State Route 167

Our route to Valley of Fire State Park started along SR167 inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The road used to follow the shores of Lake Mead but now that the water levels are so low you can only occasionally see Lake Mead from the road. Even without the lake view this is a very pretty route!

About halfway we were stopped for a half hour due to a motorcycle accident, which sadly did not end well for riders on two bikes in a group of three bikes 😦  But it did give me a chance to get out and take some more flower pictures.

Desert Sunflower

Beavertail Cactus, the desert is covered in them!

So pretty, maybe that’s because pink is my favourite color!

We didn’t think it could get any better than the red hills we had seen along this route, but it did! Come back to tomorrow for many pictures from Valley of the Fire State Park.

Until next time …

Lake Mead

With having to replace one of our tires, which caused us to make a few trips up to Henderson, NV, we have now driven NV163 five times and it still impresses me with its beauty. The highway climbs through a rocky pass that is covered in desert flowers right now.

The weather at the beginning of our drive yesterday wasn’t as nice as the other day but the beauty along NV163 was still there.

There were sunny spots. The hills are covered in flowering brittlebush.

And some not so sunny spots but still striking beauty.

Really we are in the desert??? This looks like farmland in the prairies to me! It’s just a field of creosote instead of canola … and they both bloom yellow flowers 🙂

Less than two hours later we were set up at Lake Mead … can you believe we have this view for free!

The skies cleared and now we have nothing but blue sky 🙂

We have a National Parks Pass so we didn’t have to pay to enter the park, otherwise it would have been $20.00 for seven days. You can boondock in this area for up to fifteen days.

Until next time …

Goodbye Laughlin, Hello Lake Mead

Today is the day we say goodbye to Laughlin and I would really be sad if the weather wasn’t expected to cool down. If it hadn’t been for the exceptionally warm weather, and all the pool time that brought, I’m pretty sure we would not have spent this much time there.

During our time in Laughlin we entered a grand total of two casinos, one because that’s were our pool was, and the other because we wanted to try Claim Jumpers for dinner. We are not gamblers so we lost no money in the machines, which, along with our cheap rate at the RV Park, meant we spent very little money this past week 🙂

I did read some interesting information about Don Laughlin the founder of Riverside Casino and the town of Laughlin which you may not find all that interesting but I know my sister will!

Don Laughlin grew up in Owatonna, Minnesota and developed a passion for gaming when he was very young. With profits earned from trapping mink and muskrat Don purchased slot machines from a mail order catalog and installed them in local pubs. He shared his profits with pub owners but still earned $500.00 a week in the early 1950’s. Don’s school principal finally gave him an ultimatum, get out of the slot business or get out of school … you probably guessed … he got out of school.

Don Laughlin’s history is really interesting but I won’t bore you with all the details, you can Google his name if you are interested. I will share this piece of information because I thought it was pretty cool … Don Laughlin completely funded the Laughlin Bridge connecting Nevada and Arizona at a cost of $3.5 million. He later donated the bridge to the state of Nevada and the state of Arizona. An estimated 50,000 residents and visitors cross the bridge each day, many of them residents of Bullhead City, Arizona who work at the casinos in Laughlin, Nevada.

We are now headed to Lake Meade for a few days mainly to take a drive out to Valley of the Fire, which we have both wanted to visit since reading about it a few years ago.

Now if the weather along our route through Northern California would just smarten up and stop snowing we could start heading home after Lake Mead. I always love our winters south but once we hit the road to head home both hubby and I have a hard time not rushing. Warm squeezy hugs from the grandchildren are hard not to rush home for! And of course we are looking forward to seeing family and friends and getting caught up at our Tuesday and Wednesday coffee groups 🙂

Until next time …

Aww … Not A New Tire? :-(

Let’s start on an up note before I tell you my tire story. We have really enjoyed our time in Laughlin, the weather has been fantastic with temperatures in the mid 90sF, 35C. The warm weather has meant lots of time sitting around the pool at the hotel. The pool has bar service and they provide as many towels as your heart desires, so it really has felt like we are on a mini vacation. Most people have complained about how cold the pool is, but it really reminds me of sitting around our pool during an Okanagan spring when it was warm out but the pool hadn’t had a chance to warm up.

