Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Needles, CA to Grand Canyon, AZ via Oatman, AZ
Riding out of Needles this morning was nice. A bit warm, but nothing like the 100+ temperatures of the day before. Our first stop - Oatman. Oatman is a historic western town kept in it's form from the 1800's gold rush era. It has 100 year round human residents and 200 burros who eat carrots. Feeding them was fun. We had breakfast at Olive Oatman's restaurant. There is a sad story there - she was traveling with her family in a wagon train. They got separated somehow and her parents and several siblings were massacred by indians. She and her sister were taken as slaves. She was only 8. One of her brothers left for dead actually survived and set about for years trying to find his sisters. By the time he found her 10 years later her sister had died. He with the help of an older gentleman and the army arranged for her "purchase" from the indians who had enslaved her and set her free. The town was named for her.
It was also in Oatman that Clark Gable and Greta Garbo spent their honeymoon night in the Oatman Hotel. Apparently they were so plagued with paparazzi in Bollingsworth that they fled to Oatman just 20 miles away. We had drinks in the hotel and the bar and restaurant had dollar bills all stapled to the walls' ceiling; steps; railings, you name it. Naturally we had to add one of our own. The waitress said they estimated that they had somewhere between 25 and 30 thousand dollar bills in the establishment. Oatman and feeding the burros was one of our favorite things so far so we were reluctant to leave, but we needed to press on toward the Grand Canyon.
Leaving Oatman was a fascinating ride. Very windy through the pass on the old route 66. You could see places where the gold mines were accessed. We saw a restored gas station on that road just outside of town and took a picture. Stayed on route 66 for a while and saw some funky stores like the one with the retro mannequines and Edsel outside. Lunch was at the Roadkill cafe where the menu listed stuff you would never eat. Food was adequate, but it was all about the gimmick. The menu was a fun read.
On to route 40 to make up some time. Lovely drive with lots of signs saying how you too could purchase a 10-40 acre ranch and live the dream. I was tempted.
Just a mile outside of the entrance to the Grand Canyon where we were staying it started to rain. We had seen the storm on the horizon and had been thinking we could beat it for the last 20 miles or so but no luck. Almost immediately after the rain started, the hail came. Pea sized ice/snow nuggets were hitting us like bullets. Scott got us quickly under a portico which turned out to be just across the street from our hotel. We were picking the hail off of our clothes saying can you believe this? The last time we were on the same Grand Canyon road it was snowing and it turned into a blizzard (remember Bec?).
Experienced 95 degrees in Oatman, and 61 degrees and hail in Grand Canyon.
Lorraine and her friend
Great Cacti, sign says "Don't crap in the cactus"
This casket is a bit short
Approx. $25,000 to $30,000 of $1 bills on the walls they tell us
If you ever go, i can tell you exactly where to find ours
Oatman downtown is 2 blocks long, and lots of fun
The twisties out of Oatman towards Kingman are unbelievable and pictures just can't show all the switchbacks, and turns
Old school, Route 66 gas station
Weird Route 66 Americana
We saw the storm ahead for over 40 miles, and were only 1 mile short of destination before getting smacked hard
Quck visit to the South rim before dinner
Is that you draped across the cow head hanging on the wall? Boy - your hair has grown a foot!
Very proud of you two! Congrats on all that you have accomplished so far and thank you so much for sharing!
Take care - and be safe!