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"There are two ways to learn lessons in life, the first is by observing and learning from the behavior of
other folks and second is by getting hit in the face with a 2 x 4 yourself. Both will help you learn the lesson,
but one is certainly less painful."
~ Jefe Smith from his book, LIFE, AMERICA and the ROAD

Route 66 and Oatman

IMG_2694It’s December and not much riding gets done this month. We get some lucky days here in Southern California that get the bike out and exercised, but most of the time the nearby mountains are too cold and what riding gets done tends to be short and near the coast. In some parts of the U.S. zero riding gets done in winter because you can’t even clear enough snow from in front of the garage door to open it and get your bike out. So the bike sits snugly under some type of cover, hopefully with its engine and gas tank winterized and waiting.

Just to maintain the relationship, you enter the garage, pull the cover off, pull up a chair, open a beer and admire your mechanical bro, even if you can’t get on him to ride. You think back to cool places the two of you have cruised in the past and ones you will hit in the future. One of those places for me is Oatman, Arizona. It is rickety little town preserved on old Route 66 between Kingman and Topock, both of which are on big bends in the I-40. Old Route 66 is pretty narrow, sunbaked and rough out in this part of the desert, but it is nicely curved, with beautiful, rocky scenery and it’s got Oatman. The Oatman Hotel has a small bar, but talented bartenders and a pretty good restaurant. Most of the rest of the town is curio and t-shirt shop related, but the products displayed are often quite unique. Wild burros wander the streets and you can buy some feed for them. Feed them carefully though, they can bite and bite hard, just like a cheap tequila.

IMG_1540One of my favorite shops there is a knife shop. Knives just fascinate me though I am hesitant to dig deep into my psyche to learn why that is the case. They have hand carved beauties or cheap Chinese ones and even Japanese samurai style swords. Cool.

If you travel to Oatman from nearby Laughlin, Nevada during the Laughlin River Run motorcycle rally in April, get to Oatman early because it isn’t that big a place and they often close the town by late morning.

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