Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Route 66 - Kingman to Oatman, Arizona

Today, I had a fun trip to Oatman, the ghost town that wouldn't die.  In case you read my Oatman blog last month, it seems like I was just there.  So, you're probably wondering why I'd go again.  Well, it could be that I wanted to eat lunch at the other restaurant in town or maybe because I missed seeing the burros walking around town last time.  I had heard that the north road to the town was very interesting to drive with lots of curves, hairpin turns (122 in 8 miles) and long drop-offs on one side, so maybe that was it since I took the south road last time.  The scenery was different and very interesting also.  So, it was a combination of all of the above that I decided to go again.  After all, it was less than 30 miles away. 
Of course, as you can see from this sign, it was a bit slow going because of the conditions.  The first half of these 9 miles was uphill and the drop-offs were on the passenger side.  There were no guardrails and only on the severe hairpin turns were there any barriers - posts with a cable through them.  In a couple areas, there was a rock/concrete wall about a foot high along the edge.  And I would almost bet that the road was more narrow at those turns, it sure seemed like it.  The speed limit on most of the road was 10 - 15 MPH and on the downhill half I just put the truck in first gear to keep it slow.  They recommend no vehicles over 40 feet attempt this section of the road and I can see why.
This building is a little store but used to be a gas station with little cabins to rent, although I only saw one cabin type building that was falling down.  In another area, the Kactus Kafe was part of Ed's Camp, which was behind a fence and falling apart.

My GPS is showing how convoluted one section of the road was, some of the other sections looked worse.

There was an old mine in the area, and they do have tours.  The mine entrance is locked up and behind a shiny new fence with razor wire on top.

This is the top of the long hill and the beginning of the downhill.  I estimated that this elevation is roughly 1,000 feet higher than when I started the climb.
The burros were in town, looking for their food.  Carrots are outlawed, but you can buy little bags of alfalfa cubes to feed them.

And they do love their food!

They are very friendly and actually well behaved, although there are signs all over stating that they are wild and they may bite or kick.

They don't really pose for photos, and mostly refuse to look at the camera.

It was very hard to get good photos of the nature of the road since there are very few places to pull over and I certainly didn't want to walk along the road since it's so narrow.

I really do like this sign, although I didn't meet any snobs in town.  In this area, they call Route 66 the Oatman Highway.

Even though this was a repeat visit, I really enjoyed it as much, or more as the last time I was there.  I really enjoyed the burros interacting with everyone and the journey was just as important as the destination. 

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