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.
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:
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
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
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!