Saturday, November 17, 2012

Odometer 25344 Trip 0 Bullhead City, AZ Friday November 16, 2012 Joan and I visited the small town of Oatman about 20 miles outside of Bullhead City on the Mother Road- Route 66. Oatman is a former mining town in the Black Mountains where gold was found in 1915. The town quickly grew to a population of 3,500 as word of the rich gold finds spread. A disastrous fire in 1921 burned much of the town but fortunately spared the Oatman Hotel which is now one of the oldest two story adobe structures in Mohave county. The present day "downtown" area is about one block long and is lined with restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. But the real attraction of Oatman seems to be the burros that roam the streets of town. The burros once very wild are now somewhat habituated to humans, and will come up to anyone with a handout. We were the guests of house #38 on Snob Hill road just above town. Joan's former co-worker and her husband have retired and purchased one of the few homes available where one can buy the land and house. Most of the town and structures are owned by two enterprising families and most of the structures can be purchased or rented, but the land is leased. Oatman's population is currently less than 130 and many of those, like our hosts are only part year residents, choosing to leave in spring as the temperatures soar, and return in the fall as they moderate again. Joan and I stopped frequently during our drive to and from Oatman to marvel at the desert landscapes. The hills are impossibly steep and rugged and painted rich colors of brown, beige, red and orange, as the light playing across them makes a veritable kaleidoscope of color.
The Black Mountains as seen from Silver Creek Road in Bullhead City
Two rolling stones on the iconic Mother Road
Downtown Oatman is at bottom right. The jagged spire at center is called Elephant's tooth
Rigged for travel. It only feel long when maneuvering in a small parking lot!

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