Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Burro Creek – Hwy 93

I had thought I was well set up.  The tanks that were supposed to be empty were, and the tanks that were supposed to be full, were full.  The fridge was full; the garbage was empty.  The truck had full fuel and tires, and the batteries were full.


But today alas, I discovered a shortage!  What might you ask could be missing from this perfect scenario?  Well, superlatives, that’s what!  (I think those are big words to describe great scenery!) CIMG0075

What a great spot I discovered.  The night before, I had camped out on the DW Ranch road, to the south-east of Kingman.  That scenery needed a few superlatives of it’s own.  But the camp spot left a little to be desired.  The spot was small and hard to get the rig into and level, it was high elevation and ‘cold’ at night(it’s all relative down here ;-), and unfortunately also served as a garbage and yard waste disposal area for residents (and visitors?).  And the spot was close to a fairly well used road, which means a bit of traffic noise as well.CIMG0077

So from there I headed south again on Highway 93 – the same one that originates in Jasper, Alberta, well over 2500km to the north.  I had followed it years and years ago, and thought that it had ended in Kingman, but I have since learned that it only joins I-40 for a few miles east, then takes it’s own identity back as it heads further south, where it really does seem to end in Wickenburg?  The first few miles of 93 south of I-40 seemed to have lots of good camping possibilities, but it was early in the day.  I did drop the rig on a little side road just south of Wikeup and toured around a bit, but no place I could find had the ‘it’ factor – a term I use acknowledging Howard of RV-Dreams Journal!


So I saddled up again and continued on south, only pulling the occasional unconventional U-turn to check out promising side roads.  I knew I was getting close to Burro Creek Rec area when I spotted a lone rig in the desert way down below the highway.  The road was pretty rough and full of holes, but passable at marginal speed.  Much to my surprise it continued on down to a still-maintained bridge, and joined up with the Burro Creek access road.  I suspect the whole ‘loop’ was once a part of the original Highway 93.


After another U-turn, I was back up on the hill overlooking the campground, in a small, level and extremely scenic and private spot.

It looks like a very nice campground, (I think it is $10), with nice washrooms, water, a sani-dump, a little nature-park, and all on the side of Burro Creek.  But like most campgrounds, it comes with playing children, barking dogs, generators, and noisy diesel engines, so I was much happier up on the hill, even though short of superlatives!  Cliffs drop straight into waters of the creek, vultures circle in the thermals high above, and stately saguaro cactuses cling to the rocky cliffs and rolling hills. Song birds sing their hearts out, sitting on cholla cactuses, which are now in full leaf, after a recent rain, no doubt.CIMG0086CIMG0087

In the morning, I get to sit out on top of the cliff with my coffee, watching the campground below come to life as the morning sun hits it. (Another advantage of being up high –earlier sunrises and later sunsets).


As usual, a great variety of campers were in residence.  Some were there when I arrived, and may have been here for a week or more.

Some just arrive late, and are gone early.  Then there are the families with kids and dogs playing on the campground roads.  There are a couple of dirt bikes and ATV’s, but not the noisy variety.

Some intrepid cyclists that I had seen on the road earlier in the day arrived and set up camp, knowing they would face a mile and a half uphill getting back to the highway first thing in the morning.


The views are amazing in all directions; the green and gray, and brown shades of the desert covered here and there with Palo Verde trees (with the green bark), the saguaros, the cholla, and the sweet smelling creosote bushes.  And only one power line to spoil the view!       

Remember, any spare superlatives – send them my way.  I’ll be needing them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Well, I don't know what is going on today?#$&^ I think now that the Bayfield Bunch is at home, the gremlins have come my way!!

Tried to publish this post several times with Live Writer and the photos do not come through. Then tried it several times with Blogger online - for some reason, they will not come through?

Also mysteriously missing a photo that belongs in the header, and nothing was changed there.

I'll leave this post up as mybe blogger is having a photo-hiccup, but it certainly will not work for me today.

Thanks Renee, for the excellent idea on the runoff channels in Bullhead City. You are probably correct. Would be neat to see those channels full of water!

Before leaving the area completely, I checked out the Katherine Landing area again. Camping here is only $10.CIMG0058

Then it was the long haul up to Union Pass at 3622’, up from 647’ at Lake Mojave.


The big diesel handled it well, though the transmission temperature rose like the elevation.


Moving down the far side towards Highway 93 and Kingman, the overhead sign warned of traffic delays at Hoover Dam – reason, Spring Break.


Drove up and up again out of Kingman on the Hualapai Mtn road before finding a short National Forest road with a view to camp on.