I do miss my pool ☹

So now on to the tire … last Thursday we came back from a drive and hubby noticed one of the truck tires was low on air. He filled it with our compressor and then we drove over to the closest gas station to top it off. After putting more air into the tire at the gas station, he finally found the problem, we had a split in the side wall at the bottom of the tire 😦  Yup, we thought, that will mean a new tire. We are pretty sure the spit happened when we drove through some construction not far from the RV Park.

While hubby was putting on the spare I was checking out how far it was to Costco in Henderson and how late they were open. We purposely purchased our tires from Costco at home because of the awesome warranty the have and the ability to have service preformed anywhere in Canada or the US. Over the years we have routinely taken the truck into Costco during our travels and had the tires rotated and air pressures checked. So I was pretty sure hubby would want to take the tire to Costco to be repaired, or more likely replaced, and it turned out I was right.

We left Laughlin last Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. and arrived at Costco in Henderson at 6:45 p.m.. By 7:30 we had purchased a replacement tire at a huge discount, because we had the Road Hazard Warranty, and all the tire pressures had been checked. The only downfall was the tire wouldn’t be in until Friday morning, so we said we would be back on Sunday and headed back to Laughlin. We have a brand new spare so hubby wasn’t worried about driving back up to Henderson yesterday, but he wasn’t keen on towing Maxx without a spare tire for the truck. If we loose another tire on our way back up to Henderson it is easier to have just the truck towed rather than both the truck and Maxx.

With that and the still not so good weather on the mountain passes along our route home, it wasn’t a hard decision to stay in Laughlin a few more days … plus they gave us the extra two nights at the same cheap rate we have had for the past week so we think we made a good decision 🙂

Until next time …

Boundary Cone Road, Arizona

Boundary Cone Road runs from Highway 95 south of Bullhead City into the town of Oatman, Arizona. There is probably some history to this road but to be honest it was the scenery and desert flowers that caught my attention.

The desert is covered in flowers!

The creosote bushes have begun to flower and that is what you see in the above picture, along with brittlebush.

Creosote Bush

We didn’t think we would be south long enough to see brittlebush bloom. I can’t believe our luck, this is such a beautiful plant … even when not flowering!

Brittlebush

We were just treated to so many beautiful colors and flowers …

Canterbury Bell

Gold Poppy

Sand Verbena

Sand Verbena close-up

The flowers below were growing in abundance along the edge of a golf course and had escaped under the fence and were also growing wildly along the side of the road. I haven’t been able to find out what they are, but they sure are pretty!

And we turned a corner to this site shortly before entering Oatman.

The ground is covered in gold poppy.

Yes the drive up to Oatman was incredibly beautiful! We have enjoyed our time in Laughlin but today we are on the road again, and once again the jello wiggled. We had planned to head off to Lake Meade to visit Valley of Fire, which has been on our visit list for a few years now, but we have to make an overnight stop at Camp Walmart in Henderson … more about that in tomorrow’s blog.

After Lake Meade we are on our way to Death Valley because, despite what the desert bloom guide says, we think it will be awash in color after all the rain the south has had this winter.

Stay tuned 🙂

Until next time …

Oatman, Arizona

Before I tell you about Oatman, I thought I would share my “Luck of the Irish” with you. Yesterday, St. Patrick’s Day in case you have forgotten, or celebrated in style and don’t remember yesterday at all :-), we came home and found a motorhome parked beside us. We are in the cheap seats at this park, because we booked last minute, so the sites are very tight, but there has been nobody beside us all week and we have had lots of space … until yesterday afternoon. However have no fear my Irish luck streak is still running. It turned out that the power in the site beside us wasn’t working so they moved the motorhome to a new site, and we are pretty sure, since it is now the weekend, that they won’t have the power fixed before we leave on Sunday!

