To Oatman, we took old route 66 out of Kingman AZ. Route 66 is the "Mother Road", the road that brought hundreds of thousands of people from Illinois to settle in California in the 1800's and early 1900's. It fed the gold rush and brought people escaping the dust bowl.
We crossed some of the most barren land I have ever seen.
Route 66 goes over Sitgreaves Pass, through some of the richest gold mining country in the U.S. Oh, that lovely windy road with steep buttes and deep washes on the right--and few guard rails! Rich was very glad we didn’t attempt this last night in the dark (we took hwy 68 down to the Colorado River and had dinner in Bullhead City instead).
Gold Road, once a thriving town with post office, hotel, restaurant, bar, etc, has entirely disappeared! Even remnants of stone walls with gaping door and window holes are gone. Nothing there now but mining equipment and piles of dirt. Even the mining equipment is silent, waiting for the price of gold to go up.
We arrived in Oatman in time for breakfast, but nothing was open yet. The air was cool and the streets deserted except for about a dozen wild burros and few shop keepers, both getting ready for tourists. We were greeted by a baby burro with a sticker on his head that said, "don't feed me", and signs saying "don't feed the babies; they are still nursing."
Burros came to Oatman with the prospectors before off road vehicles could manage the terrain and the mines were still operating. Tough little guys, they can subsist on almost nothing, so when the prospectors abandoned them, they stayed on and flourished. Now a good many of them come into Oatman to beg from tourists, who love to feed them! I didn't ask if they still rob garbage cans and gardens; when I lived here, I lost an entire crop of corn the night before I planned to harvest it!
I had to chuckle; every empty lot I knew then is now filled with a new shop built of rusty tin and weathered wood--built to look old. Reminds me of the Patchwork House. And a shop called the Gold Burro!--really?