Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tri-State Living!

We stayed in Needles, California from March 11th to April 11th. It was an experience in tri-state living! Across the Colorado River is Arizona and only 13 miles north of Needles near Fort Mojave is the border of Nevada! It got a little confusing at times, as to what state we were currently in!  
The area as a whole is proud of its link to historic Route 66! Route 66 was built in 1926 and went from Chicago to Los Angelos. A note of interest is that the highway in the western states didn't get paved until the mid 1930s! Picture driving it in the cars of the times!  What an adventure! 
Here is the Route 66 gateway to California near Needles.
Welcome to Needles! It's hard to portray a community, but hopefully these pictures will give you a glimpse. It's a quaint rural community that has seen better economic times, but gives the feel that it is on an upward swing! If you like slow and easy, Needles is the place to be in this area. It has a lot more going on than the main street of town suggests and is centrally located to the outlying communities.
"The Palms" is now rental apartments, but probably served as a motel in the heyday of Route 66 tourism!
The El Garces building has been newly restored. It was an elegant hotel along the railway referred to as a "Harvey House."  The Fred Harvey Company was the owner of the Harvey chain of restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality industry businesses alongside railroads in the western United States.  In 1878, Harvey started the first of his eating house-hotel establishments and is credited with creating the first restaurant chain in the U.S.!  At their peak there were 84 Havey Houses, with the one in Needles being considered the crown jewel! The waitresses were referred to as Harvey Girls! 
There are several small cute homes with great architectural flair that are in disrepair in Needles. I said many times while driving around the community that if I were a rich investor, I'd buy up all the homes for restoration! I later heard through the grapevine that an investor has purchased 25 homes and is having them restored!!! As Bullhead City expands, it is my prediction that Needles will become a wonderful thriving bedroom community.  
This cute historic home is the Women's Club of Needles. In looking up what a women's club consists of, I discovered that there is a California Federation of Women's Clubs. They do fundraising for a variety of causes. We were fortunate to get to attend a luncheon put on by the women's club and see the beautiful interior of this home. The luncheon was very eloquently done! 
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot going on away from the main street in Needles. There are restaurants, a golf course, marina, dog park, water slide park, recreation center, museums, medical facilities, and a rodeo arena!  There is more than one would think for a town of its small size!  The surrounding desert is a great place for running dogs and four wheeling.
A big resort called Pirate's Cove has recently been built near Needles. It's pricey, but if it's in your budget, why not? Check it out online at Pirate's Cove Resort 
We stayed at Calzona R.V. Park and would highly recommend it, if just the basics will do! The lot rent is $217 a month plus electricity. Wifi is available for $25 a month, but our Verizon worked fine. T.V. is by antenna. There is a nice big screen in the rec. hall. The people at the park are super friendly and meet mornings and afternoons in groups just to visit with each other. There are planned activities. The park is just a few miles outside Needles and is surrounded by desert. Oh, the X! Have you ever wondered if you are where you should be? How's that for a sign! We are considering Calzona as a place we'll return to for Winters!  
Fiesta Margarita located just across the river on the way to Bullhead City, is reason enough to return to Needles for the Winter. They have the best Tuesday and Thursday night $1.00 tacos and $3.00 margaritas! Be sure to give them a try when in the area!
Bullhead City, AZ is 23 miles from Needles. On the way you'll encounter agriculture and desert. Just beyond these fields is the community of Fort Mojave. It consists of lots of businesses along the highway. Fort Mojave is only 13 miles from Needles. 
Bullhead City is pleasant in that it has every business you could want all easily located along the highway.
Across the river from Bullhead City is Laughlin, Nevada. Yep, that's one long casino strip!
The river is a playground for every water sport! If you don't have your own equipment, there are rentals available!
Here's a map to get your bearings. Our tour will go from Laughlin, NV back across the river to Kingman, AZ 40 miles away. From Kingman we'll head south to Oatman and Topock. They are shown on the first map. They are enroute to Lake Havasu City which is further south.
This is the beautiful drive through the desert and up nearly 3,000' from Bullhead City to Kingman. We relocated to Kingman on April 11th to take advantage of the cooler temperatures at the higher elevation. It was a good decision, as Needles, at an elevation below 400', was getting scorching hot by mid March! Kingman lies at the base of the distant mountains.
Kingman is considered the heart of historic Route 66 and is very theme based around its heritage! It is a pleasant mid-sized community that is easy to navigate. Andy Devine Avenue is the main strip for businesses. There are lots of restaurants to choose from! Stockton Hill is a cross street with more businesses. Beale Street is a boulevard through the historic downtown.
