Leave a comment

Kingman, AZ

Louise Speaks:  Today may not be the best day to start out on a weekend adventure since it’s Friday the 13th, but most of our journey’s turn out to be an adventure so why not test fate and get on the road.

100_6050As part of our journey, you may have noticed that we are trying to visit all the county seats of Arizona.  In Arizona there are 15 counties and as we travel through the state we make it a point to visit the county seats.  Today, we were staying in Kingman, to see the sites, and Kingman just happens to be the county seat of Mohave County.  The court house is massive.  It looks like something out of a history book.  The dome on top adds to it’s charm.  Mohave County is one of the four original counties of Arizona.  The county boundaries were established in 1881.  It is the county that houses the Grand Canyon and Lake Havasu, which is the largest city in Mohave County.

Mohave County also borders Utah, California and Nevada due to the Colorado River.  Bullhead City is on the Arizona side and Laughlin is on the Nevada side.  The top portion, borders Utah.

100_6049Downtown Kingman is a small, quaint town.  There are antique shops, and lots of history.  Now it’s not quaint like Prescott, but it is an old town with a lot of unique things to see.  We had several things on the list, but once again there just isn’t time to see them all, so we’re going to have to save those for another day.  We did however, have time to see the Bonelli HouseThe Bonelli House was built 100_6048in 1915 by a contractor named Pendergrast for the Bonelli family.  It was used continuously by family member until it was purchased by the City of Kingman in 1973.  Joseph Bonelli, son of George, moved at that time, to another house in Kingman, where he lived until his death.  A large antique wall clock in the home was at one time, the only clock in Kingman and was loaned to the Santa Fe Railway to be used in the depot. In researching Kingman, it turns out that there are over 30 homes still standing that date back to the early 1900s…that’s what I mean about quaint.  You can go visit these homes, and imagine what it was like to live there over 100 years ago.  These houses are still being occupied today…they are not museums.  The Bonelli home is just around the corner from the court house so it was easy to find and to visit.

The business section of Kingman is one  long street, with a couple of side streets.  People do try and support local business and each business is unique in it’s own way.  This is mainly because Kingman is on Route 66.  Kingman is also one of the towns that Oprah and Gail stopped in to visit on their Route 66 trip a few years back.  Kingman is actually the largest city on the longest remaining stretch of the 2400 mile Route 66.  US Highway 66 or Route 66 was and is the most famous road in the United States highway system, and quite possibly the most famous and storied highway in the world.

Brunswick Hotel

Brunswick Hotel

Kingman also has a train depot with underground tunnels.  The tunnels were used to hide the immigrants and to free them from the train underground….to the hotel across the street.  Folks will say that the Brunswick Hotel is haunted and I would have to agree.  I could tell you my own stories as I used to live in Kingman and visited the Brunswick Hotel often, but I’m going to encourage you to go and stay there yourself and experience your own haunted tales.

100_6053Inside the train depot are many other little shops to see.  The staff working the information booth were wonderful and very knowledgeable.  The train depot also houses the Route 66 Museum.  Yes, another one.  It appears that every town on Route 66 has their own museum, so why would Kingman be any different. They don’t let you take pictures inside the museum, so the sign is the best I could do.  In the Museum you can view displays from photos to life-sized dioramas depicting the travel and travelers along this road which was so important in its day. The story begins with early trade routes and the Beale Wagon Road, which enabled pioneers to cross the land in “prairie schooners” such as the one on display.  No wonder the main street in town is Beale St.

hualapai-mountain-resortFrom the downtown area, we took a drive up Stockton Hills Rd which takes you to the top of the Hualapai Mountain Range.  At the top is a state park and also a very rustic lodge.   The lodge not only has cabins but has a great restaurant.  There is a log bar that even has live music on the weekends.

Hualapai Mountain Ranger Station

Hualapai Mountain Ranger Station

The drive up to the Hualapai Mtn. Lodge is quite interesting.  You leave Kingman which is a very dry, desert town.  Within minutes you are in the tall pines.  The temperature drops drastically, at least 30 degrees and the thought of desert is gone,  There is a lake at the top and some of the most beautiful mountain cabins you will ever see.  This is a picture of ther “Rangrer Station”.  From the looks of this you should be able to imagine what some of the cabins look like.  The road is winding as it approaches the top, but the views are breath taking,  Being in Kingman you would never believe that just ten miles away is this hidden treasure.

