Event Report: Route 66 Fun Run

The Arizona Route 66 Fun Run is the biggest yearly Route 66 event in Arizona. The 32nd annual fun run took place May 3-5, and stretched from Seligman in the east to Topock/Golden Shores in the west. We were traveling 66 in The Blue Spirit on all 3 days. Here are some highlights from our EV-driving perspective.

Since this was our first year participating in the whole 3 days of the event, we were a little inexperienced on how best to spend our time, so there was quite a bit that we missed! Many of our friends were there and so we spent some time catching up with them rather than covering all the possible activities that were available. The Route 66 Association of Arizona lines up a whole lot of things to do for their showcase event, so you should head over to their site for a full accounting of what goes on, along with a lot of great photos.

Friday: Heading to Seligman

After leaving home in Las Vegas, our first stop on Friday was the Kingman Tesla supercharger. The charging infrastructure in northwest Arizona is not that great, so I wanted to top off in Kingman to make our next two days' journeying as easy as possible. We plugged in and headed down the block to Calico's Restaurant for lunch. Even though the Kingman supercharger can be somewhat slow as superchargers go, our car was half-charged when we arrived so it reached nearly full by the end of our lunch break.

Charging with 3 other Teslas in Kingman

After a good lunch at Calico's we headed over to the Powerhouse, Kingman's visitor center and home of the Arizona Route 66 Museum as well as the Historic Electric Vehicle Museum. Both of these attractions are well worth visiting if you are in town. I chatted with Josh from the City of Kingman about the possibility of getting EV charging at the Powerhouse, and I am happy to report that they are working on it! They have a charging unit with J1772 plug that was donated to them, and hopefully they will be able to have it installed soon.

After the Powerhouse visit we headed east on 66 towards Seligman. Our motel reservation for the night was at Grand Canyon Caverns, a classic Route 66 attraction about 25 miles west of Seligman. We checked in before proceeding, so it would not matter how late we returned Friday night. We then continued on toward Seligman, which was absolutely overflowing with classic and not-so-classic cars of every description. We quickly ran into some friends in the middle of town and chatted for quite awhile, but soon it was time to pick up our registration packet. The Fun Run packet includes a commemorative license plate, a shirt (with more available), a baseball cap, a canvas bag, a poster and other goodies from sponsors.

Route 66 heading east from Seligman

Many of our friends were staying in Williams for the night, and a group dinner was planned there Friday night. After a short visit with the wonderful Marie at the Aztec Motel in Seligman, we continued east to Williams for dinner at the Red Raven, a very nice restaurant in the heart of downtown Williams. Afterwards we were given the opportunity to check out Pete's Route 66 Gas Station Museum, also in downtown Williams, outside of their normal operating hours. Thank you, Pete and Esther!

The Aztec Motel, Seligman

Eventually it was time to head back to our motel room at Grand Canyon Caverns. We had not charged the car since Kingman but we still had plenty of range to get back to our motel room for the night. We arrived back at Grand Canyon Caverns at around 11pm with about 55 miles of estimated range. I inquired about charging near our motel room, but they have no 240-volt plugs near the rooms. This may change in the future, but for now 240-volt charging is available only at the RV park. The unusual thing about Grand Canyon Caverns accommodations is that the Caverns Inn and restaurant is near Route 66, while the actual cavern entrance and RV park are about a mile away down their private road. I was aware of this however, so it was not a surprise. We headed to bed and I set an alarm for early the next morning so I could take the car up to the RV park to charge it.

The Caverns Inn, Grand Canyon Caverns, along with a lovely Corvette


Saturday: Cruising to Kingman

My day began quite early, at 5 am. Charging at the Grand Canyon Caverns RV park is included for motel and caverns guests, but the RV park is 1 mile away from the motel rooms. So, I drove the car out to the RV park next to the caverns entrance and plugged in, then walked back to our motel room (about 20 minutes) and went back to bed. By 6:30 am we were ready to start the day for real and get ready to go. Breakfast is included with your stay at the motel, so after we ate and packed up, I walked back to the RV park to pick up the car. The RV park has standard NEMA 14-50 outlets at their camp sites, and I had brought with us the Tesla Mobile Connector that came with our car, which includes a 14-50 plug. Although a 50 amp outlet should be capable of a sustained rate of 40 amps, the Tesla Mobile Connector has a maximum output of 32 amps. I unplugged almost exactly 3 hours after I had plugged in, having added 90 miles of range. The car's battery was only about half full but I deemed this enough for the day's cruise.

