Day 4 // Flagstaff to Kingman, AZ & Oatman, AZ

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“I think we take for granted how green and fertile everything is in Georgia”

Tom and I can’t get over how difficult it would be to farm here. The entire trip, the temps have been in the mid-seventies; at one point, low eighties. Today, as we drove further west into the state of Arizona, temperatures sky-rocketed. It was 114 degrees at one point today.

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We saw our very first tumbleweed somewhere between Flagstaff and Kingman. We stopped at a tiny general store off of the Orginal Route 66 for a drink. As we pulled up, a dust cloud lingering, we literally saw a tumbleweed bounce across the road and stop at a bright orange car. We both kinda looked at each other like, “did you just see that?”

Route 66 (the accessible part, anyway) is just like you’d envision it, which is crazy to me. It’s so true to its stereotype which delights me. I send my father-in-law photos from my cell phone every time we reach a place with good cell service, and he classified one set of photos as “pure Velveeta” meaning cheesy. It’s so cheesy. And that’s exactly what I was going for on this trip. Don’t you ever just want to get away from the seriousness sometimes?

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We found ourselves face-to-face with black bears, wolves, buffalo, mountain goats, and lots of other wildlife this morning around 9 a.m. We stopped at Bearizona, a recommendation from my friend, Meghan, who drove Route 66 two weeks before us while she and her husband moved to California for his job. Bearizona is a drive-through wildlife park and I spent most of the time complaining that all of the animals were on Tom’s side of the car or comparing each animal to one of our dogs. We enjoyed it, though, and it was something very different from what we’ve been doing this entire time.

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The rest of our day was spent driving the Original 66. Driving is the most fun thing, because the landscape varies so much from what we’re used to. We made a quick stop in Seligman & Hackberry for a few photos of the cars so we could show my dad.

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We made it to Oatman around 2:30 and were instantly greeted by a herd of wild burros, what the town is famous for. I use the term “wild” loosely because they’re anything but wild. They’re basically domesticated donkeys that attract tourists from all over. Never one to pass down the chance to interact with an animal, I knew we had to make the trek through the mountains to Oatman. I mean, we did fly all the way to Exuma for our honeymoon just to swim with pigs. Tom hated Oatman and said we were in good company considering we were surrounded by a bunch of jackasses. We both agreed that the drive up the mountains was, so far, the most scenic part of our trip. Again, this trip leaves me at a loss for words. All I know is the desert is a strange, strange place.

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We checked into The El Trovatore Motel and were greeted by Taco, a minpin who literally is the fattest dog I have ever seen in my life. I sent a picture to my dad and he said he must be a double-stuffed taco. I have to include a few iPhone photos I snapped of Taco, even though, once again, photos just don’t do him justice. Tom talked with the owner of the motel, an ex-farmer from Israel for over an hour, while I stared at Taco in disbelief.

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We were given the John Wayne room at the Trovavtore Motel which delighted Tom to no end. Since we’ve literally eaten Mexican food for every meal since we’ve been out here, when the motel owner recommended a local steakhouse to us, we jumped at the chance for something not coated in chilies. I think the waitress probably thought we hadn’t seen food in two weeks the way we inhaled our steaks (and sweet tea).

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