It is funny, coming to a place again.  I’ve been to Needles several times, although I don’t think I’ve ever stayed overnight before.  My memory is that it is an all right little town in the desert.  This time, coming from the west and staying overnight, it appeared to be a sad town on the river.  Well, it is on the Colorado River.  Coming from the east, the interstate crosses the river some distance from Needles and then travels out of sight of the river a while before hitting the town.  Perhaps I’ve always approached from the east before.  It’s made me muse about how our impression of a place is so tied into how we approach it, both geographically and personally — our history and our mindset.

We left Needles the back way, to drive historic Route 66 through Oatman, Arizona.  This is an interesting little side trip if you have the time.  It’s an old mining town in the mountains(?) on old 66.  Most of the miners have gone, but they left their burros behind.  We got there before the burros had commuted into town but ran across some making their way there.

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As far as I can see, the town survives on tourists.  It was still getting ready for us visitors when we got there.


Heading east from Oatman, the old highway is narrow and very twisty.  Here’s our navigation system on the road:

I have a vague memory of traveling out west with my family, I think in 1954.  There was one particularly hair-raising road.  It was steep and narrow with unprotected drop-offs.  Coming from the midwest, that road made a lasting impression on me.  I’m pretty sure this is that road.

On the way down the hill, our center console, including the navigation system, rebooted itself.  It was rather unnerving.  We stopped in Kingman to charge.  I called Tesla.  They were able to download the information from the car(!) and reassured me everything looked normal, so we continued east on the interstate.

We stopped for lunch in Seligman, on the way to Flagstaff.  This was our first meal stop not at a charge station.


We encountered snow flurries as we climbed to Flagstaff.  It was nothing significant — just some isolated white drops in the air — but we could see it snowing up in the mountains.  After charging there, we drove on to Winslow (Standing on the Corner … ).  We checked into La Posada, the last of the great Harvey Hotels on the railroad, built in 1930.  After years of uses other than a hotel, it was bought and restored.  It is now a wonderful place to stay, beautiful as a building, decorated with wonderful artwork.  (And they have a Tesla charger — not a supercharger but an overnight charger.)  If you come this way, stay here overnight.

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Supper was in the hotel’s Turquoise Room.  For me, there can be a problem with going back to a restaurant where I had wonderful food.  Will it be the same?  Was it wonderful because I had no expectations?  Have my expectations and memories outstripped reality?  But we were not disappointed.  To have food this good is remarkable.  To have food like that in a struggling little town in the middle of the high desert just amazes me.

It was quite a day of food, from some of the worst coffee I’ve had in years at breakfast, to the Roadkill Cafe, to the sublime Turquoise Room.  Wow.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

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