Route 66 through Aubrey Valley leading away from Seligman,AZ.
Enjoyable as it was, we put Seligman behind us and kept heading west, always west. From Seligman to the next good-sized town, Kingman, is about 80 miles and gas stations are few along the way and expensive so if needed, you should fill up before driving this stretch.
After passing under the I-40 overpass, Route 66 crosses through Aubrey Valley and a few small communities and ghost towns while crossing the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Don’t be in a hurry; it’s a nice drive. The buttes and mesas landscape will remind you of almost every western movie Hollywood ever made. We passed through Peach Springs, the center of the reservation and on to the mostly deserted town of Valentine.
Route-66 through the southern part of the Hualapai Reservation
In Valentine, there stands a large, 2-story red brick school-house that was built in 1901. It was the school for the local Indian children and served as a boarding school for Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Papago, Havasupai, and Mohave children who were often forcibly taken from their parents and homes and taught to be white. A different day school building was built for the local white children. The Indian school closed in 1937 for a short time, but was re-opened and served until finally being closed in 1969. It wasn’t one of America’s finer moments.
Until 1990, Valentine had a small contract post office which would receive thousands of Valentine cards each year from people who wanted their cards re-mailed with the heart-shaped postmark used by Jacqueline Grigg, the lady who ran the post office. That stopped on August 15, 1990 when a man robbed the post office and shot Jacqueline. He removed the tags from the motorcycle he had been riding, hid it behind the building and stole Mrs. Grigg’s yellow 1979 Ford station wagon. He drove off with a little cash and a few blank money orders, leaving Jacqueline to die. Two days later, the 19-year-old man from Tennessee drove the yellow Ford into the parking lot of a Laguna Beach, California police station and confessed the murder to a city employee. A policeman who happened to be walking by heard the conversation and took the murderer into custody. The following week, Jacqueline’s grief-stricken husband bulldozed the blood-stained Valentine post office and left town never to be heard from again.
Giganticus Headicus on Route 66
About 66 miles from Seligman, at the corner where Antares Road meets Route 66 (N 35° 25.137 W 113° 48.481) is Giganticus Headicus, a 14-foot tall wood and stucco Polynesian Tiki head thing. It sits next to a convenience store at the Kozy Corner Trailer Court. It is one of those off-beat things you sometimes run across during a road trip; so off-beat that it has almost become legendary. It was built in 2004 by Gregg Arnold so it is not a nostalgia remnant of the Mother Road, but in less than 10 years, it has become firmly associated with taking a Route 66 road trip. People from all over the world stop here to get their picture taken in front of Giganticus Headicus. It’s just kinda cool.
The author, like many other people, just had to get his picture taken with Giganticus Headicus!
Shortly after leaving Giganticus Headicus is the town of Valle Vista. No reason to stop here, at least not for this road trip’s purposes, as this is a town built around a golf course in 1972 as I-40 was being built. The only reason for note is because it is the newest community on Route 66.
After a nice drive of 80 miles west out of Seligman is the good-sized town of Kingman, birthplace of Andy Devine. With about 28,000 residents itself and another 38,000 or so living in the close by Butler and Golden Valley communities, there are a number of motels, eating places and service stations to choose from. If nothing else, you should top off your gas tank here as this is the last place to get “cheaper” gas; at least cheaper than California. From here, we’ll be heading over some rather remote sections to Oatman and the California state line.