Route 66 - Seligman & The Roadkill Cafe

I-40 between Williams and Seligman, AZ.
West of Williams, the land rather quickly goes from forested hills to flat and open with a low mountain range in the distance. Just past I-40's exit 139 begins 160 miles of Route 66, the longest single length of Route 66 still in use today. About 38 miles past Williams is Seligman, the town on which "Radiator Springs" from the movie Cars was based and probably the most fun and interesting community we came across during our whole Mother Road trip.

Town sign as you come into Seligman
Perhaps no other town on the route harks back to the glory days of Route 66, America's Main Street, more than Seligman. When the road came through in the late 1920's, tourist traffic, along with the railroad station in town, became the main source of income. On September 22, 1978 though, I-40 opened, bypassing Seligman and the town's roads became almost deserted over-night. In 1985, the railroad closed the station and the little community was on the verge of becoming a memory and just another ghost killed by the interstate.

I was sorry we had eaten lunch in Williams just before we
arrived here. We just had a coke this time.
Today though, Seligman is still alive and doing well on tourist business.  Coming into town is the famous Roadkill Cafe. Having already eaten lunch in Williams an hour earlier, Youngest-daughter and I didn't get to partake of what is consistently rated as really good steaks and hamburgers. Even though we were not hungry, the food sure smelled good. There are so many good places to eat along the route that you just can't eat at all of them in one trip! This place is definitely on our list for next time though. Who could resist a menu which lists Splatter Platter, Swirl of Squirrel, Big Bagged Stag, and Highway Hash?  Where the waitress may tempt you with, "It was real dark last night and all the animals are in heat and  crossing the road so we have a full menu today. Would you like something to drink while you wait for the Chef's Surprise?" Um, no thank you, not this time. Could we just get a coke? We'll catch it next time.

The Aztec Motel
If you need a good place to spend the night at a reasonable price, the Aztec Motel in the middle of town is strongly recommended. In addition to the friendly staff and comfortable rooms, the location can't be beat for spending the day walking around all of the shops and stores.

So after the interstate bypassed it and the railroad stopped stopping in town, how did this place manage to survive? The difference in Seligman and other towns who are now nothing more than ruins and memories is that Seligman had the Delgadillo brothers, Angel and Juan. Just down the road from the Roadkill Cafe is the internationally famous Snow Cap Drive-in, built by Juan in 1953, and the equally famous Angel & Vilma's Original Route 66 Gift Shop. Their stories are very interesting and worthy of a full blog entry all by themselves so that will be covered next week..

One of the murals excellently painted on the walls of
the Aztec Motel.

A mural depicting "Easy Rider" painted on the Aztec Motel

Route 66 through Seligman, AZ.

Go to the first Route 66 entry here.
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