Williams, Arizona 2010
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In all the years we have visited the Grand Canyon, we had never made Williams the base of our operations until this year.  Not because of any particular reason, but rather, as is often the case, it depended on our schedule.  This year, as we have done on occasion before, we did the Grand Canyon before the competition instead of after, so we were not on a tight schedule and needing to get to Phoenix or Albuquerque the next day to catch a flight and thus needing to plan our lodging location strategically.

Plus, let's be honest, there was this mysterious brewpub, supposedly, in Williams that we had never been to called the Grand Canyon Brewing Company.  Mysterious and supposedly because, while they do have a website and a phone number, we could never reach them by phone (it always just rang and rang no matter what time of day we called), they didn't answer emails, and we couldn't find out whether or not they actually had a restaurant with their brewery or whether it was just a brewery with their beer sold elsewhere.

After some digging and Google-mapping, we finally ascertained that the GCBC was, in fact, a real place that was located adjacent to a restaurant, the Route 66 Cafe, where their beer is sold.  So now we had additional incentive to find a reason to stay in Williams.  It turned out to be a good decision as it is closer than Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, the town is small and walkable with lots of Route 66 flavor and history, and it's still right on an interstate highway, making getting on to our next destination easy.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Williams.
 
Front cover of, obviously, a walking tour map of Williams.  We didn't actually take the walk, but I picked this up at the Williams visitor center.
 
The aforementioned Williams Visitor Information Center.
 
One of the displays inside the visitor center.  U.S. 66 itself was decommissioned in about 1985.  The only route 66 portions remaining that are called that are maintained by the various states through which the route originally passed.
 
The 9 Arizona Motor Hotel.  Why do I have a photo of this?  Well, we originally tried to stay here because it looked decent, had some good online reviews, and was, like, a block away from the Route 66 Cafe and Grand Canyon Brewing Company.  But when we called the phone number, it came back as disconnected, so we figured it was out of business.  It turned out not to be, but we didn't know that until we arrived, and we had ended up making reservations at what turned out to be a rather dingy Budget Host motel down the street.  It was so dingy that I didn't even take a picture of it, and I take a picture of everything.  That just shows you how dingy it was.  We never did find out why the phone was disconnected when we called the 9 Arizona (which is kind of a funny name for a motel).
 
We make our way to the Route 66 Cafe for dinner on our first night in Williams.  It was cold, with temperatures maybe in the high 40s or low 50s.  We were in the southwest about two weeks earlier than we had been in any previous year because of the scheduling of the contest, and the weather was a bit colder overall.  For photos of our actual visit to the Route 66 Cafe, which serves beers from the Grand Canyon Brewing Company, see the 2010 Brewpubs page.
 
We almost ate dinner here on our second night in Williams.  I hung around outside for a minute to get a photo, and before I could even go in the restaurant, everyone was heading back out again.  The place was open, but one look inside (no customers in spite of a few vehicles parked outside) accompanied by one whiff of the air (pee-you), and the decision was not to stay.  So we didn't.
 
Where we DID end up eating on our second night in Williams.  Doc Holliday's Steakhouse and Saloon.  It was located adjacent to a Holiday Inn, and it had all the western atmosphere of a Ponderosa Steakhouse, but the food was OK, and everyone wanted a steak, so it fit the bill.  Plus, it smelled a whole lot better than Rosa's.
 
 
Refrigerator magnet from JD's Espresso, which was a very nice coffee shop in Williams.  Highly recommended.
 
 
 
I have a few old postcards of Williams, and I took a few minutes early on our last morning there to try to take some photos from the same vantage points today.  I had mixed luck.  Unfortunately, the sun was so bright that the shadows were very deep, which made it difficult to take a photo of a scene that was partly in sunshine and partly in shade.
 

Distant street scene on a postcard dating from the late 1950s or early 1960s, if one goes by the cars.  I really couldn't get as high a vantage point as the postcard showed, and you can see the issue with the deep shadows in the foreground.  Can't make out much in the way of businesses or anything in either photo, though.

   
   
   

Williams Travelodge postcard.  No date, but I'm guessing 1960s at the latest.  They have TV and telephones, after all!  In the 2010 scene at right, I had to take the photo with the sun behind the sign to keep it from washing everything out.  The sign is obviously different, and the facade of the building has undergone changes, but it's the same place.  I couldn't see if there is a pool in that structure to the far right in the photo, which is where it was in the postcard, but I believe there was.

   
   
   

Thunderbird Inn postcard again dating from around 1960.  They accepted Carte Blanche, American Express, and Diner's Club.  Pretty Ritzy, even now!

In my photo, the sun again cause problems in that the sign was washed out in reflecting the sun's light from this angle.

   
   
   

The Westerner Motel in a postcard that had been postally used and postmarked April 18, 1955.  The postcard isn't actually a photo of the motel, it's more like a painting.  The motel is still there 55 years later, and how could it not be given that it has (or, at least, had) Gyramatic Mattresses.  I really like the three-digit phone number.

In the photo I took, it's pretty much the same place except for the to-be-expected changes in the sign and in the landscaping.  This motel was next door to the one we stayed at.  It's another one we should have stayed at instead of the place we actually did, but we won't go into that again.

   
   
   

Vaughn's Indian Store with the adjacent Coffee Pot Cafe in a postcard with a May 22, 1959 postmark.  The building is still there 51 years later, and it still sells Indian arts and crafts.  Apparently they were successful enough to buy out the cafe and occupy the entire building.