Monday, April 5, 2010

Laughlin here we come!

Jim and I tested our memories this morning and packed up the trailer. It has been five months since we had to do this. I usually talk to myself while I go through each room saying things like - TV locked in place? Check. Shower door locked? Check. I know it would be easier to have a checklist and maybe I'll get around to doing it sometime.

After all the packing was done, last goodbyes were said, and hugs given, we pulled out of Mesa at 9:10 am. On the road to the highway, we passed a large orange grove. All the trees were in bloom. Our windows were rolled down all the way, and the heavy perfume filled our truck. I took several deep breaths of that sweet, sweet, smell and thought it was a wonderful goodbye as we got onto the highway. Our destination? Laughlin, Nevada, a mere 250 miles away.

I always travel with my camera on my lap or nearby on the floor. I took a couple of shots and noticed that my battery was real low. I could have kicked myself! I forgot to recharge the battery last night. This is an absolute no-no! I took what pictures I could and then had to resort to my cell phone. Not the best of conditions.

The first interesting thing I saw was a chain gang. They were picking oranges off the trees. The guards were nearby, and yes, they were wearing guns.

Once we got out of the city's limits, we drove on a highway across long stretches of land dotted with cactus and sage. I was surprised at how many wildflowers there were, lining both sides of the road or just growing along one side.

It was very windy today, and at one point a huge tumbleweed came blowing across the road. Jim said, "Whoa! Tumbleweed!" as it headed straight for us. There was nothing we could do but hit it straight on. Luckily the truck just demolished it.

The scenery was beautiful. Here's the long road ahead of us.

One of the many rock formations along the way.

Sometimes the road went uphill and we had to go so slow to reach the top; then going downhill at a 6% grade was thrilling! Jim had to put the truck in lower gear to slow us down a bit.

We drove on Highway 93, which is also known as Joshua Forest Parkway, because it has so many Joshua trees in the area.

The Joshua Tree, which grows no where else but the Mohave Desert, is part of the yucca family. It relies on the female Pronuba Moth for pollination. According to DesertUsa,

No other animal visiting the blooms transfers the pollen from one flower to another. In fact, the female Yucca Moth has evolved special organs to collect and distribute the pollen onto the surface of the flower. She lays her eggs in the flowers' ovaries, and when the larvae hatch, they feed on the yucca seeds.

The Joshua tree was named by Mormon pioneers who said it reminded them of the Old Testament prophet Joshua waving at them, with upraised arms, on toward the promised land.

above image courtesy of

We arrived at our campground and were totally set up by 4:30. Connected to the RV park is a huge casino. I thought it only fair that I donate some of my money, so Jim and I went over there tonight and played the penny slots for a little bit. It's fun, but I can't take the smoke and all the lights, bells, and noise it's an awful lot of stimulus for my poor little brain. I can only take about an hour or so of that atmosphere. Besides, usually my money runs out before that!


Nancy said...

I was born and raised in Nevada and feel exactly the same way. Too much of everything! Lights, sounds, people, color, pattern, decorations, and especially the ringing of the slots!

Beautiful pics. Welcome to Nevada. I'm just on the other side of the state.

charmine. said...

Hi,I've been away on vacation and am glad to be blogging again.Travel is a fun and I had a great time.
Nice pictures here.I too had my cam battery run out on me a few times and managed with my cell phone cam.Enjoyed your story today.Have fun.

SquirrelQueen said...

Looks like you had a great drive. I really like the area around Laughlin. The Joshua trees are so cool, I enjoyed learning more about them.

otin said...

Oh man, I could never park near a casino. I would get addicted too easy!

Brian Miller said...

very cool. feels good to be back on the road. cant wait to go camping this year!

Wendy said...

I love traveling along with you Pat! Thanks!

A New England Life said...

That's really interesting about the Joshua tree. I didn't know any of it! I'd sure love to photograph them.

I remember seeing prisoners on the side of the road down south too. It's something you don't see around here.

Glad you had a safe trip! Yup, those hills can be killer on a vehicle. Beautiful views Pat! Thanks for sharing!


Kathy's Klothesline said...

So, is it good to be back on your traveling schedule? I know what you mean about the noise and smoke in casinoes. I suppose a lot of folks like it.......

Bossy Betty said...

Lovely! Thanks for taking us along!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wow Pat -- you are MY kind of gambler ;>). Loved the Joshua trees.

We spent a couple of winters in the deep south and never saw those prisoner work crews like I'd read about, but we saw a bunch of them in Arizona. I have no idea what that means sociologically, but always thought it was interesting.

Keep on traveling safe.

Rae said...

Interesting info and pictures. I bet we will see more as you travel back home. Stay safe on the road.

Snowflake said...

Glad to hear you left some pennies in the machines for us. Happy trails and safe travels!!! I look forward to reading all about your travels!!!

Steven Anthony said...

what amazing shots...the one of the chain gang cracked me up, i didt know they still wore stripes....

I cant wait to hear of your adventures in your new place;)

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

Loved the pictures. I didn't know how the Joshua trees got their name - thanks for the lesson!

I can't take the interiors of casinos, either. Too much noise and too much smoke.

Gail said...

I love the way you present a show and tell. I am always learning something.

I may not get to travel much but thanks to you, I really feel as if I have been there.

misslynda said...

That was a great day of travel for me. I'm not even tired from sitting in the vehicle for all those hours! As usual, great pictures and information. THANKS!