Day 10 on Route 66 — Petrified trees, a grand old hotel, a neat little diner

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(July 3, 2016) WINSLOW, Ariz. — La Posada was once a grand hotel serving high-end cliental arriving in Winslow, Ariz., on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway lines. The train depot was finished in 1929 and the hotel — owned and operated by famous hotel magnate Fred Harvey — was completed in 1930, one of the last of a series of hotel-depot complexes built across the Southwestern U.S. in a collaboration between Harvey and the railroad company.

One of the many public sitting rooms in the restored La Podsada Hotel near old Route 66 in Winslow, Ariz.

The hotel went out of business in 1957 and was turned into offices, but was later abandoned. Allen Affeldt purchased the run-down building in 1997, and restoration started immediately — and it continues today. We don't know if the hotel has been restored to its 1930s splendor, but we found it a very impressive place with a unique, but grand style. And it's again served by the railroad in the form of Amtrak.

The MotorwayAmerica crew of Jim and Luci Meachen and Ted and Trudye Biederman made it a stop on their 16-day road trip on old Route 66, and discovered first-hand the charm of La Posada. If you visit Winslow, but don't book a room (at reasonable rates), it will still be worth your time to stroll through the many sitting rooms and gift shops. You will find it an amazing experience.

Of course, the Motorway travelers had to visit Standin' on the Corner Park — opened in 1999 — commemorating the song written by Jackson Browne and the late Glenn Frey and made famous by the Eagles. The song has the verse, "Well, I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me." The park includes a life-size statue of Jackson Browne and has become the one place in Arizona to have your picture taken. As we sat across the street while the women shopped, we noticed a steady stream of tourists come and go, cameras in hand. Luci got in her time with Jackson Browne (above).

The MotorwayAmerica crew has traveled about 1,600 miles in 10 days from Chicago on as much of the Mother Road that still exists and found Saturday afternoon that the 2016 Dodge Durango AWD with the standard Pentestar V-6 engine, is averaging 23.5 miles per gallon. That's excellent mileage considering the big SUV is rated at 18 mpg city, 25 highway and 21 overall. Thank you Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for the perfect vehicle for a Route 66 adventure.

The next couple of days will be devoted more to sightseeing and less to travel as we trek about 100 miles to Cameron, Ariz., to celebrate the Fourth of July at the Grand Canyon.

Saturday started out with a visit to the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert National Park, about 20 miles from Holbrook, Ariz., before we started our journey to Winslow on a mixture of old 66 and Interstate 40. The scenery is breathtaking on the 26-mile drive through the park. A side note — Route 66 once ran through the national park.

A scene in Petrified Forest National Park

On recommendations from a couple of people, we ate breakfast at Tom and Suzie's Restaurant in  Holbrook Saturday morning. The staff was friendly and the food was excellent so we decided to stop there for a late lunch on our way back from the national park. "Hey you guys were here this morning," one of patrons (who obviously was also there for both breakfast and lunch) said as we walked in the door. We got to know some of the staff and learned the history of the eating place. By the way, lunch was as good as breakfast.

Then it was on to Winslow making a brief stop at the Jackrabbit Trading Post, a convenience store and curio shop located on fold Route 66, five miles west of Joseph City and near exit 269 on I40. There we encountered a giant Jackrabbit. And of course Luci and Trudey were encouraged to pose next to monster animal.

We've discovered there are a lot of giant things on Route 66.