Oatman, Arizona and Wild Donkeys!

I am finally getting to see the old mining town of Oatman, AZ and the famous wild herd of tame donkeys. That’s an oxymoron, but the donks are technically wild, but have declared Oatman part of their territory and wander freely around town taking hay cubes from enthralled visitors, crowding around cars, some are even bold enough to enter a business or two.

I have followed the Oatman Burros FaceBook page for quite a while and it’s a great way to follow what these adorable animals are up to. Or what sneaky, evil persons do.

The young donkey abandoned by his mother last year was adopted and cared for by a young couple who live in Oatman. Walter has since become the Mayor of the town, has his own book and occasionally comes to town for book signings.

On the other side of the coin, a couple of gals came in one night and donkey-napped the young and adored Tinkerbell—Read the last two sentences on the above sign. Those two are facing federal charges. Thankfully Tink was found, unharmed, and brought back to Oatman. She had some tough times from the herd (burros are territorial), but eventually became part of the group that Bureau of Land Management auctioned off to vetted homes. Happily, she ended up back in Oatman with her adoptive family.

My trip to Oatman will always be a highlight for me. This little old mining town is authentic and charming and the donkeys that freely roam the streets capturing hearts are the icing on the cake. They are actually the biggest draw I think, but don’t let that sway you from coming to town. Even without the burros this town is a place to see. And their souvenirs weren’t priced outrageously either.

Write title? I have no idea how to get rid of this, but it is a view from last night’s campsite. The new WordPress editor is hateful.

Baby Hank is the current draw in the Oatman donkey herd. His mom, Annabelle, wanted to make sure I meant no harm when I wanted to cuddle him and she nipped me on the arm. Not hard, but I think she wanted to make sure I wasn’t one of those donkeynappers who took her Tinkerbell last year.

When the day was over I wanted to say goodbye to this cutie and make friends with Annabelle. She pulled the bag I was carrying my new Oatman hoodie in out of my hand and started chewing on it. I got it back from her with a bit of tug-o-war. I think she was smiling when I prevailed.

Wondering what is on Baby Hank’s forehead? It is a sticker that says STOP, do not feed the babies anything. They don’t want any of the donkeys to be fed carrots, apples, any human food actually. The sugar in apples, carrots, ect., can cause health issues for these guys. Even hay cubes are forbidden for the young Hank as I found out the hard way. Got a good scolding from the fans of the Oatman Burros’ FB page. He was eating them in front of a store, so I thought …

At noon they have a “gunfight” in the middle of the street
Had coffee at the cafe where patrons can sign a dollar bill and have it stapled to the wall or wherever they want, just not on the signs or the antiques.
If you don’t behave yourself you can be thrown into jail. Can you imagine being locked in this little box?

Oatman is still on my Bucket List. I didn’t mark it off because I will be going back! Thanks for coming along. Hugs, Shawna.

P.S. The Chiweenie Brothers were sad they didn’t get to see the donkeys, but the donkeys don’t like dogs and the town asks that you leave them in your vehicle. There have been a few stompings and it can get ugly.

Current Read: The Willows in Winter by William Horwood. Excellent sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows.

Yuma and Mexico Dental Work

December 17, 2020. I spent a couple of days reorganizing and re-doing the inside of MissAdventure. The bed platform needed a bit of tweeking, and I had bought a couple of cabinets from a lady down the street from me and needed to install them. Now that we are not living full time in the van I am going for a more cute and stylish look rather than stuffing everything I own into every nook and cranny I could find. It will be nice to have items with a permanent place and out of sight!

My first dental appointment is Friday, but we leave in the early afternoon Thursday because no trip to Yuma is complete without time spent at the Bark Park and I want to make sure The Chiweenie Brothers have a great time. I get in a lot of walking, and an afternoon’s worth of running, hiking (in every sense of the doggie version of ‘hiking’) and sniffing for the boys leave all three of us worn completely out.

We spend the night in Wally’s parking lot only to wake up and find a flyer on the windshield stating they no longer allow overnights in their lot. Alrighty then. We head out onto I-8 West toward San Diego, and in just 8 short miles we take exit 166 and head south to the border and my dental appointment with Dr. Dennis Cochran, DDS, whose goal is the become the best dentist in Mexico. She’s on her way to being that in my opinion.

She preps my mouth for the ‘installation’ of two zirconia crowns on the implants I had put in a couple of years ago, takes impressions and I’m set free until tomorrow. Our adventure part of the trip begins.

I looked up a couple of places I wanted to see this trip and first up and just a few exits from the one I take to get to Los Algadones is Old Plank Road off Gray’s Well. This is a small preserved section of the wooden plank road built to connect the lower section of Southern California to Arizona. Built in 1915 the east-west route over the Algodones Dunes provided the last link of the commercial route between San Diego and Yuma.

Constructed of huge, thick, wooden planks linked together with metal strips and big bolts, it is a testament to man’s ingenuity of doing what needs to be done to go where he needs to go. I cannot even fathom the work that went into this endeavor nor the muscle used to keep the planks free of blowing sand.

Not wanting to press my luck with trying another night at Wally, the boys and I locate a LTVA (Long Term Visitor Area) off Sidewinder Road and ask the host if there is a section where one could park just for the night. He says no, not in this one, but if I go back to the Chevron Station just this side of the freeway and take the service road for 3 miles there is a 14 day stay free area right after the pavement ends.

