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Topock - End of Arizona 66

 

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Welcome to Golden Shores, Arizona

Welcome to Golden Shores, Arizona, Kathy Weiser, April, 2008.

 

Golden Shores, Arizona

 

Descending the incline from Oatman, you will soon come upon the charming town of Golden Shores after having driven Route 66 for about 20 miles. This delightful little town, with less than 3,000 souls, is nestled against the Colorado River and attracts all kinds of visitors to its mild climate during the winter, its proximity to Lake Havasu, and the nearby gambling Mecca of Laughlin, Nevada.

 

Boats can be launched from the Golden Shores Marina, fishing is ideal at the Topock Marsh, and those preferring the off-road paths thru the desert, will find many opportunities to traverse the rugged terrain.

 

Not born of the Mother Road, Golden Shores owes its development to the proximity of the Colorado River.

 

From June thru August, Golden Shores becomes a sleepy little community, as the temperature rises and the snowbirds go back to wherever they came from.

 

Topock, Arizona

 

Beyond Golden Shores about five miles, is the end of Arizonaís ribbon of the Mother Road, at Topock. Though the town still appears on maps, there really isnít a town anymore. Today, youíll find the arched bridge across the Colorado that supports a pipeline and the I-40 Bridge that youíll cross to get to California. But, of a town, there is nothing.

 

 

However, in 1883, there was a settlement born along the river when the wooden railroad bridge was built. Just a few years later, in 1890, the wood railroad bridge was replaced by the Red Rock Bridge, at a cost of almost a half million dollars Ė big bucks in those days. At this time, road travelers crossed the river on the Needles Ferry. However, in 1914, when a flood took the ferry out of commission, planks were put on the Red Rock Bridge, where automobiles and wagons crossed between trains.

 

A couple of years later the Trails Arch Bridge was completed in February, 1916, to accommodate road travelers. A substantial improvement over sharing a bridge with a train, the arch bridge could only accommodate one way traffic of trucks and busses. Furthermore, the bridge had a weight limitation of 11 tons which created a problem when truck traffic increased during World War II.

 

Colorado River Historic 66 Sign

Sign seen from I-40 at Exit 1, Kathy Weiser, April, 2008.

Soon, engineers began to look for a new way for Route 66 travelers to cross the Colorado River. When the Santa Fe Railroad opened a new bridge for their trains in 1945, the rails were removed from the old Red Rock Bridge, reinforcements were made, and the bridge opened for automobile traffic in 1947. In 1966, when I-40 barreled through, replacing the Mother Road, a new four lane steel girder bridge was built and the old Red Rock Bridge abandoned. After 22 years of sitting rusting in the sun, the Red Rock Bridge was finally dismantled.

 

And what of the Trails Arch Bridge that was abandoned in 1947? Itís still there, its gleaming white girders now supporting gas and utility lines across the river.

 

What a wondrous ride across the beautiful state of Arizona! Now, fill up your water bottle as you head on to California across the long and dusty Mojave desert.

 

 

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated July, 2010.

 

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Route 66 from Golden Shores to Needles, California, Kathy Weiser, April, 2008.

 

Trails Arch Bridge across the Colorado River

The Trails Arch Bridge across the Colorado River once carried road

 travelers along Route 66 in the early days. Now it carries utility lines

 across the mighty Colorado. Photo by Emily Priddy.

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Discoveries...America Special Edition, Colorado RiverDiscoveries America Special Addition - Colorado River DVD - Explore Glen and Grand Canyon most spectacular of the Colorado River. Meet Georgie Clark, "Old Woman Of The River", first woman to swim river and first woman to run guided river trips. See giant California condors. Grand Canyon at sunrise, and fly fishing Glen Canyon...

 

 

 

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