For the first and only time, we looked at our AAA tour book. We discovered that there are a number of ghost towns around the area. One was called Chloride and the other Oatman. We decided to go to Oatman because it was on Route 66, and you know what that means. “Get your Kicks on Route 66.” For those of you who don’t know that song, it was popular in the 1940’s.
Route 66, started in 1926 was the first cross continental road. It started in Chicago and went to L.A. On its side roads it went to Seligman (read above) and to Oatman. Outman was a cool place to made all kinds of western movies. It had burros roaming the streets from the miners who left them there many years ago.
The road to Oatman, which was 22 miles away from route 40, seemed like a small price to pay to see a ghost own. Especially since they had gunfights at noon using real bullets and new people did it every day (just kidding). It sounded somewhat exciting.
Carol looked at the map and it said that we would be going through some wilderness areas. I was o.k. with that. We started off on a bumpy kind of road, not seeing any traffic for miles. There were kind of ramshackle homes around the roads and one started community with a number of nice homes. We were told that the construction of those homes ceased when it was apparent that no one would buy them. The distances from place to place were pretty vast.
As we climbed onto a mountain pass, we saw a kind of small shop that advertised stones, snacks and drinks. We should have stopped there first. before going on. The roads became more and more angular, more steep, more bobsled like (if you had ever seen that roller coaster in Coney Island). It kind of goes off to the side so that you aren’t really perpendicular to the road. At about 18 miles, we just about had it. The switches and blind curves and tricky sidestepping had gotten to us. Just before we crested a massive downturn in the road called, “The Pass,” we decided to pull off and determine what our lives were worth. We traded our lives for burros, a gunfight and a ghost town. I will always wonder about that decision.
We trundled down the hill and wound up in the Cool Springs store. The caretaker (for that is what he called himself) told us that he really does not like that road and hardly ever drives it. He did tell us that the mail person drives it every day, other than Sunday and seems to go by his emporium at 70 miles per hour.
We spoke with the young man, JB, who was in the first Iraq war and suffers from a bronchial disease. He has been dealing with the VA forever and doesn’t have much good to say about it. He tried to live in Tonga for a while and then discovered this job on the net. He lives in a 5th wheel behind the store. He gets to keep whatever he sells. It was as weird a place as I have come to on this trip. Carol has a picture of the route, which I will attempt to attach.
We are having trouble with the wifi where we are staying, so these posts will get to you later.