Out of the 'happening' town of Needles the next morning in search of some older alignments that were supposed to be just outside of town. A lot of these older alignments of Rt. 66 turned out to be out-and-back type roads instead of thru roads... but we still found them to be a really good time. They're not maintained anymore, so anything goes in terms of road condition. That, and I really liked them because we had the opportunity to get a sense of what the road once was, back in it's prime. Good stuff.
In some of the better sections you can still see the painted lines...
sometimes there are carcasses around. Makes you wonder if they were
hauled out here for sake of nostalgia... or if this is truly where they
came to die.
We found one broken spot in the old road that was worthy of 3-wheeling!
This spot was pretty close to 2-wheeling. After I got back in from
snapping this photo, I found no traction to continue forward... or
reverse travel. Aaron got out and could teeter the KJ on 2 wheels...
and so he pushed the Jeep towards the driver side, and I regained enough
traction to carry on.
Someone made a marker out of this one... old Geo Metro?
We continued on until we could travel no further... this is where the road now ends.
there, we turned around and got on a short stretch of interstate to
another old out-and-back alignment that happened to run along the
back again and heading over the river by way of the only way
possible... the interstate... took us into our 2nd state on Rt. 66 -
Arizona! First town we arrived in was Topock, AZ.
awhile along this scenic byway, I happened to spot this American flag
waving seemingly out in the middle of nowhere... we had to pull off and
investigate. What we had found was an old hand-made memorial to the
veterans of the Korean War, which later was revised to include all
veterans of foreign wars.
Back on the road, we approached the "ghost town" of Oatman, AZ.
what I understand, Oatman used to be an abandoned town after the
construction of the interstate chased the popularity of Rt. 66 away.
Once people began to recreate old trips down Rt. 66 in more recent
years, small shops/restaurants/businesses moved back in. Now it's a
touristy old town... complete with scheduled gunfights in the middle of
downtown... and Oatman's claim to fame - the wild burros. These wild
burros are the direct descendants of the burros the miners used when
mines in the area were still operational. Only the current burros are
quite tame and are known to beg for food... that vendors sell to
tourists on site.
They know where Aaron hides the food.
A little dose of old vs. new?
We stopped into the Oatman Hotel, and indulged in buffalo burgers while serenaded by this fellow...
Apparently here in Oatman, they've stopped using horses.
As seen in Cool Springs, AZ
next major stop was in Peach Springs, AZ... on the Hualapai
reservation. Aaron found the last time he was out that way, that you
could purchase a land-use permit from the reservation parks division to
drive down into the Grand Canyon on the road that ends at the Colorado
River. That road is 19 miles of dirt/gravel - each way. The last time
Aaron was here, he didn't make it all the way to the water as some of
the posted signs were misleading. He ended up turning back too early.
This time, we knew better. We purchased our permit... to camp next to
the river as opposed to just visiting it this time, and headed down the
We reached the water's edge at sunset... which allowed for a few photos.
in a place with no light contamination whatsoever, I took the
opportunity to try to learn to take star trail photos. It took me a
long time to get the settings dialed in, but I eventually got it.
Notice the airplane traveling from left to right in this image...
2 of them in this shot...
This one is my favorite... and oddly aircraft-free.
And this one too... with 2 aircraft crossings.
was a fun experience. I learned a lot more about long-exposure photos,
and where my gear lacks a little (mostly in processing power).
we found that no further entertainment was needed... we spent the
entire evening star gazing. Bright constellations that we can easily
see at home were very difficult to pick out here... mostly because the
insane amount of 'other' stars you can see... and the Milky Way... and
it was excellent!