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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:50 PM  
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Day 11 - Joshua Tree National Park

Breakfast was provided and was a buffet in the restaurant. Lots of choice including hot oatmeal, which I had with raisins and brown sugar. We sat out by the pool to eat – lovely and already hot at 8.00am.
We also picked up our lunch bags that we’d ordered yesterday for our picnic - $15 each and turned out to be well worth it.

We packed up the car with the picnic, lots of water, sunscreen, hats, binoculars etc and firstly went to the Visitor Centre for Joshue Tree National Park, which was back up on the main road and just along from Denny’s.
They had a lot of information here, lovely helpful staff and a great shop! I bought a T shirt, which I’ve worn loads since, and another fridge magnet. They had some stunning postcards but I’d already bought them on Catalina Island.


The assistant gave us a map and marked the places of interest on the map, telling us how long the trails were and what to look out for. She advised against the north/south road as there wasn’t much to see in the south part of the park, after the junction, and to do the loop road instead. We paid our fee of $25 for a 7 day pass and set off.

The road into the Park was just down the way from 29 Palms Inn. We stopped at the North Entrance Station booth but there was nobody about, so just drove through.

Further on the road split – we turned left as there were a couple of places we wanted to visit before turning round and rejoining Park Boulevard for the loop. The road was long and straight mostly with desert either side – you really appreciate the vastness in places like this.

Our first stops were at Belle Campground and Arch Rock and here we had our first, up close, encounters with the giant smooth rocks. It was just amazing how they are there in piles and how long they’ve obviously been there.
There was a sign about thirsty bees which was a bit disconcerting and at one toilet at another stop there were tons of them on the floor drinking spilt water, so we gave that one a wide berth!


Next was the Cholla Cactus Garden – full of lots of cholla cacti that have the nickname of jumping cactus. They have the uncanny knack of separating and sticking to unwitting passer by trousers and shoes. There was a poor man sat on the kerb who had a hundred spikes in the bottom of his trainers and was trying to pick them out! We admired them from the safety of the road! From here we did a U turn and rejoined the loop road.


The Live Oak Picnic Area had no live oaks! We were impressed how well the Park catered for picnics and toilets at every interest point.


Right by the road was Skull Rock and this was the busiest place we saw, probably because there was a coach party there! There wasn’t a proper car park here and you had to park on pull-offs on the road. Lots of people clambering over the rocks and trying to get a picture on Skull Rock. Apart from here it was generally quiet all day and not too many people to get in the way of your photos!


We stopped at Cap Rock. This is where Gram Parsons of the Byrds was taken after he died at the Joshua Tree Inn in Twentynine Palms and his body burned, according to his wishes, by his road manager and friends. They ‘liberated’ his body from the mortuary to do so. There was a plaque commemorating him but it has sadly been removed. See the full, interesting story here en.wikipedia/wiki/Death_of_Gram_Parsons Will was annoyed the marker had been removed.

We did the trail here and a man said at the start that he’d seen a big rattlesnake! Exciting! We looked out for it but didn’t see it sadly.
We had our picnic at one of the tables. The Inn had done us proud. We’d chosen a ham with Swiss cheese and a smoked turkey salad sandwich, so we split them between us. They were huge with lots of meat. Also there was a lovely fresh choc chip cookie, some crisps, juice, apple and water.

Here we turned off and headed down to Keys View, as recommended by the Visitor Centre. This lived up to the name and had a panoramic view across the valley.


Also recommended was the Hidden Valley trail. This turned out to be a lot longer and more arduous than we expected. It looks deceptive at first as you can visualise walking round the perimeter but you go through rocks and much further round.
It wasn’t that easy to find your way out and we teamed up with a family with 2 small children, who had really had enough of walking, to find the right way! We started off following them but they followed us in the end and were very grateful! For some reason this reminded me of the Great Valley from Land Before Time movie that our kids used to watch incessantly. It was very pretty but so hot too!

