Geo Metro and it was located near Las Vegas, NV. Sadly, we were not located near Las Vegas, NV.
So, on Tuesday we set out on our way north. All went fairly smoothly at first, with clear skies and clear sailing as we left Yuma and headed up AZ 95 toward Parker, AZ where we would cross the Colorado to catch US 95 the rest of the way to LV. As we went farther north, we began to see clouds ahead. They were puffy and white at first. They didn't stay that way. The closer we got to
Nevada, the angrier looking the clouds became. There was some wind as well but nothing unmanageable, even in a tall vehicle like we were driving. Still, we figured we would beat
In the morning we bought the car, picked up some tag lights and safety cables and headed back towards Yuma. We left feeling that we had gained two new friends, one an elegant lady with an interesting history and the other a small green frog with a wide open future. We were trying to beat the 40-60 MPH winds predicted for the afternoon; we made it as far as Cal-Nev-Ari (pronounced Cal-Nev-Air) before the wind gusts made it far too dangerous to be driving a target as big as ours. We pulled off at the Cal-Nev-Ari Casino and they were kind enough to let us stay until the winds died down a bit.
The town of Cal-Nev-Ari is a tiny little community of about 350 residents nestled on both sides of US 95 in the Nevada desert. It was conceived in 1965 by Slim and Nancy Kidwell as a town for pilots like themselves, with an air strip, backyard hangars and a fly-in casino. The town consists of a landing strip, casino/bar/restaurant, convenience store, small motel, mobile home park, RV park, and a post office with a zip code. It was founded on what was an abandoned military airstrip. By taking advantage of The Pittman Act, the Kidwells were able to realize their dream of establishing a town here merely by proving that they could be self-sufficient. The couple planted a field of barley and began hauling water 30 miles by truck from the Colorado River. They dug a well, the barley grew, and the BLM granted them a land patent; a town was born. One of the big draws is the fly-in casino. The day we were there all the patrons had arrived by car, but on a busy weekend as many as four or five small planes may be parked at the edge of the runway out back of the small, smoke filled casino. The entire town was for sale as recently as 2016, for the bargain price of $6,000,000; it is currently off the market.
We stayed until just about dusk, when the wind intensity dropped a bit and we were able to make a run for it. Joe was hoping to make it all the way "home" to the Yuma area, but it was just too far after having had to wrestle the wheel all day to keep Flipper between the lines. We made the decision to stop for the night when we reached Quartzsite, AZ ("the Q"). We missed the turn in the dark and ended up heading southeast on the 72. While this incredibly bumpy road would eventually take us to I-10, I remembered that it also connected to the eastern end of Plomosa Rd. at Bouse, AZ. We had previously camped along the western end near Quartzsite and really enjoyed it. After all, how hard could it be for two exhausted people and three sleepy cats to get there on a completely unfamiliar road in total darkness at 11:00 at night? And so we boldly turned off into the darkness on a fairly decent, if somewhat narrow and winding road that soon began climbing upward. We couldn't see anything beyond the range of our headlights, but it felt as if there was a void off to our left as we continued our gentle climb. We spotted a couple of BLM boondocking area markers just as we passed them by, but we no longer have the ability to back up with Kermit on a tow bar behind us (this also adds a new element of fun to entering gas stations; just ask all the folks stuck behind us in Vegas after someone blocked us as we were pulling up to the pump!). Finally we saw one in time and grabbed the first big spot we saw on
the right side of the road. Joe went out with a flashlight and announced that he could see a saguaro cactus, but nothing beyond that. We were still fairly certain that there was a major drop off on the left side of Plomosa Rd, and we weren't at all anxious to find out whether or not we were correct!
On Thursday morning I was awakened far too early by the sound of raindrops on the roof. Imagine my delight to discover that we were camped in the middle of a beautiful forest of majestic saguaro cacti! I like all types of cactus, but saguaros feel like home to me. I didn't grow up around them, but I have loved them since I was little; they are a symbol of the freedom of the desert to me. I grabbed my camera and went out into the spring shower to discover that we were indeed up above the distant valley floor, but there wasn't a cliff anywhere in sight. In truth, there was more camping area to the left of the road than the side we were on. It's funny how different things feel at night, especially in unfamiliar territory. We were in the foothills on the eastern side of the Plomosa Mountains, surrounded by saguaros and palo verde trees.
We looked up the weather for the coming day and discovered that it was going to be windy again to the south of us, so we decided to just stay where we were for another night and enjoy our sonoran desert surroundings. Our new plan was to hit I-10 Friday morning and head in to Blythe, CA to smog and register our new family member and then head back east and catch AZ 95s at "The Q" for the final part of our journey back to Yuma. On the way west, we saw the eastbound lanes were closed by a big rig that had burned to the ground. Traffic was backed up for miles, and it wasn't going to improve any time soon. In Blythe, the registration process went surprisingly smoothly, but we were forced to take CA 78 south because of the accident on I-10. We don't really like 78; it is narrow, rough, and gravelly. The scenery is beautiful, but people drive way too fast for safety and there are very few pullouts or passing lanes. It was on this road that we had our windshield cracked by a flying rock thrown up by an oncoming RV when we first arrived in the Yuma area, so we may be a bit prejudiced. Be that as it may, we didn't have much choice so off we went. The highlight of this portion of the journey was finally seeing a roadrunner just a few miles from our campsite. He was, well...running across the road! I have to admit, the artists really did get the motion of the true roadrunner correct when they created their cartoon roadrunner; the color and sound, not so much!
Stay tuned for part 2 of the wild and crazy week! Until then, take care My Friends!
***If you enjoyed this adventure, please subscribe to this blog and help us keep them coming!***