Saturday, April 11, 2009

08-2009 Williams to Bullhead City Arizona

Williams AZ
Bullhead City AZ
Laughlin NV
Campground: Canyon Gateway RV Park. $18.50 Passport ½ price campground. Full Hookups w/ cable TV. I’ll be here 3 nights. Tall stark bare trees line the three rows of Rv sites. The ground is covered with coarse red lava rock. Uncomfortable to walk on.

Campground: Snowbird Rv Resort. A Recreation USA and Passport America Park. Cost $14.00 per night. Full hookups. Swimming pool/hot tub (not very hot)

I left Cottonwood heading north on hwy 17 up to Flagstaff and then west on hwy 40. It’s a sunny dry day.
Have I mentioned how dry it is? How about 7% humidity. My friend Dave who’s out in this area as well, mentioned in an email that his skin is cracked and dry. He’s right. I have to use tons of lotion to keep from drying up like a shriveled prune.

I’ve stopped over at Williams AZ which is the gateway to the Grand Canyon. Now I know this will sound terribly unusual, but I’ve decided not to go to the canyon this time. One, I’ve been to the North Rim a couple of years ago, so I’ve seen the grand canyon and second, they’ve raised the entrance fee to $25. Since I know I’ll be back this way many more times, I’ll wait until I can get the Senior Park Pass when I hit that magic age (62) Ekkkk ! I know, it’s only a couple years away.

I’ll explore the area before heading to Bullhead city. The Canyon Gateway Rv park as I mentioned in the description is a really stark looking place, especially with the rough red lava rock on the ground. The owner/manager was not in a good mood when I got here. He complained about not being able to take a single day off because his staff is so incompetent, they can’t take care of the place without him. Wonder how much he pays them…

I’ve gone up in elevation about 3,000 feet to about 6,500 feet. I’ve even seen patches of snow on the north sides of the mountains, all covered in pine trees and the sharp edged Humphreys Peak at 12,600 ft, their tallest mountain in Flagstaff is topped with a thin layer of snow. A perfect picturesque scene any painter would love to paint. The temp. is expected to drop to 29 tonight.

The small town of Williams, once a frontier town is of course a tourist town today. Everyone appears pretty lay back without the usual gotta sell one more T-shirt to the gringo customer. This was the last stretch of Route 66 to be used before being bypassed by Hwy 40. The Grand Canyon Railroad was decommissioned in the 60’s and started to run again in the mid 80’s. The old Hotel made of solid concrete with double pillars running along it’s veranda. It contained one of the “Harvey Girls” Restaurants. When I visited the train station the only part of the hotel that is open is the Train ticket station and the gift shop which is partly in the old main lobby with it’s huge fireplace. I asked one of the clerks about what the rest of the hotel looks like, as it is not open to the public. She told me there are lots of broken windows and graffiti all over the place. The current owners are preparing it to be their corporate offices and business suites. But those plans could change. She also told me that her Grandmothers sister was an original Harvey Girl. If you want to learn more about the history check out:

A note on the train ride to the Grand Canyon. Everyone I’ve spoken to, recommend not taking the train to the Grand Canyon. It’s only a 59 mile trip each way but will take you 5 hours of travel time, leaving you only about an hour to view the canyon. Besides, the train does not travel through much except the Kaibab forest.

I drove over to Kaibab Lake not far from Williams to check out their campground. Surprisingly it had not opened up for the season. It does open May 15 - Oct 1st. This is my last day in the area. It’s been windy over the past day or so and rather chilly. The elevation has a lot to do with that.

Bullhead City:

Well it’s mid week and I’m back on the road again heading towards Bullhead City. It’s on the boarder of AZ, Nevada and Calif. The drive was all downhill (Literally) all the way.
From an elevation of 6,800 ft down to an elevation of 554 ft. The drive was a pleasant surprise, driving along hwy 40, the scenery quickly went from pine forested mountain ranges (Arizona high country) down to large expanses of prairie with scruffy clumps of short dry grasses and desert landscape. Because I was constantly going downhill, the vistas were expansive looking across those rolling landscapes with mountains far off in the distance.
The sky was huge with wispy white clouds against a blue background, some looking like a chain of white anvils running across the sky.

And it’s much warmer in Bullhead City as well. After checking into the Snowbird Rv park, I hopped into the swimming pool for a nice swim.

I’m told this area can get very hot early in the year. Someone at the pool said last May it was already 115 degrees. Yikkees that’s hot. Today, April 9th, it’s a very comfortable 77 degrees.
I was looking through the local paper and saw an add for Big 5 Sporting Goods. They had a couple pairs of Binoculars on sale. Got a dandy of deal on a $150 pair for only $29.00. A great deal on a pair of high quality Binoculars. I’ve never owned a really good pair and these are doozies. Now I’ll be able to see all that wildlife up close.

Drove over to the Ghost Town of Oatman AZ. It’s only about 15 miles from Bullhead City but feels like your hundreds of miles away. It’s surrounded by sharp jagged mountain ranges. The town is relatively small and most of the buildings look like they are barely standing up on their own. Burros roam the town looking for handouts. Carrots are for sale to feed them which the tourists love to do. The burros are ancestors of the ones used in the mines. When the mines ran out of ore, the burros were let loose to fend for themselves.
Route 66 went right through town, one of the many round about routes it took heading for the Calif. Coast. Kind of neat to be able to cross paths with Route 66 so many times over the past couple of years and through one of it‘s most rugged locations to boot.

Over the weekend one of the casinos held a free Blues and Brews concert. Lasted three full days. What a nice way to enjoy a thoroughly perfect sunny, breezy warm Easter Weekend. Thanks Laughlin Nevada. I really enjoyed it.

No comments: