Friday, August 12, 2016

Travels on the Mother Road, Route 66 - Part 5, western Arizona

Let us continue our tour of the Mother Road. We have completed California, and at the border, Route 66 enters Arizona at the town of Toprock via the Interstate 40 bridge as it crosses the Colorado River. At Toprock, turn north on the Oatman-Toprock Highway. This passes by flat agricultural land and then ascends into the dry mountains on its way to Oatman.
Late afternoon, there is no traffic; the place is empty. Wait, no, it's not empty. The burro came to visit and soon his friend joined him. He drooled in the car and started to chew, which could have been very destructive quickly. I pushed him out and moved on into Oatman. These friendly guys' forefathers were brought here during the mining era.
Oarman does the Out West - Quaint Mining Town thing a big way. I thought I might stay the night, but by 5 pm, Oatman had closed up totally. Even the Oatman Hotel (where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard came for their honeymoon) was closed. Fortunately, I had snacks and plenty of gasoline (hint to Route 66 travelers: don't take chances, fill up when you can because services can be far apart).
I processed this file in color to show how the Old West theme has been done up. Oatman was a true mining town up to the onset of World War II, but then endured several decades as a ghost town. But it is reviving as a tourist destination, complete with an annual egg-frying contest using solar gadgets.
The road winds up and up into the Black Mountains to Sitgreaves Pass at 3556 ft (1083 m) elevation. In the past, cars had trouble with the grade and wreckers and tow trucks were on hand to haul cars over the crest. Some cars went up in reverse, which was geared lower than 1st gear. Anyway, sunset was gorgeous, and I processed this picture in color to show the sunset glow. It was quiet, and I shared the sunset with a fellow who came up from Kingman on a big Harley.
Proceed northeast, and the road switchbacks downhill, eventually reaching Cold Springs. Other than a few ranches, it was quiet. Heading towards Kingman, I saw more grid streets set up for ambitious suburban developments that never happened. As usual, I ask, where did they think they would get the water? Anyway, it was dark, I was tired, and I pushed on to Kingman to find a motel.

Photographs taken with a Fuji X-E1 digital camera, with some RAW filed processed with PhotoNinja software.

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