During April and May, Carolyn had Wed thru Friday for her days off and mid week travel is a simpler way to get out and go. Wednesday, May 12, we decided to head to NW Arizona and the Kingman area for some new to us adventures. We placed Oatman on our itinerary and headed up through Wickenburg on Route 93 for a direct trip to Kingman and then over to Oatman.
Somewhere along the way, while passing through Wickenburg, we miss direct and end up on Route 60 headed to Salome, so a quick change on our route and we get on Route 72 to Parker, up to Lake Havasu, and on to Oatman. Best misdirect I’ve had in awhile. Added a couple of hours to our trip but we saw areas we had never seen before. I quickly got over my irritation and anger with myself and enjoyed a much less traveled route with scenic views of the Colorado River.
We arrive in Oatman from the south on Historic Route 66 into the old mining town now a tourist stop for checking out the wild burros that roam the streets. What a fun stop on the road. We had brought carrots as a feed of choice for the burros and they sure took after us.
We stop in the famous Oatman Hotel, that has dollar bills covering every available space on the inside of restaurant/bar. We were told that there is in excess of $300k papering the walls. It sure is something see. The hotel usually hosts a tour of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard’s honeymoon suite where it is said they honeymooned in 1939. Mr. Gable liked coming to Oatman to play cards and have drinks with the local miners. Who would have known? We continue our journey to Kingman traversing a narrow winding Route 66 section heading northeast to Kingman.
Upon arrival, we check in at the Hilton Hampton Inn & Suites, (Diamond Team Member that’s me) clean up and head in to Historic Downtown Kingman. Let me just say that this pass through type of town has a lot going for it by reinventing and reestablishing a cool downtown area. With Covid still hanging around, masks are sort of in play but There are two breweries in the downtown and one has a restaurant associated with it in a separate location but just a couple blocks a part. Being hungry, we head to the restaurant part of Rickety Cricket Brewing. The town has allowed the local places to put outdoor seating on curbed areas and we immediately feel right at home. The service is good, the beers and food are great. Excellent happy hour as well. With an early morning start ahead, we retire early.
Today’s hike will be a long hot one to the Arizona Hot Springs from the trailhead located just south of Lake Mead right off of Route 93. We arrive at the trailhead around 8:00 after an hour drive from Kingman. There are a few cars at the trailhead but not many and instead of doing the loop, (we were told that the ladder to approach the hot springs from the Colorado River is gone) we take the Arizona Hot Springs Upper Route both ways. The temps are near 100 with no shade and it is a tough hike in the heat. We gain over 1000 feet in elevation over the 5.5 mile round trip. There are many different side trails that can distract you from staying on the main trail but we managed without too much difficulty to get there. It really is a beautiful day in the desert and the National Park Service closes the trails at the trailhead starting May 15 and lasting through September 30 due to the heat and dangers from the heat. We had visited the hot springs about seven years ago on a “canoe” kayak trip from Willow Springs up the Colorado River and it is a short hike from the river. That trip was one we won’t forget since our “boat’ was not conducive for paddling against the current.
Upon arrival, we take our shoes off and get in the water and it is beyond hot. Each pool gets cooler as you work your way down to one that might be okey to sit in. We we get to an acceptable temperature pool, we encounter a naked man from Michigan. Very friendly older man who just liked to be without his clothes. He told us of other hot springs and his adventures in the wild. Other folks came through with kids and I’m not certain they enjoyed the views of an old guy without clothes. We also met a family that had hiked in from Iowa and they headed out to try and beat some of the heat. Our friend from Michigan eventually packs up and decides to get out before the temps hit their highest points and Carolyn and I hang out for about 45 minutes soaking our aches and pains. I love the hot springs for soaking one’s troubles away and it probably would have been really nice in cooler temps. We pack up and start to head back through the various pools to the trail and we encounter two more naked guys. These guys were much younger (40’s) and they just shed their clothes and off they go. Carolyn had the full monty experience without having to pay for the show. (I thought it was funny.)
We get our hiking stuff together, shoes on, and back on the trail where we come across two females hiking in with their unleashed dogs. We say our normal hellos and the next thing I know the one mixed breed dog comes from behind me and jumps up and bites my right hand with a vicious clamp down of its jaws. I’m in a shocked state but remain in control and the lady is immediately apologetic. I have two small holes in my hand and it is hurt from the pressure applied by the dog’s jaw onto my hand. She assures me that her dog is up-to-date on the shots and I get her name and number in case it becomes necessary for treatment. On our trip out, we pass all those who left long before us and the Iowan parents are not doing so well due to the full sun exposure and heat. Their daughters have gone way ahead of them and we catch up to them at the trailhead and told them they might be waiting awhile.
I decide to report the dog bite incident to NPS law enforcement since dogs are supposed to be leashed on all National Park Trails and in case I had any complications from the bites. Back to Kingman we go for some fun times. On our way into Kingman, we go to a nano brewery Black Bridge Brewery a small intimate place that has a good crowd on this Thursday afternoon. We do a variety of sample size brews and kudos to the limited edition beer brewed with peppers. It has an interesting tasting hotness to it and it is an exceptional “chili pepper” beer. The owner/brewer gave me a rundown of how he keeps changing that speciality beer and it works well. We head to a Marriott property Springhill Suites for tonight’s stay since I had a free night I needed to use. Neither one of our hotels had a breakfast going to due to “Covid” so our stays were very basic. The Springhill was newer and our room was really nice. We clean up to head back into downtown Kingman for a stop at Rickety Cricket’s actual brewery and taproom known as the Dirty Dough Co. that is only open Thursday through Saturday from 4 to 8. We take a cab there since it was about half price of an Uber or Lyft.
What a treat. The Dirty Dough becomes jammed packed with locals and what an atmosphere. The service is fantastic, the beer is incredible, and the pizza is amazing. They also have a happy hour and let’s just say the pizza names might give you a hint on why they call themselves the “Dirty” Dough. Carolyn and I met the owner/brewer and he was so interesting and had retired from being a DPS officer in the Kingman area. He told us the history of his ventures and he was quite passionate about his work. He brews some 30 different brews and they are really good. Carolyn raves about the Hibiscus Wit-ness. The beer names are interesting and I go sample size on a few of them. Karaoke starts up and one of the local crooners grabs the mike and puts on quite a show for all of us.
Since we didn’t get enough walking in today we decide to hike back the 3+ miles to the hotel. Beautiful evening for a walk.
Friday morning, we eat breakfast at a Kingman original diner, Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. Fun place loaded with Elvis era decorations. Continuing on this theme, we decide to take Historic Route 66 to Seligman on the backroads off of the freeway and we are not disappointed. Very few cars and adds a great nostalgic feel to our journey. Very pretty and a nice isolated stretch from Kingman to Peach Springs to Seligman. We eat lunch at the very famous Delgadillo’s Snow Cap. Another great stop on Route 66 for lunch and an old school milkshake. From Seligman we head to Prescott on our journey back to Phoenix and we decided to check out a new to us brewery in Prescott, the Lazy G Brewhouse.
The Lazy G is located close to the downtown area and when we arrive, it is packed. Once again the service is excellent and the beer is very good. Prescott has a new player in town and they got it down. It happens to be happy hour and I am partial to blondes so I get the Sunshine Blonde and it doesn’t disappoint. Our server told us a bit of the story how the brewmaster came from the San Francisco and San Diego areas and I do not remember who he worked with but it made for a great story. From Lazy G to Hot P (Phoenix) the trip was uneventful.