Skimming the surface is not really what Route 66 tourism is all about. One simply has to make the decision to dive in head first and go for the gusto when touring old historic Route 66! There has to be some genuine excitement generated about the nostalgic past to make the travel plans click. Visiting the cheesy tourist attractions, choosing to eat the daily special at a local diner and opting to stay at a 1950s style motel that has a weird theme is all part of the charm! Delving into all that the nostalgic past has to offer when touring Route 66 is guaranteed to create plenty of good memories to bring back home!
Holbrook, Arizona certainly is a Route 66 destination where visitors can relive the nostalgic past. There are plenty of intangibles here awaiting to be discovered here too. Back in the old days when Route 66 tourism was a wild and wooly new frontier, Holbrook was a premier destination for travelers on the Mother Road. Holbrook was the perfect place to set up a basecamp for adventures in the nearby Petrified Forest National Park. The same holds true in modern times and the ancient Petrified Forest theme is still ever so present in this old town.
Dinosaur statues, rock shops and native trading posts line the streets of Holbrook, just like back in the old days when everybody wanted to experience the exotic Southwest. Instead of just looking through glass at dinosaur fossils and petrified wood at a museum back home, visitors can actually touch these artifacts at a trading post or in the fields of the Petrified Forest National Park. In a way, something is gained by making direct contact with items from the ancient past. Just by holding a piece of petrified wood, one cannot help but to be captivated by thoughts of what this barren desert region must have been like a few million years ago. The captivation leads to fascination and an opportunity to learn a little something. Before long, the Route 66 venture takes on a scientific theme and this is the magic of the Route 66 Holbrook experience!
Holbrook tourism also has its roots in the old wild west. Cattle rustling was a major problem in this region and many ranch wars took place. There were a few famous gun battles that happened in Holbrook before the Arizona Territory was settled. In fact Holbrook was so rough and tumble, that in the early 1900s this town was deemed as being too unruly for women and churches.
The toughness of Holbrook in the old wild west days actually benefited this town in one big way. It made it easy to find strong characters that were tough enough to be recruited as Pony Express riders. The Hashknife Pony Express is one of the most famous mail delivery systems of them all and this tradition still runs strong in Holbrook. In the month of January or February each year, a commemorative Hashknife Pony Express run takes place from Holbrook all the way south to Scottsdale and all points in between. A team of duly appointed Pony Express Riders deliver the mail the old fashioned way by horseback over the old west trails that are cut through the rough terrain.
The official starting date of the Hashknife Pony Express event is usually early in February, while the weather is cool. Visitors who are lucky enough to be in Holbrook on this date can get their letters and postcards stamped with an official Pony Express ink mark, which instantly adds collectible value. The celebratory events surrounding the annual Hashknife Pony Express Run do provide plenty of entertainment for visitors of all ages. It is not everyday that one gets a chance to meet a real Pony Express rider in this modern age, but is possible to do so while touring old historic Holbrook!
Holbrook absolutely is a time capsule of the golden age of Route 66. The two main drag roads through town are lined with one classic original Route 66 style theme motel after another. There is also one particular lodging option that is very much en vogue in the opinion of die hard Route 66 enthusiasts. Holbrook happens to be the home of the world famous Wigwam Motel!
The Wigwam Motel experience is like stepping back into the past to a time when selecting a corny theme motel on Route 66 was part of the travel adventure. The Wigwam Motel rooms actually are individual concrete teepees, so as can be imagined, the accommodation experience is beyond compare from the start. With the resurgence of classic Route 66 tourism, spending a night at the Wigwam Motel is something that should rank high on the vacation itinerary. Needless to say, it is best to call and make reservations well ahead of time, so you are guaranteed to get a teepee of your very own to call home for the night!
The Hashknife Pony Express Event is reason enough to visit Holbrook during the winter season, but this time of year is also best for exploring the Petrified Forest National Park next door, because the triple digit heat of summer has a way of calling the day short. Letting the kids play with the dinosaurs while shopping for native jewelry before munching at a local diner, then settling into a slumber inside a concrete teepee is how a Route 66 tourist spends a typical day in Holbrook. One would be hard pressed to find a vacation experience like this anywhere else around the globe!
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