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Thread: Oatman, AZ

  1. #1

    Default Oatman, AZ

    My wife and I are planning an early summer trip (early May). We have Oatman, AZ on our itinerary. A question regarding the eastern approach to Oatman on Rt. 66: How dangerous/breathtaking is Sitgreaves Pass? We are seasoned land travelers (all lower 48 states) but I still do not cotton to roads with very steep drop-offs and no guardrails. We have driven down Moki-Dugway in Utah which tested the upper limits of my anxiety level and led me to add some limits to the roads we traverse.

    Would really like to know if anyone can compare Sitgreaves Pass with Moki-Dugway, or can give me a good description of the Sitgreaves Pass experience.

    Thanks for any helpful information.

  2. #2
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Haven't Driven, but From Photos...

    Welcoem to the Forum!

    I haven't personall driven this route yet, it is on my short to-do list. However, I have seen and studied photos of the route. It is winding and there are fewer safety improvements than some of the newer roads.

    There are some very sharp hairpin turns (as in 10 MPH might be pushing it for a safe speed on some of them). None of the photos I've seen have metal guardrails, but some sort of wire barrier using wood posts. It is narrow and winding, and every website that I have seen discussing the road advises to not take RV's over. Other than that, its your typical windy mountain backroad.

    I don't think you have much to fear if you're a seasoned driver, though. If you play it safe, you'll find a great trip taking the Old Route 66.

    -Brad

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Not even in the same universe!

    Quote Originally Posted by dfreeman40 View Post
    A question regarding the eastern approach to Oatman on Rt. 66: How dangerous/breathtaking is Sitgreaves Pass?
    This was THE truck route for the area in the 1950's -- it is a beautiful road, but compared to the drive to Moki-Dugway -- you could almost drive it in your sleep (but please don't try!). I don't think it would even make my top 100 scariest roads in America list. If someone were to road race the route and not pay attention, it could be a problem -- but otherwise -- not an issue. Here are a couple of field reports with photos of the grade. The first one was written by Bob Schaller and the second by Gerald "Mr. RoadTrip" Thurman, the photos of the grade start here (and continue by clicking on next)

    Mark

  4. #4

    Default

    Brad and Mark,

    Thanks so much for the quick replies, that is exactly the information I was looking for.

    Brad, the pictures by Gerald Thurman are great though he is not too reassuring by the comment beside his self portrait where he writes "This spot has claimed many lives." Any idea as to what claimed these lives??

    This forum is great, I didn't expect replies so soon.

    Thanks again,

    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Bad Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by dfreeman40 View Post
    Brad, the pictures by Gerald Thurman are great though he is not too reassuring by the comment beside his self portrait where he writes "This spot has claimed many lives." Any idea as to what claimed these lives??
    I would expect that the major source of the problem was trying to use equipment ill suited for that trip. Gerald is one of the uber roadtrippers active in this community and you might find a quick perusal of his page helpful for future planning. Gerald's directory page is here.

    Mark

  6. #6
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Reassurance

    Quote Originally Posted by Editor View Post
    I would expect that the major source of the problem was trying to use equipment ill suited for that trip.
    I would also suspect that the other percentage of them not related to the wrong equipment was trying to do things you shouldn't do on this road.

    If you drive safely and understand what can go wrong, you'll be fine.

    If you drive poorly, a straight road on a 0% grade can be just as dangerous.

    Buckle Up and Have Fun!
    -Brad

    PS: I am considering doing this drive in the not to distant future myself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Nothing to Add...

    but, please pet a donkey for me!



    Laura

  8. #8

    Default Cool Springs

    Stop by Cool Springs on your trip.

    It's a restored 1920s gas station that was a popular stop during the
    heydays of Route 66.

    The Oatman burros love carrots. Carrots are available from the local
    merchants.

    Have fun.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    169

    Default road okay

    I travelled old route 66 to Oatman and agree it is not that bad. I hadn't heard any horror stories or anything about it before setting out, and agree there are far worse roads. This was in a regular "compact" car, not an RV.

    I wasn't that impressed with Oatman. Too commercialized. There are many other ghost towns of the west/southwest that are more abandoned and deserted which seem more authentic to me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Oatman is not a ghost town!

    Quote Originally Posted by Syv View Post
    I wasn't that impressed with Oatman. Too commercialized. There are many other ghost towns of the west/southwest that are more abandoned and deserted which seem more authentic to me.
    There is a good reason for that -- Oatman has never been abandoned or let slide into being a ghost town. The gold mine up the hill is still operating, the famous hotel is still serving guests and the mules and donkeys keep the tourists in line -- plus there are about 25 families that still call Oatman home.

    Mark

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