Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Mother Road

A beautiful setting
A recent visit to Kingman AZ's visitor center was a real learning experience.  Most importantly I learned that the longest continuously still in use portion of Route 66, the so called Mother Road, runs right past there.  Of course I had to investigate.  From the California border 66 starts off in Topock and weaves gently through the countryside.  I stopped in at Havasu Wildlife Refuge but the spring winds were too strong for me to put the kayak in the water and paddle the canoe trail.  Ah well, back on the road.  Soon the road was not so gentle.  It climbed and curved and swerved.  I'm sure all the bikers I was passing
were enjoying it but I'm not crazy about it.  Good thing the speed limit was 45.  I noticed some crosses on a hill and took the turnoff to discover an impromptu veterans' monument on a very scenic spot.  Definitely worth the stop.

Hee Haw! Welcome to Oatman.
Next I pulled into the town of Oatman.  Once a thriving gold mining town till the government shut it down in
1942 due to the war effort.  When the miners left they turned their burros loose in the hills so today when you drive through Oatman and the surrounding areas you better slow down so you don't hit one!  In fact, a drive through town is really a creep as the donkeys are so used to
being fed by tourists that they walk right up to the car.  They also stop and poop/pee wherever they please.  Made for an interesting stop.

The next stop along the road is Cool Springs but for me it's the worst part of the road.  As the bikers say "Five miles and 120 curves" which of course makes them happy but I really was glad to get past it.  In Cool Springs there's an old gas station with lots of Route 66 memorabilia.  Really cool stop.  About 15 miles further and the old road crosses under Interstate 40, briefly passes through the older historic part of Kingman and then goes on east out into the countryside (and thankfully almost curveless) toward Hackberry. 

The old station at Hackberry is really fabulous.  Lots of old 66 signs and vehicles as old as the
highway itself.  Inside the ceilings are covered with license plates from all over: every state including TN (Blount Co.), lots of foreign countries (no doubt contributed by visitors), and I even saw one for the Panama Canal Zone and US Armed Forces in Germany.  The crowning touch is the 1957 Vette out front.  Wow, what a stop!!

And that's where I stopped.  There's still more to see but I ran out of time and energy.  You've got
my promise that I will be back to catch the rest of the continuous strip of 66. 

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