We headed out of the park, back to the highway and through Yuba City to Twentynine Palms … there was nobody at the other end of the road either to check we’d paid, so we could have done it for free, not that I minded paying to upkeep the place. I’d definitely recommend a stop here if you’re in the area. Stunningly beautiful, stark, hot, ancient and wild – with the bluest sky you could ever see.

We’d really loved our day in the park. We’d seen a LOT of rocks, a LOT of Joshua Trees and a LOT of cacti. I have so many rocks photos that I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve put them in the wrong places here! I’’m so glad we stocked up on water and that the car had a coolbox type compartment as it was extremely hot today with hardly any wind.

Back at our room, we chilled out for an hour or so before going to the bar and our dinner booking. We started off with some cocktails – a Spiced Sangria and a 29 Palms Iced Tea to start with.
Will had a lovely Top Sirloin and I had the fish special of Poached Salmon. All the veg came from the farm garden. For desert we shared a beautiful, huge chocolate mousse.
Two more cocktails of Golden Girl and a 20 Palmer. Total $142 including tip. The whole time we were serenaded by Bob Garcia with his guitar. He sang covers of well known songs and was really good.
Sorry – I had good intentions but failed miserably on the food photos!

I offered our park ticket to some other guests but they’d already been that day and not paid at all!

A brilliant day. We would be sad to leave in the morning to head towards Lake Havasu City.
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:50 PM  
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Day 12 - Joshua to Lake Havasu City

We had another yummy breakfast by the pool – the home-made bread was gorgeous and so were the muffins. Another lovely bowl of oatmeal and fruit too.

After breakfast we visited the Faultline Farm. Here all the vegetables served in the restaurant are grown. A very impressive and pretty place.
After this we wandered round the Oasis of Mara, which is next to the farm,
and I sat in the incongruous pumpkin carriage and played Cinderella!
We also had a game of horseshoes – I was as good at that as I am at darts, just keep out of the way 😊

We got our baggage together and checked out. I was sorry to leave our little Adobe cottage and wished we’d stayed there longer than 2 nights.

We were on the road by 10.30and had a destination for the day of Lake Havasu City.

We followed the Route 62 for 100 miles or so. Along the way there was an old petrol station which was absolutely covered in shoes, boots and trainers. There were also more further along the side of the road on the ground. The petrol station ones were largely high up and would have needed a ladder to tie them up there. Another motorist stopped and said ‘this is why we should always use the road less travelled’. Exactly our view too as you miss so much speeding along freeways!


A little further on there was a strange Alien rock on the hillside.


There were many freight trains on our journey – all very long and I love the sound of their horns.


We put $20 of petrol in as it was on a warning light and we weren’t sure about being able to get over the border into Arizona in time, where the petrol was considerably cheaper than in California. Of course, we would have made it and it was at least 20c cheaper per gallon across the state line!

Leaving the 62, we turned off to follow the Colorado River and up towards Parker Dam. There were a great many RV camps and trailer parks along this road as the whole area is very popular with holiday makers and boating types.


Suddenly there were 3 mules in the road! We gave them a wide berth. Further on there was another by itself – hopefully still ok as it was on a bendy bit!


We stopped at Parker Dam for a look at the impressive structure and the blue Colorado River. As we drove over the top of the Dam we crossed the border into Arizona.

We had lunch at the Springs Diner at Havasu Springs Marina. I had some coconut shrimp and Will opted for chicken strips – there must have been a whole chicken as I had to help him! Coffee and coke to drink and $35 including tip. There was a party of men having their photos taken by a photographer for a wedding. They looked like they were having a lot of fun on the pontoons!

The Bill Williams River National Refuge gave us a good walk along the trail and there were fishing huts and shade every so often. Lots of wildlife information but we were out of luck there.


We got to our hotel slightly early and our room was still being cleaned, perfectly ok by us and only took 10 minutes. This was the Sway Hotel at Lake Havasu City. It was newly refurbished to the extent that it was very high tech indeed – you could enter your room and use the lighting using your phone and the mirror has all sorts of gadgets on it. Very comfortable and a 10 minute walk along the riverwalk to the centre of town and London Bridge, yes that London Bridge!


