Day 22: June 30, 2011
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By mid afternoon, it was beginning to look like Kingman, Arizona, might be a convenient spot to end the day. I recalled some long ago web talk about the Hilltop Motel being a decent mom & pop but I had no idea if that was still true. But I also had no other ideas about where to stay so I decided to give it a shot. The room met my expectations for a $42 motel. The lack of AC was a wee bit troubling but it really wasn't a problem at night. All the neon works on the pictured side of the sign (The 'H' is burned out on the other.) and it does look really good when it's lit. Like the sign on the Overland in Fallon, Nevada, this one seems to be on a timer that turns it off at 10:00. I'm pretty sure of that since it was at precisely that instant that I was extending the second leg of my tripod.

I believe I got a beverage (root beer?) here once but today's breakfast was my first meal at Mr. D'z in Kingman. I liked it. The "Mr. D'z Omelet" (sausage, mushrooms, onions, & cheese) was really very good.

The phrase "Elvis & Marilyn Diner" is often used with derision. Filling a classic diner with picture and figures of the pop icons is rarely nostalgic, usually tacky, and cute only to a small (and possibly dangerous) portion of the population. But this is no classic Mountain View or Silk City and the faces on the restroom entrances are so over the top that I think they deserve some sort of an exemption.

My last stop in Kingman was to meet writer Jim Hinckley. Though we've communicated on line, we had never met and I decided to take Jim up on his open invitation to roadies. This is at his day job but Jim has managed to bring in a little of his passion with a "counter top museum" and some other items around the office.

I continued "cherry picking" and stopped briefly in Seligman, Arizona. Angel was not at the gift shop and John wasn't on duty at the Snow Cap (though I did get a glimpse of him sweeping the deck) but both operations were in capable hands.

Way back in '03 I almost drove through Springerville, Arizona. I was heading east on US 60 and turned north on US 180 less than four mile from the city center. I wasn't at all up on the Madonna of the Trail Monuments in those days and it was only much later that I realized how close I had come to the Arizona Madonna. The statues were placed to mark the National Old Trails Road though a couple were located on spurs or secondary routings. I don't have the details at hand but I believe the placement of the Madonna in Springerville had something to do with an issue between NOTRA President Harry Truman and a lady in Kingman where the placement might seem more logical. Prior to today, I'd visited eight of the twelve monuments. With the one in Albuquerque a given, I got to thinking about the one in Springerville. I plotted a course to Albuquerque through Springerville and thought it was just twenty-five minutes longer than the course without it. The time zone got me and that should have been an hour and twenty-five minutes. I'm not sure if I would have turned off of I-40 if my math had been right.

The Arizona Madonna is not in the most prestigious spot. It is in front of a shopping center and beside a McDonald's. It's the only one where I've witnessed skateboarding in close proximity to the statue but that's not to say it doesn't go on elsewhere when I'm not watching. But the statue itself looks as good as any of them. They are all identical castings. Two of the inscriptions on each base are the same for all twelve. The other two are unique for each location. Springerville's are here and here.

Going through Springerville not only allowed me to see the Madonna monument, it exposed me to some rather spectacular scenery.

The location of the Madonna of the Trail Monument in Albuquerque doesn't encourage skateboarding but some of the residents do find it a handy perch. The Albuquerque specific panels are here and here. Now only the Kansas and Colorado Madonnas entries remain unchecked on my list.

I was just over an hour from Albuquerque when an item came across the Twitter feed of Route 66 News telling of a new photo op in the city. A new neon sign had been installed at the KiMo Theater just about a month ago and was looking mighty good. Read Ron's Route 66 News blog entry here. The theater was about two blocks from my hotel and I walked down with just my pocket camera as soon as I was checked in. A concert was in progress so I could only peek inside the main seating area but the friendly folks at the door did let me room the lobbies upstairs and down. The restored theater has a nice schedule of both live performances and movies.

The fellow at the door said he thought the sign would be lit until around 10:00. I returned to the hotel, grabbed a tripod and a different camera, and then grabbed some more pictures. There is plenty of neon besides the KiMo on Central Avenue, the former US 66, and I've posted just a few more signs. The Indian sign was turned off when I returned with the tripod but I liked it so have included an earlier shot with the pocket camera. Not much of a picture but a nice sign. The El Rey theater also has a good looking neon sign. There my timing was even more precise than with the Hilltop. I framed a picture and pressed the remote. Nothing. Remote mode turns off after awhile and that is just what had happened. I re-enabled it and heard the shutter click when I pressed the button but nothing showed up on the preview. I started looking over camera settings before I realized that the big neon sign had gone dark as I clicked. Yep, 10:00. Ironically the beautiful KiMo was still glowing well past 11:00.

Hotel Blue is where I stayed. Not long ago I had looked into the hotel for a friend and it was the only place that I could remember anything about as I approached Albuquerque. When I called and found the rate a reasonable $65 I went for it. It was a good choice. Nice place, nice room.

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