Monday, November 9, 2009

Laughlin to Ehrenberg, Arizona

We let Roundabout Rhonda (GPS) have a day off.  We knew the route she wanted to take, and it wasn't the one we wanted to do, so we reverted to (if you can believe it) a regular map!  We liked taking Arizona Hwy 95 to Needles, and then hopping on I-10 for a few miles.  Note that when you first get on I-10 going eastbound from Needles, the highway is very much in need of resurfacing.  However, it was only a few miles, and the pavement improved. 

Our drive today took us through Lake Havasu City, which prompted the discussion of is it Hava-Sue or Hava-Saw?  The city is much bigger than I had realized.  Population over 41,000.  The shopping centers, including a Super Wal-Mart, Staples, Home Depot, Lowes, Safeway, and all the requisite fast food places one could imagine, were fairly new...and if not new, well maintained.  I was surprised that at the number of homes we could see from the highway that were without grass.  With all the water from the 45 mile long Lake, I would have expected to see more green.  Pulling out the AAA travel guide, I did some 'research'.

Lake Havasu City was originally an Army Air Corps landing strip, presumably for bringing in supplies while they were building the Parker Dam, the land was purchased in 1963 by Robert P McCulloch Sr, and developed as a planned retirement and recreational community.  The city's claim to fame came when Mr McCulloch bought The London Bridge.  (Side commentary - either he was a genius or a kook - who buys a broken down bridge and transports it from London to Arizona?).

So back to the lawn question - the water from the lake supplies water to Arizona, Los Angeles and other cities in between.  If I had to guess, I'd say that the water is more valuable to sell, and therefore the cost to maintain a green lawn is probably higher than someone on a fixed income (ie a retiree) would want to pay.

Coming from the north, the London Bridge is on the far side of town.  You can see part of it from the highway (still Arizona Hwy 95), but we might have missed it had I not been looking right at the London Bridge Parking sign (which is definitely in need of updating).

Anyway, it looked like a nice pleasant and clean community, and we will come back here to camp at some point.  There are plenty of camp sites along the river between Lake Havasu and Parker.   It's a pretty drive along the river here.  We stopped in Parker at the Blue Water Resort and Casino.  It's a nice little casino.  I only saw 2 table games open, and the rest was slot machines.  We played a 25¢ Wheel of Fortune Machine.  I should have stopped after my first 'spin' of 100 coins and walked away, but alas, I didn't, and we once again contributed to the economy, this time of the Colorado River Indian Tribe.

We had lunch at the buffet, opting for the salad bar which included tossed salad and all the standard extras, coleslaw which was wonderful, cucumber salad, potato salad and macaroni salad, plus fruit and cottage cheese, bread/crackers, soup (a very delicious beef vegetable), dessert bar and drink, for $5.95.  The casino is small, but quite clean, with friendly employees.  There is also a movie theatre in the complex, and although I can't be certain, it looked like there were 4-6 screens.  They do have an ampitheater as well.  Three Dog Night is scheduled to be there on November 21st.

Next stop, Quartsite for fuel.  Finally, we paid less than $3 a gallon for diesel.  The sign said $2.83 on the Shell reader board, but it was actually down to $2.75.  We drove through town just to get a feel for it.  We will be returning in January or February for the big rock and mineral show.  There's not much there.  Population is around 3,400, but swells into the hundreds of thousands during January and February.

                                     (Photo credit

An interesting little note, there is a Memorial to a man named Hadji Ali (from the Middle East - the AAA Guide refers to him as an Arab man) who came to Arizona in 1856 with a herd of camels at the Army's request.  The camels were never used successfully in the area because they caused the horses, mules and cattle to stampede. 

Quartzsite to Ehrenberg is a short drive, about 20 miles.  We are staying at the Colorado River Oasis, in spot #20, a pull through.  The sites are all gravel, but there are cement patio pads with full hook ups.  Because we were just staying the night, we didn't want to unhook.  The electric and water hook ups are at the front of the pad, and we did not have enough extra electrical cord to plug in without unhooking.  So instead, we pulled in backwards, and ran the water hose and the electric cord under the trailer.  We did not hook up to the sewer.  (A side note, the sewer hook up did not have a solid cap, and it was a little smelly.  There was a slotted cap, like a drain filter, and we put a plastic bag on top of slotted cap and covered it with some rocks to deal with the stench).

Again, it's a clean park with nice swimming pool, hot tub, laundry and rec center.  I'd rate it 3 out of 5 stars.  Nothing special, but quiet and clean with friendly hosts.

Most of the sites are pull throughs on the gravel, but there were about 20 back in spaces right on the river, with a grass lawn between river/beach and camp site.  We stayed here on our Resorts of Distinction membership, so it was free for the night.  If we could reserve one of the waterfront sites, we'd come back again for sure!

Picnic tables by the Colorado River

The grassy area in front of the primo sites (picnic table shot above is to the right of this shot)

Today, we are off to Laveen.  No camping tonight.  We are spending the night at Kim's brother Tom's house, and visiting with their folks, sister Cathy, and brother David.  And I have a scheduled date for a luxurious sea salt bath in Tom's garden tub!  Tuesday, we are off to Buckeye, AZ for a week stay to see if we like the area.  Rumor has it that Buckeye is a bit like West Seattle, only warmer LOL.

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