Today we were up early and left Yuma, headed north. It was a difficult transition day – it was 30C or better when we left, and tonight we are hunkered down in Kingman Az and it’s only 16C. Seriously. I had to put away my shorts and sandals and put on long pants and shoes. Warren had to turn the AC off and the heat ON when we got back from supper it was THAT cold. A sad day indeed.
Of course tomorrow it’s going to be 26C – that’s 80 for you Fahrenheit cats – and that’s still respectable on the ‘warmness’ scale. But Warren admonished me to prepare myself as the weather will no longer be as warm and beautiful as it has been. I didn’t think about the down side of vacations: the going home part. Sigh.
But today was still lovely – we left Yuma at about 10:30 and drove to Parker – a neat little oasis in the desert. Parker Az has beautiful access to the Colorado River where people boat, swim and waterski. The vacation properties were not great near the state park, but in Parker proper they were nice, but really crowded near the water. Honestly, any surface that could have a house on it DID have a house on it. And as a result, some of the newer houses were a row back from the water and didn’t have water access… this was puzzling because if you wanted to
be in Parker the only reason would be to have the river access – the rest of the place isn’t that great. It’s pretty harsh desert. We concluded that while Parker is nice, it was not really the place for us.
We drove over the Parker dam (the dam that slows the water down so Parker has a nice recreation area) and went to the California side of the river. It was nicer there and there were feral donkeys wandering around! Much nicer, but with the increase in taxes that California has, things were more expensive there. For example gas was $1.86 more than it was on the other side of the river bringing it to $3.86 a gallon. So although lovely, this also was not the place for us.
After Parker, we headed out to Needles California. Needles has a very famous fictional resident – can you remember who it is? (ok, probably not if you are under 50…).
It’s the home of Snoopy’s older brother Spike for those of you who are not familiar with the Peanuts cartoon. The first thing you see when you drive into Needles is a big sign saying it’s the home of Spike. And that’s about it for Needles. It’s not a prospering town from what I could see – no real industry or tourism or anything to keep the little town going.
We continued on to Lake Havasu City, Az – now this place was the opposite of Needles. Lake Havasu City is as tourist oriented as a city can be. Everything there is newer – the city is about 52 years old (young for a city, old for a people) so doesn’t have the history that some of the other cities we’ve been to have had. But it does have water. And money. The conspicuous wealth was a bit jarring after the bleakness of the desert: Expensive vehicles, huge houses, many expensive boats, lots of stores. It was strange to drive in out of the hot barren land and find this. They also have the London Bridge – the actual bridge from London England, that was purchased and moved to Lake Havasu in 1967… why? Well, why not? It was for sale and tourists would come to see it. Lake Havasu City is a strange place and again not the place for us. So we headed on.
And we got to Bullhead City Az – a town that is right across from Laughlin, Nevada – a little tiny Las Vegas style town on the Colorado river. Now, Bullhead City would be a cool place to see if it was not the River Run weekend in Laughlin Nevada. River Run weekend is when bikers from all over the states converge on Laughlin for a kind of Biker’s Convention – there are trade shows, custom bike shows, gambling in the casinos – just an all around good and raucous time. It was amazing to see how many motorcycles there could be in the little town of Bullheadd City. We then zipped across the river to Laughlin to see the rest of the action close up and what a zoo!
We toured the town as much as we could before we escaped and headed towards Kingman Az, which is where we are now. Kingman is back on Route 66 and is a fairly quiet little town. Lots of parks and things of that ilk to see, and many restaurants and hotels. And much fewer bikers. For tonight, this is the place for us.
Tomorrow we’re heading north again – with a small detour to Oatman AZ – a mining town that has burros wandering everywhere! I can’t wait to see it 🙂