Day Seven ~ Oatman to Lake Havasu City
Oatman Travel Blog› entry 14 of 20 › view all entries
Our room at the Comfort Inn in Kingman was sitting right on historic Route 66, which would take us to the tiny town of Oatman, Arizona. All we had to do was pull out of the parking lot and turn right. Once we passed out of the Kingman city limits, the well-maintained 4-lane highway changed into a narrow twisty-turny road with no shoulders and in desperate need of repair.
Oatman is a mining town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona. It began as a tent camp after two prospectors struck a $10 million gold find in 1915. Along this forsaken stretch of Route 66 were many indications that this was once a productive mining community.
Beware ~ Wild Burros Next 20 Miles. These warnings were posted all along the road so Jerry and Randy kept their eyes peeled for the elusive wild burro. Where could they be? No burros in sight. The road began a gradual descent into a valley between the mountains.
Yes, they are wild, although they appear very tame. They are actually descended from pack animals turned loose by early prospectors and are protected by the U.S. Department of the Interior. They roam the streets freely and can be hand-fed "burro chow" and carrots, both readily available in every store in town.
The Oatman Hotel has an interesting story.
Downtown Oatman consist of a dozen or so stores and several cafes and ice cream shops. The four of us separated with no fear of getting lost in the tiny town. Of course, it was absolutely necessary to buy new tee-shirts declaring "Oatman" so we would be sure and remember where we had been, just in case we forget. Jan and I bought some small odd-and-end memorabilia before we headed on down the road. We were able to investigate every square inch of the small mining community in about an hour.
We figured we had about a two-hour ride across the desert before we would stop for lunch in Lake Havasu City. Once we crossed into the city, it was easy to find the celebrated London Bridge. There it was, just sitting there, spanning beautiful Lake Havasu, like it had no memory of it's previous home over the River Thames. The bridge spanned the River Thames in England for 130 years before it was sold to Robert McCulloch (chainsaw McCulloch) on April 18, 1968.
Mr. McCulloch had the bridge dismantled block by block and shipped to Long Beach, California, where it was then trucked to Lake Havasu for reconstruction.
We found an air-conditioned restaurant that overlooked the lake and the bridge. It was nice to sit and enjoy the food and the view out the large picture window. After lunch, we strolled along the lake's edge. The temperature had soared to 106. Oh, my. We were indeed in the middle of the Mohave Desert and it was HOT! Several local residents were enjoying the lake, too, and we struck up a conversation. The man-made lake actually serves as "air conditioning" for the city and today's temperatures are not uncommon.
We rode south on Hiway 95 as it followed the Colorado River into the edge of California. This made Jerry happy. Now he could tell all his friends back home that he rode his motorcycle all the way to California.
Gila Bend was as far as we could go today. Tired and weary from hours of riding in scorching heat, we needed a tall glass of iced tea, dinner, a shower, and a comfortable bed. In that order. Everything we needed was right here in this small city. Tomorrow would be another day.