Under western skies old Route 66 climbs into the Black Mountains, and drops precipitously down the other side to the Colorado River Valley. Before 1953 when this portion of the highway was bypassed it presented a challenge to cars as well as drivers. Little has changed.
In that sense the Fun Run held every May becomes a living time capsule.
I left Kingman early Sunday morning to stake out a good location for watching the cars twist and turn up the steep grades into the mountains. As it turned out I had the pull out at Fish Bowl Springs, a stop for boiling radiators years ago, to myself.
In addition to a front row seat I also had a prime spot for folks stopping to check the view or let their cars cool. The highlight was a gentlemen from Lake Havasu City that stopped with his 1931 Essex Terrapalne two door coach.
After an hour at the springs I drove over the hill and stopped at the bottom of the curve into the old town of Goldroad. This is the sharpest curve found anywhere on Route 66.
Then it was on to Oatman and for the first time saw no burros on the streets. The traffic, lack of parking, throngs of folks all combined to present a peak at what it must have been like when Route 66 was literally the main street of what was then a bustling mining town.
I never tire of the drive on Route 66 through the Black Mountains and often refer to it as one of my top ten most recommended places to cruise. Sunday was no exception.
The highlight of the return trip was in meeting Ned Leuchtner, the visionary owner who has given a new lease on life to Cool Springs, a Route 66 landmark that is the caption photo on this blog and the feature on the cover of my new book. He has truly captured the essence of what made Route 66 an icon.
Now, it is time to focus on the next project as there are but a few months before deadline. As the search begins in earnest for ghost towns of the southwest I will take you along through photos so stay tuned.