The resort serves the best bbq prime rib around.  And whats most unique is that as you are eating your lunch or dinner, it is very common for deer and elk to be looking at your from the window.

Out the window from the dining room

Out the window from the dining room

They stroll that close to the windows and people do not seem to bother them,  The whole resort experience is worth the drive up the mountain.  We thought of staying here for dinner, but we had to get to the Alpaca Farm before the animals went to bed for the night.

kosmoLike I mentioned earlier, I have lived in Kingman…for over a year.  I had a daughter and grand-daughter that lived in Kingman for many years that I visited often.  Kingman is also a convenient stop on  your way to Vegas.  So the point I am making is that I have driven through Kingman many many times in my life.  Yet, right off the I-40 is an Alpaca Farm…how is it that I never knew this existed?

The Kingman Alpaca farm is a full operating ranch.  The farm began in  2002 with a year of research and they began purchasing Alpacas in 2003.  They have had 25 Crias on the ranch and have Alpacas with blood lines from Peru, Bolivia and Chile. The owners shopped the U.S. for these 100_6058Alpacas and made purchases in 5 states. They have attended numerous seminars on Alpacas and their fiber, as well as the processing of fiber.  Now what do you do with an Alpaca you may ask.  Well like sheep, they process the wool and make many different types of clothing.  Socks, hats, vests, blankets, sweaters, and anything that can be woven from the fur.  The most common item are socks.  The wool is processed in a way that they will keep your toes and feet “toasty” warm in the Winter and “cool” in the Summer.  They also come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles, as the wool can be dyed.  They even have theraputic socks that are woven tighter to help with circulation.

Love the Hair Do

Love the Hair Do

The owner that gave us the tour tried to explain the process of raising Alpaca and how they are their main source of income.  Apparently it is a type of co-op, where they raise the Alpaca and do the shaving of the animals.  Then the wool is sold to a processor who turns the wool into yarn and then companies buy the yarn to make the clothing items and then all parties involved sell the items.  Still doesn’t make sense to me, but there must be money in these animals as this is a full time job for these Alpaca ranchers.  Now just for fun I checked to see how much does Alpaca wool cost.  Well in comparison to regular yarn it is quite expensive.  When I crochet, a skein, or pound of yarn is about $2.37.  However, a pound of Alpaca yarn is anywhere from $50.00 to $85.00 a pound…no, that is not a typo…that is the cost.  So I guess now I can see how these ranchers make a living selling Alpaca wool.

There is still much to see in Kingman, and it’s surrounding areas so we are going to have to make a trip back to Kingman to get the complete feel and history of this town.  Of course it is the main stop when doing the Route 66 tour, so maybe we will wait till then…we just haven’t decided.  Because I know this town from having lived here, there are more memories than I can write in this blog.  People turn their nose up as Kingman is in the middle of nowhere, but it is a connecting point anytime you drive on the I-40.  So next time you are heading to Vegas, or California, or New Mexico or the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, take the time to stop in Kingman and see some of the sites.  For me, the town gets a rating of a B, the drive up the Hualapai Mtns. and the Resort gets a rating of a A, the Train Depot and Route 66 Museum a rating of a B, and the Alpaca Farm gets a C rating.  So if you were to average these ratings out, Kingman gets an overall rating of C.  It’s worth stopping by and seeing any of the sites listed. 

Thelma Speaks:

Leave a comment

James Dean Crash Site, Cholame, CA

100_6043Louise Speaks:  Very similar to the Buddy Holly plane crash, we were off to see the James Dean Car Crash Site.  This was equally as difficult to find.  The directions say the crash was one place, and then there was a memorial somewhere else.  So after driving up and down streets many many times we finally stopped at a small store to ask where we were.  Turns out the small store was actually a small cafe but was filled with James Dean memorabilia.  It was like a shrine, full of artifacts and newspaper clippings, pictures and personal items that once belonged to James Dean.

