Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Practising Synchronised Mating Calls....

Rather than stay in Kingman, I had found on the Internet a place in the Hualapai Mountains that looked interesting. It has just 8 rooms and promised a relaxed environment with great views. It didn’t fail to deliver and the rooms were some of the best I have stayed in. It has a great bar, nightlife and a restaurant, so it gets top marks from me. The Hualapai Mountain Resort is 20 miles from Kingman and set amongst pine trees.

The walls between the rooms are not at all sound-proof though and it the couple in the room next to us were, well, practising synchronised mating calls early the next morning!

We didn’t have too far to ride today, just over 100 miles to Lake Havasu, so Jackie and I had a leisurely start to our day, We headed for the Oatman Highway which would take us south to, err, Oatman.

I had been looking for a Route 66 sign painted on the road, but hadn’t found one. The road to Oatman is part of the old R66 and just south of Kingman, I found what I had been looking for....


























Not far after that the 15,000th mile of the tour was reached and as usual, a photo looking forward at that point was taken....




















As Jackie was here at the 15,000 mile point, we took a picture with both of us in....




















The road to Oatman could have been a fantastic ride. The scenery was certainly excellent....







































The weather wasn’t good though, but the sad part was the quality of the road surface. It wasn’t great, with many rough spots and a few thousand miles of road snakes, which meant instead of enjoying the sweeping curves, I had to keep a close eye on the road surface in front, and that never makes for an enjoyable ride.

Oatman itself made up for that though. It is just like stepping back in time, with old wooden buildings lining the main road through the tiny town....





































Back when the town was a centre for mining locally, Burros were used to carry supplies. When the mining declined, many of the burros were released into the wild and they continued to breed and today number about 300. Some come to the town to be fed with carrots and Burro food sold by one or two of the shops in the town. Jackie loves donkeys ....


















We ate in the Olive Oatman Restaurant and Saloon....


















The weather had improved a little after lunch....


















The road south out of Oatman was as spectacular as the part north of the town....





































Did you see the movie The Day of the Triffids? This was about plants that had intelligence, could communicate with each other and had a whip-like sting that was capable of killing humans. We passed a hill covered in strange plants that reminded us both of Triffids....




















As far as I can tell, Havasu is a new city famous for one thing – it has a water channel crossed by a bridge – London Bridge....




















The bridge used to cross the River Thames in London, but was too narrow for the traffic that needed to cross it, so it was sold and dismantled stone by stone, moved to Lake Havasu and re-built in its former glory. It works quite well in its new setting....




















Havasu was hot – maybe 85 – 90F degrees and no wind as we left early in the morning, but it didn’t stay that way for long. We stopped in Kingman at Mr D’s. A diner in cool old-fashioned style....







































Jackie fell in love with the turquoise and pink interior and is talking of plans to decorate one room in our house in those colours. Hmmmn.

I had spoken with my friend Ian Solley from the UK earlier that morning and we were just about 100 mile apart, both riding across the US. Ian was riding to Oatman and I was hoping to bump into him in Kingman, as I guessed he might be travelling that way. It wasn't to be though. Ian is writing about his current trip on his blog.

Our route back to Flagstaff took us along route 66 in the opposite direction from two days previously, so we were able to replace the Route 66 stuff we lost on our outward journey. Somehow, we seemed to buy a lot more trinkets the second time around!

As we rode east, we could see some rain coming from the south. The wind was very strong and we leaned into it in order to ride in a straight line. We were playing dodge the rain with some degree of success, but the clouds became darker and darker....




















We reached Peach Springs (not at all Peachy) and found a derelict gas station to shelter under....




















The rain passed and we rode onto Seligman mainly in the dry where we stopped for a drink at the Snow Cap....







































However, our skill at playing dodge the rain ended there and we had to endure the next 70 odd miles in heavy rain which was made to feel even worse as the road slowly climbed to nearly 7,000 feet above sea level in Flagstaff. We arrived cold, wet and hungry. Red Lobster soon cured the third of these!

At the hotel, something had arrived in the post for me. I will write a post about the post tomorrow!

12 comments:

George F said...

This is an amazing trip, I just did a cross country trip in July in 23 days and I'm now writing about it in my blog. Love all the places you have been, if you ever back in NJ send me a message and we can get together for dinner. I wish I could do a trip like this, maybe one day I will do one of Great Britain too :-)

BeemerGirl said...

I've only recently found your blog and am really enjoying reading it. You are currently near my parents place and I am enjoying seeing some of my old roads through your eyes. You look like you are having a great time and taking great pictures. If you wanted to happen by Kingman again, and take a 5 hour detour north...you could go to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The only drawback is that you can't take your own camera out there. Continue the great reporting and Thank You! -Lori

motoroz said...

This is great. You are posting about so many places that I did not know about. The old roads are great for motorcycles. Love the photos and glad to see your sweetheart in some of them.

SonjaM said...

Another part of your travels, that we must have shared the road ;-)
I have done the Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. the very same month in 2001 (yes shortly after 9/11). It was my best road trip ever. I stopped at a Starbucks in Flagstaff to warm up and drove further to the Grand Canyon that day... thanks for resurrecting my memories...

Doug said...

Gary, the town of Oatman is named for the Oatman family who were attacked by Indians down towards Gila Bend, AZ. "The Oatman Massacre" is the prototypical story of white settlers attacked by angry natives. Father, mother, and the baby killed, the son left for dead, and the daughters carried of into captivity. The old story makes interesting reading, and while told in a lurid, 19th century fashion, is largely true.

http://www.discoverseaz.com/History/Oatman.html

shanky said...

U had a a great journey on bike.
i customized by own bike and tried to give a look like harley.

Gary France said...

George – I will take a look at your blog and read about your trip as soon as I have time. I look forward to reading about what you did and where you went. I don’t have any plans to get back to NJ, but if I do, I will contact you.

BeemerGirl – Welcome to my blog! I considered the Skywalk, but that poor quality road and that you cannot take a camera really put me off. Being an engineer, I would really have liked to have seen it, but it was not to be this time. I have peeked at your blog occasionally!

Oz – I agree, the old roads are much better for bikes than the newer ones. That had never occurred to me, but of course, you are right!

Gary France said...

Sonja – I am pleased that I reminded you about your past trip! I have often wondered about doing the full Route 66 trip – maybe I will one year and I might ask for your advice.

Doug – Thanks for the information and the link. I read the account of what happened to the Oatmans and it is quite harrowing. Those were tough times back then!

Shanky – Thanks for reading my blog. It is good that you customized your bike.

Eve said...

I hate road snakes!!! I did see The Triffids!! and yes that would be scary to see them all coming at me like that!! hahahaha! That is really cool about the bridge coming from London! Love the diner...just not toooo much pink Jackie!! I hope the weather did improve...well since I'm behind on posts I'm going to find out aren't I!!!

Gary France said...

Eve – They really did remind me of triffids. Yes, the weather did improve, that is until the tornadoes! LOL

BeemerGirl said...

Hi Gary! I completely understand about the length of road and the no camera thing. The same reasons I have had second thoughts. I've driven that road in a four-wheel drive years ago...long before the bridge, and it wasn't any picnic. I hear the road is improving and it is actually possible to just take a tour bus from Kingman. The price and camera still get me tho. :) I think you are seeing many other sights that rival it. -Lori

Gary France said...

BeemerGirl / Lori - Until they change at least one of those two things, I won't be going!