If you have not heard, Oatman is known for their Wild Burros. The story goes that after the gold mining stopped there, the prospectors let their burros go free and their descendants are the wild burros of Oatman.
Now I’m not one to spoil a great tale, but let me just say, those burros are not as wild as the residents would have you believe.
This part of Route 66 is the most difficult from a driving perspective with rough roads twisting and turning as they climbed the rugged hills into Oatman.
Asking in one of the many stores selling souvenirs, we were told: “Well the burros are wild. They pretty much come into town when they feel like it.”
“Well, when do they usually get here?” I asked, knowing we were on a bit of a schedule.
“Right after the gunfight at noon.” the elderly shopkeeper announced.
Hmm. How convenient, I thought. So now we have to keep shopping. Nice marketing ploy.
We really could not afford to spend two hours in Oatman, so I bought a Route 66 sign and a nice leather backpack purse for my wife, and we headed out of town, disappointed that we had come here and not seen the wild burros of Oatman.
As we were leaving town, I looked to the right and saw a suspicious barn and corral. I was tempted to stop and open the door and free the wild burros, but we had so much respect for people who had managed to keep a town alive in the middle of nowhere that we just kept driving.
Lesson: If you WANT to see the wild burros of Oatman, show up around noon.We DID see a cool dune buggy with a revolver for a gearshift handle.Leaving Oatman, the road continues to wind its way through the hills, now descending as we continue to travel through the desert.
As we were getting used to, Route 66 at times seemed to go on for miles and miles with little to no traffic. It was a pleasant change from driving on busy interstates.
A pleasant oasis in the middle of the desert is the Hackberry General Store, which has so much memorabilia.
It is worth a stop, and I could not resist buying a Coke in a small glass bottle!
At this point we took a detour off Route 66 to visit the Grand Canyon. My daughter had never been there, and although it was an over 2 hour detour, it was well worth it! We ended the day in Flagstaff, AZ on schedule and pleased that the Bug crossed the infamous Mohave Desert!