About the second stop light on my way out of Bullhead City, I saw a sign pointing east that said to Historic Route 66. Why not?!! I was in the wrong lane of course, so I take the next available right hand turn and do one of my famous U-turns. I headed east and I had no idea how any of this would connect in with my drive southeast to Lake Havasu City, but I’ll figure that out as I go along; that’s all part of being on a road trip.
|Photo- Historic Route 66 heading towards Oatman.|
A mile down this road off in the distance, I can see part of the landscape that is often used in the posters of Route 66; the car with the road and the colored rock towers in the background. Meanwhile, in the back of mind I hear the song…I get my kick on Route 66. I continue to drive east and 4 miles later the two lane highway comes to a “Y” intersection of which I’m on one of the top half. This is Route 66, there’s historical road markers and a little ways down I see a worn wooden sign pointing north with the word OATMAN on it. Huh? Oh, why not? I came this far didn’t I?
|Photo- A worn sign for Oatman.|
I head north into Oatman; whatever Oatman maybe, I have no idea. I head further north and come to a burro warning sign for the next 8 miles. Okay, this is a little new to me. There are wild burros roaming the hills, hmmm? I continue north and arrive at a little wooden rustic town with a speed limit of 15mph. I slow thinking that’s kind of an extreme low speed limit. But then I see burros roaming the streets, people petting/feeding the burros and people walking around. It’s relatively packed for a small area. The burros have the run of the street area and everyone just goes around them.
|Photos- Burros on the main drag in Oatman on Route 66.|
I ended up paying for parking at the end of town for $2 which I get a $2 coupon that’s good for the purchase of something other than postcards in the shop right next to the parking lot. This is a huge marketing ploy if there ever was one. I go in the store and look around but everything seems to be marked up $2 more than what it should be anyway. I think I need to just stick with losing the $2 to parking. I walk along the street. Most of the store fronts are rustic worn wooden and they have wooden boardwalk sidewalks.
|Photo- Locals on the boardwalk.|
There are a couple of local guys hanging out on a boardwalk area and I catch part of their conversation. One of them is carving something in wood while the other stands. “Working on another one, I see.” The one carving says,”Yep! I can’t seem to keep them in stock.” The other one says,”Yeah, that kind of how it goes.” Then they talk about the weather.
It’s a hodgepodge group of people. There are the Harley biker types with their scantily clad women, families with kids and strollers, older retired couples, and almost every age between. A lot of the locals are clad in jeans and cowboy hats and they traverse the main road area in ATVs instead of cars. I hear all kinds of accents from the twang of Texas, the slip sliding lilt of Savannah, the proper English of England, the average American accent and plenty of Germanic accented English.
I wandered in and out of shops on one side of the street. The sidewalk gets crowded in one area so I walked out on the street. I walked out past a burro that starts walking towards me like I have something to give it. No, I don’t have anything for you. I told it as I pet its nose and continued past it. Then, I felt a tug on my little knapsack that I’m carrying. I turned around to find the burro had my bag clutched in its mouth. What! No you are giving that back to me buddy. I quickly tugged it back and I heard people commenting about the burro trying to take my bag. I stated out loud,” It must have thought my bag had food in it!” Later, I see a guy that bought a whole bunch of burro bag treats that they sell at all of the stores. A burro just went for the paper sacks in his hands like there was no tomorrow. It was kind of funny but I could see it scare the heck out of small kid.
|Photo- A Burro going in for snacks!|
I walked down to the one end and then crossed the street carefully watching my bag when I went past the burros. I checked out the stores on up the other side of the street. Some of the stores were your typical t-shirt souvenir stores but there were some that had pottery, leather goods, and other items that looked like they were made locally. I did find a cute Route 66 t-shirt for $13 that I just couldn’t pass up and then I got a couple of postcards. At the other end of the street was a pair of cowboys playing guitars and singing. No, it wasn’t the tune of getting kicks on Route 66, but a Johnny Cash song.
