Saturday, March 6, 2010

An Arizona Adventure

We flew into Las Vegas last night for the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. The show doesn't start until Tuesday, but needing a break from Iowa winter, we flew in a few days early. Neither of us gamble, and we tend to get a little overwhelmed by the commotion, so a few days out of Sin City seemed in order. Bright and early yesterday morning, we rented a car from Dollar, and headed south on Hwy 93, with the Dawg in tow.

Our route took us across the Hoover Dam. Big and impressive, yes, but really not our kind of sight-seeing, so we stopped long enough for a few quick photos and hit the road again. Down the road a ways we saw "The Last Stop." It looked promising, and we believed the sign, so we pulled over only to find that the saloon was closed. So we grabbed some provisions and cheesy souvenirs at the mini mini mart. After waiting in line for what seemed like an hour while the cashier resolved a credit card issue on the phone and then explained the entire Arizona lottery system to the man at the front of the line, we were finally on the road again.

After leaving "The Last Stop," we traveled a long distance of oh...2 miles to the next stop - Rosie's Den. This looked like our kind of place! We stopped for a bite to eat and to sample a Grand Canyon Brew (the pale ale was really good!), and spent some time visiting with Scott and Season, the bar managers. They promised to carry Hair of the Dawg when it becomes available in their area!

We still had plenty to do, so we jumped back in the car to get to the Grand Canyon West. All the way I was stunned by the landscape, as larger and larger mountains and bluffs came into view...beautiful! At the Hualapai Reservation, we hopped on a tour bus, which took us out Eagle Point (can you see the eagle in the picture below?) and the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Seeing it for the first time, the canyon is just awe-inspiring. The bus then took us to Guano Point, where we saw the remnants of an old tram, which carried guano "miners" 8800 feet across the canyon (4000 feet in the air) to a cave where they mined for...bat poop. Nice work, if you can get it, huh? No thanks.

Wanting to reach Kingman by 5:00, so we could do a little exploring around the Route 66 town, we took off, and in Griswold style, ended up driving 40 miles on a dirt road. But at the end of it, there it was...Route 66! We stopped for a celebratory High Life at the Outpost Saloon, where Roberta the bartender gave us some tips for the next day's itinerary.

18 more miles to Kingman. We drove into town anticipating vintage neon, great nightclubs and kitschy stops, and were disappointed to find that many of these stops have gone by the wayside. So we stopped at a wine bar for a snack and to ask the proprietor for a restaurant recommendation. He suggested Mattina's - an italian place just around the block.

Jackpot. We knew by the lovely, garlicky aromas when we walked in that we were going to love it. But that wasn't the best part. The hostess stopped by our table to chat. She reminded us SO much of our friend, Kirby, it was uncanny. Kirby and her husband, Kevin, are two of our favorite travel companions. When we travel together, we fly by the seat of our pants, and always find a great adventure. I can't tell you how many times that day we had said, "I wish Kevin & Kirby were here!" So it was especially gratifying to find her doppelganger at the end of the road. We learned also that her last name was Bono, so I had to ask. To my surprise, her answer was, "Yes, Sonny was my husband's first cousin." We left Mattina's with full tummies, and a promise to be back. Time to call it a day.

And now, I better sign off. I gotta' go get my kicks, on Route 66!