© Mark Lipczynski
WILLIAMSOld Bill Williams was a mountain man. He was a trapper, a scout and a surveyor, too, and he made his way to "The State of Sonora" — Arizona — in the late 1820s. Apaches captured him, stripped him of all his belongings and turned him loose in the desert, where he wandered for 160 miles before being rescued by a band of Zunis. Williams' story is legendary, as is the town named in his honor.
Founded in 1881, the Northern Arizona destination of Williams is considered the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon." It was also the last Route 66 town in America to be bypassed by Interstate 40. Today, it's known for its Mother Road heritage — thanks to diners and nostalgia shops — as well as the Grand Canyon Railway, which runs 130 miles round-trip from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon each day.
The railway took the first passengers to the Canyon in 1901. It suspended operation in 1968, but reopened in 1989, prompting then Williams Marshal John Moore to say, "If it hadn't been for the Grand Canyon Railway, train service to the Grand Canyon would have been permanently lost."
— Kelly Kramer