I’d pre-booked the 5.45pm sailing of the Dixie Belle paddle steamer for the sunset cruise. We walked down to the bridge along the paved riverwalk and checked in for our trip.
There was a sign on the way with the temperature – 110 degrees F!
Soon we were let onto to boat and we got a couple of beers from the bar. We found a good spot at the front of the boat, yet with a roof and a bit of shade. It also gave us a lovely breeze 😊


We had a great view of the bridge from here and marvelled that the exterior masonry had been transported in bits from London and rebuilt around a metal structure in 1968. This took 2 years and the bridge was rededicated in 1971. It’s untrue that they thought they were buying Tower Bridge! 12 days ago we were looking down on this very spot from the plane!

The cruise was 70 minutes and the sunset was lovely. It went round the large island in the River, across the bridge, where there were more rentals and boats.
Lake Havasu City is a bit of a playground with lots of casinos, bars and restuarants and there were power boat races while we were there.
We chatted to the owner/restorer/captain – he’d sunk everything into the boat and it was doing well despite everyone saying it would fail! Definitely recommended.

We could have had some food on the boat but decided to do that on the shore instead in the English Village area. We went to The Chair restaurant that I’d seen online and had cocktails, a Coastal Cheese burger and shrimp tacos for $55 -very tasty.


On the way back along the riverwalk there was suddenly a big firework display – either in our honour or because of the powerboat racing! We stopped and watched and it went on for a good 10 minutes. The bridge was lit up at night 😊

We watched some tv before turning in and I was looking forward to a IHop breakfast and Route 66 tomorrow!
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:51 PM  
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Day 13 - Lake Havasu City to Flagstaff

The Sway Hotel bed was very comfortable, well placed and I’d recommend the hotel. The reception ladies were a scream and we only had to pay £10.33 thanks to Ebookers credit built up (rarely use them, so a bonus!).

Breakfast was at IHop, 2 minute drive away after checkout. An IHop breakfast is a must on any USA holiday. But here’s where the day started to go downhill. We were seated straight away and gave our orders. Coffee came quickly but then we waited, and waited, and waited … and so did everyone else. They only had one person cooking, but of course they don’t tell you that. It was almost an hour before we got our food, which set us back for the day. Everyone was getting hangry. Even my strawberry and banana pancakes weren’t their normal loveliness ☹ $31 later we left at about 11am!


Our next big stop was to be Kingman, on Route 66. We had intended to drive via the Easy Rider movie bridge and up over the mountains to Oatman on the way to see the wild mules and look round the little Western town. We decided not to do this due to shortness of time now and the fact of conflicting descriptions of the road – from ok with care to don’t go anywhere near it if you’re scared of heights and drops. Oh for teleportation!

So instead we drove up the I40 to Kingman and the Route 66 Museum and Visitor Centre. After this we were going on the Route 66 proper, so I drove the first leg to let Will drive Route 66!

We loved the Museum and were there a long time. $3 entry. This gave the history of the road with lots of photos and artefacts. Will was annoyed though that there was nothing about the music, specifically so he could get his kicks on Route 66! I finally posted the postcards here too!


There was a big arched Route 66 sign outside that you could drive under and have photos taken.


We went over to the locomotive across the street. The ex-trainspotter was happy!


Here the original Route 66 arches round 90 miles to Seligman – around 90 minutes of driving. We stopped at Hackberry General Store. This was just full of Route 66 merchandise, memorabilia, food and souvenirs. We spent ages just looking round. Will found a signature on a map of Route 66 saying Bobby Troup of the ‘Get Your Kicks on Route 66’ song fame and was delighted to find it genuine when he questioned the storekeeper.


We bought a couple of ice creams and sat outside. There was a dozing cat – one of the few we saw all holiday.
Everywhere you looked there were vintage articles. Fascinating and quirky place.


