At Lupton, Route 66 is right next to Interstate 40 as you cross into northern Arizona. The Old Route 66 is often a patchwork of dirt roads in the region, dating back the original 1926-era roads. The paved portions are generally part of I-40 nowadays, unless you're in the incorporated towns.
You'll start seeing signs for the world-famous, 220,000-acre Petrified Forest National Park. Known for its colorful 225-million-year-old tree fossils and fascinating historic sites, PFNP offers the Rainbow Forest Museum, Blue Mesa Trail, and the Painted Desert – seen from Route 66.
Just west of Petrified Forest, you'll reach the first incorporated town in Arizona along Route 66: Holbrook. A classic Old West town, Holbrook is also known for its definitive dinosaur displays all over town.
Founded around 1881 when the railroad came through, Holbrook was one of the wildest places in the West, considered by many in the mid-1880s to be "too tough for women and churches." One saloon saw so many gunfights it was dubbed Bucket of Blood Saloon – resulting in what is now "Bucket of Blood Street." The county seat, Holbrook features the 1898 Navajo County Courthouse – housing the Navajo County Historical Museum.
Holbrook is an appreciable distance from any other city, so for travelers this was always a significant stop for gas, food, and lodging. On the food front, old-school eateries abound. Check out Mesa Italiana Restaurant, Joe & Aggie's Café, and Wayside Café. Joe & Aggie's in particular is historical; it opened in 1943, and was referenced (in its own way) in the movie Cars. Check their long Route 66 map on their exterior sidewall before going in for an egg-wrapped chile relleno.
Just down the road is St. Joseph, an unincorporated settlement home to the oldest Mormon community in Arizona. Arriving in 1876, they originally called the area "Allen's Camp", and then St. Joseph before finally making it Joseph City in 1923, three years before Route 66 came through.
Next door in the settlement of Jackrabbit (Exit 269 on I-40), you get one recognizable Route 66 phrase: "Here It Is!" The "it" is the Jackrabbit Trading Post, dating back to 1949. See for yourself how many things you can find with a jackrabbit theme in the area.
|Best Western Arizonian Inn
2508 Navajo Blvd. (Route 66)
Holbrook, AZ 86025-1831