Greetings from Kingman, AZ!

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
On the way here from Vegas there were quite a number of "OMG" moments (not related to the wind, which I'm sure Monello will tell you all about). The scenery was spectacular. At one point you crest a hill and - GASP - there is the most amazing view of Lake Mead, with the mountains surrounding it. Further on there is an expansive vista with crazy dinosaur mountains that goes on forever. It was so breathtaking I almost ran into the car next to me, no lie.

Kingman is a "we're really on our way to Grand Canyon" town, but it's interesting in its own right. The claim to fame is Route 66 history and memorabilia, but it's also where you'd stay to visit Grand Canyon West (and the glass walkway over the canyon). It's larger than I thought, with all sorts of commercial stuff and a population of only 28k BUT it's the Mohave County seat, so it's the hub for surrounding smaller towns.

Our KOA is pretty nice with basic amenities, but the roads are dirt which means everything is dusty. Our site has flowering shrubberies on either side to isolate us from our neighbors.

I have been told by numerous people who've been here that we MUST go to Oatman, which is a small cowboy town about a half hour away. It's like Tombstone lite, with wild donkeys roaming the streets. Chloride is another small town that was recommended.

Last night we roamed around looking for some dinner and a bar, and found Canyon 66. What attracted us was the retro signage, and what made us commit was the airbrush art depicting various 50s and 60s entertainers. Amazingly, the owners do not think this is as cool as Monello and I did - they don't even mention it on their website. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

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This mural goes the length of the building (this is just a small part of it), and there are individual portraits on the pillars and dotted around. It's extremely cool and unique.

Today is laundry day and when that's done we will be off to explore.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
They're dumb here.

No, really.

I observed to Monello after we left the grocery store this evening that there was a disproportionate number of weirdos in that store - like Deliverance weird; backward. So when we got back home he looked up the demographics for the city itself and the schools. It's like 88% white, no black people to speak of, and the kids are way below the state average (which is low to begin with) in academic proficiency. Even in the charter school, where the "smart" kids go, they're pretty dumb.

Wal-Mart is their 6th largest employer, with 470 employees...in a town of about 30,000 people. 20% of residents are living below the poverty rate.

But they have a really cute downtown, with a nice visitor's center and walky downtown with shops, restaurants, and a brew pub. With a little effort it could be a legit tourist destination.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Today we went to Oatman, which is a little cowboy/former ghost town about 30 miles west of Kingman.

First let me tell you about the drive:

We took the road through the mountains instead of the highway and it was MAGNIFICENT. My pics don't even come close to the depth and enormity of this land. The road is skinny and no guardrails, with a dropoff right there - on wrong move and you're jelly. At one point we came around a curve and OMG! The mountain view was so overwhelming I got vertigo and had to look away.

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In literally the middle of nowhere there was an oasis:

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So we get to Oatman and...another OMG moment:

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Their claim to fame (besides being a cute cowboy town) is that they have packs of burros that roam the streets:

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Including this sweet boy who was only 5 days old:

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vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
My new friend:

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We walked Oatman, ate lunchin their hotel restaurant, and headed for Laughlin, NV. Nothing to see but casinos. It's right on the Colorado River, so that's kind of cool, but there seemed to be no entertainment other than gambling. YAWN.

The whole drive to Oatman looked like this:

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I wish I were a better photographer and could capture that depth and how it feels to stand on a mountain looking over this enormous landscape.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Also, babe, this is TRUMP COUNTRY. We haven't seen one derogatory Trump shirt/bumpersticker/etc since we left Vegas. The shirt shop in Oatman was nothing but pro-Trump tees, and in Kingman they have pro-Trump messages painted on the outside walls of the business.

:patriot:
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
I was jonesing to go fishing. We took the scenic route back from Oatman and hit Laughlin, NV on the way back. Laughlin is a Nevada border town on the Colorado river. There are several parks and boat ramps along the Arizona shore of the river. I figured I might have some luck in 1 of those spots.

I did some online research but couldin't find anything current. Fishing when it's 100 degrees isn't the same as fishing in the fall or spring. On the way down I was going to stop in the bait and tackle store. For some reason their sign that displays their hours said they should have been open but the door was locked shut. I fished at a city park. The water level was low. Close to the shore was shallow so I wet waded out to about mid thigh. The water was somewhat cool and it's crystal clear. All the lakes I've been to so far have the same clear, deep water. Lake Havasu, Pleasant lake, Lake Mead, Parker Canyon lake and the Colorado river all are of a kind.

I toss out my go to lure, a mepps spinner. I catch a nice smallmouth bass. It's shaped like a football. A strong, healthy fish. It takes me a while to get him in. I get a quick picture with the phone and let him go. I try a few more spots without luck. The temperature when I started was 74 but it is now approaching the 90 degree mark. I want to go explore another part of the river.