Charging at Grand Canyon Caverns

Watch out for the Sheriff!

We headed back into Seligman for the start of the cruise, and it was even more busy than on Friday evening. Hundreds of cars lined the streets, parked and ready to begin the cruise to Kingman. Many more cars were just cruising through town, and a sea of pedestrians strolled the street. Once again we met many friends who were here for the event, and spent a lot of time catching up. We did find the time to visit Angel and Vilma's Route 66 Gift Shop. Angel Delgadillo spearheaded the resurrection of Route 66 as a historic destination in the late 1980s, after its official decommissioning. Not long after we said hello to Angel it was time for him to go to the west end of Seligman to officially begin the cruise. 800 cars heading out of town takes a good long while! We began our own cruise well after the first stream of lined-up cars, and we cruised through town from one end to the other a couple of times before heading west.

Angel and Vilma's Gift Shop, an icon of the road in Seligman

Cars lined up as far as the eye can see in Seligman

A DeLorean is one of the few cars that can safely cruise with its doors open


The Snow Cap, a Seligman institution

The actual cruise west on 66 for the fun run is very leisurely; keep to the speed limit, stop where you like, and there are classic cars everywhere you go. Grand Canyon Caverns was particularly hopping, with a live band playing from a stage in the parking lot, and free ice cream and pie for visitors. The town of Peach Springs was quite busy with visitors, and more live music, which we listened to while enjoying some delicious Hualapai fry bread. We stopped at only a few other spots on the route - the now-closed Frontier Motel in Truxton was a quick stop for photos, and we stayed a little longer at Antares Point, home of Giganticus Headicus, a property which has gained some new life since our last visit. Our main constraint was that we needed to be in Kingman by 2 pm for a meet-up with Route 66 roadie friends at Beale Street Brews.

Lots of visitors at Grand Canyon Caverns. Maybe they were there for the pie.

At the caverns entrance, Grand Canyon Caverns

Enjoying music and fry bread in Peach Springs

Traveling at 66 on 66, with 66 miles of range

The Frontier Motel and Cafe, Truxton

Hackberry General Store

A hot rod and a cool EV at Antares Point

The Blue Spirit with Giganticus Headicus, Antares Point

An amazing model of the Twin Arrows Trading Post cafe by the late Willem Bor, on display at Antares Point
 
When you register for the fun run you can choose to be judged or not; since I was told that this year there would be an award category for electric cars, I chose to have us judged, which required that the car be parked for viewing from 3 pm to 5 pm. There is a giant Route 66 shield in the street for all entrants to drive through, and several blocks of 66 are closed to regular traffic while cars pull in and park for display throughout the afternoon. We parked The Blue Spirit just a short distance from the giant shield as many cars had already filled up the farther blocks.

Arrival in Kingman

Everyone who enters the fun run gets to drive through the giant Route 66 shield

Cars on display stretch into the distance, Kingman


After the meetup at Beale Street Brews, it was back to our car, to relax and answer questions from any visitors that came by until 5pm, when judging was officially over and we could move the car. We answered quite a few questions from people who were unfamiliar with electric cars, and chatted with other car owners. As far as we could tell, ours may have been the only electric car entered into the fun run this year. The photographer at the big shield said when we arrived that we were the first Tesla to come through, and most cars had already arrived by that point.