Now on to Oatman … In the last week I have read about Oatman, Arizona on Chillin’ With Patsy’s blog and A Place Called Away’s blog so hubby and I decided we had to make a visit.

The town of Oatman started as a mining tent camp, and during its heyday from the early 1900’s to the 1940’s, Oatman was one of the largest producers of gold in Arizona. In 1921, a fire burned down much of the town, and three years later, the main mining company, United Eastern Mines, shut down operations for good. Oatman continued to survive by catering to travelers on Route 66 but in 1952 Route 66 became I-40 and bypassed the town of Oatman and what was once a thriving town quickly became a ghost town.

Things started to turn around for Oatman when Laughlin, Nevada started building up in the 1970’s and in the late 1980’s when the old Route 66 became a popular destination for tourists. When I looked up things to do in Laughlin, Oatman was the first thing listed, okay after gambling 🙂

The Oatman Hotel was built in 1902 and is said to be the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mojave County.

Today the hotel is home to an ice cream parlor.

Over the years the hotel has housed many miners, movie stars, and politicians. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned at the Oatman Hotel on March 18, 1939. Gable returned the hotel often to play poker with the local miners and enjoy the solitude of the desert.

The town of Oatman was used as the location for several movies such as How The West Was Won, Foxfire and Edge of Eternity. Although it is a little hard to visualize this as an old western town with all the new cars parked on the street. I really wish tourist towns like this would close off street parking so that I could get better pictures 🙂

Oatman was named in honor of Olive Oatman, who as a young girl, was kidnapped by an Apache tribe, sold to Mojave Indians and later rescued in a trade in 1857 near the current site of the town. There is now a restaurant in town named after Olive Oatman.

We didn’t eat there but I did read on another blog that the food was good.

The Oatman Chamber of Commerce website states “Oatman’s “Wild” Burro’s are the descendants of burro’s brought here by the miners and when no longer needed were turned loose. They wander the streets and greet our tourists. We usually have about ten burro’s and a few babies.” I was told the burro’s come into town each morning looking for food, which they know will be plentiful from eager tourists waiting for the opportunity to feed them. Pellets are for sale at many of the shops and I also heard that burros will eat all day if you feed them. When the tourists have gone home for the evening the burro’s head back to the hills for the night.

We didn’t feed the burros but lot’s of people were, they definitely were not going to go hungry today!

These two were squabbling!

The town was interesting but unless you like to wander through gift shops (which I do, but hubby doesn’t), I think the best part of the trip was the drive out on Boundary Cone Road … more about that tomorrow 🙂

Until next time …

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day always reminds me of my dad and even more so now that he has been gone for almost three years. Both my grandparents were born in Ireland and although my dad was born in Canada, St. Patrick’s Day has always been his day. When we didn’t live in the same town I would send him a card and give him a phone call. After my mother passed away, dad moved to our hometown to be closer to my sister and I … but I still sent him a card and gave him a call, and if St. Patrick’s Day fell on a weekend I would take him out for lunch or he would come over for family dinner.

I was thrilled to come across this field of “shamrocks” when we drove down Avenue of the Giants a few years ago! Did you know that there is no such thing as a “Shamrock Plant”? The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrog meaning “little clover”.

St. Patrick’s Day was always celebrated in our house. When the kids were at home they would wake up to green milk in the fridge, and green whip cream on dessert (and they could always count on dessert on St. Patrick’s Day).  In later years they would come over for dinner and be served green wine and the grandkids would be served green milk.  At least I never went so far as to serve green mashed potatoes, but oh was I tempted!

So you can count on this girl being dressed in green with her shamrock jewelry on and enjoying a glass of green wine for happy hour today!

May the luck of the Irish be with you …