100_6045We then asked about the car crash site, and we were told there was a memorial around the old tree outside, but that was not the place of the car crash…that was up the road a bit.  We had already been up and down the “road” several times and didn’t see any sign or marker to point out spot of the car crash. After reading several remarks on line, it turns out the crash site is only a mile away and there are markers on a fence commemorating the site of the crash.

Luckily this wasn’t that far out of our way, but unless we could see the actual car crash site like we did with Buddy Holly, this was a wasted stop.  I’m not even going to rate it, because, well there just isn’t much to see or say.

This is our last stop of this trip.  It’s been a whirlwind seeing so many things in such a short period of time.  It was fun to combine actual tourist sites with some real quirky things and some really stupid things…so what else is new about traveling with Thelma and Louise?

Thelma Speaks:

Leave a comment

J. Patrick House, Cambria, CA

Louise Speaks:  After having just left the Nitt Witt Ridge, this was quite a change.  The neighborhood was peaceful, relaxed and between the smell of the sea, the breeze coming off the ocean, and sounds of the birds in the trees, it gave a whole new meaning to the city of Cambria.

100_6033The J. Patrick House, IS mentioned in Patricia’s book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, and for a change I can understand why.  The J. Patrick House blends with its wooded setting above the village of Cambria and is an authentic log home.  The main house overlooks a forest of tall Monterey pines making the perfect setting for a relaxing, romantic getaway. Because we were here in January, the B & B was still decorated for the holidays.

100_6039From the main log cabin you can stroll through the lovely garden under the passion vine-covered arbor to enter the charming Carriage House, where you will find seven beautifully decorated rooms.  Each room comes with a private bath and a Wood Burning fireplace.  Here you can enjoy Irish country charm and all of it’s amenities.  At 5:30 each day guests can enjoy the company of other guests and visit in the cozy living room of the log cabin. Here you will have a choice of homemade hors d’oeuvres and complimentary  fine wines. A full breakfast is served each morning in the Garden Room.

100_6035As you enter the front door of this enchanting log home, the warmth of its embrace will welcome you. The aroma of freshly baked cookies, homemade granola, breads and muffins will transport you to a magical place.  The staff make you feel right at home the moment they answer the door.  The owner Linda, offered us a comp night just so we could experience what it is like to stay at the J. Patrick House, so we could then blog about it.  We would have loved to do that, but our schedule just didn’t permit for it.

100_6037Linda became the owner in a very interesting way.  The J. Patrick House just happened to be one of her favorite Inns in her favorite vacation spot. When the inn came up for sale in September of 1999, it was a natural fit for her to buy it. Linda does everything possible to create a warm, friendly atmosphere, plus offers exemplary hospitality to all of their  guests.

100_6038I have checked Yelp and other travel sites to see the reviews and the ratings given to the J. Patrick house, and not a negative comment has been made.  The area, the home, the rooms, the staff, the owner. all of it, make it a very desirable place to stay.  In reading the comments, rarely do guests stay for just one night.  This is chosen as a vacation spot, where guest stay for many days.

The J. Patrick House gets a rating of an A.  Even though we didn’t stay here, the charm you felt just by walking around left no doubt that this would be a great place to stay.


From the J. Patrick House, it was almost time for dinner so we thought we would try one of the restaurants that Patricia suggested in her book.  Cambria, has some quaint restaurants for sure, and the Sow’s Ear, just sounded interesting.  Seeings that my favorite meat is Ham, I was assuming that Ham was their specialty.

100_6040However when we arrived it was not yet 5:00 and the Sows Ear does not open until 5:00 so we looked in the window, took a picture and left.  The menu is posted, and it appears to be a small cafe serving a wide variety of food…but I didn’t see any ham dishes, so even if it was open I probably would have passed….I mean stuffed mushrooms???  Really???

I’m not going to give the Sow’s Ear a rating, because we didn’t even go inside, but it did seem like a cute place and it is close to the beach so how bad can it be.

AM… 854

Thelma Speaks:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.