Our First Adventure.. Grab the Popcorn!

Haha! See those (…) oh the joys of our first adventure together as a family. (Insert eye roll here) Honestly, it wasn’t all bad, looking back we can all have a good laugh at how everything that could go wrong, did.

My girls and I had just moved to California and we’re about to take our first trip with Shaun to the little town of Oatman, Arizona. We had planned a day full of off-roading in his side by side, followed by a group visit to the donkeys’ of Oatman, where you can pet and even feed them! Sounds ideal, am I right? Grab your snacks, this gets good early! Haha

We first ventured out from our apartment in Southern California, picked up a rented trailer as we don’t have our own yet. The rental location gave us the wrong trailer that was barely large enough, and had only one axle. Anyone with towing knowledge would know that this would be grossly insufficient to haul a four seater Polaris Turbo S Rzr. As we decided to attempt our preplanned mission we quickly learned that this trailer was not going to work out, but as the sun had already set, stores had closed, we had to make the best of what we had. Oh, and least I forget, it started raining.

As we drove off on the 15, this trailer exploded with personality to say the least. As we drove on the wet pavement, the trailer began to dance upon the roadway, bouncing, jumping, rocking. You name it, this trailer was dancing to its own tune. We couldn’t drive over 45 miles an hour, or else this trailer would speak the rhythm of its people to those near and far. Shaun and I were baffled on how we could fix this issue and still continue on the 240 mile journey to the Land of the Donkeys. We began to brainstorm and we first came up with the idea, possibly, the trailer had an uneven weight distribution. We pulled into Lowe’s. Bless their hearts for dealing with us.

A couple dollars later and 200lbs of dry mix concrete in husky branded tubs, we strapped these tubs filled with dry concrete hoping it would solve our dilemma. Short answer, it did not. Haha. A google search depicted that we had to load the Rzr on backwards to evenly distribute the weight properly. This slightly helped but we still were restricted at 65 miles an hour rather than the posted mph on the 15. We staggered into Lake Havasu in the early hours of the night, quickly resting ourselves before the next days chaos.

Remember how I said “group” visit to the Land of Donkeys? Shaun’s friends were meeting us in Havasu for a group ride to Oatman. Sounded great, right? It gets better trust me! We met around 10am after feeding our bellies a hearty breakfast and bundling up against the wind. The girls were anxiously waiting to get their first chance in a rzr, but we played many games and movies off my phone in the truck while we waited for one of the guys to fix his four wheeler. (Face Palm) I questioned Shaun, “shouldn’t this have been done earlier?” We both laughed in agreeance even though this was slightly ridiculous, they were our friends and just who they are and we accept them for that. Anyways, after a few hours we got onto our ride, about 3pm already.

It is roughly an hour and a half on dirt roads to Oatman, but this was also plagued with tribulations of the group. One of the four wheelers continued to shut down possibly due to overly rich fuel mixture, thus stopping the group every few miles for a good 20 minutes to fix the issue. We continued to drive as quickly as possible with intermittent stops until I could barely make out a wooden sign as the sun was setting.

We arrived at Oatman, finally, at 640pm. The town had already shut down, doors closed, and the donkeys had gone to bed. I ultimately felt defeated, to then hear that our rzr had a flat tire. How could this trip get any worse? Somehow, we had hit something on the path into the town that bent the rim, allowing the tire to slip off the bead and leak what air it housed inside. Using a mallet, one of Shaun’s good friends, Alex, beat the rim the best he could to straighten it out. This allowed for air to stay in the tire and bleed out slower than before. It was dark at this point, and cold. All of us were upset, freezing, and disappointment. The rzr limped out of Oatman, a few miles down the road when we stopped to refill the tired with air from our portable air compressor smaller than the size of tablet. We continued this process every so often down the dirt paths until we found a gas station, we stopped at for fuel, potty breaks and a break from the wicked cold wind.

Once we returned to the city, we ate warm food and drank a few margaritas until things seemed not so tremendous. We laughed at the chaos now that it was over and we all swore to visit the city in the morning before leaving back home. I feel we slept better that night than we had prior, either from the margaritas or the warmth of the sheets away from the brisk outside temperatures.

The next morning, to my surprise, we finally, driving the truck of course, arrived into Oatman. I was beyond excited, possibly more than my children but who isn’t excited to pet a donkey, or any animal at that? I was screaming with joy on the inside when we witnessed a mama and baby donkey walk from behind a building, crossing the street to lay on the grass. After a little interaction with the two allowing us to pet and adore them, I saw a painted on wooden sign with the words “Donkey Snacks” above a few numbers indicating the cost. No doubt about it, I bought two. Haha.

All four of us walked up the main street of Oatman, behind a parked car, was another donkey. My heart was filled with so much happiness. If you know me, I am the biggest animal lover by far. I will adopt every pet if my landlord would allow it. Its my over-caring Utah heart that causes this over pouring of love. Anyways, I tried to get the girls to feed the donkey some of the “cookies” we had purchased at the shack behind us. Aria threw hers on the ground, which the donkey quickly ate up then walked to us sniffing out for more. Arcadia was terrified and dropped her “cookie” and quickly backed up. Ha. Oh the joys of children, right? After feeding this donkey who was quite verbal on his wants for more, we moved up towards another group of them. Shaun laughed, recording on his phone, said “babe, the donkey is following you.” No joke, this donkey was stepping behind me matching my steps, neighing for more goodies.

Once the group of them noticed that we had snacks upon us, the began to gather around us, encircling the girls and I but separating us at the same time. I had a handful of 5 or 6 donkeys nipping at my clothes, sniffing my jeans, vocalizing against my hands, attempting to find where I had stashed the goods. One donkey actually snatched the paper bag out of my hands in an effort to gain all of the “cookies” before I handed them out to others. We finished passing out treats and watching in amazement how the donkey’s gathered around a store and some heading inside to say hello to the owner. The locals spoke of stories, memories, and accomplishments of their beloved neighbors with hooves.

After listening to the history of Oatman, we shared some homemade ice cream and began to walk down the hill back to the truck. Oatman did not disappoint. If you have the chance, or some extra time, I highly suggest taking a good hour or so to venture out to this old, tiny, town that shares the land with its furry, nosey, four legged neighbors.

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