After making friends with several burros in Oatman, it was time to get back on the road. My next destination was Sitgreaves Pass, which tops out at 3,550 feet. The pass was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, who traveled through the area in 1851. I would be traveling along a very narrow, two-lane blacktop with no shoulders, crazy switchbacks and steep drop-offs plunging thousands of feet down. This is my kind of road.
A lot of mining took place along the stretch of road between Oatman and Cool Springs back in the days of gold, and in fact, is still going on today. The community of Goldroad was once a substantial, mining-based settlement. And while there may not be many full-time residents there today, the mines still employ a good number of people. Old building ruins and mines dotted the landscape as I drove through the Black Mountains.
The Summit Gas Station and Ice Cream store was once located at the top of Sitgreaves Pass, on a wide spot on the Kingman side of the road. That must have looked like heaven when folks rounded that last bend and saw a gas station and ice cream store at the top of the mountain pass. All that’s left of the Summit today are some iron bolts and crumbling foundation remains as it burnt to the ground in 1967.
From where Old Blue is parked, I walked a bit out towards a cliff and admired this view to the west. This picture doesn't really do justice to how narrow the road is and some of the hairpin turns there are along the way.
And here is the view towards the east, the way I would soon be driving. I believe the sharp pointy thing on the left is Thimble Butte, which makes a great backdrop to pictures in this area, especially at Cool Springs, which just happened to be my next stop. It was time to see how the downhill stretch of road would be. I've read some stories, and I'm not sure if they're true or not, but supposedly back in the early days of Route 66, the Model T was one of the most widely used vehicles. They apparently did not have a fuel pump to pump gas from the tank to the engine, which was ok as gravity would normally take care of that. Unless the car was going up a steep incline. The solution to the problem? Drive your Model T backwards up the road to Sitgreaves Pass. Not sure I would ever want to try that. But I was going downhill. I commenced coasting.