Burkifornia ’16 – Day 8
Memorial Day 2016 – Burkifornia ’16. We woke without our alarms and started the day slowly. It was pretty warm in Kingman, AZ, unlike the cool mornings we’ve had along the way. Unable to find any Memorial Day events locally, we chose to pack the car and get on the road. We cruised slowly down the main drag, which was Route 66, stopped at the Kingman Visitor’s Center for some knick knacks and gifts, then headed out 28 miles to Oatman, AZ. There is only one road to Oatman – Route 66! The First 20+ miles were bleached out desert roads that seemed to be heading towards the mountains but never reaching them. Finally, the road turned to the right, became much narrower, and the ascent began.
At first the ascent was exciting. As the road twisted and turned the views all around us were nothing short of spectacular. In time the road became steeper, filled with hairpin curves, and seemingly, narrower. It was white knuckle driving at 15-20 MPH for 3 miles while my daughter snapped some great pics and time-lapse videos. The pics are good but don’t do the views justice – and they can’t begin to communicate the feeling I had while driving it, especially when RVs were coming in the opposite direction. We finally came over the crest and down we went. Somehow the ride down didn’t seem as bad. Perhaps this was only due to the fact that we could actually see what turns were coming next!
Finally, we came into Oatman. The entire main street is barely a quarter of a mile long. This town stays on the map due to its firm grip on its history and the Route 66 culture. It is filled with gift and souvenir shops, boasts a daily western outlaw show, and live burros walking around. We wondered up and down the street, mingling with lots of other tourists, learned quickly that young burros don’t like dogs – not that they’re frightened of them, but that they’ll go right after a dog and try to kick it. Our fuzzy pal didn’t know to avoid the burros, thankfully, we’d been warned by a shop keeper. They don’t challenge humans and all we had to do was get between the burro and the dog and push the burro away. We watched a ‘shoot out,’ had an excellent western burger, explored the shops and decided it was time to go. This was another of the many fun places to visit along Route 66.
Route 66 out of town was much easier; a long windy 25+ mile ride to I-40 were we crossed the Colorado River into California before getting off the highway and back onto route 66. We followed a mix of Route 66 and I-40 to Barstow, CA to spend the night, and that’s where we are now.
So, tomorrow will be the final leg of our Route 66 adventure, but not the end of our trip. We plan to sleep late tomorrow, then head out to Los Angeles and the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, CA. We’re looking forward to the sites along the way, to seeing our cousins after our long drive, then heading south for the final leg of our journey.