We were up and leaving the hotel when many people were stumbling back to their rooms after their night out, and were on the road by 7am. We arrived at the Hoover Dam at about 8.15am in glorious morning sunshine. Not interested in paying $8 each for the visitor centre (in addition to the $7 parking fee), we were content to walk across the dam taking photos. Since it was still early, it was almost deserted so we got some good pictures, and a view of the terrifyingly high bridge that the Hoover Dam bypass road runs over.

The view from the Hoover Dam

My descriptive skills fail me at this point, so I will let the photos tell you about the stunning views and the morning sunshine.

Looking down the Hoover Dam... DANGER KEEP OFF WALL!!!

Once we were done, we got a little lost trying to get back to the main road since the GPS didn’t know that they had built the bypass bridge, but we eventually got back onto the main road to get back to Kingman to rejoin Route 66. Our return to Route 66 took us back to the sort of scenery to which we had been accustomed, long roads with desert on both sides that pass through tiny towns that have essentially died since the interstate bypassed Route 66. Route 66 was slow going, and this was a bit of a problem since we had planned to finish it today, and needed to get all the way to LA and then on to San Diego for our motel for the night. After a very steep climb and an equally steep descent with stunning views we came across the small town of Oatman.

Wild Burros in Oatman's main street

After initially driving straight through, we then turned around less than a mile up the road since it looked like somewhere we would regret bypassing. An old gold-mining settlement, it is preserved mostly as a tourist attraction, with wooden buildings lining the narrow main street and wild burros (donkeys?) wandered free throughout the town. The main street was lined with gift shops selling Route 66 memorabilia, local souvenirs, Indian jewellery and wind-chimes as well as a couple of restaurants and bars. We were there in time for the twice daily staged gun fight which was good fun and drew a big crowd, as well as closing the main road through town for 15 minutes. After the fight, most people headed for lunch in the only open restaurant in town, so it was a bit of a wait. Lunch was nothing special, but did the job and after a couple of gift shop trips (wind-chimes and a Route 66 sign) we were back on the road again. The rest of the day was spent following Route 66 into California, where there was a somewhat unexpected vehicle check at the state border. Another “highlight” of our somewhat monotonous desert drive was when the outside temperature hit 100 degrees for the first time on the trip (that we have been aware of). Naturally this warranted photos, they are blurry but you get the idea.

Exterior Temperature: 100 degrees!!! (fahrenheit)

As neared LA we suddenly came across towns rather than empty desert roads, these towns ran one into another so it was difficult to say where one ended and the next one began. It was about 9pm by the time we reached Pasadena, about 20 miles from the end of the route, it was dark and we were exhausted. Rather than finish Route 66 in the dark, and not be able to enjoy it, we decided to leave it for the night and finish the final stretch in a couple of days when we got back to LA. Somewhat disappointed, but too tired to really care, we programmed our San Diego motel into the GPS and headed south. Eventually arriving at midnight, after a brief argument with the car park entry system, we checked in and took our stuff upstairs before falling into bed exhausted, 17 hours on the road in one day can really take it out of you!

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