Back on the road to Seligman and the famous Road Kill Café. Now I’d been looking forward to this, having read good reports of it … nope, not today! It was 3.30pm by this time and past the lunch trade, so only a couple of people in there. I ordered a vanilla cappuccino as I didn’t fancy any food. Will ordered a cup of chilli with cheese and an orange juice. The waitress was extremely surly and the coffee was horrible – more like a hot, thick milkshake than a normal drinkable coffee liquid. She’d spent ages getting it out of a whirring machine. Never had a coffee like it! It all seemed a bit tense in there for some reason so I was very disappointed.


We drove on. Will managed to drive right past the old cars (Cars Disney movie inspiration) and I couldn’t be bothered to go back as was still miffed over the Café. Oh well.

The road rejoined the 40, not that it was busy. This is still called Route 66/The Purple Heart Trail but it not the original road, being dual carriageway. All along the road there were adverts by the Burma-Shave company. These were spaced so you could read a little rhyme over 4 or 5 signs and some of them were really funny. en.wikipedia/wiki/Burma-Shave The railroad also ran alongside.


Our next stop was Williams. This was a lovely town and where the train up to the Grand Canyon leaves from. If we’d had longer I may have booked it, but we’d already been there so had decided against it. There were a lot of tourist shops and Will bought a Route 66 T shirt in one of them. It was a lovely town but for some reason we took no photos We had a coffee and looked at the very rickety zipline where you sat in car seats, pretending to be in an old car!

The desert with bushes landscape started to change and be replaced by Ponderosa pine trees and more mountainous terrain. I’m definitely a trees landscape lover!
Finally we arrived in Flagstaff, situated at 7000 feet so a bit cooler than what we’d been used to recently.

We turned back onto the original Route 66 and pulled into our home for the next three nights, the Super 8 by Wyndham. I was a bit apprehensive about staying as we’d never stayed at a Super 8 before – but it had really good reviews, free breakfast, parking and wifi, big indoor pool and a great price of $252 in total. It turned out to be just great 😊


Dinner was at the retro 50’s Galaxy Diner, only 5 minutes away walking. Bizarrely there was a no photography , videoing or recording sign up. Not sure if this was in general or of the guy doing cover songs. We waited about 20 minutes for a table as it was very busy. I did take one photo though!

The food was fine, typical diner food and the atmosphere and setting were perfect. We listened to the guitarist, Dave Bowman, playing old cover songs like Johnny B Good, Bye Bye Love and All Shook Up. Will had a chat with him. We had fish sandwich (me) and ham & cheese (Will) with a Pepsi and Milkshake as they didn’t serve alcohol. £48 inc tip. A good evening!

Busy day tomorrow - meteors, mountain lions, caves and ghosts!
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:51 PM  
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Day 14 - Flagstaff, Meteor Crater, Canyon and Caves

We both slept really well and headed for the included breakfast. They had an amazingly nifty pancake making machine. You just pressed a button and two splodges of batter dropped and progressed along, bubbling away, until they plopped out at the end, perfectly cooked. Obviously not the best pancakes ever but perfectly edible. I also added to my collection of stolen Smuckers jam. 😊

The weather forecast for later wasn’t great, with a storm coming later in the afternoon. We decided to drive to the furthest point of our day first and work our way back to Flagstaff. This was the magnificent Meteor Crater National Landmark (as opposed to National Park as the land is privately owned).

We drove past the Twin Arrows Trading Post. There used to be two big arrows into the ground but only one remains now. Photo taken from the car.


Meteor Crater is the result of a 150’ asteroid hitting earth with the force of around 150 times that of the atomic bomb 50,000 years ago. It is roughly a mile across and 570 feet deep. It has actually decreased in size over the years due to erosion etc. It’s the biggest and best preserved such crater.

All the Apollo astronauts trained here and there’s a lot of moonshot memorabilia. It looks like a painting on the wall but it’s actually a hole in the wall to look out onto the landscape below.


First we watched a very interesting film about the history of the land, the owner and the meteor and then joined a tour guide for the rim walk. You have to go with a guide. He was great and really knew his stuff. Only official scientists, students and organisations are allowed down into the crater. It’s a long way down with only 2 paths! What looked like a tiny shed at the base was actually a big building with an 8 foot fence! The tour took around half an hour.


