3/28/2016

March 21 to 27, 2016 Burros, Oatman, and Route 66

The highlight of our week was our road trip (Friday, March 25th) to Oatman and beyond so come along with us on our picture journey.

We left the park and headed north on the Parker Dam Scenic Byway.  And look who came to greet us – isn’t he the cutest!

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As I am standing there taking these photos, mom comes down off the hill and heads straight to me – I think looking for food.  As she got closer, I figured I better get in the car – just in case – Smile:

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They both came to the car, looked in the windows at us and moved on.  These burros are the feral descendants of the pack animals used in Mohave County's mining operations until the 1940s.  As the miners left the area, they left their animals to fend for themselves.  Now, there is quite a healthy herd that the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) manages.

Another view from the road as we went over the dam:

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As we headed north, we stopped at one of the Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge overlooks.  This is the southern portion of Lake Havasu (which is the reservoir behind Parker Dam):

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We continued our journey beyond Lake Havasu City and headed north.  We originally thought about staying in Lake Havasu City but after seeing all the traffic, we are glad we are staying in Parker.

The road north:

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We headed east on I-40 for a short distance, then north past Golden Shores, CA – part of the original Route 66.  Lo and behold, we came across another one of these - VORTAC – (Variable Omni-Range, Tactical Air Navigation) sites. They provide bearing/distance information for aircraft and form airway intersections or fixes.  We have seen many of these in our years of travel and when I saw the road heading toward it, well, I just had to get closer.

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Amazing, isn’t it!

We continued our journey on Route 66:

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This is our journey today – Topcock, Golden Shores, Oatman, McConnico, loop back on I-40:

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And away we go:

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The pictures just don’t capture the natural beauty- it is AWESOME!

We made our way to Oatman where we played tourist.

Oatman is a former mining town that began as a tent camp soon after two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find in 1915, though the area had been already settled for a number of years. Oatman's population grew to more than 3,500 in the course of a year.

At one time the mines of Oatman were among the large gold producers in the West.  Today it is a touristy ghost town but fun to walk thru.

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One of their main attractions is the donkeys that roam the streets.  So, of course, I had to buy some “burro chow” to feed them.

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Cute, isn’t he:

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Well, once you feed one, they all come a runnin’:

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It was GREAT!

The view up the street:

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Somebody else has food!

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Some of the cool looking buildings:

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Old and new transportation:

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Taking a nap until someone feeds me:

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We had lunch at the historic Oatman Hotel – the best bison burger I have ever had!  Yum Yum!

We ate at the bar attached to the restaurant.  Check out all the dollar bills hanging from the ceiling:

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Even the restaurant had those bills all over:

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More information on the hotel can be found here:  http://www.legendsofamerica.com/az-oatmanhotel.html

Check this out – what a fun thing to see – have to remember for next year!

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Oatman is a cute touristy town and we had fun.  Next time thru I would like to do the mine tour and also bring carrots to the donkeys – Smile.  

We continued north on Route 66 – past many of the old mine and mine tailings:

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From Oatman to I-40, the scenery is jaw dropping as the road hugs the mountains.  I am so glad we decided to do the loop:

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House in the middle of nowhere:

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Isn’t this spectacular!

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Old mine:

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New mine maybe?

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There were mine shafts all along the way.  The road and the spectacular views continued:

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The road:

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As we came down to the valley floor, this is what greeted us in the middle of nowhere:

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Here is what I could find out about this station:

“Cool Springs Service Station was built in the 1920s and eventually had a cafĂ©, a bar, and cabins. But Route 66 was bypassed in 1953, and the station was abandoned in 1964. Adding insult to injury, its ruins were blown up for the 1991 Dolph Lundgren/Jean-Claude Van Damme film Universal Soldier.

Cool Springs Service Station had been a ruin -- nothing more than a blackened pile of rocks -- until 2001. That's when Ned Leuchtner, a real estate agent from Chicago, bought it and began its careful restoration, based on vintage photographs. The work was completed at the end of 2004. “

We slowly made our way to I-40 and back home.   What a wonderful day.  Our destination today was Oatman but the treasure was the road north of Oatman.  If you head this way, give yourself enough time to travel this road!

We were so glad we took this trip on Friday, 25th, instead of Saturday, 26th (my birthday) because we had beautiful weather and very little wind.  On Saturday, the winds were much higher and I am not sure I would have wanted to be on any of those overlooks.

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On Tuesday, we went to the BLM office in Lake Havasu and met an interesting fellow.  We told him we are just getting into the rock hunting hobby and he spent about an hour with us talking about places to go and his experiences.  Fun!  We hope to do some hunting before we leave this area.

We have had a relaxing week just hanging out.  We watched movies, I did some beading and reading, visited the lounge for happy hour, had a great steak dinner at the clubhouse, and watched the boats go up and down the Colorado.

My buddy helping me bead:

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I did the larger flag earlier this year and I finally finished the smaller flag:

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Another tila and half tila:

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And that is about it for now.  We will be here for a few more days so stay tuned and enjoy today.

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