We made the long drive from the Southeast Arizona to Northwest Arizona in 9 hours. The wind gave us a little trouble but the trip seemed to fly by as we tried to identify all the cacti along the highway with the book the Loomis's had given Josie on the Flora and Fauna of the Southwest. That evening we sat out at our site and enjoyed the sun set and the lights from the casinos across the Colorado River in Laughlin. If you have never been to Laughlin, you have not missed a thing. We went over to the river boardwalk our first full day in the area for the Blues and Brews Festival and were not impressed with the casinos or the people who frequent them. Enough said. We took it easy for a few days just enjoying the warm weather. I took advantage of a great tee time special on Golfnow, and played the Laughlin Ranch Golf Club, the 13th highest rated course in Arizona. I was paired up with three nice young men from Lake Havasu and we had a great time. The course had spectacular views on almost every hole.
We took one day to drive an 11 mile Jeep trail from Bullhead City to Oatman, an old mining town on the original Route 66. We saw many wild burros along the way. Clark Gable and Carol Lombard honeymooned in the Oatman Hotel in 1939. Gable had been to the area to film a movie a few years earlier and fell in love with the town. The main draw today in Oatman are the not so wild burros who roam the main street looking for handouts. We took a bag of carrots to feed them and we became very popular people. Many of the tourist stores in town have colorful names catering to the presence of the burros. From Oatman we drove 30 miles on Route 66 to Kingman, Arizona. Along the way there are many historical buildings that at one time were well used stops on the route. We had lunch at the Dambar in Kingman. The bar has been a fixture on the old highway for years under different names. In the late 50's a man bought it without telling his wife. Once she found out she called it that "damn bar" and the name stuck. It is a popular stop on 66 and we had a great steak lunch followed by a slice of Damberry pie a la mode.
On our final day in Bullhead City we drove over into Nevada and drove the Christmas Tree Pass Jeep Trail in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The first two miles of the road were passable for just about any vehicle. This section led to the parking lot for The Grapevine Canyon Trail. We hiked up about a half mile until we came to the first set of petroglyphs. Along the way Josie was identifying the Cacti we passed. Having picked up all this knowledge from the Field Guide the Loomis's had given her. We also found a few of the local residents on the rocks.
Once we left the Grapevine Trail area the road got rougher and steeper, with great rock formations on both sides of the road. We soon found out why the trail is called Christmas Tree Pass. On top of the pass, at around 4000 feet, Juniper trees start to become the major flora of the area. Many of them along the road have been decorated for the season. It was funny to see them as we had not been told that they would be there.
Tomorrow we drive to Las Vegas. We are glad to be leaving before the weekend as they are estimating over fifty thousand bikers will be arriving for the Laughlin River Run Motorcycle Rally. From the already large police presence we are guessing they are expecting a wild crowd.