Oatman and the Mother Road . . .

Jan and I headed out a little after 8 for our daytrip down to Oatman, AZ, about 120 miles away. But our first stop was at Jack in the Box for a couple of Supreme Croissants to go with the coffee we brought from home.

Heading down US93 the first thing we encountered was a line of vintage cars caravanning down to Kingman.

Oatman Car 1

The ubiquitous 1957 Chevy

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Oatman Car 2

Here’s one you don’t see very often. A 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk. A friend’s parents had one.asdfdsf

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Oatman Car 3

Another unusual one. A Studebaker truck

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Oatman Car 4

A 1950 Chevrolet

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Oatman Car 5

Ford ??. At least I think it’s a Ford. Nick might know.

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Oatman Car 6

Another Ford

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Oatman Car 7

And another Ford.

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Getting into Kingman, we made a potty stop at Nick’s favorite TA truck stop before heading about 4 miles west on I-40 and exiting onto what is the longest surviving section of Route 66.Oatman Trip 1

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It starts out pretty straight and smooth, but them quickly starts climbing up into the mountains.

Oatman Trip 2

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Jan got excited when she saw this sign

Oatman Trip 3

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But we still had a way to go to get to Oatman.

Oatman Trip 4

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A curvy, twisty way.

Oatman GPS

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Oatman Trip 6

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Oatman Trip 7

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This sharp hairpin turn had the only railing we saw along the way. And based on the small cross memorial at the edge, the railing is probably a good idea.

Oatman Trip 8

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Oatman Trip 9

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Oatman Trip 10

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That is one twisty road.

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A couple of miles outside of Oatman we came past the Gold Road Mine. This is a shot from up above.

Oatman Gold Road 1

Oatman Gold Road 2

Gold Road was actually once a town. The area built up in the very early 1900’s after gold was discovered in the surrounding hills Gold production peaked in 1906 and then tailed off as the vein played out.

But the town held on until 1942 when the miners moved on to other areas to mine more strategic metals for the war effort. Then a few years later the town was razed to save on taxes.

Then in 1992 a new company bought the mine and started up production again. But then in 1998 the gold price collapsed and mining was shut down once again.

For several years the mine company offered very popular gold mine tours, before starting up production again in 2007 and shutting down the tours.

With the high price of gold right now, the mine is very busy and very profitable. We counted about 30 cars in the parking lot and the place was surrounded by a tall chain-link fence topped by razor wire. Not taking any chances, I guess.

One thing I found interesting is that the mining company is making a lot of easy money just reprocessing the leftover tailings from the original mining effort. They don’t even have to dig it out of the ground

Modern extraction methods are so much more efficient now that they are getting more gold out of the old tailings than was gotten out originally.

Right past the mine area we saw where this car had gone off the road above and crashing into the rocks below.

Oatman Trip 11

Don’t know if it was driven, or pushed.

Oatman Car 8

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Finally driving into beautiful downtown Oatman, we parked at the far end and walked back into town. And quickly saw our first indication that burros were near.

Oatman Trip 12

The town is only a few blocks long, but jam-packed with small stores and shops.

Oatman Trip 13

And lot’s and lot’s of burros. Lot’s of burros.

Oatman Burros 1

They’re everywhere. Which certainly made Jan happy.

Jan brought a bag of baby carrots to feed the burros, but a store clerk said they were trying to discourage the feeding of carrots because they have a lot of sugar, and too many are bad for the burros. Of course this may have just been a reason to sell us $1 bags of alfalfa pellets to feed them instead.

A little later while Jan was feeding some females, a big male came up behind her and tried to grab the bag containing the carrots. So for a little bit, you had this tug-of-war with the two of them fighting over the bag. Which promptly tore and spilled carrots and alfalfa pellets out on the ground.

Then it was a scramble to get it all picked up before it all got eaten.

Oatman Burros 2

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Oatman Burros 3

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Sometimes you just need a little shade.

Oatman Burros 4

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Even the stores get into the fun.

Oatman Classy Ass

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About noon we decided to have lunch at the Olive Oatman restaurant. We got was a very good meal, simple but good.

Jan had grilled chicken sandwich, and I had a very good cheeseburger.

Oatman Restaurant

But the dessert we shared was the real kicker. An order of Peach Fry Bread with Ice Cream.

Oatman Fry Bread

Fry Bread is really, really good. Trust me.

After lunch Jan was back to feeding the burros.

Oatman Burros 5

But maybe she should have paid a little more attention to these signs posted all over town.

Oatman Burros 6

She was feeding two burros, when another one came up, and apparently impatient and not wanting to wait his turn, tried to take a chunk out of Jan’s hand. Didn’t break the skin, but she said it did smart.

Oatman Burro Bite

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Walking back to our truck I saw this sign on the rear window of a parked truck.

So these are Mormon’s who don’t like dogs?

Oatman 3 wives 2 dogs

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Near the parking lot we saw this baby burro taking a nap, just pooped, I guess.

Oatman Baby Burro Down

It reminded me of this photo of Landon dressed in his giraffe costume and too pooped to Trick-or-Treat any more.

Giraffe is down

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Oatman was named after Olive Oatman, an Illinois girl who was kidnapped by Indians in 1851 and lived with them until she was released in 1855, near present day Oatman.

Another interesting fact is that Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned here in March 1939 after getting married in Kingman, AZ. In fact you can stay in the Gable/Lombard honeymoon suite at the Oatman Hotel to this day.

We headed home about 1:30, taking a different route and heading west on over to hook up with US95 south of Bullhead City and Laughlin, and then on north back to Las Vegas.

Getting back about 4pm we first stopped off at Boulder Station Casino to swipe our Boarding Pass cards for the weekend drawings, and to get Starbuck’s Cinnamon Dolce Lattes before we finally headed home.

We decided not to do the Hoover Dam Bridge Walkway today and will try to catch it another day.

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Thought for the Day:

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. — Aesop

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5 Responses

  1. I believe that’s a 1949 Ford. I had one when I was a youngster.

  2. Sounds good to me. You’re the expert.

    I just fix things.

  3. I’m with Jan, I love the wild burros. Someday I’ll go to Oatman and feed the burros, too. Great photos!

  4. Greg, good post today. Hope Jan’s recovery is complete quickly.

  5. Just watch out for the ones that sneak up on you.

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