Our travel itinerary is typically planned months in advance, and stays pretty firm. So while changes of plan can be disconcerting, they’re also exciting. We were supposed to spend two weeks in Sedona, followed by two weeks in Lake Havasu City. We never intended to go to Flagstaff, or Kingman to the west. But because plans changed, we ended up getting to stay in those two cities we wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and they were both super cool.
Fort Beale RV Park
Historic Route 66 runs right through Kingman, population 28,000. Fort Beale RV Park isn’t anything fancy, but it does have a pool and laundry room, the owners are kind, and most of the sites are a decent size. The best part is that it’s within walking distance of the main strip, visitor’s center and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. We would stay there again.
300 Metcalfe Road – Website
Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner
Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner is so retro. Get ready for a shock of bright pink on every surface around you, like Frenchy’s hair in Grease. Then order a root beer float, with root beer made in-house. They’ll bring you refills until your ice cream is gone, and even afterwards, if you like.
We went for Sunday brunch, complete with French toast and coffee, and later in the week for dessert with new RV friends, John and Sharon Abert. Mr. D’z is one of those places where everything on the menu is good.
If the food isn’t enough, Oldies tunes play overhead. Considering “Oldies” radio stations are now playing music from the ’70s and ’80s, where else can I go to get the real thing?
105 E. Andy Devine Ave. – Website
Kingman Visitor’s Center
Since Mr. D’z is obviously going to be the first place you go once you get to Kingman, waddle across the street after your meal to get acquainted with the town. You probably haven’t been to a visitor’s center like this before, considering its housed in what used to be a power plant. In fact, it even provided electricity for the construction of the Hoover Dam!
We didn’t stay for it, but there is a 3,600-square-foot museum within the visitor’s center you can see for a nominal fee.
120 W. Andy Devine Ave. – Website
Historic Downtown Kingman
If you’re walking back to Fort Beale RV Park, make sure you stop and take photos of the gigantic locomotive. You can’t miss it.
If you wander around the rest of the historic downtown area, you’ll find antique shops, art and more eateries.
Day Trip to Oatman
It just so happened that I was leafing through old issues of Escapees Magazine and found a fun piece by Thelma Gillette about “Strange But True” travel discoveries. In it, I read about the wild burros of Oatman, AZ, that were released by miners. Their descendants now roam the town. (You can read the online version of the article here.)
I looked at the map, and Oatman was less than an hour away from us. So later in the week, we took the winding Historic Route 66 to Oatman. I’m talking Dramamine-winding. Having just finished Grapes of Wrath, I can’t see Route 66 without thinking of the Joads, Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. The roadway is so desolate now. I can use my imagination to picture it as a major thoroughfare, but its layout sure makes me appreciate modern road construction. We don’t believe in guardrails on Route 66.
As the terrain is changing from flat to not, we came up to Cool Springs Camp. We had just seen this place featured on a public access channel. There isn’t much to it now, but it has a storied history.
See this old truck? Apparently it was the inspiration for the character Tow Mater in Pixar’s movie Cars.
As we were snaking along at about 15 miles per hour, I spotted a random staircase in the cliffside and asked Eric to stop so I could check it out. There wasn’t anything at the top except a convenient cave. I would camp there if I were hitch-hiking along Route 66. But why were stairs built with concrete?
Oatman was a lot of fun. We walked up and down the main street, petting the wild burros along the way (do so at risk of being bitten or kicked). Even though we didn’t do much there, friends have mentioned funnel cakes with extraordinary toppings at a place on the main street, and someone even said it was their favorite place…anywhere.
Day Trip to Laughlin/Bullhead City
Eric’s late father spent a lot of time in Laughlin, AZ in his later years, so Eric wanted to take a trip there–in a way, to be close to him. Laughlin and co-located Bull Head City are casino towns. But we needed no excuse to take the 40-minute drive from Kingman in the sparkling Saturday sunshine.
The coolest thing we saw was Don Laughlin’s Classic Car Collection at the Riverside Resort. It was worth the trip, all by itself. We love car shows and classic cars, and dream about getting one ourselves one day. This was an impressive collection of beautiful, unique cars, many of them donated by the owners for display. We kind of took a lot of photos.
1650 S. Casino Dr. – Website
For lunch, we checked out El Charro in Bullhead City. This was our first time going to a Mexican restaurant since we got back from Cancun! We both had the lunch special, a sizzling platter of grilled and seasoned chicken, with ample portions of rice, beans, guacamole and fresh tortillas. I know the corn tortillas are made in-house, and I believe the flour are, too. Crazy good deal for only $7.95. The choriqueso was also delicious as an appetizer, with melted cheese and spicy ground beef.
2101 Zircon Ave. #3 – Yelp
Can I just say how confusing it is that Arizona doesn’t recognize Daylight Saving Time? Either we should all have it, or none of us should have it. How can Texas now be two hours ahead of me??
On a more positive note, we got our mail forwarded, and enclosed was our latest Escapees Magazine…with my first Escapees article in it! Look for an informative article from Eric in an upcoming issue, and thanks to everyone who has sent me pictures of my piece. All of your support is so sweet and very appreciated. <3