Oatman, AZ

Up in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona lies the old gold mining town of Oatman.  Named after Olive Oatman, a young girl from Illinois who had been captured by the Natives during their journey westward before being sold to the Mohave Indians and made one of their own, the town was built during the gold rush, but by the mid 20th century, the mines were shut down and they turned to tourism to make their money.

This town saw its share of Hollywood stars and was used as a backdrop for several westerns.  It was also where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard had their honeymoon after getting married in Kingman.  The original Route 66 wound through the hills from Kingman on its way to Needles, CA, but the drive was so steep and twisty, it was soon rerouted for an easier drive.

Luckily, there are several tours out of Laughlin, NV, across the Colorado River from Bullhead City, AZ, which has brought back the tourists.

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One of the big draws are the wild burros, descendants of the original pack animals brought in during the gold rush, but left behind when the miners left.

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You can easily see the town’s pride in their wild inhabitants.

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And yes, they are wild.  While most every shop has ‘burro food’ (small blocks of hay or bags of carrots) for sale, the animals are no longer domesticated and have been known to get a bit rowdy.  Plus, it was asked that no one feed the babies, since they were still getting their meals from Momma.  They even had warning stickers about this.

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There is also a shoot out between a bank robber and the sheriff in the middle of the street at least twice a day.

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The shops are full of quirky items and friendly people.

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The town does have one or two rules, besides the burros.

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The shops had everything you could possibly want from an ex-mining, burro infested, cowboy shootouts daily type of town.  Just make sure you watch where you step.  Burro droppings abound.

 

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