Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015-6 Blythe California to Marana Arizona and Globe


Blythe California
Marana (north side of Tucson) Arizona
Globe Arizona

From Marana to Globe, MAP

Campground:  A-Bar-A Rv Park and Storage.  $12.37 Passport America rate, full hookup, 50 amp.  Water is contaminated with nitrates from local farms.  Rv park provides bottled water for drinking as the water is not safe for consumption.  A real basic park, but it is cheap and close for my needs. Note:  next to busy train-tracks, but no whistle blown at rail crossing.

Campground:  Gila County Rv Park.  $25 Water/electric 30 amp.  Within a block or two of historic Globe downtown.  Great antique shops.  (Passport America rate available during summer months).  Batting cages available.

Before I left the Blythe area, my good friends Kathy and Randy stopped by for a couple days.  I gave them tours of the Blythe Intaglio site which they had never seen.  Intaglio’s are large drawings made in the desert by scraping away the hard desert surface or lining rocks to create large figures that can only be seen from the sky.  Who created them and why are big questions.

Kathy wanted to see more of Quartzite, so we drove over there (16 miles away).  We visited the famous Hi-Jolly memorial to the trainer who took care of the camels that were imported during the Civil war era.  And we also visited the other major attractions, the “naked” book seller.  Unfortunately Kathy didn’t get a chance to see the “naked” book seller as the shop was temporarily closed.  I think the best part of their visit was being able to sit outside after sunset and just talk and enjoy a balmy breeze off of the River.  Oh and a late night swim with the stars overhead and a dip in the hot tub…. After all, we were staying at a “resort” you know.

sitting out in the evening was awesome,
with warm breezes late into the night

Quartzite Arizona

Quartzite has over 200,000 Rv-ers dry camping in the desert
each winter

Distance Traveled:  237 miles

What a spectacular drive through the desert heading east along hwy 10 and 8 towards Tucson.  The Palo-Verdi trees were all in bloom with yellow flowers.  Saguaro cactus poking through the profusion of yellow with their many arms reaching for the sky.  As I got closer to the Phoenix and Tucson area the desert seemed to get much more lush and green.  So glad I had to detour back to the Tucson area before continuing my journey this summer.

I’m back in the Tucson area for my follow-up eye exam after having laser surgery for my glaucoma.  Had a great report indicating my eye pressure is stable at 13 which is very good.  Enjoyed meeting up with friends from Desert Trails, Ron and Ronda and Stan and Judy.  Always great to share some good stories over good food.  They ate my share of the rolls and muffins as I continue my low carb diet.

While staying at the A-bar-A Rv park and storage here in Marana, I noticed a number of posted signs around the place.  Although it’s pretty easy to get a sense of what a place is like, just by driving into a campground, the posted signs often provide a more in-depth look.  See what you can tell by reading some of A-bar-A’s signs.  Out in back in their Rv storage area I found an old airstream motor home.  The license plate indicated that it was last tagged in 2000.  So it’s been sitting here for the past 15 years.

click on any picture to enlarge

the abandonded Airstream motorhome

I’m heading to Globe Arizona on Friday.

Distance traveled:  121 miles

the saguaro with so many arms

I left Marana heading for Globe Arizona along route 77.  The road initially boarders the Catalina Mountain range and as I drove north through the town suburbs of Catalina (a bedroom community of Tucson) I noticed the homes were all new construction and I’m sure quite expensive.  Being built in a setting of beautiful high desert landscapes with the mountain range on the east side.  The road is being expanded to 6 lanes and of all things, they are building high concrete walls along the newest sections of highway, blocking the views of all those new homes along route 77.  It just doesn’t make sense to me, but what do I know, I don’t own one of those expensive homes.... with no view. Fortunately, as I continue my trek north, the scenery expanded to what I’m sure it once was between Oracle and the Catalina area, one of the prettiest western scenes I’ve driven through.  Rugged landscapes of mountains gradually rising in elevation.  Lush green desert vegetation filled with yucca trees and saguaro cactus, many with over a dozen arms and some with arms having arms on their arms… I was really glad to know that my two hour drive was going to be filled with such stunning scenery.  My ears were popping as I the elevation gradually climbed higher.  Two sections along route 77 had 7 and 8 percent descents heading north.  The 7% was very gradual and downshifting made for an easy decent.  The 8% was a bit more of tapping of the brakes along with downshifting, but still well worth the drive.  Passing through small communities with great names like Mammoth, Dudleyville and Winkleman add to the western feel of this route.

Note to Rv-ers:  Route 77 from the north end of Tucson to Globe is a really enjoyable drive.  It’s a two lane road most of the way, well paved and light traffic.  I highly recommend it.

Route 77 towards Globe AZ

considered an invasive weed

Route 77, what a great drive to Globe AZ 

The town of Globe is still an active copper mining town with lots of historic buildings, antique shops and the old county courthouse is now used as an art gallery for all those budding local artists.  Just outside of town, about a mile and a half is Besh-Ba-Gowah, an archaeological park.  The 700 year old pueblo has been partially restored and you are encouraged to go through the rooms.  A good museum is on sight as well. (hope to tour today, it's been raining all night and into the morning)

built in the 1940's as a fast food stand
Globe Arizona

many well preserved historic buildings, Globe Az

built in the shape of Arizona
quilters will love this shop, lots of fabric and antiques
Mid Century Modern

side streets have more antique shops

hard to see the big round windows covered in newspaper

former county courthouse, now arts and theatre

impressive stair case copper accents

top floor, local theatre

The resolution Copper mine found a new deposit of copper in the area in 1995.  One of the largest copper deposits in the world, they have dug down to it’s final depth of 6,943 feet, have spent $1.1 billion dollars to date and expect to invest more than $6 billion dollar before production commences.

