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Lake Havasu, Take 2: Fireworks, Oatman & Sara’s Crack

Travel Stage: After Sedona, before San Diego area
Date Range: February 17 – 24, 2017
Summary:  We leave Sedona and head back to Lake Havasu, with an overnight in Williams to hang out with some RVer friends. While in Lake Havasu the second time, we see the big fireworks show, visit Oatman and its famous burros, and hike Sara’s Crack!

​We left Sedona and started to make our way back west, with the ultimate goal of getting to San Diego. Because we liked it so much in Lake Havasu, and because we had some friends that we made back in Montana who live there – that we didn’t get to visit much the first time and who offered us a full hookup spot next to their house – it was an easy decision to go back for a second visit!


​We decided to take the north route through Flagstaff and passed the Grand Canyon to get back to Havasu. This also meant that we’d cross paths with our good friends the Stampers again!

We stealth parked it overnight in the sleepy little town of Williams. Now this was much higher elevation, and it was COLD here! We had our hats and gloves and winter coats on to watch the gun fight and the Grand Canyon train leave the station the next morning.

​We contemplated staying another night, but the weather forecasted snow so we left. We were looking for sun and a lake!


​Every year Lake Havasu puts on a huge Pyrotechnics show. Our friends Ron and Lilli Ann urged us to make it back to see some of the fireworks. Even though it was raining the night we went, they were still impressive! This is a show where the manufacturers exhibit their fireworks for buyers, so you see all kinds of cool stuff.


​Ron and Lilli Ann offered to take us up to Oatman, a little town along Route 66 known for a number of things:

  1. Gold! – Over $40 million worth of gold was mined from this district by 1941 when mining operations shifted to support the war effort (that’s $2.6 billion at today’s market price). After the gold rush, Route 66 brought it travelers, but then that route was bypassed by interstate, so now the town is all but abandoned.
  2. Olive Oatman – the sole survivor of the Oatman Massacre and slavery, then adopted into a Mohave village where her face was tattooed in the fashion of the tribe.
  3. Clark Gable & Carol Lombard honeymoon location
  4. “Wild burros”

​The term “wild” here doesn’t really belong. While we did see some wild burros running through the desert on our drive back, the burros that Oatman is famous for are not only tame, but spoiled rotten!


We arrived to town in the morning and no burros were to be seen. Upon asking where they were, we got the calm reply “Don’t worry, they’ll be here.” While we waited, we had an early lunch in the Oatman Hotel, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned in 1939. ​​Then we watched a gun fight in the street.


​After poking our heads into a few shops, we walked out to see a burro taking carrots from a lady in the street! I was so excited!

​We made our way back towards the entrance to town and saw not one, but a whole herd of burros! Young and old, big and small, and of all different colors, too. And wouldn’t you know, they were all clustered around the “Burro Food – $1” sign!

Some would let you pet them – others were only interested if you fed them. A couple of the young ones laid down in the street and took a nap – and one of them LOVED belly rubs!


​The burro food they sell there are alfalfa cubes, not carrots, apples, or any other type of “treat” associated with horses and donkeys. This is because the sugar content in these foods is so great compared to the burros normal diet that it was causing problems. 

​While a few carrots a day won’t hurt anything, think of the number of people that come to Oatman to see the burros, and pack a long some treats? That means these burros could get 50-100 carrots or apple pieces in one day! That is what causes the problems. The sugar causes fat storage in their necks – you’ll feel it if you pet one of the older burros. The mane area seems to sag over to one sign in a heavy mass, and they can’t get rid of it. 
​So when you go to Oatman, don’t bring any treats for the burros. You can buy the very affordable healthy treats for them right in town!


​When we were in Lake Havasu the first time, our group had wanted to go hike Sara’s Crack. We left for Phoenix before the group went, and our friends told us that it was amazing and well worth it! So one afternoon we packed up the dogs and went for a hike.

​Bringing the dogs turned out to be an interesting decision! Once we got into the “crack” – the slot canyon that winds through the rock – it got a little tricky for the pups. Especially the 10 ft drop that requires the use of a rope to get up and down! Bella was carryable, but Mocha took a bit more effort to maneuver over the obstacles. It was really cute though – by the end of the hike she was stopping at each difficult spot and looking to us to help her over it!

​The hike was beautiful, and we delayed so long with taking pictures and stuff that we didn’t make it all the way down to the lake, but the hike was a lot of fun for all.


​After a lovely 5 days with Ron and Lilli Ann, who spoiled us with dinners, sweets, and homemade huckleberry jam, we departed en route to Joshua Tree National Park.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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