Ron and I made the trip from Golden Valley to Oatman a few years ago, and wanted Hoyt and Bernice to experience Oatman’s uniqueness as well.
Perhaps as interesting as Oatman itself is the drive over along old Route 66.
The road contains many hairpin curves, and often evidence of vehicles that didn’t make the curves can be seen among the rocks.
Tucked away in the mountains is Oatman, founded around 1908. In less than 30 years, mines in the area produced over 1.8 million ounces of gold, but in 1942 the last remaining mines were closed as “nonessential to the war effort”. The town, with it’s humorous portrayal of what it once was, survives through tourism.
We had lunch in this bar which is “wallpapered” with dollar bills. Literally, every inch of the wall, bar, etc is covered with bills taped up by the tourists.
The food was excellent.
Prospectors brought the first burros to the area. They were used inside the mines for hauling rock and ore to the outside, and outside for hauling water and supplies. As the mines closed, the miners often left the burros to fend for themselves. Over the years, although becoming wild animals, they have learned they can get fed a daily meal in Oatman.
When we were here several years ago, the merchants were selling bags of carrots for visitors to feed to the animals. It has since been determined that the carrot diet was not necessarily good for the animals. The only food approved for them now is available from a few merchants as small hand held bales of a grain based material.
We’re wondering if they don’t like their new food as well as the carrots of the past, as we didn’t see nearly the number of burros this visit as before.
A gunfight in the street takes place each midday. Afterwards, a hat is passed for charity.
We couldn’t resist seeing how we’d look as bargirls with their cowboys.
Between the drive along Route 66 and the fun of Oatman, it is truly a great way to spend a day if you happen to find yourself in Golden Valley, AZ