Day Trip: Kingman, Arizona

On March 16th, we took The Blue Spirit down to Kingman, Arizona for the first Chillin' On Beale of 2019.

Chillin' on Beale Street is a monthly cruise-in car show & block party that takes place in downtown Kingman from the spring to the fall. We had planned to attend the final event of 2018 last October, but our plans fell through. This year's first event was on March 16th and was the first CoB that we have attended. It was great fun!

En Route: Santa Claus, Arizona
On the way down highway US 93 to Kingman from Las Vegas, we made a short stop at an abandoned roadside attraction known as Santa Claus, Arizona. The settlement was begun in 1937 by a real estate agent whose intent was to develop a Christmas-themed resort town. The Santa Claus Inn restaurant was very popular, and other buildings were added with a fairy tale theme, such as Cinderella's doll house and the house of the third little pig. Though the real estate development never got off the ground, the restaurant and children's attractions thrived for many years, as well as a post office that could issue official postmarks from "Santa Claus" during the Christmas season.

By the 1970s Santa Claus was in decline, and all businesses were closed by the mid-1990s. More than 25 years later, there are few buildings left - mainly the Santa Claus Inn (later the Christmas Tree Inn), the Santa's Land office/gas station building, and the third little pig's house. The buildings are vandalized, covered with graffiti and fenced off, so we didn't venture inside.

The remains of the Santa Claus Inn/Christmas Tree Inn, with wishing well.

Santa Claus Arizona is in poor repair.

This building was the home of the third little pig - made from brick, of course.

National Old Trails Road/Old Route 66
After Santa Claus, we continued toward the main event in Kingman. We arrived mid-day and took a short cruise south of town, along a dead-end section of Route 66. Leading south from 4th St., this road was previously the National Old Trails Road before it was Route 66, and was bypassed by a newer alignment of 66 around the 1940s. It affords some wonderful views of the landscape and railroad bridges south of Kingman, and a taste of how it might have been to travel the old road 70-100 years ago.

National Old Trails Road/Route 66. Compare to...

The same location about 90 years ago. (via Allen Greer, original source unknown)

Dead End. But for a few hundred feet of private property, this alignment could be a through route.

Downtown Kingman
Heading back to town, we made a stop at our favorite Kingman coffee and smoothie stop, Beale Street Brews, and then it was time to figure out where to park. Chillin' on Beale normally occurs on the 3rd Saturday of the month, from March or April to October. Beale Street is the main street of downtown Kingman, one block off Andy Devine Avenue (which is historic Route 66). Having never owned a 'cool' car before last September, we had never really participated in a cruise-in car show before. CoB is very laid-back, with many cars cruising on Beale, and classic & cool cars parked on the street for several blocks. There was a DJ playing classic tunes, lots of folks walking around and many restaurants and stores open all along Beale. The theme for this CoB was Route 66 art, and entrants were encouraged to present artwork for judging. We had no Route 66 art to contribute ourselves so we were content to just hang around and chat on this lovely sunny day.

The new arch welcoming eastbound visitors to downtown Kingman on Beale Street.

Beale Street Brews, a week before Chillin' on Beale.

We were lucky to catch a spot next to some cool vintage cars.

Just a few of the cars that came out (sorry for the fuzziness). There were dozens more lining the street.

Jessica is loving the vintage buildings, the sweet Camaro, and showing off The Blue Spirit.

Despite its closeness to Las Vegas and California, there aren't a lot of Teslas around (aside from those passing through at the Kingman supercharger), so we got a fair bit of attention from passersby throughout the afternoon. There were many great classic cars lining the streets, but we only saw some of them as we stayed close to our car in order to answer questions. I spoke on the phone with Josh Noble from the City of Kingman about EV charging. There are plans underway to add charging at the Kingman Powerhouse, which is home to both the Arizona Route 66 Museum and the Route 66 EV Museum of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation. I look forward to seeing EV charging available in the future at this amazing location!

The Powerhouse on an earlier visit.

As Chillin' on Beale wound down, we were able to meet up with author and Route 66 expert Jim Hinckley, who is working to promote Route 66 not just in Kingman but all along the route. Mr. Hinckley is an amazing resource of knowledge, history and enthusiasm. After a chat over dinner at Rickety Cricket Brewing, we needed to head home. A short charge of 10 minutes or so at the Kingman supercharger and we were off towards Nevada. This time we took AZ State Highway 68 west through Golden Valley, passing by Laughlin, Nevada and eventually north on US 95 to Railroad Pass. We stopped for another quick few minutes of charge at the Railroad Pass superchargers before driving through the Las Vegas valley to home.

I feel I must apologize for a relative lack of photos this time. I'm still getting used to blogging, and realizing that I must take more pictures!

Goodbye until next time, folks!


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