Glad I had the chance to tour this western town surrounded by some awesome scenery.

more photos on PICASA

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015-5 Laughlin Nevada to Blythe California


Laughlin Nevada
Blythe California

Campground:  Arizona Oasis (formerly Colorado River) Rv Resort. $20 Passport America rate.  Full hookup.  Sits along the Colorado river.  Cable tv:  125 channels, swimming pool, clubhouse with breakfast served on weekends in season.

Blythe Sunset, Colorado River

Free food, a Boat Ride, Movies and Route 66

I’m completing my stay in the Laughlin area, enjoying my free buffet lunches of course, doing the river walk along the Colorado river, with all the big casinos hugging the shoreline and signing up for a boat ride along the river.  I wasn’t expecting too much from it, as the double decker boat travels up to the dam and then back down along the river bordered by all those tall casinos.  But anytime I’m on the water I feel just wonderful and the trip turned out to be very enjoyable.  Talking to a family of Minnesota farmers, away for a vacation before the planting season starts.  Most of their cattle had already given birth this spring and they had left a daughter behind to look at the remainder of the herd about to give birth.  Cruising along, the boat had a very good sound system with a great history presentation on the area with a couple of very interesting stories of some of the people living in the area, including the founder, Mr Laughlin himself.  Well worth the discounted $9 fair.

the River walk

the boat tour

Colorado river running through the desert

Davis Camp

a dozen casino's in Laughlin Nevada

Bullhead City side of the river

Old Route 66 and Oatman Arizona

The next day, I got an early start and drove down to the old gold mining town of Oatman.  Now a ghost town with ramshackle tourist shops and burro’s that were left behind at the end of the mining days.  The town was sleepy when I arrived and only a few shop owners were stirring, but my goal was to take a few pictures of the town (having been to the town in the past) and then drive a section of the original Route 66 from Oatman to Kingman Arizona.  This would have been one of the roughest sections of the original Route 66 and still is today.  With numerous twists and turns over solid rock outcroppings as the road wrapped it’s way around hills and mountain passes.  What a great ride.  A note to Rv-ers, this is not a road to take your camper on.  I’m not sure but as I was only driving my truck, I could have sworn on one particularly twisted section of the road, I swear I saw the tail end of my truck beside me!  By the way there is still one Gold mine in operation just outside of town.  With lots of barbed wire surrounding the main operation area.  And for drivers and passengers who might be a bit intimidated by roads with drop offs, I would suggest driving the route I took which was from Oatman to Kingman as you will be on the inside of the road the entire way, and not hanging over the edge of the road and those steep cliffs, which I might add have no guardrails.  The final leg of the journey being a gentle sloping downward section leading into the valley and Kingman.

Early morning in Oatman Ghost Town

Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman Arizona

a part of the original Route 66

what a great ride, not recommended for Rv's

While at the Riverside Casino Rv park, I of course have been enjoying those daily buffet lunches for free, but have also taken advantage of an 8 multi-plex movie theatre.  Having seen the movie “Woman in Gold”.  A true story portraying the Austrian woman now living in America who wished to get her family’s painting back that were taken by the Nazi’s during WWII.  What a compelling and well performed story.  Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds are the lead actors in the film.  Also saw the “Second Best Marigold Hotel” which enjoyed even though the reviews said it wasn’t as good as the first, I would disagree.  The Riverside also has a bowling alley as well which I might do as well since one gets a free game for taking the boat ride and for each film you see.  So it’s not all slot machines and gaming tables.

8 movie theaters at the Riverside Casino

Distance Traveled:  126 miles
Blythe California

Between Laughlin and Blythe there are two route 95's.  One follows the Colorado River on the Arizona side and one travels through the desert on the California side.  I took the California side this time, just because I'd never taken it.  The California side has little traffic, lots of desert and bare mountain scenery and is an easy two lane road.  I did see a number of Rv-ers indicating it may be a favored route because of having less fewer towns and less traffic.

I’m actually camping on the Arizona side of the Colorado, with Blythe California just a hop and a skip across the river from here.  Just outside of Blythe are some Intaglio Petroglyph’s the only ones in North America.  You’ve probably seen pictures of the ones in Peru, those symbols that can only be seen from the air.  Well the Native American Indians also created a number of them right out here in the eastern end of California.  I’ve reported on them in the past, so won’t take up any more time discussing them here.

Blythe is a small town along Interstate 10.  It is a stop over for many traveling between Los Angeles and Phoenix as it is approx. half way between each city.  With a population of around 20,000 it does not have much to offer the traveler, except as a winter spot for Rv-er’s in the winter.  Though I’ve been told they seldom stay for more than a month, as it is used by the Rv-er as just a stop over between other destinations.

 A few more shots from Route 66
old gas station/gift-shop along route 66

each bug made from old light bulbs and wire

very creative, scorpions made from light bulb and wire 
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