Travelogue: Cool Springs, Oatman, Goffs

I hope everyone had a good St. Patrick's Day!

We spent the day at home, but that gave me a chance to write about our March 10 foray into the Mojave Desert, a day trip to visit nearby tourist destinations and encourage development of EV infrastructure.

Cool Springs, Arizona
Located west of Kingman on Route 66, Cool Springs was opened in the 1920s and was once a service station, store and tourist cabins for overnight stays. This section of Route 66 was bypassed by a new alignment in the 1950s, and in the 1960s Cool Springs closed when a fire reduced it to ruin. Just a few stone walls and pillars remained when it was briefly reconstructed for the 1992 film "Universal Soldier", but only as a set piece to be blown up for the movie. In 2001 the property was sold to a new owner with plans to rebuild Cool Springs, and in 2005 the doors opened again, attracting Route 66 travelers from all over the world. It has also been reproduced in Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure theme park. We first visited it (without an EV) back in 2007.

Cool Springs as it looked in 2007.
















The Blue Spirit at Cool Springs, 2019.

The resurrected Cool Springs no longer has gasoline or cabins, but as a gift shop it certainly has electrical power. It is already listed on PlugShare with a 120v wall outlet available. We stopped by in The Blue Spirit and had a chat with "Crazy Ray" who runs Crazy Ray's Twisted Tees and is today's exuberant face of Cool Springs. With a bit of conversation and exploring we were able to determine that it should be possible to make a 240v NEMA 14-50 plug available for EV charging. In fact, as noted on the PlugShare entry there is already a NEMA 14-30 outlet on site. This is not a common plug for EVs but if you have one you should be able to plug in. We happen to have one ourselvves because we utilize a NEMA 14-30 for charging at home. Many thanks to Ray for talking with us about charging. We look forward to seeing that PlugShare entry grow to an official 240v NEMA 14-50 listing in the future!

Electric Route 66 has been added to the considerable collection of stickers at Cool Springs.

Crazy Ray welcomes all!

This coming Saturday, March 23, the Route 66 Association of Kingman will be hosting a Meet & Greet potluck at Cool Springs and all are invited! Bring a dish to share if you can. We won't be able to make it ourselves this time but we wish everyone the best.

The trip westward to Oatman over Sitgreaves Pass is a slow one, with narrow lanes and hairpin turns. Vehicles over 40 feet are prohibited. Take it slow and safely! A short distance past Cool Springs you will find other remnants of the past, such as Ed's Camp, which was once a traveler stop like Cool Springs but has been closed for many years. If you should spot some steps on a hillside near mile marker 30, you have found the way to Shaffer's Fishbowl, a stone basin built in the 1930s to collect spring water that trickles down the mountainside. At the top of Sitgreaves Pass there are no more buildings, only some concrete foundation remnants of the service station that one stood there. But there are amazing views from pullouts on both sides of the pass.

Twisties ahead.

Ed's Camp and the Kactus Kafe.

Mysterious steps, leading to...

... an amazing view, and....

Shaffer's Fishbowl!

The great view looking back from the top of Sitgreaves Pass.

Sitgreaves Pass has a cut at the top for the road....

... and afterward is another pullout and another great view in the other direction!


Oatman, Arizona
The heyday of Oatman as a mining boomtown was about 100 years ago, and after many years of decline the last of the mines finally closed at the onset of World War II. Oatman survived as a stop for travelers on Route 66 until it was bypassed in 1953, after which it became nearly a ghost town. In recent decades it has been reborn as an "old west" style tourist attraction, with performance gunfights on the main road, many small shops and the unique attraction of burros roaming freely in the streets - the descendants of pack animals abandoned by prospectors in the mountains after they were no longer needed.

Traffic comes to a standstill for an old west gunfight performance right on Route 66.

Oatman currently has no advertised EV charging available. Thankfully, it is only 30 miles from Kingman, or from Laughlin, Nevada on the Colorado River, so it's easily reachable. Still, it would be a reassuring option in an EV to have charging available in town. It's quite easy to spend hours in Oatman, walking shop-to-shop, seeing a gunfight, etc. Unfortunately, being an old mining town in the mountains means that power is not very beefy. I spoke with Gina Lowrey, who graciously received us at her shop, New Diggin's right in the middle of town. Even with their modest needs they must be careful not to overload circuits. What will be needed I think is to get locals talking about EV travel: if you visit in an EV, or even have one at home that you did not bring, mention it to the businesses that you visit here, and make it known that EV charging would be a welcome addition to the town. The EV revolution is coming and the sooner they find a place for it in the community, the sooner they can benefit from it.

Yes, the burros really do hang about all over town.


Goffs, California
Speaking of 'finding a place for EVs', I have a success to report! The first visit of The Blue Spirit to Goffs, California was in December 2018, when we met with Laura Misajet, Executive Director of the Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association. The restored schoolhouse in Goffs, now over 100 years old, is the MDHCA museum and the centerpiece of a property which also features outdoor exhibits, buildings collected from around the Mojave Desert area to save them from ruin, and a reconstructed Goffs railroad depot that serves as a library.


The Blue Spirit's first visit to historic Goffs in December 2018.

Route 66 between Needles and Barstow is severely lacking when it comes to EV charging, with very few settlements and even fewer places to plug in an electric car. The MDHCA was eager to help change this, and to attract EV drivers to Goffs by getting on PlugShare right away with a 120v connection. They plan to make some upgrades very soon to allow 240v charging, extending the reach of EVs through this very sparse area. To help get the word out, we arranged to visit at the end of our trip, to try out their plug and get some photos both for MDHCA use and to highlight their presence on PlugShare. For the moment, their connection sits at the base of a historic Aermotor windmill that once generated power at a nearby ranch, making for a very unique photo opportunity.

Charging from the wind? Not quite, but what a great photo op!


The EV plug at Goffs is available during the museum's operating hours Saturday through Monday, and you must check in first as it is on a part of the property normally off-limits to public vehicles. Donations are requested; the MDHCA is a non-profit and their preservation work in the Mojave deserves our support. The gift shop in the schoolhouse museum has a lot of great items to choose from!

After a beautiful sunset in Goffs we headed back home. The next post is coming soon - about our March 16 trip to Kingman for the first Chillin' on Beale event of 2019. See you next time!

Sunset in Goffs.

Comments

  1. YupEV, MikEV. Definitely need more EVs on 66 and EVangelizing. Especially to establish more simple infrastructure as a first step with RV park type NEMA 14-50's. So much EVducation remains, as in the story with lots of U of A and STEM HS students, who were not quite getting when told: "It's "All Electric" at the showing four EVs on campus. However, so many became quite amazed when someone stated: "No Gas!" and that got so many's attention. EVer a'Plug'n AZ in, EVJerry PS And Las Vegas, too!

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