Oatman, Arizona

Playing or fighting?

On our way home from San Diego, we stayed a couple of nights in Kingman, Arizona, so that we could take a day trip to Oatman, Arizona, a former mining town along old Historic Route 66 in the mountains east of the Colorado River. The town was named in honor of Olive Oatman, a 14-year old girl who was taken captive by Yavapai Indians and forced to work as a slave. She was later traded to Mohave Indians and her face was tattooed in the custom of the tribe.

There were two things we wanted to see and do in Oatman. One was to dine in the restaurant at the historic Oatman Hotel. The other was to see and photograph the wild burros that roam the town. They are descendants from pack animals turned loose by early prospectors, and are protected by the US Department of the Interior.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned in Oatman after their wedding in Kingman. Gable loved the area and often returned to play poker with the miners.

The hotel no longer accommodates overnight guests and is now a museum and restaurant. Unfortunately, it was closed due to renovations to the restaurant. So for lunch, we had dined at the Olive Oatman Restaurant and Saloon and enjoyed their variation of Navajo tacos. The meat and beans flowed off tacos, unlike other Navajo Tacos (or Indian tacos as they’re also known by) we have had, making them impossible to pick up. Still, eaten with a fork, they were pretty tasty!

We didn’t see a single burro in town. The locals told us that they seemed to have been scared off by the noise from a couple of motorcycle clubs that visited town a couple of days earlier. 

A few miles outside of town, we did find several burros along, and on the road, including these two that were playing around! If your window was down, the burros would mosey up to the car looking for something to eat. If you didn’t feed them, or your window was up, they’d pass you by and head to the next car stopped by the burro roadblock!

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