Definitely cooler here at the upper elevations and there was snow on the slopes only about 1500’ above me. But the forecast is for temps in the mid 80’sF in the low elevation locations. CIMG0065

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Laughlin area

Okay, first off, a question.

While driving around Bullhead City and Fort Mojave on the Arizona side of the river, I noticed these flood channels, which are common in the desert areas.  However, these ones are broken up into separate channels and I am curious why this would be.  Any answers?

The first pic is where the channel flows under the main road, coming toward the camera. 


The next shot is from the same spot looking downstream – with four divided channels


While on the water theme, just north of Laughlin and Bullhead City is Davis dam, one of many on the Colorado.  This one though is an earth-fill dam and does not have the high profile of other dams such as the Hoover, Glen Canyon, etc.

It is now closed to road traffic, but you can drive right to the end of it for a look around.  Even on a Saturday afternoon, the area was deserted.CIMG0050


It’s containment creates Lake Mojave, here viewed from the dam.CIMG0052CIMG0053

I spent much of the afternoon exploring back roads north along the reservoir edge within the National Recreation Area.  Most of the area is deserted and undeveloped, but in the central core is a huge marina complex with hundreds of houseboats and lots of other watercraft.


It also has campgrounds, RV park, and other tourist facilities.CIMG0057       CIMG0055 CIMG0056

Really enjoying the 5th wheel so far – it is a bit of an adjustment to travel styles.  It is nice to be able to leave it behind when touring around is possible with an empty pickup instead of the relative size of the truck camper.  On the other hand, you have to remember what to take along for the day, ie food, clothing, tools.  With the truck camper everything is always there with you. 

But having your own shower onboard – with a skylight – is sure a bonus in areas where other shower alternatives are not available.  And I am pleasantly surprised by the number of off-air TV channels that are available in HD.

Not to mention the huge fridge and freezer space.  And don’t get me started about storage space!  There are just SO many storage areas in this rig.  Most of them are still empty – which is a good thing for weight control – but you have a hard time remembering where you put something!  In the camper, it was always in one of about  places.  Ah, the trials and tribulations!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Laughlin, Nevada

Well, we have moved temporarily from the wilds of the Arizona desert, to the pavement jungle of Laughlin, Nevada.CIMG0025

Found a river-front spot between the Riverside and the Aquarius.

I heard that the rodeo was in town, so I thought it would be a good time to check out the action.CIMG0026

There is a Riverside walk that takes you right along the bank of the Colorado river and all the casinos and hotels. Lots of action on the river including jet-skis, jet tour boats and paddle wheeler types.CIMG0027


I didn’t find a whole lot of rodeo related night life, but this will provide a decent base of operations to explore some of the Lake Mead Recreation area and Lake Mojave. CIMG0029

Friday, March 26, 2010

Oatman, AZ


Today, I decided to let the 5er take the day off and relax in the desert while I went exploring some more of the country.That involved going back through Oatman and running the ‘burro gauntlet’!

But first, I read some of the warning signs.imageimage

Of course, the traffic (err, pedestrians) was gridlocked until the downtown shootout was over.  I guess it was high noon! 


I don’t think they were involved in the shootout, but a ‘gang’ of close to 30 motorcycle police on Harleys made their way through town shortly after.  I guess they were on a training run from somewhere?imageimage


And I got a better shot of the sign at the edge of town that explains how the burros got there.

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A very large house appeared to be under construction in the center, and high point of town.


  I headed on out of town to the north east, and found lots of active, and inactive mining activity.  Do you think inactive activity is an oxymoron?  Probably not as much as the sign I saw in a campground on the California coast.  The sign was on a water tap and said ‘Drinking Water Unsafe’.  Hmm, I guess it is not drinking water then?

Anyway, there was lots of visible (and invisible!) mine shafts evident as I climbed toward 3550’ Sitgreaves Pass.

This shaft entrance was right on the shoulder of the road.CIMG0007CIMG0009

I guess times were better in the 50’s, when this was the now historic Route 66.


I found another active, hand-dug mine shaft right on the shoulder of the road on the far side of the pass. CIMG0017

So I had a look into it.


It was not very deep yet, but obviously all hand dug.  There were pads on the side at the bottom that cushioned the miner(s) as material was removed and brought to the surface in 5 gallon pails.Not sure if powered jackhammers were used for the actual excavation?

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A sign nearby warned of active mining claims in the area and that you needed a permit to go on the land?CIMG0015

Going back through Oatman, the burros were hard at work laying on the street, surrounded by uneaten carrots that tourists had bought for $1 apiece.


And I was back to my little home on wheels in the desert, and hiked up on a nearby hill to watch the sunset on another great day in Arizona!

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