There are only fragments of anything to see now as most were vapourised. They spent years digging to no avail to find the meteor! This is the biggest one and there’s another at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where we were going tomorrow. It felt very cold.


There was a walkway you could go on if you didn’t want to do the rim walk, well away from the edge. It did have a jutting out platform, which Will went onto. I didn’t 😊


We had some coffees and cake in the ‘underground’ café before going into the gift shop/exit. Jurassic Park was showing on a big screen. An extremely interesting morning which made me realise how vulnerable and small we are on our planet. meteorcrater

Back towards Flagstaff and our next stop was the abandoned Two Guns and the Apache Death Cave. Go to pinintheatlas and find The Curse of Two Guns, Arizona – Route 66 or go to Wikipedia. The stories are really interesting and too long to tell here.

Two Guns was built on the already ghost town of Diablo Canyon. Two Guns was once a tourist attraction including a zoo where there were mountain lions, lynx, bobcats and other desert creatures. I dread to think of the conditions they suffered.
Now there are the petrol station and water tower and a few other buildings including a swimming pool (which we missed!). Fire destroyed the town in 1971.

The Apache Death Cave is where 42 Apaches and their already murdered 3 Navajo girl captives were killed by the avenging Navajos. They were hiding in the caves, with their horses, and the Navajo lit fires at the entrance, killing them all. The whole area is still believed to be cursed.

A very atmospheric place and the graffiti seemed to enhance it. I wish we’d spent a bit longer there.

Walnut Canyon National Monument was next and $25 for the car. There are trails at the top of the deep canyon or you can go down to see the cliff dwellings, homes to people from 600AD. We did all the top trails and Will did part of the other one. It was boiling hot here and I knew I would struggle with all the steps and the precarious cliff path.
You can see the cliff dwellings and pick out some people on the path.


The plant is everywhere and I was glad to find out what it was.


This spider was very pretty!


We were here about 90 minutes and I’d love to go again and do the rest of it.

Walmart was calling and we did a big shop there on the way back, including a suitcase. We were allowed more luggage on the return flight so took the opportunity as we needed to replace our much-travelled IT cases and spread the weight. This was possibly the biggest Walmart we’ve been in – and we’ve been in lots!

Back to the hotel for a rest. We were booked onto the Freaky Flagstaff Ghost Walk later this evening. The clouds had been gathering on our way back and you could see it was going to rain. Today was also Oktoberfest in Flagstaff in Wheeler Park, where we were to meet up with the tour.
We drove the 5 minutes to the park and managed eventually to find a parking space in the City Council car park.

Dinner was at the beautiful Weatherford Hotel in Charley’s Bar & Grill. I’d looked to stay here but thought it may be noisy as it was right on a busy crossroads and had the bar under the rooms. We had some beers with our food – a Reuben with fries for Will and a bowl of Butternut Squash & Ginger soup with lovely bread for me. $60.

On coming out to find our tour it started raining. Luckily we’d brought umbrellas with us. We met up at 9pm. The Oktoberfest had ended by then and people were spilling out to the nearby bars and cars.

Michelle was our guide and really reminded us of a friend of ours! We headed off and the rain started getting heavy and there was thunder and lightning in the distance. She said if there was lightning she wasn’t allowed to continue. We all dived into the Weatherford Hotel and they gave us permission to stay in there a while (normally we would have stood outside to hear the Weatherford ghost tales). The hotel was decorated for Halloween. Luckily by the time we’d finished there the weather had eased and we could continue.


Just down the street was the Monte Vista Hotel, the most haunted in town. We’ve since seen it featured on Jack Osborne’s show.

The whole walk was great with many stops and stories and Michelle was so engaging. A interesting rather than scary time with spooky stories. It lasted 2 hours and we were back at the hotel by 11.15.