This is Andy Devine, an actor from the 1930s to 1960s, who grew up in Kingman. He acted in 400 films. He was best known for his role as a comedic sidekick in old westerns. He is particularly noted for his role as Cookie in the Roy Rogers series!
This is Beale Street in the old downtown. It has the slanted parking spots up and down both sides of a wide boulevard. It is very reminiscent of earlier times. It's a perfect location for car shows. Kingman has a "Cruisin' Beale Street" car show once a month throughout the Summer. They have small cruise-ins at restaurants around town, too!
Historic buildings, such as this old powerhouse, are still utilized with a new purpose. The historic powerhouse hosts the visitor's center and a museum.
Across the street is this pretty park and magnificent locomotive! Being in the desert for so long the lush grass is a real treat for us, too! Kingman has lots of leafy green trees! It is a refreshing oasis in the desert!
This is the historic train station. It still operates as Amtrack.
Kingman is a very active community and very well organized for its events. This is a monthly concert in the park. Check out the Kingman community calendar online at Kingman, AZ Events
Outside Kingman and up in the mountains is the Hualapai (Wahl a pie) Mountain Resort. It has a restaurant and bar.
They feed the elk so that you can see them from the restaurant!
At an elevation of 5,000-8,000', the resort gets snow! Having lived in an area where there is snow in the mountains to visit, but none in the valley where you live, I can attest to how wonderful a combination that is!
This old gas station is located on historic Route 66, as you head through the desert and up into the mountains from Kingman to the old mining town of Oatman. Isn't it beautifully restored! It is now a museum/gift shop. The only thing still standing when the owners took on the restoration, was the small section on the far right end!
This is looking back towards Kingman. Keep in mind this is old route 66! It wouldn't have been paved in its earlier days and would have been traveled by vehicles from the 1920s! It's still a thrill today!
Upward we go getting our kicks on Route 66!
Look at that winding climbing road!
This is Oatman.  That's Roy on the sidewalk!
Oatman is known for having a free roaming population of burros that are descendants of the ones left behind by the miners. 
Here they are! They are right at home roaming the streets!
If I were rich, I'd have a few burros just because I could! I'd give mine a bath, as these desert burros are extremely dusty dirty! They seem very mild mannered.
They aren't supposed to be on the boardwalk, but then burros can't read!
Here is the nice looking historic Oatman Hotel.
It's hard to believe it gets this hot at the higher elevation, but it is the desert, so it might!
This is the famous Topock Bridge spanning the Colorado River between Topock, AZ and California. It was once part of Route 66, but has since been put to use as a gas line bridge. The bridge is said to have had a prominent shot in the opening scenes of the movie Easy Rider and was also shown in the movie, The Grapes of Wrath.  It makes me want to get those movies just to see it there!
Near the Topock Bridge is a restaurant/bar/marina resort! The hotel portion is under construction. There are boats, motorcycles, and ATV rentals! Check the Topock Resort online at Topock Resort
South of Needles and Topock just off Highway 40 near Park Moabi Road is this beautiful railway scene! I love these little orange engines that look like toy trains.
Lake Havasu City, AZ is 43 miles south of Needles, CA. It is a hustle bustle resort community built up around water sports, although, there are lots of restaurants, golf, and shopping to be had! It exudes a party atmosphere and the need for lots of money to enjoy it to the fullest! 
This is the famous reconstructed London Bridge! There are lots of hotels and restaurants along the water front! The resort area is beautifully upscale!
Lake Havasu City is the spring break destination for Arizona State University, so you might want to check spring break dates before planning your visit! The diversity of the communities and the variety of activities for this area should have something for everyone to enjoy! 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Box Canyon To Needles, CA

On March 11th we left Salton Sea Beach and headed to Needles, CA. Just north of the Salton Sea, outside the community of Mecca, is a road through Box Canyon that connects to Hwy. 10.
Box Canyon is fascinating, beautiful, and a little unsettling the first time it's driven through!
We're glad to have gone through it with just the truck a few days earlier on our trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The road is good and we were confident taking the camper through the canyon pass.
The trip from Salton City to Needles is 185 miles of desert and more desert and more desert! The road is good, but with all the desert we've seen since leaving southern Arizona, I already find myself looking for an alternate route. so as not to have to travel through that much desert again!
We pulled into our destination of Calzona R.V. Park, with plans to stay in the area for a month. It lies a couple of miles outside of the quaint community of Needles. Needles is in the officially designated heart of the Mojave Desert!