Monday, March 20, 2017

Arizona, California, Nevada and back to California again. From heat to snow!

Got to drive the Apache Trail three times this trip!  Once one-way by myself on a quick shopping trip into Gilbert, with a return via Superior, and Globe, and a two- way trip with Don & Donna, Ken & Brenda to meet other home town folks Ron & Bev for lunch at Tortilla Flats.  Busy place as usual, and it wasn’t even a weekend!

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After spending a few days at Roosevelt Lake, it was time to move on.  Sunday proved to be a decent day to skirt across the northern part of Phoenix on the Loop 202, then picked up I-10 west as far as Buckeye and Tonopah.  It was tempting to stop again for a bit at Saddle Mountain BLM area, but instead we took the Salome road, kept on rolling through Bouse and Parker, eventually stopping just south of Lake Havasu City.  My hilltop spot was available, and proved a good choice as it provided some needed air conditioning in the heat as well as a distant view of the lake.

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There were surprisingly few campers there, for this time of year, which is a good thing as it means less generators!  Finally it was warm enough that open windows and a nice breeze at night was the way to go.  The bikinis were starting to blossom down at the ‘channel’, but the crowds of kids were small compared to some past years, but perhaps fewer colleges were on break this week?

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As usual, we did some hiking in SARA park, and climbed Lizard Peak (Table top), and visited the on duty lizard on the way up.

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They were doing some construction at the trailhead and parking lot …

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Requisite photos at the table on top.

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Throughout much of the desert south-west the flowers are blooming after a fair bit of rain in the last couple of months.  Lake Havasu area is no exception.

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Although I certainly enjoyed the heat, and Hailey didn’t seem to mind, it was getting to the point where shade was mandatory, and fans or a breeze was desirable during much of the day.  I didn’t want to bring her with me in the truck, and was worried that it might get a bit too warm for her back at the rig if the breeze stopped or if it got even hotter.

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With that in mind, out came the maps to look for a spot that was a bit cooler.  Next day we blasted on up northward through Needles, Searchlight, and Vegas.  Hailey, who just turned 7 about a week ago as best we can guess suggested following 95 north of Vegas as neither of us could remember paralleling the Nevada/California border up past Beatty, Nv.  So that’s where we headed.  But since our intended route had to include the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes, we turned off on 266 to make our way back into California.  The route included Lida summit at 7400’, and two slightly lower passes the next day after a very quiet night roadside at the Gold Point junction.  Once back in California, and there are no ‘fruit customs’ on this route, we were on Hwy 168.  The last part of it was winding and familiar as it connects to the Bristlecone pine road that we blogged about back in November.  It was refreshing to see all the snow covered peaks while we topped up the fuel and food in Bishop. As we climbed the 395 north of Bishop, the snow line came down closer and closer to the road.

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Soon the snow line was well below the road … hmmm, perhaps a bit too cool!  We finally got to the turnoff to Wild Willy’s hot springs, only to find the road closed, gated, and blocked by two feet of snow.  Guess we won’t be camping there this time ;-(.

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There are several springs in the area that are accessible with a short hike from the pavement, but I saw a couple of snow machines being used, and at Hilltop springs, which seats about 6-8 persons max, there must have been twenty cars parked along the road.  So with the spring break/skier crowds, you’d be lucky to get your big toe soaked!

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Serious change of plans required, obviously.  Being on the ‘wrong’ side of the Sierra’s, a choice had to be made how to get to the more temperate weather on the coast.  Not wanting to backtrack south all the way down to Bakersfield, it didn’t take long to decide to continue north towards Carson City/Reno area.  Fortunately, there were more hot springs along the way that we explored on the way south in the fall.  Travertine hot springs near Bridgeport had no snow on the ground, and little of the spring break/skier crowd so prevalent at Mammoth.

By coffee time on Monday morning, all was right again!

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