I thought Arizona would be flat, and mostly brown.
I was wrong.
We woke up early to begin the long drive to Tucson from Holbrook. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I thought the landscape wouldn’t be very interesting.
Around an hour into the drive is when we learned that Arizona has mountains. Really tall mountains.
The mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like little hills in comparison.
We drove up and down these huge mountains. Through the snowstorm at the top, then back down to calmer weather and then back up again into the snow.
It definitely was not the boring drive I was afraid of.
The little, almost ghost town, of Holbrook
is off of the old route 66 in Arizona. We spent the night there in the Wigwams Motel
and had fun exploring this old retro town on a cold and windy winter afternoon.
I was surprised, and overjoyed to discover all of the dinosaur statues that are just hanging out around town. They are the perfect addition to a town that looks like it’s straight out of the 1960s.
Many of the dinosaur statues live at the Rainbow Rock Shop and were apparently built by the owners of the shop over the course of 20 years. The other statues once were part of a museum and got relocated to different places in town when the museum closed many years ago.
Holbrook is very close to the Petrified Forest, where many actual fossils and dinosaur bones have been found, so these statues are a reminder of the giant beasts that once roamed these lands.
Holbrook was a fun little town to explore, with all its roadside dinosaurs!
The last day in the desert led us to the little town of Oatman, which is nestled high up in the mountains between Arizona and California. I didn’t realize the drive to get there would be so scenic.
We left the red rocky landscape behind us and headed towards these jagged rocky ridges. We had to stop every few minutes to get out and take in the views.
I could have spent a long time wandering around and discovering strange desert things. Like this interesting desert shrine. Or that forgotten car.
But our flight home was that evening so we had to hurry back to Las Vegas.
This part of Arizona made me want to visit California even more than ever. Maybe because we were so close, it was just beyond this mountain ridge! The landscape in this part of the country is so dramatic.
The town of Oatman is home to a bunch of friendly Burros. As we got close to the town, Burros started to appear along the hills. I couldn’t wait to get to the town to see even more!
Just off of interstate 40, formally the old route 66, is Two Guns Ghost Town.
The land where this ghost town now sits, holds many stories.
A group of Native Americans were killed by an enemy tribe that set fire to a cave where they were hidden. After that tragic event, the area is now known as the Apache Death Cave. Years later the beginnings of a settlement started to appear as construction began on a railroad and bridges over the Canyon Diablo where the Apache Death Cave was. But this new settlement was a town of outlaws and bandits. Reportedly a group of men once robbed a train, stealing close to $200,000 and then buried it somewhere near the canyon rim. It has never been found.
Eventually a man named Harry Miller, who referred to himself as Crazy Chief Thunder, began the major construction of a town he wanted to call Two Guns.
The town included a small zoo with mountain lions, snakes, and other interesting creatures. He also apparently sold the skeletal remains of the Native Americans who died in the cave nearby.
Crazy Chief Thunder skipped town eventually after shooting a guy to death with whom he’d had a disagreement. The man’s widow kept the town going and opened a gas station, tourist store and campground. Unfortunately the gas station burned down in the 70s, and Two Guns slowly declined into a ghost town.
Now it sits, right next to the interstate, just some lonely graffiti covered buildings in the middle of the empty desert.
The setting sun was casting extreme shadows over the crumbling buildings as we arrived at the ghost town one chilly February day. The wind was tearing across the flat open land. No one else was around.
The desert is such a strange and mysterious place.