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Daytrip : Oatman Arizona on Historic Route 66

We left Vegas in the morning and decided that an excursion through part of route 66 was called for.  Friends of ours told us of a town in the mountains called Oatman which was on route 66.  We left Vegas using the 93 which came out in Kingman Az and from there we jumped on Historic Route 66 heading west into the mountains.  We started climbing the mountain and  Colleen immediately regretted the choice of road as it kept going up steep, winding roads with no guardrails and hundreds of feet down.  No pics of the edge,  she just kept her hands on the holders and her eyes forward, “Not an F*N chance” was the reply!! 

When we finaly got to the very top ( it is called Sitgreaves Pass ) I noticed  a grave marker, then another then many more.  Weird I know!  From what I have read they are memorials to people who have died on route 66 or people who always wanted to travel the road but never made it in their lifetimes.  I can see why you need to go slow on this pass and that some have died here.  While taking pictures I spotted something about two hundred feet down from the road, I zoomed in on it and snapped a pic.  When I got home I had a look on the computer and low and behold in was the remnants of a car wreck (hopefully old).

We headed down the other side and within minutes entered the living ghost town of Oatman.  Created in 1902 the town was originally a mining town when an 11 million dollar gold rush took place.  Because of the dirt roads of the time and the incredibly steep slopes the miners used burros to aid in their mining.  Though there is still an active mine in the area the burros are no longer used but they do roam free any where they choose.  They have become a staple to this small town and are not to be interfered with or harmed in any way by town law.  When we were leaving I had to wait for one to move from the road!!  

The town also held a special place in the hearts of Hollywood.  In 1939 when Clarke Gable and Carole Lombard were married the came to Oatman and stayed at the hotel on their honeymoon.  Clarke often came back to the town to play poker with the miners as he loved the serenity of the town.   We had a quick lunch there at the hotel and then continued to head down route 66 back to the interstate and on to Lake Havasu City (see the next post for that one).  Great day, a lot of visible history and fun watching Colleen turn green going over the mountains!  Ha Ha.     Look for the full photo slideshow in “Photo Albums” up top soon.  Have fun al…. Kevin

 

3:10 To Yuma ! Prison That Is…

 

Yuma Territorial Prison.  Though the Hollywood Blockbuster movie was never about the prison it was about getting a criminal on the train (3:10 to Yuma) which would take him to the Yuma Prison.

Opened in 1876 and closed in 1909, this prison held a total of 3069 prisoners, 29 of which were women.  Some of the notable inmates included Burt Alvord (Train Robber), Pearl Hart (Stagecoach Robber), “Buckskin” Frank Leslie (Gunfighter and killer of Billy Claiborne) and Ricardo Flores Magon (Mexican revolutionary)

During it’s 33 years in existence 112 inmates died at the prison but believe it or not, most of those were from tuberculosis.  8 were killed trying to escape, 6 killed themselves, 5 died in work accidents, 2 were killed by other inmates and 1 was executed by Yuma county. 

If a prisoner became unruly they were thrown in the ‘Dark Cell’, basically a 15X15 cell carved inside the rocks.  Inmates were stripped to their undergarments and thrown in.  Their one meal a day consisted of bread and water and the cell had no bedding or restroom facilities.  Colleen and I walked into the ‘Dark Cell’ and it was Erie, there was a horrid stench that I assume goes all the way back to the first guest.

several others including the original 3:10 to Yuma with Glenn Ford.  Other movies include ‘To Kill A Memory’ (2012), ‘Riot’ (1969) with Gene Hackman, ‘The Badlanders’ (1958) with Alan Ladd and the ‘Red River Valley’ (1936) with Gene Autry.

Colleen and I enjoyed our self guided tour of the prison, we both read and soaked up the history of the place.  Even Hollywood loved this place.  Apart from the 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe, there were 

 

If you are in the Yuma area, stop in and learn a bit of local history.  Well worth the $8 admission.  I will also add a gallery of picture so look for that.  Have fun everyone…Kevin

Mexico Afternoon Trip

Well, we are so close to the border here in Yuma it made sense one day to take a trip across.  If anything we got to see and say we were there.  First Impression, you are bombarded by dental and 

vision sales!  At least 5 different ones in my first 100 feet inside Mexico.  They are very good though, 

once you say no thanks you are actually left alone!

The atmosphere was great, almost like the many trips we have taken into Cuba.  There are outdoor venues everywhere with so much to look at.  We found a nice little outdoor pub where we had some drinks and Salsa & Chips with guacamole and shredded parm. So here we go folks, I have avoided guacamole my whole life so far but I tried and actually liked it.  Kinda taste like cold mushy peas!  I ate it, loved it and had a couple of $2 Corona’s to go with it.  Nice.

After that we shopped a bit more, went back for more salsa then we joined the line to walk back over to the US.  I should have mentioned that we parked in the US and walked over.  This was by far the best way to visit.  Funny though, as we walked from the US into Mexico we saw no one.  No border guards, no officials, nothing but an open 

walkway from the US to Mexico.  Not the same coming back!  We joined a line of people and 45 minutes later were finally back in the US after going through security etc.

In all, this was a very fun day with good company, great 80+ degree weather and sunshine.  So there, I have now been to Mexico!  ...KEVIN