Route 66 – part 12

Our travels have taken us through the Arizona deserts where the views are brilliant if not a little intimidating to get stuck out here.

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We arrived at an old gold mining town called Oatman. Some interesting facts about Oatman:

In 1863, mountain man and prospector Johnny Moss discovered gold in the Black Mountains and staked several claims, one named the Moss, after himself, and another after Olive Oatman. For the next half century mining waxed and waned in the district until new technology, reduced transportation costs, and new gold discoveries brought prosperity to Oatman early in the twentieth century. The opening of the Tom Reed mine followed by the discovery of an incredibly rich ore body in the nearby United Eastern Mining Company’s property in 1915 brought one of the desert country’s last gold rushes. The boom of 1915-17 gave Oatman all the characters and characteristics of any gold rush boom town. For about a decade, the mines of Oatman were among the large gold producers in the West.

In 1921, a fire burned down many of Oatman’s smaller buildings, but spared the Oatman Hotel. Built in 1902, the now-Oatman Hotel is the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mohave County, a Mohave County historical landmark and is especially famous as the honeymoon stop of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard after their wedding in Kingman on March 18, 1939. Gable fell in love with the area and returned often to play poker with the miners. The Gable/Lombard honeymoon suite is one of the hotel’s major attractions. The other is “Oatie the Ghost.” “Oatie,” actively promoted by the hotel’s current owners, is a friendly poltergeist whose identity is believed to be that of William Ray Flour, an Irish miner who died behind the hotel, presumably from excessive alcohol consumption. Flour’s body wasn’t discovered until two days after his death and it was hastily buried in a shallow grave near where he was found.

There were talks about the gold mining process, a guy who had to kiss every woman who walked past him, a mule called “Mark” who was knackered after working all day just one of thirty-five or more mules wandering around the town.

We stopped of in this fantastic little bar for something to eat and drink where the custom is to pin a $1 bill to anywhere you can. The music entertainment was as good as the beer and food, we spent a lot longer here than we intended to, but who cares as we are on holiday in this wonderful country.

We couldn’t leave without keeping the tradition going now could we?

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We got back on the road, sort of sad to leave the old place where time has almost stood still, but at the same time looking forward to the next stop. We had to cross over the Colorado River from Arizona to Nevada states to get there.

We arrived in Las Vegas for a chillaxing evening and a very well deserved beer.

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Cheers everybody, and thanks again for the kind emails and comments.

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