A full day and we were ready for bed. Tomorrow was Sedona day.
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:51 PM  
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Day 15 - Sedona and the Lowell Observatory

We took our time this morning and didn’t leave the hotel until around 9.45, after having breakfast. This proved to be a major error as it was a Sunday and we should have left at 5.45am! I had not factored in how busy it would be today – everyone was headed for Sedona.

We topped up on another $50 of petrol first. The turnoff soon came and we drove down the very pretty, very winding forested road into the valley from the heights of Flagstaff. Gradually the huge red rocks came into view.


Slide Rock was the first place we came to and it seemed the whole of Arizona was coming towards us and trying to get into the car park – there was no way we were going to join in, so we drove on. There was definitely less traffic going in our direction.

We stopped at the Oak Creek Visitor Center and had a good look around. Lots of people waiting for food.

Continuing into Sedona itself, we miraculously found a parking space! Wildflower Café at the Shops at Pinon Pointe was the perfect place to stop as it had a terrace overlooking all the rocks. Just beautiful.

Will discovered his new favourite cake – chocolate chip scone! Sadly not something we seem to sell here. I’ll have to make some. I had my favourite Oatmeal Cookie, this time with cranberries. I also had a Wildflower Cappucino – again the best ever!


I wanted to stop at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. We turned off towards it and were instantly in another huge line of cars and couldn’t even see the car park. I took this photo out of the window while we were at a standstill! We decided it just wasn’t worth it and I did a U turn in the road and went back down again.

Further on we stopped in Oak Creek and went to a hardware store. We realised we’d need another lock for the new case. The lady in there was lovely and very chatty.

Our next stop was at Yavapai Point. We did the trail up through the rocks with some great views. We could see more clouds appearing and this didn’t bode well for our stargazing at the observatory tonight.

We carried on down the Red Rock Scenic Byway and met the I17, turning north back to Flagstaff. The road had gone right down into the desert again and now we were going back up towards Flagstaff and the cooler temperatures.
We’d had a good day and taken lots of lovely photos but it was so busy. In hindsight we could have done with 2 days to explore there and during the week. Our own faults for going on a Sunday and not getting there at the crack of sparrows I guess. The summer must be horrendous.

On the way back there was heavy rain – I was driving and didn’t like the though of a thunderstorm coming. Coming in the opposite direction was solid traffic stuck in 7 miles of roadworks and down to 1 lane, We were glad to be going north instead!

At 5.30pm we went out to the Lowell Observatory, overlooking Flagstaff. This is a world famous observatory and where Pluto was discovered 😊, now no longer a planet though. Flagstaff is a Dark Sky city and there are very few white lights. At the Observatory there are no white lights allowed, not even phone torches.

There was a mountain lion outside. These were all around Flagstaff on a trail and raising money for charity.

Sadly the weather conspired against us and it was totally cloudy by now. So cloudy that the biggest telescopes weren’t turned on We went to a couple of short lectures – the best one being about the colours in the Cosmos. We wore special glasses and the scientist burned all sorts of minerals so we could see their colours and projected images.

Then we went outside where it was full dark now. There are sparkly, luminous pathways to follow around the campus. We saw lots of telescopes and equipment.

Your ticket entitles you to all day and night there – so you could go in the morning and then return at night to see the stars (or not).

We stopped on the way back down at the overlook to see the city lit up with very few white lights – such a shame there were no stars tonight.

Back at the hotel and we decided to just walk over the road to a nearby Nepalese restaurant which had great reviews – the Himalayan Grill. We waited a few minutes for a table as it was busy and you could tell it was more locals than tourists, so always a good sign. In fact, they had more awards on the wall than the restaurant in Palm Springs! Again, no poppadoms. I had Chicken Saag and Will went for Chicken Jalfrezi, both coming with rice included. This time we were able to have beers too! 😊

We were back at the hotel by 10pm and sorted ourselves out for moving on tomorrow to Scottsdale.
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:52 PM  
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Day 16 - Flagstaff to Scottsdale

This is at post 88 on page 9 - my mistake but I'm not moving it all!
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Day 17 - Scottsdale to Yuma - Hole in the Rock and Prison

We slept very well and had our complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Very good it was too.

