The biggest disappointment of our Thanksgiving trip was that it was so cloudy and threatening that we decided to skip Grand Canyon this trip. On the other hand, because we had an extra half-day we decided to drive sections of Route 66 rather than staying on the much faster Interstate 40.
I’ll have to admit I was surprised that “Route 66” attracted so many tourists. A lot of the small towns we drove through would probably disappear without the tourist trade. We began our morning with a stop at the Route 66 Bakery.
Probably not surprisingly, I took a lot more landscape shots than I did shots of old buildings. The plants were quite different from the vegetation I remember in the Mojave Desert around Ft. Irwin,
and the vegetation changed dramatically as we climbed the mountain range.
As we climbed even higher, what little vegetation there was gave way to rock gardens.
Route 66 to Oatman was quite the challenge. The road was narrow and the drop off so extreme that Leslie refused to look out the window until we stopped at a pullout at the summit. Looking out from the top of the pass, it was hard to believe that anyone would ever have chosen this as the main route from Los Angeles to Chicago.
Oatman seemed like a tourist trap, but the rocky cliffs provided a dramatic backdrop for the town.
I did stop at the edge of Oatman to take a shot of an original gas station that has been restored, though the pumps no longer pump gas,
but I refused to pay $2.00 to park so that we could feed the burros carrots or visit the shops selling Indian crafts to tourists. Still, it was pretty clear that lots of people were more than happy to do so. I don’t know where all the people came from since we didn’t see a single car on the highway, but the town itself was bustling with tourists.
Our Thanksgiving trip covered nearly 4,000 miles. When you cover that many miles you’re grateful to have anything that detracts you, reading about and seeing landmarks from the original Route 66 certainly helped make the trip more interesting than it would have been if we had just remained on Interstate 40 the whole way.