In yesterday’s blog I waxed and waned about how I love warm, sunny weather and how glad I was to be back in the sunny, warm Mojave Desert. Well, apparently someone was reading the blog and she decided that I was just too darn spoiled. She decided it was time to teach me a lesson in appreciating whatever type of weather I am in. Yep, you guessed it, it was good ol’ Mother Nature and she laughed at me all day today as last night and through today she brought in cool, rainy weather. Ha, ha ha! The last laugh was on me! In fact, to really teach me a lesson, she has decided to keep on raining through tomorrow.
Thus, when we got up this morning, bundled up LeuC and splashed down the road, we had the huge windshield wipers going. Each wiper looks to be between 3 and 4 feet long, so it was a hoot watching these puppies do their job. It was one of the few times we have had to used them.
During bouts of showers, when the road was wet, we slowed down to just 55 MPH. We virtually had the road to ourselves today as we transitioned from Route 58, to I-15 to I-40, heading toward Needles, located along the Colorado River and the border between California and Arizona. When the rain stopped and the road dried out, we would then speed up to 62 MPH. The speed limit in California for vehicles towing is just 55 MPH but CHIPs has a reputation of giving a 10 MPH grace.
Our destination for today was the Jack Smith Memorial Park in Needles and it was just a 172 mile jaunt. We made it in 3 hours and when we arrived, we discovered we had this huge, beautiful park all to ourselves. Whoo Hoo!
Hugging the clear waters of the Colorado River, the park also has two large boat ramps so our guess is that this place is hopping during the summertime. It sure is designed to handle the crowds as it has a very nice, large, paved parking lot with lots of long pull-though parking spaces. The river is lined with a number of picnic tables and shade shelters and it has wonderful playground with slides, swings, a jungle-Jim and a big grassy area just begging for wiffleball, volley ball, throwing the football around or soccer games. I will post a number of pictures so you can see for yourself what a nice park this is.
Arriving in the early afternoon allowed us time to explore the park, enjoy the beautiful riverine and then do research on our options in getting to Mesa, Arizona. Mesa is on the southeastern side of Phoenix and, coming from the west, it usually means that one has to fight through the horrible Phoenix traffic on the I-10 freeway to get there. The last time we did this, it was a battle as in seems to us that the Phoenicians are the rudest drivers we have seen. They just seem to enjoy cutting off trucks and RV buses, like ours, and make a game of it as they move from one lane to another and then back again; each time missing your front bumper by just inches and then throwing on their brakes to avoid hitting the person in front of them. Ugh!
With this in mind, we have decided to not follow the Colorado River south to Quartzsite, AZ, where you can get on the I-10 freeway that takes you into Phoenix. Instead, we will be staying on the I-40 freeway until we pass Kingman, AZ. We will then take Route 93 south which will eventually turn into Route 60 that takes you to the northeastern side of Phoenix. Once there, you can hop on the 303 beltway. We will take the 303 to the east until it merges with I-17, coming down from Flagstaff. We will then take I-17 south until we come to the 101 beltway which will take us down to the Tempe/Mesa area. With luck, we will miss most of the Phoenix traffic and most definitely will miss the horrible I-10 construction in Phoenix that so frustrates the Phoenician commuters.
With this route in mind, we are planning on spending tomorrow night at the Burro Creek BLM campground, which is located in a scenic Sonoran desert canyon near the second longest bridge in the Southwest. I have read that the Burro Creek is filled with deep, clear water pools that the campground overlooks. It sounds a little too good to be true but we shall see…