! We have to join back up with the Interstate 40 for a short way to Needles where we cross back into California. Back onto 66 to Goffs on the edge of the Mojave Nature Preserve. Not much out here but more freight trains which you can race along the long straight roads. If you can get the attention of the drivers they will pull the might horn for you. We pass through Essex and Amboy before leaving 66 to head south pasta a huge salt lake to Twentynine Palms.
Up early the next morning, we make our way the short distance to the Joshua Tree National Park. The landscape here is full of huge boulders piled up here and there, reminding us of Hampi in India. Of course the main attraction is the many over-sized Joshua Trees, giant yuccas that sprout out of the ground on every available piece of land. They are peculiar looking plants and we make several stops to take a closer look at them. Some of them reach heights of 13m. We visit a few of the view points and take a walk to Barker Dam, an old pioneer settlement spot where the water has long since dried up.
Route 66 bowls on west through Arizona, winding up into the hills and past small gold mines on the old gold road. The road then drops down to the fascinating little town of Oatman. It's a small place with a lot of character, due mainly to the so-called 'wild' burrows that wander freely along the one street town. You can buy bags of carrots and feed the cheeky little blighters. Tim, with the help of some tasty carrots, makes friends with a young burrow called Peanut who follows him eagerly as we take a look around. Oatman is a Western town full mainly of souvenir shops that line the mains street, which is actually Route 66. At nigh noon everyday they block the road off and demonstrate a bit of gun slinging - showing off some cowboy exploits using very loud blanks. The town bank is long closed, so the show now involves the goofy cowboy holding up the ATM instead... We hit the road for more roller coaster style dips that Route 66 is so famous for. A desert fox runs to the roadside to beg for food - talk about cunning