Our intention was to go to the Botanical Gardens, not too far south of the Hotel. I was driving, hence no photo of Camelback Mountain in all camel back linear glory. Here’s one from the hotel window this morning though.


We had seen a lot of these cars while we’d been here and wondered what the cone on the roof was. A bit of Google and we discovered that they were driverless Taxis! Not sure that I would be happy in one of those at all.


There were lots of roadworks on the way to the Gardens and we got there about 10.30. The car park was completely full and the Gardens only open to people with bookings! Wow I had no idea it would be this popular and had failed to check the entry requirements. We were particularly miffed as there were Chihuly glass sculptures inside and we really love his work.

So the Gardens had to be crossed off the list and we headed off to the Hole in the Rock instead. This is a giant rock with a hole at the top that you can climb up to and look out of, as the name would suggest.

There’s the straight up, very strenuous route or the long way round, up the back and easier route. We did the second one! By the time we got there we were mega hot and glad of a bit of shade.


It was certainly worth the trek and you could see a long way.
Back at the bottom and we walked across to a lake and had a sit in some shade at a picnic table for a while. It was very peaceful.


Lunch was at the Space Age Restaurant, which is attached to the Space Age Lodge, a Best Western property at Gila Bend. Lots of space designing and gifts. I don’t have a record of what we ate but what I do remember is that the waitress was obviously not enjoying her job or the customers and didn’t crack a smile until we paid her.


We stopped further along the road for $20 petrol and popped into a Fry’s supermarket a bit later for me to use the loo! We got some Pumpkin Oreos and some Pokemon cards 😊

The final stop of the journey was at Yuma State Prison, which was so interesting. It ran from 1876 until 1909.

Both men and women were prisoners there and was notoriously difficult to escape from, and then you escape into desert miles from anywhere, so were soon recaptured! The heat must have been unbearable but it was considered to be well run for the times.

Much is carved into rock – including the punishment cell. I went in there and instantly came out as it just felt horrible.

There was a medical room too.

There’s also a museum and you can read about all the inmates.
You could see a long way from the lookout tower and the nearby bridge was impressive.
We also saw another Road Runner bird there, living up to the name as it was far too quick to get a photo of. Unfortunately time was getting on now and it was closing at 4.30pm, so we had to leave sooner than we would have liked.

We checked into our hotel, the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel about 4.45pm. This is on both sides of the road and our room was over the other side.


We had a rest for a while and freshened up. Later we walked to Lute’s Casino for dinner. Again, this is a Casino as in meeting place, not for gambling. They were getting ready for Halloween.


This is a huge place and I can see it being packed at the weekends as they have live music, but not tonight. There’s so much to look at inside, both on the walls and over your heads!
I had a beef hotdog and fries and Will had a cheese and bacon burger. Beef hotdogs are always so much nicer I think. Beers were also consumed.

We called a Lyft to take us back to our room as the walk had been quite a long one. It was there within 2 minutes and we were back at the hotel by 9pm.
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

Edited at 06:06 PM.
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Old 8 Sep 23, 01:53 PM  
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DAY 18 – YUMA TO HOME AND THE ECCENTRICS

Breakfast was included with out stay at the Coronado but it was to be taken at the next door restaurant called Yuma Landing. I thought it was something to do with the Colorado river running through it, but this marks the site where the first plane landed in Arizona in 1911, a biplane. See visityuma.com for the history of the town as it’s really interesting.

The restaurant is decorated with planes – everywhere. So many photos on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.
The motel guests have a special menu to choose from. Will went for the usual full works but I settled for oatmeal with toast. A great breakfast and we felt very lucky to have been in there.


We checked out of the hotel and filled up with petrol. Knowing we’d have to top up again but it would be more expensive back in California!

As we drove back to San Diego the landscape changed again, this time to pure sand desert.
We passed Calexico – the town where half is in Mexico and half in California.
There were also two border patrol stations, even though we were in USA. We got waved through the first one and the second was unmanned. Yuma was only 23 miles from the border.