This service road may be paved but it’s the roughest damn thing ever. Slowly we drive, slowly we get there rolling forward a few feet, BUMP, and then another few feet and the back wheels BUMP, and so it goes for three long miles, but we finally arrive and shockingly nothing inside MissAdventure has been jarred out of place or fallen over. We are rewarded with a nice spot to park for the night with no neighbors within 1/4 mile.

After a good night’s sleep we are up early and head back to Yuma on the 8 and I head into Walmart to purchase a new battery for my solar setup in the van and get a few groceries. A quick stop at the ATM to pull funds for my crowns and we head back to Mexico for my 10:00 a.m. appointment.

The second half of the crowning appointment didn’t go quite as planned. Due to a power outage my zirconia crowns are not ready and I sit in the reception area for four hours. They must have noticed me getting a bit worried when it got to be 1:00 p.m. and I kept looking at my watch wondering if I would get back into the US before they closed the border at 3:00. Poor doggies still in the van all this time.

The receptionist, Margot, a VERY young lady, asks if I want to go see the new office they are moving into next year. I jump at the chance to get my mind off the border crossing and my boys being stuck in the van all this time. We walk out to the sidewalk between two vendors where her scooter is parked and she tells me to wait, she will go get the car.

Margot makes it back in jig time in a beautiful what-looks-like- brand-new white four door Chevy. Is this Dr. Dennis’ car? Yes, she says. I hop in and we buzz along back toward the crossing and she makes a right turn and up the hill we go getting a few looks from some pedestrians as she whizzes by leaving a hair’s breadth of space between them and the side of the vehicle. I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding when she pulls in and parks in front of Dr. Dennis’ new place.

It’s big. It’s beautiful. The interior has some Spanish style roundtop windowless cutouts in walls between some of the rooms, and there is room left for her to expand her business. In my opinion no one deserves it more than this young hard working dentist that wants to become the best dentist in Mexico. From one chair to two, and with this move two chairs and a dental surgeon she will rent to. She’s smart as well as deserving.

Part of the interior walls are painted this gorgeous shade of green, one of my favorite colors. The perfect shade. That, of course, has no bearing on my love of her new building. 🙂 We wave goodbye to the young man swiping what looks like spackle onto a section of the entry and get into the car.

Young Margot starts the car and begins to back up. I glance behind us just as a woman begins to step behind the car. I yell stop and Margot slams on the brake. The pedestrian glares and Margot laughs and says she glad she didn’t hit her. Oh yeah, me too!! I’m grateful she didn’t hit any cars either, I think to myself.

Margot says when she was hired Dr. Dennis (and this is pronounced like our female Denise) asked her if she could drive. Margot told her yes, and that she had a license. Welllll. Margot confides in me that she just said that so she would get hired, that she doesn’t have a license. You told her the truth, though, right Margot? She laughs and says yes, after she was hired. Oh dear Lord. 🙂

When we get back to the office I am whisked into a chair and the crowns are screwed onto the posts and cemented around the bottom or whatever it is they do. I won’t be able to eat for an hour. Lordy, it’s been a good eight hours since I have eaten, but I still have enough padding to get me by I am sure despite what my stomach is telling me.

There is a line today to get back across the border, as there always is when you stay in Mexico past noon, and that gobbles up a good half hour. People are desperate in this Covid pandemic and the usual vendors who ply the line headed back across to the USA seem especially desperate. Selling everything from masks to yard ornaments to ironwood statues these merchants have a different look in their eyes this year.

One young woman with two little girls sits on the low rock wall playing an accordion. She looks tired and sad. As I get closer I see a quiet desperation in her lovely eyes and I give her a dollar. The look she gives me and the quiet ‘gracias’ in thanks breaks my heart. It’s a dollar; her gratitude and her eyes tell me it might as well have been a hundred as far as she was concerned.

Spending more time waiting for my dental work to be finished than I planned on, I forego the other places I wanted to explore and will save them for next time, but I do stop to get these photos of the All American Canal.

The All-American Canal is an 80-mile long aqueduct, located in southeastern California. It conveys water from the Colorado River into the Imperial Valley and to nine cities. It is the Imperial Valley’s only water source, and replaced the Alamo Canal, which was located mostly in Mexico. The Imperial Dam, about 30 miles northeast of Yuma, Arizona on the Colorado River, diverts water into the All-American Canal, which runs to just west of Calexico, California before its last branch heads mostly north into the Imperial Valley. Five smaller canals branching off the All American Canal move water into the Imperial Valley. These canal systems irrigate up to 630,000 acres of crop land and have made possible a greatly increased crop yield in this area, originally one of the driest on earth. It is the largest irrigation canal in the world, carrying a maximum of 26,155 cubic feet per second. Agricultural runoff from the All American Canal drains into the Salton Sea.

The wait in line to cross the border, stopping for the photos of the canal and the short trip back to Yuma with some traffic eats up most of the Do-Not-Eat-For-An-Hour order I decide to stop at In and Out for a burger. The line is long and it takes about 40 minutes so I am good to go… I mean eat. A burger never tasted so good!! The Chiweenie Brothers enjoy an unsalted hamburger patty and we are on our way home.

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel. We are hoping for more travel in the coming year. Praying all your hopes come to pass also. Hugs, Shawna

Books read since last post: Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore. Very good read about a rape and the effects on the victim, the town and its citizens. *****

This Magnificent Dappled Sea by David Biro. The Holocaust, an Italian family, a Jewish family, a baby, a disease. Another good read. ****

The Ultimate Road Trip Guide by Christina Bogantz and Melissa Rios. Their trip to visit 47 state parks in two months. Some good info here. ****