Some road trips are destination driven (sorry ’bout that). Your primary interest is in getting from Point A to Point B and you try to do so in as efficient a manner as possible. But there are also road trips of a different type. You have some time and you can wander and explore. You can poke around and make some stops. You can get off the beaten track and explore a bit – take what I call a “detour” from the standard routing. These are the types of road trips that can be most satisfying.
If ever you are crossing Arizona on I-40 there are a variety of opportunities to take a brief “detour” and have a road trip experience of that second, wandering and satisfying type. The “Seligman Detour” is one such opportunity. It covers a distance of around 89 miles running between Kingman Arizona on the west and Seligman Arizona to the east and follows a portion the old path of “The Mother Road” – Route 66 which originally ran from Illinois to California crossing Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Seligman, 49 miles west of Williams, Arizona is really the only town of any size that you will encounter on this detour, and it is small with a population of only around 400 people. This is mainly ranch and cattle country and the city serves as an economic hub for a large land area. But the city itself has seen better days. Not much is happening there any more.
Many stores are closed and a large portion of those that remain try to trade on the city’s historical connections with Route 66. There are a variety of gift shops, coffee shops and a few restaurants.
Lilo’s is a great place to start, or end your Seligman Detour (depending on your direction of travel that is). Lilo and her husband own the place and serve up some really good food. If your are heading west, a hearty breakfast at Lilo’s will prepare you for your journey.
The decor is interesting. A bit of the “wild” west and again that Route 66 quality.
Once outside of Seligman you enter the wide open spaces of Northwestern Arizona. Big skies and big spaces. The land is mostly flat, punctuated with sage brush. It doesn’t have the type of beauty of other regions of the American Southwest.
There are no soaring mountains (they are on the far distant horizon) nor dynamic canyons (although the Grand Canyon lies not far to the north). No, here the beauty lies not in what is there so much as in what is not there. No crowds, no noise, no traffic, no pollution, no hassle. Just big, big open and uncongested space. Pull over to the side of Route 66 and listen – you hear the world. Sort of nice for a change. I often look upon such spaces and wonder at the people who have traveled here in the past – by horseback or wagon train across the prairie and later in 1926 in their old cars on the original Route 66.
If you are a road trip type of person, the Seligman to Kingman Detour is worth exploring.
Take a Detour ……….. Enjoy The Adventure!
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