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Arizona, Kingman, Oatman

Day 86 Outstanding others, Oatman, and Offroading


A morning that was warm enough for a tee shirt! YES! My little desert hideout behind Mike’s Outpost and Saloon proved to be a good start to an amazing day. It didn’t take long to pack up and hit the road. The plan was to make it to Lake Havasu by nightfall and stop by Oatman AZ on the way. Kingman was about halfway between the Saloon and Oatman and would be my first stop of the day. The McDonald’s in Kingman will be a place that I’ll not soon forget. I was there to bust out a post and charge some batteries. As soon as I plugged in and began writing, a fellow walked in with a huge pack on his back looking for the same thing I was there for. Since I already had the dining area receptacles scoped out, I directed him to the only other one. I went back to my finger tapping on the keyboard until I overheard him telling his story to a few locals that were there for breakfast. It sounded like me talking to the people  I’ve met along the way. He was giving the why’s the where’s and the how’s of his journey. I stopped what I was doing and walked over to chat with this fellow, camera in hand. His name is Mel Puzon and he has been on the road for 12 days longer than me and at that point, had walked from Tocoma Washington to Kingman Arizona. Impressive! He is moving with a much greater cause than mine. He is doing what he is calling a “Unity Walk” and is raising awareness about basic problems that can be overcome if we start asking the right questions of ourselves and making more positive decisions in our lives. It does go a bit deeper than that, but that is my best basic description. He and I were almost identical in our views and it was quite uncanny to run into him in such a similar situation. He wasn’t the only traveler that I met at Mikky D’s that morning. Mel and I were conversing when a lady spoke up who overheard our stories. Her name was Candy and her and her husband Wayne have traveled extensively across America over the years in their three buses from their native Alaska. So there we were, all engaged in great conversation, a sort of travel triangle, if you will. I completely stopped what I was doing and put it off until later. It’s not everyday that you come across such like-minded, awesome folks, who take the step to get more out of life. We hung around for about two hours before Candy and Wayne split, followed by me. Mel can be contacted by checking him out at www.facebook.com/groups/unitywalk . He is putting up pics and videos from the road and has a huge library of insightful information that he is ready to share with any open-minded person. Candy and Wayne left me with their contact info and great advice about the Pacific Northwest. We’ll be keeping in touch.

From Kingman to Oatman is a fairly short ride through some fantastic and somewhat prehistoric looking terrain. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that every engineer that designed the section of Route 66 from Kingman to the Colorado river were motorcyclists or have been in a past life. It is biking perfection. I’m pretty sure the Goose was smiling. The road snakes around cliffs through a tough looking landscape that makes the word rugged seem to wussified. Before I write about Oatman I need to thank Mike from Page AZ and Don and Ginni from Big Bend NP for recommending it. Oh man is that place cool! Some of these little old mining towns in the  west make it hard to believe that they are real. I felt like I was on a Hollywood set, especially when the gun fight started. They do an old western gunfight everyday at 12 noon and 2:15pm. One of the things I had to do was grab a burger at the old Oatman Hotel. Mike from Page said they were pretty darn good there. I ordered a buffalo burger with swiss and mushrooms. It did not disappoint. Inside of the Hotel, the walls are lined with thousands of dollar bills from all sorts of patrons of the past. I’ve seen this several times now. To me it seems like a great insurance policy against slow business or hard times and it adds flavor to the building. Oatman is also known for its wild burros. These “wild” burros are not pinned up. They do run loose. They do seem pretty tame and they use their cuteness factor to beg for food. And let me tell you, I didn’t see one skinny burro in the whole bunch. They have a pretty good deal going on. The grandparents of these burros were released into the hills years ago as the gold mining industry took a dive. Oatman, unfortunately, doesn’t have any place to stay, so I moved on to my end goal of Lake Havasu.

About 20miles south of Oatman I was stopped in my tracks by an offroad riding area with endless looking trails in the distance and absolutely perfect natural rolling hills for jumping. I would have given my first-born child to have one of my MX bikes with me then. The Goose just couldn’t handle that terrain. I briefly spoke to a few of the fellows riding and tried to figure out the ins and outs of the place. The locals call it the clay pit and it sits on Bureau of Land Managment, land. To ride there, one needs an offroad vehicle with proper licensing and registration. Maybe next trip. After that I came to the Colorado River which meant that California was on the other side. I wanted to wait until after Vegas to cross into the massive state, but the lure of the sign being right there was just too much. I crossed the bridge on 40 west and had to take my touristy pic. It was a very surreal feeling standing in California and also the first time that I felt really far away from home. Since I’ll be spending a bunch of time there in the near future, I did a U-turn and headed back to the Grand Canyon state and tracked down Lake Havasu City. Upon entering town I found some golden arches and finished my post that I started earlier in the day. Right as I was wrapping it up, the folks who had been sitting at the next table over, struck up a conversation with me. There names were Patricia and Del and turned out to be some incredibly interesting people from Santa Monica California. Patricia used to be married to the master Russian painter Sergie Bongart and Del is a sailor with boats docked in both Los Angeles and Washington State. Again I had, a highly unexpected, great time in a McDonalds with some fascinating fellow Americans. What a day. Del even offered to hook me up with a nights stay on his sail boat if I pass through the Los Angeles area. Can you believe that? After finishing the post I found a Motel 6 in Lake Havasu. I was planning to go out on the town to meet some folks, but the first round of Supercross of the year was on the Speed Channel and there was NO WAY I was going to miss it. The rest of the night I sat in front of the TV watching my favorite thing in the world. Man, I miss my motocross bikes. Way to go to Ryan Villapoto!

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About mikekrabal

I'm a fella who finally let the inner traveler come out. A non-standard sort.

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About Me

My name's Mike Krabal and I am from Jefferson County WV. I'm a thirty year old guy who still believes that you can be anything you want to be. I'm on a mission to find out exactly what that is.

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