Sunday: Cruise the Curves to Oatman
While the Saturday drive to Kingman showcases wide-open spaces, the Sunday drive to the California border features a long series of hairpin curves through the Black Mountains.
Because of a few realignments, the path out of Kingman requires a few turns if you want to avoid a short I-40 detour.
From the Powerhouse Visitor Center, take the first left onto Andy Devine Avenue. Drive about 4 miles to a stop sign, turn right to go under the interstate, and take a quick left onto Oatman Road. Just before heading up the switchbacks in the Black Mountains, check out the Cool Springs gas station, which has been transformed into a gift shop.
At Sitgreaves Pass, look for a brass cap embedded in the ground at the pullover spot to the right. It commemorates Beale Wagon Road, the precursor to Route 66 and I-40 named for explorer Edward Fitzgerald Beale, who was known for experimenting with camels as pack animals.
Almost a mile after passing mile marker 29, watch for rock stairs leading up a steep hillside on the left. Pull over and climb the steps to check out Shaffer Fish Bowl Spring, where natural springs seep into a concrete tank filled with a dozen or so tiny goldfish. The green tint doesn't look tasty, but this was a lifesaving water source for early settlers.
Nestled in the midst of these harsh volcanic mountains is quirky Oatman, where wild burros show up for treats from visitors during the day, then head for the hills at night. Here, you also can enjoy mock gunfights and—you guessed it—more music.
Just outside of Oatman, hang left at the fork to continue west to your final destination of Topock/Golden Shores on the Colorado River. The Show and Shine Awards Ceremony starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Park at the Topock66 Spa and Resort, dip your toes in the river, grab something refreshing, and salute your trip down memory lane.