May 11 ~ Oatman, AZ and Route 66
Staying in Mohave Valley last night meant we were just a few miles from our first stop of the day, Oatman, AZ.
Located in the Black Mountains, its history is primarily linked to gold mining.
“The boom of 1915-17 gave Oatman all the characters and characteristics of any gold rush boomtown. For about a decade, the mines of Oatman were among the largest gold producers in the American West.” ~ Wikipedia
There is also a backstory to where the name came from.
“After a few other names were passed over, “Oatman” was chosen for the name of the town in honor of Olive Oatman, a young Illinois girl who had been taken captive by Indians during her pioneer family’s journey westward in 1851 and forced into slavery. She was later traded to Mohave Indians, who adopted her as a daughter and had her face tattooed in the custom of the tribe. She was released in 1856 at Fort Yuma, Arizona.” ~ Wikipedia
But probably the main draw today are the burros. Left over from the miners, these wild burros have thrived and become an integral part of the town. Venders sell pellets to feed them, children have a ball petting them and tourists snap pictures left and right.
This was my favorite picture of the day. Perhaps a little cheeky, but the setting could not be staged if you tried. I overheard a father stating to his young son that he was getting a piggy back ride, LOL.
We stopped in a jewelry/gift shop and I found a necklace and two sandstone coasters that I decided to leave with. The owner of the shop cautioned us that one does have to keep in mind that the burros are wild animals and occasionally someone gets in the middle of a couple of them fighting and injuries have happened.
After spending an hour or so walking the street, we ventured on down Route 66. This section is also named Oatman Highway.
This is desert country and a variety of cactus can be seen. Quite impressive actually.
Overnight spot ~ BLM land on Welch Road Dispersed off of highway 40 exit 151 near Williams (north side of the freeway). It is free, no hookups, not crowded and beautiful sunset.
Just FYI, there is a KOA just down the road if this is too remote for some. It runs $55 a night. Me, I like FREE better.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we got to visit Oatman, laugh at the burros and explore more of Route 66. Arizona can be hot, harsh and unforgiving in the heat of summer, but in the springtime, her beauty is in full bloom.
We are just at the start of our seven week road trip. Hope you will tag along as we explore more of this big, beautiful country.