|Day 22 (am temp 39.6)
Oatman, Arizona (via Mohave Valley)
I’m sure we all have our bucket lists of things to do, places to go and people to see. And unlike Morgan Freeman, with Jack Nicholson’s help, most of us don’t ever fulfill that list. After seeing an article on Oatman in a travel magazine several years ago, visiting Oatman has been on my list ever since. As luck would have it, my little detour to Las Vegas brought me within striking distance of Oatman, so I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
As with many historical locales, like Virginia City, Nevada or Jacksonville, Oregon, sometimes you have to look past the tourist oriented commercial activities to see, or appreciate, the history. Oatman is no different. Agreed, the historical integrity of Route 66 adds to the attraction, as there is a certain degree of romanticism surrounding the old Route 66 and the quaintness and oddities that share it’s historical past. The history of Oatman is still there, although somewhat masked by the multitude of artisan shops and eateries. Granted, many of the artisans are local people sharing their talent, and I must say, one shop which featured 4 local artists had some very unique and interesting pieces using some of the natural materials from the area. So, I tried to look beyond some of the facades to see and appreciate the old buildings and get a feel for what may have been. The main road that passes through the middle of Oatman IS the original Route 66, so that in itself is of some significance.
The secondary attraction to Oatman are the burros. They roam freely throughout the one block area, and are in themselves, a bit of a tourist attraction. Some may find their presence a little distasteful, but they certainly add a certain uniqueness to the whole experience.
I drove beyond Oatman a little ways to see the country, and stopped at a little knoll to take some pictures. Little did I know that I had stumbled onto what seemed to be sort of a local shrine area for deceased individuals. I don’t believe it was an actual cemetery, due to the manner in which the sites were identified and prepared, and there were only about 6 or 8 of these sites on the knoll. Still, it was interesting.
So, now I get to cross one more item off my bucket list.
Oh, the park manager of the campground in Mohave Valley is from Eugene (retired Navy) - born and raised in Coos Bay. The lady in the office has two sons in the Coast Guard – one in Depoe Bay, the other in Florence. Go figure.
Distance travelled to Mohave Valley: 118 miles