Instead I pass a car wash. My Jeep is filthy. It's dusty out here. When it rained in Las Vegas, all the water spots on the car became dirt magnets. The campground roads in our part of the park are all dirt. But now at least I have a somewhat clean ride and it's probably about 10 pounds lighter.

I went north along the Colorado river until I got to the Davis dam. The dam forms Mohave Lake. I drove to the boat launch and made a few casts. It was getting closer to noon and the sun was high in the sky. I caught a nice largemouth bass but didn't get a picture. Bass in this crystal clear water look pristine with a bright, healthy look to them.

The route back took me through 2 mountain passes. At one point the car thermometer said the outside temperature was 113 degrees. Along the road in this area someone has put several dozen plastic containers filled with what appears to be water. After seeing the cluster of jugs, the light went on as to what their purpose was. Now this isn't right on the US/Mexican border, so why put the liquid so far inland? Who knows. Probably someone that wants to feel good about themselves.

Oh and people that drive cars that have California plates, man I wish they'd stay in California. They sure earned their stereotype.
 

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Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
As y’all travel our Nation, have you found a place you would rather live? Or, are y’all coming back to SoMD?
Looks like we will need at least 2 locations. Right now Panama City Beach, FL is a prime winter location. Then summer in perhaps Gatlinburg, TN. So a 8/4 or 7/5 month split.

The ideal would be 4 places in a day's drive from each other. 1 place for each season.

I can tell you this, we won't be summering in any of the US southern border states in the future. We like it hot but not this sustained triple digit summer we have been experiencing.
 

littlelady

God bless the USA
Looks like we will need at least 2 locations. Right now Panama City Beach, FL is a prime winter location. Then summer in perhaps Gatlinburg, TN. So a 8/4 or 7/5 month split.

The ideal would be 4 places in a day's drive from each other. 1 place for each season.

I can tell you this, we won't be summering in any of the US southern border states in the future. We like it hot but not this sustained triple digit summer we have been experiencing.
I have been to both places in FL and TN. Good choices. But, y’all aren’t done yet. Keep us posted. And, again, safe travels. :)
 
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Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
1 thing that is very popular in the SW US is rental RVs. Class C RVs seem to be quite popular. A bunch of the renters that I spoke with were Europeans over here for a month's long vacation. They have aggressive schedules because they want to see it all. Cruise America, El Monte, Apollo & Road Bear seem to be the choice of many.

We are in the transient part of the RV park. Closer to the pool & laundry are all the live on boards. Each nite the slots near us fill up. Then by the morning, we have the place all to our selves.

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Some pictures of Kingman proper

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vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Yesterday we went downtown to the Route 66 museum - fascinating! I love American history, especially these little stories that they don't think to teach you in school. You probably knew Route 66 existed and read The Grapes of Wrath in junior high school, but until you actually visit these places and learn their history you don't really understand the role they play in our American story.

One interesting factoid: When migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl arrived at the California border, they were turned away. Sorry, California's full up, move along. And these were American citizens. Interesting, considering our current foreign "migrant" situation.

Afterward we had lunch at Mr. D's Route 66 Diner - a kitschy retro 50s diner with memorabilia on the walls and a definite throwback feel.

Then on to the Mohave Museum, filled with art, artifacts, and history of the Mohave Indians and the area in general.

This is what we like to do when we travel. We don't want to fine dine or hit the nightlife; we want to visit history and explore the area. We prefer a burger and rings at Mr. D's to an artistically drizzled something or another at a schmincy supper club. Places that don't get played up in the tourist guides, you have to get out and find them. Everybody comes here to visit Grand Canyon, but they don't think to roll into Oatman (which was one of the highlights of this part of our trip).

We meet a TON of foreign tourists. They come from Italy and France and Denmark and Germany; rent an RV; and proceed to make an aggressive trek across the US, trying to see as much as possible in the month or so they have. It's exhausting listening to them describe their route. They are WAY more intrepid travelers than your average American, and I love that not only do they see our national tourist stars, they also get off the beaten path and visit an Oatman or a Deadwood, SD - places that are uniquely American.

Not sure what we're doing today, our last day in Kingman. I'm thinking Chloride, which is (you guessed it) a cute little local town with an interesting history. We May Never Pass This Way Again, so I want to see everything I can.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
While driving around today we saw what we thought was a family of road runners. Turns out they were quail. 2 parents and 3 of the tiniest birds you could imagine. They were small like a finch. Pops took off 1 way and the family headed for the bushes for safety.

We haven't seen a road runner in a while. I did see a coyote this week. Still no rattlers either. I'm sure they were close by but we never saw any.

 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
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Walter is 5 days old. He was born to an immature mom that didn't nurse him. He's being raised as a pet by a local. All the donkeys have names.
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Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
1 more thing. We appreciate that you all have kept it civil in our travel forum. Save the vitriol for the politics. Let's keep this fun and informative. And don't hesitate to recommend place we need to check out in the future or comment on our current location.
 
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