Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ash Fork - A map-dot on Highway 66 and the Flagstone Capital of the World

Nov. 30, 2005

Late afternoon on the last day of November, I drove into Ash Fork on Old Highway 66. It is here that the longest stretch of unbroken 66 begins; and it ends along the California border. I spent the night in a non-descript run-down RV park alongside I-40.

The town, started in 1882, served the railroad and area ranchers. Eleven years later the entire town burned to the ground and then was rebuilt. In the 1970s many of the town's buildings were destroyed by another fire, and then when Interstate 40 by-passed the town, it nearly died.

Today about the population is about 500, many of them earning a living working in five flagstone yards located around town, ranching, mining, and the new generation of Route 66 travelers.

I had intended to drive down the main street to explore Ash Fork in the morning, but after blinking twice, I was on Highway 89 headed south to Prescott. And in my opinion, there was no reason to turn around and try again.

It occurred to me that I could drive back and take pictures of the flagstone yards, but you've all seen flagstone - though I doubt you've seen so much all in one place.