Monday, November 12, 2018

On the Way to Tucson, Arizona

12 November 2018

Before I blog about being in Tucson, I thought I should finish our travels.  It'll be short, I promise!

Day 18 - We drove from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.  It was interesting to drive through all a chunk of the Mojave Desert, and then all of a sudden we're in this lush green oasis!  I can only imagine what the first people in this part of the region thought when they encountered water and vegetation flourishing in the grey and beige desert!

It was fun, though we didn't do anything exceptional.  Hung out, walked around a bit, and enjoyed the music from the Palm Springs Pride weekend.  We missed the parade, but our hotel  seemed to be right near the center of activities!

We debated staying an extra day, but thought we really needed to get to Arizona, so we moved on.

Day 19 - We left Palm Springs, and drove through more desert.  Hills, mountains, lots of flat dry land inbetween.  Dry scrubby bushes, and not much else.

So we left the Mojave Desert, and drove into the Sonoran Desert.  However, just to confuse the issue, part of this area is referred to as the Colorado Desert Landform.  The Colorado Desert is one of three desert provinces in California, and each is slightly different both in land form and vegetation.  

According to the information:
"The Great Basin occupies a narrow strip of Northern and Central California east of the Sierra Nevada.  The province extends eastward across Nevada and into parts of Utah, Idaho, and Oregon.  Most of the Great Basin lies above 4,000 feet and is very cold during the winter.  For this reason, it is often called the "high desert" or the "cold desert."  Cold temperatures and a short growing season are the major factors limiting plant growth.

"The Mojave Desert's climate and elevations fall between those of the Great Basin and the Colorado Desert.  Lying above 2,000 feet in elevation, most of the Mojave Desert receives slightly more rainfall than the Colorado Desert.  The Mojave also has cooler winters than the "low desert," though not nearly so cold as those of the Great Basin.  For these reasons, many ecologists view the Mojave as the "transitional desert" between the Great Basin of the north and the Colorado Desert of the south.

California's Colorado Desert is actually an extension of the Sonoran Desert of Mexico and Arizona.  Because much of this desert is at or below sea level, it is often called the "low desert."  The low desert is one of the hottest and driest places in North America.  Many parts of this desert receive less than four inches of rain per year.  Temperatures often reach 120 degrees F (49 degrees C) during the summer."
We drove across the bridge over the Colorado River - and there was a sign, welcoming us to Arizona!!!  We cheered - it had been a long nearly three weeks!

By this time it was late afternoon - we found the small town of Quartzsite, and drove around looking for a hotel or motel.  There were two options - the motel where you rent a trailer, or the motel that was newly renovated.  Yeah, the newly renovated place turned out to be very comfortable.  It was named The Stagecoach Motel, which struck me as very funny.  Can't you just picture Miss Kitty serving drinks at the Stagecoach Motel?  With the Marshall or Sheriff breaking up fights there?  (It actually was quite comfortable.)

If you ever find yourself in Quartzsite, have dinner at Silly Al's - good food, and friendly people!

Day 20 - It was a long drive from Quartzsite, through Phoenix, to Tucson.  This was probably our longest day of driving.  But we were so close, it seemed reasonable to just drive on through.  

Then we hit the Sonoran Desert, and I saw my first saguaro cactus!!!  Amazing cactus - but I'll hold off on describing them in the next blog!

The maps at the end show our route through California, then Arizona.  And then our whole route, from Bellingham WA to Tucson AZ.  We drove 1920 miles in 20 days.  I know, the google map says we can make it in 34 hours.  Yeah, they don't know that the journey is part of the trip.  We travelled slowly, with side trips and time in the various stops.  Lots of small towns with gorgeous scenery and friendly people.

It's been quite a trip!

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