Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Laughlin Retirement Center

A while back a friend scored a couple free rooms in Laughlin and invited us to go with her. Somehow or another, it ended up just being my friend Sam and I, and we’re not big gamblers. Well, Sam isn’t a big gambler, I have impulse control issues, and tend to get irrationally upset at slot machines, so I tend to avoid them altogether.

But still, a chance to get away is a chance to get away, and we figured that there had to be SOMETHING to do in Laughlin that didn’t involve the freezing cold river or gambling or an incredible expense. What we ended up doing was basically a vacation for geeks.

A planned trip included horseback riding and a trip to Oatman, Arizona, a defunct mining ghost town about an hour south of Laughlin, famous for its tame wild burros that now come into town and roam the streets, searching for a carrot or two from the tourists that come and feed them (yes, people will drive an hour south of Laughlin just to feed carrots to a donkey. Go with it).

The day after, we decided to hit up another ghost town, this one in california, called Calico.
Yes, we’re geeks. Okay, I’m the geek because I came up with all the suggestions, but you know what? I’m glad I did, because what we very quickly discovered when we landed in Laughlin was a sea of gray hair and the glint of bifocals.

We were the only people there under forty-five. I kid you not. It was frightening.
So off to Oatman we went, where we met up with Jessica of the Oatman Stables, who had two horses ready for us, and an hour trail ride where we got to see the real remains of the town: piles of antique trash, the old foundations of the hospital and the brothels, and old mine shafts. The view was gorgeous.

Then it back to Laughlin – to revel in our youth, before we headed on Sunday to Calico, another abandoned mining town that was… semi-abandoned actually. We got to actually tour one of the mines this time, and it was… well… when someone shoves you in a dark cave, closes the door behind you and leaves you in total darkness, it’s creepy.

But historically fascinating, as well.

Still beautiful though.

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