Breakfast Club

An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots’ Assn




The Knife & Fork





Breakfast Club Visits Winslow, La Posada Hotel




11 Dec 2010

by Warren McIlvoy



Historically, the Breakfast Club will travel to a relatively close location during the holiday season but somehow, we forgot this little bit of tradition when we put together our 2010 itinerary.  Chiriaco Summit was pegged to be our December destination but that was well outside what could be reasonably described as a “close-in” destination.  So in keeping with tradition, I decided to make a change in the schedule by selecting Winslow, Arizona and the La Posada Hotel for our December fly-in destination.  In itself, Winslow could be considered somewhat bland but the La Posada casts that location in an entirely different light.


The trip to Winslow does offer some interesting scenery while in route.  The direct course to Winslow from Deer Valley will take you just to the west of Payson, Arizona and up over the Mogollon Rim and the dense Tonto National Forest.  It is not until you are 30-miles or so south of Winslow that the dense forest gradually transforms into the high plateau land of northeastern Arizona. 


Winslow was one of those towns that was nestled along the famous Route 66 and was the home of railroad crews that worked for the Santa Fe Railroad.  Its heyday stretched from the pre WW II era to the late 60’s.  The La Posada Hotel ( designed by the famous and noted architect Mary Jane Coulter.  The La Posada was the “diamond” and the last of the great Santa Fe Railroad hotel chain and provided shelter for many famous people that traveled by train and automobile in those days. 


When the automobile became the choice method of travel replacing the railroad and with the construction of the Interstate system of highways, the city of Winslow and the La Posada became relics of the past.  The hotel closed in the mid 1950’s and became offices and the regional operation center for the railroad.  Most of the furnishings of the hotel were sold off and much of the ambiance of the hotel décor was covered-up to accommodate the needs of the railroad.  For most of 30-years, the hotel served the needs of the railroad but as the economics of railroading began their precipitous fall, the building was abandoned and stood vacant for more than 15-years.  There were plans on demolishing the structure but a group of Winslow citizens had enough foresight to deter the wrecking ball and with the help of some folks from California, had the building added to the Federal Register of Historic Buildings.  There is much more to the story but these folks were able to secure Federal grants over the years to restore the La Posada to its original glory.  To say that they have done a marvelous job would be a gross understatement. 


It is a tribute to there diligence in the restoration process that make this such a favorite fly-in destination.  Orville Wiseman from Flagstaff has taken over management of the Winslow Airport and has transformed the old terminal building into warm and welcoming operation.  A local shuttle service will pick-up your group from the airport and take you to the La Posada for a mere $5.00 a load.  The La Posada hosts one of the best restaurants in all of northern Arizona, the Turquoise Room, and, in its self, is worth the trip. 


When I called the folks at the restaurant the week prior to our arrival, I informed them that I thought that we might have 15-20 folks for breakfast but I was quite amazed that 30-people showed-up for this fly-in event.  I truly believe that it is the allure of this venue that attracts the intrepid and hungry aviator. 


The restoration of the dinning room is a bit different than it was when the vast majority of the clientele were train passengers.  In its original form, the dinning room had “U” shaped lunch counters with the requisite stools.  In those days, the train stop was only about 30-45 minutes so lunch was a “hurry-up” affair not unlike today’s fast food chains.  Since the plans for the restoration were for a more elegant setting, lunch counters were out and dinning tables with china plates and better dinnerware would be the norm.  Chef John Sharpe heads-up the Turquoise staff and I would bet that you would be hard put to find a better place to dine in all of northern Arizona.


After an outstanding breakfast, some of us took an abbreviated tour of the hotel facilities before heading down the street to the Standing on the Corner Park.  The city park is only about 75’ square and is a tribute to the Eagles song of the 70’s “Take it Easy”.  There is a corner light post with a bronze sculpture of a guy and his guitar leaning against it.  The wall of the building behind him has typical store windows with a reflection of a girl in a flat-bed Ford truck giving him the eye.  Parked on the street is an actual flat-bed Ford truck.  Above the store windows is a smaller window typical of a hotel room with an eagle sitting on the window sill.  Next to that window is another window with the shade about half way open revealing a couple in an embrace?  Up until about 6-years ago, there was a full fledged building that was part of the setting but a devastating fire at that time, left little more than the east brick wall of the building.  Now the wall is reinforced by what appears to be concrete with steel I-beams mounted vertically.  I took some photos of our folks posing with the bronze statue before heading back to the hotel for the shuttle to take us back to the airport. 


While at the airport, a number us took advantage of the self serve fuel that was considerably less expensive than it was back in the Phoenix area.  For most aircraft, Winslow is only about an hours flight away and is hard to beat for a great breakfast meal as well as the opportunity to absorb the ambiance of a piece of history.  And, by the way, a brief 5-10 minute flight to the west will put you over the meteor creator.  It is scary to note how close to the highway that this meteor hit!


The Winslow Gang


  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 93MB, BC-1 & 1.5
  • Paul Fortune in 31870, BC-201
  • John Rynearson in 3501S, BC-117
  • Ken Calman, BC-6
  • Jerry & Nancy Grout and Gene & Carol Wegner in 1129T
  • Richard Spiegel, Sam Foote, and Trevor & Julie Feeney in 901KA, BC-3 & 3.5
  • Brian Briggerman in 601AZ
  • Glen Yoder, BC-007
  • Peter Duran in 358JC
  • Roger Whittier and Carlos Hernandez in 706CD, BC-122
  • Trent Heidtke and Tim Yoder, BC-112 & BC-52
  • Larry Jensen in 14LJ, BC-65
  • Antoine Bruneau in 1730B, BC-French Toast??
  • Greg Coomans in 2493Q, BC-48
  • Austin Erwin, Rich Kupiec, Doug Willibey, and Kris Bjursom in 6693M, BC-86 & BC-47
  • Doug Doehrman in 2493Q
  • Steve and Ryan Gavette in 493JL


What’s Next?


The Breakfast Club event in January to Payson (KPAN) will mark the beginning of our 18th year of monthly fly-in events and the Crosswinds Restaurant in Payson is a fitting beginning.  In February, we will make our first ever fly-in event to Yuma, Arizona (KNYL).  Until Million Air planned on opening a café as part of their new facility there, there was no reason (or nearby location) to stop there.  That’s all for now but remember, fly safe.


To view photos of this Breakfast Club fly-in, click on Winslow photos