We turned off the highway and down a small, dead end road to the Desert View Tower. This is about 3000 elevation, built in 1922 and has great views over the Imperial Valley.

On the way we passed Coyote’s Flying Saucer Retrieval and Repair Service. They didn’t seem to have a thriving business!


We pulled up at the tower and debated getting out of the car. There were a lot of dogs and a man came out of a cabin towards us and then sat in chair looking at us. We did get out and climbed the steps into the Tower. OMG what a place!

We were greeted by Ben, the Owner and he showed us the layout. There were five floors of curiosities, all for sale, and some of the most amazing stuff. At the top of the tower there’s a lookout – it was hurricane force wind up there so we didn’t linger!
Ben said that since buying the tower he’d discovered how much he hates wind. He and his partner have 7 dogs – all of which were super friendly and he had two with him on his sofa. (I’ve since Googled and the whole site cost him $2,250,000). He was really lovely and obviously happy to see people.


Outside and across from the tower are the Mystery Boulders and Caves, carved in the 1930s. There are loads of animals with painted faces, crannies and tight spaces.


We said goodbye and set off back down the road, past Coyote’s.
There was a Chevron Station with a helicopter on the roof! This was a very eccentric road!


Back onto the I8 and later we turned off down the Sunrise National Scenic Byway, stopping at the overlook. It must be a stunning place to see the sunrise from 😊


We still had some time to kill so I had a quick look at Google maps and set it for a Lake just off the I8. Well, I thought I had. Seemed I’d looked at the wrong road and it was off the 94, which got a very confusing as it was a lot further and out of our way. I pulled up at a traffic light crossroads and then did the unthinkable and turned the wrong side of the divide and up the wrong side of the road! I know I’d never have done this if there had been traffic waiting at that light, but we were so lucky there was nothing at all coming and I could do a U turn – thank God for huge 3 lane roads! I pulled up at the lights again and did another U turn round them and onto the correct side. The Lake was close by thankfully!

The Lake was lovely and had lots of ducks and squirrels.
We stayed half an hour or so before setting off for Avis, Will driving now. We topped up again with petrol too.
We dropped off the car easily at Avis and took the shuttle bus to Terminal 2 of San Diego airport. We were WT+ on the way back so I knew we’d have priority check in with our extra case too. Of course there was no queue at all – typical!

Through security without incident and we had a coffees, a blueberry scone and a cheese Danish at Starbucks.

The flight was uneventful and fairly smooth. We had the dual seats by the window 😊 Bye San Diego!
I watched Renfield, which was hirarious and extremely gory but in a good way. We managed to get a couple of hours of sleep.

Touchdown in London was through extremely low cloud. I hate it when you can’t see the ground coming properly. I’d already been scared by the wheels sounding like they were coming out from beneath my seat!

Immigration took an age as Will’s passport wouldn’t go through the kiosk again so he had to queue up to be seen by a human. He wasn’t happy.

Baggage wasn’t long and we called for our car to be brought round to the car park point. This didn’t take long at all and we were soon on the road home.

Another holiday over. A good one. Back immediately to planning the next, now done 😊
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Index to all trip reports here https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...3#post15913083
Seattle to San Francisco
Road Trip Florida 2017
New England Road Trip 2019
Florida Road Trip 2022
Canada/Pacific NW Road Trip 2022
Cyprus Chill week May 2023
Road Trip California & Arizona 2023

Edited at 04:01 PM.
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Old 9 Sep 23, 11:44 AM  
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Goldia's Reviews
Hotel Reviews: 5
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Hey there, I hope you have a fab trip. I'm excited to read along on another one of your fab road trips.
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Link to all my completed trip reports
2017: NYC and Orlando. Salzburg. Boston.
2018: Orlando. Berlin.
2019: DLP. Orlando. Washington DC.
2020: DLP.
2021: Jamaica. Rome.
2022: Orlando.
2023: Orlando. Niagara and Toronto.
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Old 5 Oct 23, 02:14 PM  
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So looking forward to this Anji, I hope you’re having a wonderful time, I’m loving the IG posts!
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