Back on the Road

Okay, the fact that I haven't posted in six months, may lead you to believe that we have not been travelling lately. That is not true. We have discovered the weekend/mid-week getaway and the "day trip." There are ample opportunities to do so from Phoenix:

Head south to Tucson (which we have done on business a couple of times now) or Mexico (which we have not really done yet, but is totally doable);

Head north to the mountains (which we did a lot in the summer to beat the heat);

Head northwest to Laughlin and Vegas (which we have done several times because, thanks to Carl's card skills, we now have a pile of room comps);

Head east to New Mexico (which we have not done in a while, but plan to do some this summer).

That leaves straight west and straight west from here is California. The weekend trip might include San Diego or LA, but the day trip to California is short and beautiful.

We headed out yesterday at noon from Mesa, Arizona on I-10 west and found ourselves in California 2-1/2 hours later. Blythe, California is on the Colorado River and is a larger town that you might imagine (around 21,000 people). It is obviously a winter getaway spot for RVers (the infamous Quartzsite Arizona is only 30 miles away) but it is mostly farm land. It is a very lush, hilly area in the middle of the desert.

The point of our day trip is to ride around in the car mostly. So we took US 95 up the river to the little town of Vidal, which is just inside San Bernandino County. San Bernandino is the largest county by land mass in the 48 continguous states, with over 20,000 square miles. It is mostly desert, including Death Valley. It is bordered on the east by Arizona (the Colorado River) and Nevada and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. We clipped the corner of it, travelling a mere 15 miles total.

We crossed the river on California 62 (which becomes Arizona 95 after crossing the river). We checked out a beautiful property on the Colorado River called the "Blue Water Casino and Hotel." One of the Colorado River Communities Indian Casinos in Parker, AZ -- it was a lot nicer than we expected, considering how off the beaten path it is. We especially like the back of the casino which framed the mountains across the river in a beautiful large window that we got to see around sunset. Very nice touch. The hotel pool was below the casino and had the same view. It looked like it would make for an enjoyable respite.

We played a little poker and then headed for home. We got back before 11p, making it a nice day trip, even with the late start.

I would guess that due to the older winter population of the area, the restaurant and the Blue Water Casino were accessible. I didn't get a good look at the pool in the hotel, but from the point of view I had, it didn't look good. There were stairs only with one center rail. The restroom at Blythe's Public Library was not accessible and while no ramp was needed to enter the building, there were two doors (neither electronic) to negotiate and the parking lot was gravel. My first impression was that there may be more opportunities for accessibility than a lot of smaller towns offer, but the area definitely would present challenges for many travelers with disabilities.

However, we found that just traveling through was worth the trip. The rolling hills, the desert landscape, the sandy mesas and mountains and the green river valley all made for a fun drive. It was a wonderful day, playing hookey. We came home tired, but refreshed.

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