Monday, March 19, 2018

Back to Boulder City

March 12-18, 2018
Needles, California - Boulder City, Nevada

After the rally, we check back into Scenic Road RV Park in Quartzsite for one night. We spend the day cleaning and doing laundry. I wipe layers of dust off every surface - including the walls. Having hookups now seems like a lovely luxury.

Friends Mike and Rita meet us at Silly Al's Pizza where we also run into Steven and Linda and Bill and Kelly who have the same thought for Monday dinner. 

Tuesday we take Highway 95 north to Needles, CA. It's a beautiful drive through the desert. While it's straight and flat, the narrow two-lane road with lots of big rigs, zero passing lanes, and soft sand on both sides, it's not relaxing. 

I'm happy to pull into a waterfront Rainbo Beach RV Resort on the Colorado River. Unfortunately I park at the top of a slope and when Bill steps down he goes all the way down. He wrenches his shoulder which continues to hurt :-(

Like all of Needles, the park has seen better days. Sites are very tight with worn picnic tables and electric and water only along the water. Mostly seasonal or permanent residents, the office is closed the whole time we're here. There is a nice protected beach, launch ramp and boat dock - I'm sure this is a popular spot in the summer.

There's no real reason for our stopping in Needles other than it breaks up the drive to Boulder City, and a touch of nostalgia. When we lived in Joshua Tree, my boys and I used to come here several weekends every summer to ride our Seadoos. We stayed at the Best Western (which is still the nicest place in town), but always thought the motorhomes on the water looked like fun. Now that I've come back and seen, we don't need to stay here again :-)

Bill finds us a dirt road into the hills, and we spend Wednesday afternoon playing in the sand and rocks.

Not sure where we are, but it's nice to know we're welcome!

After a week of boondocking, she blends right in.

Textures and colors.

Smoke Trees were my mom's favorites, and we don't see many anymore.

Rich pink veins run through this outcropping.

We see very few cactus all day. These are the only living Chollas we see.

Broad views across the Colorado River.

I love watching the clouds decorate the sky and land.
Like many small, desert towns along Route 66, Needles is barely hanging on. While Laughlin, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona, in the same area, are growing, this California community of less than 5,000 is deteriorating. Little more than a few colorful, but fading, murals give it any identity at all.

Bill played football, basketball and baseball against the Needles' Mustangs. The football field has changed little in 45 years.

Thursday we get a (relatively) early start to beat the expected winds in Boulder City, Nevada. We're at Canyon Trails RV Park for two weeks. One of only two parks in town, it's clean, quiet and dark. The sites are snug but level with 50 amp FHUs. And our friends are here for a couple days!

John and Pam (Oh the Places They Go) stop by to tell us about their new sticks-and-bricks they are closing on next week here in town, and Dave and Sue (Beluga's Excellent Adventure) stop by to say hi. Later we join them for dinner and getting caught up since our quick visit last month. We make plans for a Jeep run the next day.

Before we join the others on Friday, we follow John and Pam to see their new home. They'll get the keys later, but we get a tour of the outdoor space, including the huge covered RV parking with hookups!! It's a sweet place with everything they could want. We're so happy for them. And glad they aren't getting off the road :-)


So exciting :-)
We continue to be amazed at how many people in this RV community know each other. We're introduced to Steve and Joan who are volunteers at Lake Mead Recreation Area and are familiar with lots of Jeep trails in the area. We find we have other mutual friends - such a small world out here :-)

They suggest we drive "the spine" out to Kingman Wash. Spine? Sounds like narrow trails along the top of steep drop offs? I've been driving off road since I was 11 but I've never done well with heights. Still, what's life without getting our heart rates up now and then?? Let's go!

There's only a couple spots where my focus switches between driving and not peeing my pants. The views are well worth the adrenaline peaks. Mostly, it's just fun being out on the trail with no one but our group of eight.  

Pretty Jeeps all in a row....

Photos never show how steep things are.....

Piper at play - thanks Pam!

A quick stop to take in the view.
The Mike Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge with the nearly complete Highway 11 in the background.

Off the spine, we drop into Kingman Wash, below Fortification Hill.

The wash ends at a beautiful cove.

Who cares about water when you can hang out with Gramma Pamma?

Four eyes are better than two.

The wind is blowing hard enough to lift the water from the surface.

Sue and Dave on the trail above Lake Mead.

The gang stops for a final group gab.

Rich red rock and soft green grass color the landscape.