On display in Kingman

Ready for questions as both a truck and a train pass by, Kingman


After judging was over, we tried to check in to our hotel for the evening but ran out of time before we needed to be at our next stop: Calico's once again for a roadie dinner - it seems I am repeating myself! Some of the same folks were at Beale Street Brews, and some different. There are so many wonderful people in the Route 66 community that it is always a highlight to meet with friends at events, over lunch or dinner, or wherever on the road you can. This time, I dropped off Jessica at Calico's and then drove the car over to the Kingman supercharger, walking the short distance back to the restaurant. After all the day's cruising, including an abortive attempt to check in at our hotel that took us about 6 miles, I plugged in with 16 miles of range remaining - about 5%. The Kingman supercharger was not charging at full speed this evening so it took longer than it could have to charge, but this was not a problem; when we returned after about 90 minutes the car was nearly full. Many thanks to Sam and Frank of Pendemonium, for giving us a little ride back to the supercharger so we wouldn't have to waddle down the block after dinner! Pendemonium ships worldwide,  and whenever you are in Kingman be sure stop by the shop inside Time Was Antiques, on Beale Street in the heart of downtown. After a night's rest in Kingman, it was time for the final run to Topock/Golden Shores on Sunday.

Dinner with friends!


Sunday: Topock and Oatman

For breakfast on Sunday, we met up with a few friends (once again!) at Rutherford's, a nice diner right on Route 66. As is typical for us, the chatting lasted much longer than the eating! By the time we said our goodbyes it was rather late for us to take the typical 'old' Route 66 through Oatman and still arrive in time for the awards taking place in Topock starting at 12:30. So, we took the quick way: after 1952, Route 66 ran along the present-day alignment of I-40 through Yucca. By this route we arrived at the Golden Shores Community Center for the end of the fun run in time for the awards ceremony. Not all cars take the entire journey to the end, but there were still plenty of classic vehicles filling the parking area, and there is another giant Route 66 shield to drive through as a finish line.

The finish line giant shield in Topock

All manner of cars on display in Topock

It's pretty easy to pick The Blue Spirit out of a lineup

Having never attended a whole fun run before, we didn't know what to expect, but it was a fun packed house as they handed out the awards and various prizes. We were delighted to have won the Best Electric Car trophy! Granted, we may have been the ONLY electric car to be judged, but those are the kind of odds I like! We wanted to encourage the organizers to continue the category in the future, first and foremost. Next year perhaps there will be more EVs to compete with.

We won the Best Electric Car trophy! Ironically for us, the Fun Run trophies this year were gas pumps!


Having taken the short, easy way to Topock, we felt that we would be remiss in our duties not to return to Kingman via the older alignment through Oatman. So that is exactly what we did. After a bit of strolling (and shopping) through town, we headed onward to Sitgreaves Pass for some photos of the wonderful view. Further eastward, we stopped at Cool Springs to say hello again to Crazy Ray. Cool Springs has a 120-volt outlet available on PlugShare; hopefully soon they will put their plans for further expansion into motion and be able to provide a 240-volt connection. While there we ran into our friend Blue Miller, photographer and author of Never Quite Lost, a fantastic blog site that delves deep into Route 66 lore to bring readers true stories of people and places on the Mother Road. This day she was driving her vintage Pontiac LeMans. It was great to have more time to talk, as we had only been able to chat with her briefly at Beale Street Brews on Saturday.

Yes, the burros stand right on out in the street in Oatman

Looking out from the Oatman Hotel

The Blue Spirit displays his trophy at Sitgreaves Pass

The view is great from old 66

The Blue Spirit meets Blue Miller's Pontiac LeMans at Cool Springs


Eventually, we had to hit the road once again, as we were due home that night. We arrived back in Kingman with so much range remaining that we didn't feel the need to charge further, and simply headed home to Las Vegas. With another short road trip under the belt of The Blue Spirit, it would be only two weeks until we returned to Kingman for Chillin' On Beale. Check out the posts on the Chillin' On Beale Facebook group for many photos and details of that event.

My next post will feature two iconic trading posts of Route 66, visited during a whirlwind thousand-mile road trip on Memorial Day weekend. Coming soon!

Comments

  1. I have traveled the 'old' route in the early 70's, stayed at the Frontier Motel...will make note of this run....will join when delivery of the MODEL SONDORS EV due for release in 2020. TY for the ride, great to know it has been revamped.

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