Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012 Route 66 Road Trip - Day 8

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. 8)

In some of the better sections you can still see the painted lines...
Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

And 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. :(
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 641 x 960)Image

We found one broken spot in the old road that was worthy of 3-wheeling! :D 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. :ROTFL:

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Someone made a marker out of this one... old Geo Metro?
Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

We continued on until we could travel no further... this is where the road now ends. :shock:
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

From 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 Colorado River.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Local wildlife...
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Turning 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.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

After 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.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Back on the road, we approached the "ghost town" of Oatman, AZ.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

From 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.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

They know where Aaron hides the food. :mrgreen:
Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

A little dose of old vs. new?
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

We stopped into the Oatman Hotel, and indulged in buffalo burgers while serenaded by this fellow...
Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Apparently here in Oatman, they've stopped using horses.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

As seen in Cool Springs, AZ
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Our 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 road.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

We reached the water's edge at sunset... which allowed for a few photos.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

Being 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...
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

2 of them in this shot...
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

This one is my favorite... and oddly aircraft-free. :D
Zoom in (real dimensions: 640 x 960)Image

And this one too... with 2 aircraft crossings.
Zoom in (real dimensions: 960 x 640)Image

This was a fun experience. I learned a lot more about long-exposure photos, and where my gear lacks a little (mostly in processing power).

And 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!