yes, Mark did the driving for the next hour or two. Before we left Flagstaff we stopped at another Chevrolet dealer and posed the well rehearsed proposition again to swap even up, no cash to Steve, the Corvair w/o A/C for a Corvette w/ A/C and this time it seemed we hit pay dirt–“yes, we can do that, just one small matter–we don’t have any Corvettes” (kind of like the “free beer tomorrow” sign). Imagine how crestfallen Steve was, thinking he had some negotiating skills that he didn’t. Nevertheless, Flagstaff seems like a very livable city.

The next leg was on I-40 until we detoured to the Old Route 66 into the town of Seligman, Arizona (how many Route 66 themed souvenir shops can one small town support?). Along the way we saw four separate Burma Shave jingles (new and fully readable, but true to the originals)–if you don’t know what these are, ask your Grandpa.

Rejoining I-40, we continued westward as the temperature got hotter and the scenery got more cartoon background like (where the same scenery goes by over and over behind the Roadrunner). We crossed the Colorado River from Arizona into California and stopped for the night in Needles, California where it was sunny and HOT (93 degrees).

The A/C worked nicely in the hotel room, a welcome respite from the drive perched on vinyl seats (you know, the ones where, when you get out of the car, your shirt back is all wet and sticks to the seat–sorry if this is too graphic, but it happened).

So ends Day 5 where we traveled our shortest distance so far, about 340 miles, but think how hard that little car had to work going up all that elevation.

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