Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rte 66 and Hoover Dam

We recently read that there is a road off of old Rte 66 that leads to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It is one of only two roads that can do that, the other being the road to Lee's Ferry where the Grand Canyon officially starts, near Page. We were sitting around sunday morning talking about finding this road and touring Hoover Dam while in the area and enjoying parts of the old Mother Road. Judy said, let's go. I hemmed and hawed thinking it was "too late to start anything new", but she insisted and I'm glad she did. Another fun adventure to add to our memory banks.
We hit the road and stopped in Williams AZ for lunch/breakfast in the Pine Country Cafe. Nice friendly place with good service and food. Then off to Rte 66 starting in Seligman, AZ. Had we not been so hungry, we could have waited for this place in Seligman.
Sound Appetizing?
Does anyone remember the old Burma Shave signs on the highways before the interstates? Rte 66 has 'em. From there we headed to Peach Springs which is on the Hualapai (who-wall-a-pie) Tribal land. The road to the canyon is across from the Hualapai Lodge where you need to pay a fee for access to the road. The road leads through a depressing neighborhood of dilapidated homes before it passes through a gate and onto the dirt road that runs 21 miles to the canyon floor. This was really cool. It was a real thrill.
Some photos....

Judy at the Wheel

Judy coming out of the weeds.

I took lots of photos, but I'll try to show the panarama with a video.

BTW, saw these animal tracks in the mud. Put my Swiss Army knife next to them to show relative size (Old CSI trick). Can anyone ID them?

Retracing our path back to Rte 66 was equally impressive.

We spent the night in Kingman before heading to the Hoover Dam the next morning. We had seen the new bridge over the dam when it was under construction, but I wanted to see it completed and walk out on it. Here is a view of the dam from the bridge.

It is called the Mike O'Callaghan - Pat Tilman Bridge. I think O'Callaghan was a politician in Nevada and Tilman was the ex-Phoenix Cardinal who quit the NFL to join the army and was killed by friendly fire in Afganistan.
We took a tour of the Power Plant. What a madhouse. Seems like everyone is on Spring Break every week out here. Even the busloads of Italiens and Germans.
Here are the turbines on the Nevada side that help provide electricity to over a million homes.

View of the bridge from the dam.

Finally, we crossed into Nevada and headed south toward Laughlin. Laughlin is a mini Vegas on the Colorado River. It has a paddle wheel casino called the Colorado Belle. We didn't stop there. But, the scenery coming into Laughlin from the west was incredible. Worth the detour. No photos...

We headed into Az and looked for the highway to Oatman. It was a dirt road that crossed through some really stark scenery. There were many tracks leading off the main road. We took one just to see where it went...

Then got back on the main road...

At the end of the dirt road, we found the town of Oatman, named after a family that was massacred and their two daughters enslaved by the local Tonto-Apache.

There are wild donkeys left over from the mining days that wander the streets.

Here's one that actually walked into a shop.

By this time, we were toured-out. So, we bought a couple of ice cream cones and got in the Jeep. We had more than 4 hrs to get home, so Judy took out her needlepoint and I put the pedal to the metal and we were home in time to watch the 2nd half of the UConn-Butler debacle.

I thanked Judy for insisting that we take this trip. It was really fun and fascinating.


  1. Your photography is really good, Tony. The Hoover Dam photo inspired vertigo again.

    Check you pix for a shot of the main drag in Oatman where you can see the sign for Judy's Saloon around the corner from Outlaw Willie's and the ice cream cone sign. Maybe you could do a little painting of it.

  2. I took a picture of Judy near the Saloon but clipped off the "Judy's" in the sign. I don't have a view finder on the camera and can barely see what I am taking in the bright sunlight.

  3. Tony,
    Awesome footage on the river. I would guess that those are mountain lion tracks. Any dam tour jokes?


  4. Cindy,
    That's what we thought too. It looks like a mountain lion that we see in our "Tracks and Scat" book.

    Sorry to have missed your B-day. See you all soon.