These pretties dot the sides of the trail.

Fortification Hill reminds of us mine tailings - but much more beautiful!
We wrap up a great afternoon with an equally great dinner at Southwest Diner. All of our meals are exceptional.

The cold temps and high winds continue so another Jeep drive sounds fun for Saturday. Sue gave us her copies of the area's trails so we have plenty of options to explore over the next couple weeks.

We head into the Lake Mead National Recreational Area (love having our national park annual pass) to check the area along the north shore. 

Government Wash is just off the highway, has several boondockers, and a weird vibe. We drive out to one of the many small points then continue.

Hardy explorers check for treasures.

Lovely layers.

I find more shells here than on the beaches we've visited around the country.
A short tower stands out in distance. 
It takes a long time to travel short distances when there's so much to stop and see.

Another trail that takes us to the lake shore at Crawdad Cove.

The wind brings in rows of small waves.

This area was under water for decades.

Barnacles line the cliff behind the Jeep.

Clouds put on a show overhead.

So much to enjoy when you slow down and see.

What does this sound like when it falls?

Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake in the country. At 110 miles long, it held 9 billion gallons in the 1990's. After years of drought, it looks much smaller.


  1. We are missing our jeep! Our lives are so good, aren't they!

    1. I can't imagine being without our Jeep these days!

      We are all so blessed :-)

  2. So much exploring in the West. What fun times! Love, love your description of handling the drop offs on the spine! Too funny! See you next week:)

    1. Looking at the photos I can't imagine how it seemed so uncomfortable at the time - but we know better!! Have fun in Utah, we'll be here when you get back.

  3. What a fun jeep adventure with the gang! I hope Bill's shoulder is recovering...

    1. Slowly but surely he's on the mend.

      I can't believe you and Hans hiked Fortification Hill - that looks nuts from any angle!

  4. I would think FHU would be fabulous after Q. We try to wash down everything even the walls every few months. It’s scary how dirty they are and we aren’t in the desert. Makes me wonder what we are all breathing. Too funny that you run into two sets of friends just going out for pizza. Always nice to check out a dream and find you’ve done it and don’t need to do it again. Great murals. Wonder why Needles would not be prospering as its neighbors are? John and Pam’s place is so turnkey amazing. Talk about serious luck. RV parking with FHUs - SWEET! Great pictures of the jeeps and their surroundings. Really love the water life picture. Beautiful! Is that natural water by any chance or part of Lake Mead? The tower is a real surprise. Is it as big as Bear’s Lodge?

    1. Sadly there's no natural water outside of the river in between dams. The lifting water is on Lake Mead. I've been reading about the impact of removing any of the dams along the southern Colorado River and it's such a mixed bag. Both towns and agriculture would have to seriously reduce usage which doesn't seem likely without tough legislation......very doubtful. It does make me happy that the water is so, so clear! The tower is maybe 100th the size of Bear Lodge - and yet it has such an impact on the landscape!

  5. Needles really is a sad town, just missing the boat somehow. I do like having hookups after some time boondocking. I'm getting spoiled this winter. Boulder City may become more of a meetup place now that Pam and John have a S&B there. So sad to see Mead water level keep dropping.

    1. Yes, I can see us all converging here :-) At some point when "down river" says send more water, the answer is going to be no. Boulder City continues to limit growth but you don't see that in Las Vegas, Palm Springs and L.A. :-(

  6. It's always a good night for pizza :-) I've stayed at a few places in Needles (hotels) and I agree that there really isn't much to the town. Kind of sad :-( Getting to see back country in the Jeep with friends=priceless!

    1. We see most towns along Route 66 disappearing as the Interstate rushes travelers and truckers past them. We definitely need the freeways now, but it's sad to see the loss they leave behind.

  7. Sigh. Okay, I should know that you're posting, and I just need to remember to check in on you! Because I'm not getting notifications. :-( Anyway, I love the colors of the landscape, the photos of fun with good friends, and Tessa in the rocks. :-))

    1. Maybe resubmit again? I checked with others and they're getting the notice. Tessa is always right there with me on the trail - usually out front :-)

    2. I resubmitted. I won't take it personally that some automated something-or-other keeps kicking me out of the party!!! :-))

  8. Love the Jeep lineup, Jodee! Checking back, I stopped receiving post emails after two posts previous to this. Hmmmm....

    1. Thanks for coming back and reading the old ones!!! I'm still hoping to get them activated again.