Thursday, September 28, 2023

Travel with Terri to western Arizona’s Oatman and Lake Havasu City

Oatman, Arizona is a tiny town nestled in the Black Mountains at an elevation of 2,700. It is located right on Historic Route 66, that has been designated a ‘National Back Country Byway’. This is a beautiful 45 mile stretch of the Mother Road. It is narrow and very winding. Well, this is where the adventure began for us…because we were in a 34’ motorhome. And those switchbacks up to Oatman were a white knuckle experience, but definitely worth it!

Oatman was one of our favorite discoveries on our Route 66 road trip through Arizona. Not only is Oatman one of the most unusual stops, but it’s also a playground for wild burros who roam the streets. And surprisingly – this town has more wild burros than residents!

You must see the Oatman Hotel. It’s where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned after marrying in nearby Kingman in 1939. The hotel remains open as a museum and has a great restaurant inside that is covered with thousands of dollar bills!

If not for Historic Route 66 nostalgia…Oatman might just be another sad ghost town. But it does have a big personality as the town prides itself on maintaining a Wild West feel, down to the wooden sidewalks and staged shootouts. And you can even adopt a wild burro and take it home. You’ve just got to see Oatman to believe it!

After a fun day in Oatman head south to Lake Havasu City, just 54 miles away.

Lake Havasu City is a true desert oasis. This very young town was just incorporated in 1978. Today, Lake Havasu City is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Arizona and offers a range of recreational activities. Like most resort towns Lake Havasu is chock-full of hotels, restaurants, shops and non-stop action. And the views…are spectacular with crystal turquoise lake water surrounded by rugged mountains. If you want to go north or south you will be on the scenic Colorado River, and if you go west…you’ll be in California!

Scattered all around Lake Havasu, there are exact replicas of famous lighthouses from across America. The way to see all these lighthouses is by boat, and ‘Sunset Charter Tour Company’has the perfect tour plus many others. As you cruise, listen as the guide shares fascinating stories about the area. Here, you’ll have access to picturesque views of the city, and the natural wonders around it. We loved the Copper Canyon Tour. It was the perfect way to end our day by seeing a sensational sunset!

This place is a very popular paradise for off-road enthusiasts!!! There are so many open desert trails and varying terrain. You can even ride the 650 mile Peace Trail loop. It’s truly amazing to see the variety of all-terrain vehicles. We had an absolute blast with ‘Red Star Adventures’ on a jeep tour and also a side-by-side tour. Besides the beautiful desert landscape, it’s also fun to discover old mines or go to one of the very unique desert bars!

Another adrenaline rush is ‘Hangin’ Over Havasu’, a one-of-a-kind discovery flight. Be ready to soar like a bird as you hover above the entire area of Lake Havasu. You can see how this area earned the name “Arizona’s Playground!”

And…did you know that Lake Havasu City is home to the London Bridge? This is a fascinating story. Here are some facts:

  • 1968- Robert McCulloch, of McCulloch Chainsaws, purchased the London Bridge for $2.4 million.
  • The bridge was dismantled in London, England as 10,276 granite blocks were numbered for exact reassembly in Lake Havasu City.
  • Shipping the bridge and assembly, with dredging a man-made channel cost $7 million.
  • 1971 – The bridge was completed and an extravagant ceremony was held.
  • The fabulous vintage lamps on the bridge are made from melted-down cannons of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army.
  • 2021 – A 50th Anniversary Celebration and Rededication will take place in October.

Thousands of sightseers go to Lake Havasu City annually to see the London Bridge. At the English Village Visitor’s Center walking tours are available so you can learn more about this iconic bridge!

This is definitely a unique and unforgettable city!

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