Friday morning we awoke at the crack of sparrows fart in order to have breakfast and hit the road before 7am. It was an absolute miracle, but somehow it happened!!
Best Western at 29 Palms provided a delicious hot breakfast and it was included in their regular price. It was such a nice place!!
I really had no idea what the plan for the day was, other than I had a lot of driving to do and another historical village to look at, before arriving at the Grand Canyon. My knowledge of the Grand Canyon prior to our arrival was limited to the following: 1) it is a big hole with lots of colours 2) people like to hike all over it or chopper over it 3) it is a hot spot for photographers 4) in a movie two women drove off the edge of it after having sex with Brad Pitt.
In order to get to the Grand Canyon I had been told that we were driving along Historical Route 66 and that it was a bit bendy with huge drop offs. One of the other dance mums offered to send me links to YouTube clips of people driving along it so I could make an informed decision as to whether or not I should commit to the drive. I politely declined and instead adopted my “she’ll be apples” attitude which is basically – ignorance is bliss.
Despite having 6 kids in the car the first leg was quite calm. The only commotion in the car happened when I would suddenly shout out “LOOK!! An Antique shop!!!” followed by whinging (from me) because it was closed. I would also squeal every time I would see these gorgeous cacti with bright pink flowers on top that I was desperate to photograph. None existed in places where it was safe to stop though leading to further devastation. Bloody tourists must have picked them. I hope they got a prickly.
Our first stop was Oatman. My expectations were low as I had seen a faux historical town yesterday and erroneously thought they were all the same. Boy was I wrong. Oatman may just be my new FAVOURITE place on Earth!! Upon getting out of the car Dance Mum #2 (Megan – aka food and beverage handler) shouted to me that someone was selling rocks. “Rocks” was a bit of an understatement. I was in fossil heaven!!! I don’t think Megan knew the gravity of bringing me to such a place as our short stop in Oatman turned into hours of me pouring over fossils and trying to decide which pieces to buy to add to my collection. For those of you who are unaware, or who haven’t read my previous blogs, I collect fossils, antiques and antique books. The area we were in offered up an abundance of fine specimens. I may have to buy a new suitcase to bring them all home in!! I bought Rohan a piece of fossilised dinosaur poo, which I’m sure will become his new favourite possession. It actually looks like poo!!
Once I have unwrapped and repacked my fossils carefully in a box I will take pictures of them and regal you all with their history. I may even throw a fossil viewing party when I get home – all invited.
Oatman didn’t just have a very knowledgeable and fascinating lady selling fossils, it also had the most charming little buildings, saloons, mines and even an old jail cell (which was the size of a phone box) from the 1800’s. The town itself is named after the Oatmans. Olive Oatman is apparently quite famous as “Stuff you missed in History Class” did a whole podcast episode on her, according to my first officer – Dance mum Jenny. I haven’t listened to it so I can’t tell you the story, nor can I google it as I currently have no service.
Oatman also offered up another draw card for the non-fossil obsessed Davis clan. Donkeys!!! There were donkeys everywhere in the street and around the town. Kylah and Isabelle were in animal heaven. Jazzy was just happy to wander around and look.
Isabelle was very excited to meet a ‘real’ cowboy. He happily posed for a photo with her and I told him we don’t have cowboys like him in Australia. “You don’t have cowboys?” he drawled in a typical cowboy accent. “We call them Jackaroo’s.” I replied “they don’t wear those things on the back of their shoes and they don’t walk around with gun’s and ammo on their belt” I said, eyeing off the two guns that adorned his belt nestled in amongst 6 million bullets. “Ooooh tha-eet”s right. You guys done have no guns down there. Jist wait till them bad fella’s hear you have no waeey of deeefending ur-selves. Theeey’ll come a runnin.” He solemnly informed me, seemingly oblivious to the fact that as yet, no one has successfully ‘run’ to Australia from any other continent or country.
After a period, much longer than had been planned, the other dance mums ever so politely dragged me away from the best place on Earth. By that stage I was ready to go because the gun toting cowboy had scared the beejesus out of me with his nonsensical ideas. We needed to get on the road and had in front of us the elusive “Historic Route 66”.
I could definitely tell this route was historic as it would not pass today’s safety standards in the road building department. The lanes hazardously curved around the mountains like a crazed serpentine. Dangerous hair pin turns and steep drop offs were the main feature of the road (besides the view) and if you happened to pass another car there was a fair chance one of you would either go off the side of the cliff (no safety rails) or bang into the rock wall. Plus, you were in constant danger of large rock boulders falling on you. Our bus did not fit in one lane and I felt the need to stop every time I saw a car coming the other way.
The beginning of the drive was peppered with cries from the back “wow! Look at that!!” Or “OMG – that’s SO AMAZING” followed by cries from me “STOP TELLING ME TO LOOK AT STUFF OR WE WILL ALL DIE”. Eventually, the road began to make the children/adults feel sick and extremely terrified so the distracting comments stopped. My focus was merely on not dying so I didn’t take in much of the view. I did stop a few times and take pics but the most spectacular spots to take pictures were convieniently located in places where you could not stop your car. I asked people in the car to hang out the window with their camera to take pics for me but they all declined on account of being terrified that they would either go over the cliff or be smashed into a boulder.
No appropriate photos of the stunning views that were sighted momentarily by my peripheral vision exist so you will just have to take my word for it. Absolutely stunning and unique terrain.
The most dangerous part of our drive was from Oatman to Kingman so when we arrived in Kingman unscathed and still breathing, a celebratory lunch at Mr D’z Route 66 Diner was deemed necessary.
Mr D’z Route 66 diner had great reviews on the internet. I am usually very easy to please but was put off when the waiter was told one of the children had a deadly nut allergy, then ‘forgot’ which was the peanut-butter and chocolate thick shake and which was just the regular chocolate shake’s and expected the non-allergic child to taste them all to find out. Not great. It was also situated next to a business that had “God Bless President Trump” written as part of a gigantic window display. I try not to judge a book by it’s cover, or in this case a town by one shops window display, but disapproving and negative thoughts flooded my brain and I could not concentrate on enjoying my meal. I know Mr D’z didn’t have a sign like that…. but if I had a popular diner that was situated next to a business that had a sign that read “God Bless Prime Minister Scott Morrison” (Australian PM FYI), I may be tempted to erect my own sign saying “This restaurant is politically neutral and in no way is associated with the sign or views that are expressed next door” just to make my neutrality bleedingly obvious. It was not immediately apparent that the sign was NOT part of Mr D’z and initially I panicked and thought I would have to eat somewhere else.
The food was okay. If you don’t like burgers or hotdogs you are pretty limited in the US. The cheese on their burgers/fries etc is fluorescent orange and is the most repulsive thing I have ever tasted. I’ve heard it is from a can. Typically I love all cheese, but this stuff is nasty. I don’t think it deserves to be classified in the same category with regular cheeses as I can’t find a single common denominator. My burger was spoiled by bright orange goop stuck to the top of it like tacky glue. On the plus side, the Avocado’s were DELICIOUS!!
We left Kingman and headed to the Grand Canyon. All in all we left 29 palms at 7am and arrived at the Canyon at about 5pm. It was a looooong day. I have decided to write a separate post about the Grand Canyon as I’ve been told I need to keep my word count down.
Thanks for reading!!