Most of you know that I spend a week's vacation every year with a couple of friends at a timeshare resort in Las Vegas. We really like the 'lazy river" at the resort and we really like the shows (this year we saw Queen with Adam Lambert, Boyz ll Men, and Cirque de Soleil "Mystere"). The other thing we really like to do is to take some sort of an interesting day trip.
Our tentative plan this year was to drive to Lake Havasu City for the purpose of seeing the London Bridge. In the process of looking for a potential half-way point (in case you've never driven around in that neck of the woods, driving for 3 hours with no scenery other than sand and tumble weed gets old pretty quickly!), I found mention of an odd little town by the name of Oatman in Arizona. We eventually looked at a photo of the London Bridge, decided it didn't look exciting enough to warrant such a long drive, and opted instead to head to Oatman.
The infamous Route 66 goes right through Oatman, and in fact, the sign in front of the ice cream shop proudly proclaims, "Get your licks on Route 66!"
Oatman is an old gold-mining town and is now officially classified as an old west "living ghost town." It once boasted over 10,000 residents but now supports a little over 100 people. The super interesting thing about Oatman is that there are many wild burros walking all over the town - the descendants of the burros used by the miners. When we first pulled into town, we rolled the window down to take a picture and quickly ended up with a burro sticking his head in the car and nibbling on the steering wheel. You can pay $1 for a bag of feed and they will eat right out of your hand.
We spent a delightful afternoon walking through the shops that line the street, eating lunch at the café, walking through an old gold mine, visiting the Oatman Hotel (now closed but a tourist attraction anyway since Clark Gable spent his honeymoon there lol), enjoying the ambience of an old west town, and feeding and petting the wild burros.
One of the things I love best about an experience like this is the ability to walk through the town and feel a strong spiritual connection to the people who lived and worked there so many years ago. I wonder what their lives were like and what their dreams were; I wonder how they coped with the obvious hardships of life in the old west; I wonder what their joys were and how they lived out their faith. I can feel the spirit of many young children running through the streets laughing and playing. And I give thanks to God for His ability to connect His people together, regardless of time and place.
It was a good day and I just might re-visit Oatman again next year!