|Photo- Old Route 66 heading south from Oatman.|
I got in the car and headed south this time on Route 66; hoping eventually I would cross the path of I-40. The road curved and wound through color rock towers, groupings of scrub brush, ocotillo patches, and scattered all around were cholia cactus. The sun was high and off in the distance on the horizon was a shimmer of light on water which was Lake Havasu. It was a wonderful scenic drive and all I could think about was imagining driving along this road in an old 1950’s car with the windows open at the height of Route 66. That would have been grand with weather like this. I did notice warning signs about not continuing if the road was flooded. The road dips ever so often, as it curves around, and I wouldn’t want to be out here when it was raining. A great deal of these wash area would be quickly filled with water.
Eventually, I get to the town of Topock and come out to signage to I-40. I go by the Lake Havasu Wilderness Preserve area just before jumping on to I-40 heading east. Shortly after that I get off onto Hwy 95 south into Lake Havasu City. I get to my hotel which is the London Bridge Resort. It’s as close as you can stay in the area to the London Bridge.
I know you are asking the London Bridge in Arizona. Yep! Lake Havasu City has the old London Bridge that was imported to the city and put back together. It was purchased in 1967 and was dedicated in October of 1971. The chainsaw and oil tycoon Robert Paxton McCulloch purchase it and put it on land that he owned in a city he founded in 1964. It all came together as a way to get tourists to come to the area. It must have worked because people are still living, working, and visiting.
|Photo- The London Bridge in Arizona!|
The London Bridge Resort where I stayed was right next door to the bridge. You walk out of the hotel’s back door, down the hill, and off to the right there’s the bridge. I took pictures and visited what shops were open under the bridge area. But it was kind of the off season right now, so it was a bit slow. I ended up walking across the bridge and taking pictures and just enjoying the scenery. There are both American and British flags that fly over the bridge. Cars were driving by while I walked along and it was an interesting feeling to know that I'm walking on a bridge that was once in London England. But it is a pretty bridge and a nice area to have a bridge.
I had dinner at a chain restaurant nearby and then came back to the hotel early hoping to get sometime in the hot tub. I changed into my bikini, threw on some clothes on top, walked down to the front desk area for a towel, and off to the hot tub I went.
There were some people hanging out at a table nearby but there was only one guy in the hot tub. Yeah, I thought a nice quiet time relaxing in the hot tub. Well, not quite as it turned out. I did have a bit of a conversation with the guy in the tub. He was a married architect and from Huston. Then, these two other married men show up. One of them was quite the conversationalist and rather intoxicated, while the other, was a quiet highway patrolman who kept running to the bar for drinks for both of them. The conversation was all over the place from what you did for a job to the state of California to construction to fiber optics on the ocean floor. Mr. Conversation did something with getting permits to lay fiber optics in areas of California, or at least that was the gist of what he did.
The next thing, another group of three shows up in the hot tub. It’s a 24 year old guy that just got back from a tour in Afghanistan and his parents. The guy is smoking a cigar and is all casual about what went on over there while he was there. Mr. Conversationalist is all over talking with this young military guy. I would buy you a drink but they just closed the bar he says. Then this other older lady shows up and has a son who is also over there but doesn’t know where or what her son is doing over there. It’s quite the conversation.
But over time, it breaks up and I end up talking with the married architect who is amazed by what I’m doing and always wanted to do something like that. I ask him about his work and he admits to owning his own company. Things are going well and he has a possibility of gaining business in China designing stores for Starbucks. Wow! I thought that this sounded like an amazing opportunity but he just shrugged it. He wasn’t sure if he would get it and he wants to work towards retiring early; doing something like what I’m doing. He wanted to get my blog info. and offered if I was ever in Huston to contact him. He seemed very nice. I’m always amazed at all of the nice people that I’ve met on this trip.
Everyone started to head off back inside to their rooms at the resort. The architect and I left about the same time. I shared my info with him and then I jumped onto the second floor where my upgraded hotel room was; sometimes it pays to be patient and nice to the front desk clerk.