Some say Laughlin, Nevada, is like the old Las Vegas, with inexpensive hotels and food. It’s true the hotels are inexpensive. The food? Not so much. The 99 cent breakfast no longer exists. Also gone is the $1.50 hot dog with beer or soda. However, there are still lots of ways to save money on food, as we found out during our six-week stay in the area.
Long before Route 66 was commissioned in the 1920s, settlers used the Beale Wagon Road to move west. Route 66 traced the same route used by the Beale Wagon Road through Arizona. The Arizona Route 66 Museum, located in a former Kingman power plant, recalls the history of the route from horse-and-buggy days to the Route 66 heyday in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Driving north to Hoover Dam from Arizona via US 93, I noticed people walking alongside the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, a concrete barrier separating freeway traffic from the pedestrians. A few minutes later, I was among those people on the bridge, getting an awesome view of Hoover Dam and the Colorado River.
Lake Havasu City is noted for the London Bridge, which was our main reason for visiting the western Arizona city. The city is also popular for water sports and spring breakers. What we didn’t know until we got there is that the Lake Havasu shoreline is lined with two dozen lighthouses, all working replicas of lighthouses from the East Coast, West Coast and Great Lakes.
Oatman has a lot going for it, considering its business district is one short block. Descendants of burros used in the mining industry until World War II and then set free roam the street begging tourists for handouts. Visitors can peek into the room at the Oatman Hotel that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed in on their honeymoon. And the main road that runs through the town is part of Historic Route 66.
Chloride, Arizona, never quite became a ghost town. Although most of the old buildings burned down over the years, remnants from the town’s mining heyday remain standing, some buildings still in use. You’ll also find homes displaying “yard art,” a restaurant with nostalgic memorability mounted everywhere—even on the ceiling, murals opposite petroglyphs in the nearby mountains, and the quirkiest cemetery I have ever seen. Just 23 miles northeast of Kingman, Chloride is worth the short jaunt when you’re in the area.