The Dam SEAT Ride - Part II
Part II - On Down the River. From Hoover Dam the Colorado flows south, stopping for a while at Davis Dam. Here the Colorado separates Arizona from Nevada. A bit south of Ft Mohave, AZ she is the boundary between Arizona and California. Davis Dam is just north of Bullhead City on the Arizona side and just north of Laughlin on the Nevada side.
Following the river south from the Hover Dam you can ride down either US Hwy 95 on the west side of the river or US Hwy 93 on the east side. It’s a toss up which is the better ride. US 95 has a bit of truck and RV traffic but runs right along. US 93 has fewer trucks and RVs but if you’re not paying attention, Grandpa and Grandma will pass you in their closed-to-the-environment cage really ripping along. Doing our normal 10 over the limit, we’ve been passed like we were standing still more than once on 93.
Our favorite route is the east side on US 93 mainly because we like to stop in Chloride, AZ on the way. Chloride is an old mining town (which Arizona town isn’t?) with an old, rustic restaurant. One year on our way to Death Valley Daze we spent the night in the old hotel next door to the restaurant. Good thing it was in the winter as there is no air or evaporative cooling. The local bar around the corner was a hoot. Another memorable stop.
Davis Dam was closed to traffic this past January when we came up to the dam on the Nevada side. There was a pull out where we stopped and got a pretty good picture or two of the earthen mound and the concrete spill way, but there are no facilities and no way to get down to the river on the Nevada side. On the Arizona side by contrast, there is a RV park with dozens of picnic tables and water access points all along the river bank. Next time we come through Laughlin or Bullhead City we’ll make it a point to check out the Arizona side.
Spending the night in Laughlin has been a SEAT tradition for the last four or five years on our way to Death Valley Daze. Being on the Nevada side, casinos dominate the city and the river bank. You can get some pretty good deals on rooms during the week. We have paid $23 to $16 per night on a Thursday. The local brewery is in the Colorado Belle, our favorite place to spend the night, and has Thursday beer specials.
While in the neighborhood, take a ride over to Oatman on Old Route 66. The road into Oatman from the south is an excellent ride; the road in from the north is twistier, turnier and just plain fun. As you ride either route, it’s easy to imagine the old cars and trucks that ventured west along this route. Many had to back up the hills because their carburetors would run dry on the steeper portions. Remember carburetors?
The Oatman Hotel has seen some pretty interesting guests in years past, but will see no more. Wanda and I, with several other DVD bound travelers, stayed in the Oatman Hotel several years back and had a blast. Unfortunately the upstairs of the building where the rooms are located has been condemned. The bar on the ground floor is still open and serves up good, cold beer and excellent hamburgers, but no one is allowed up stairs the last time we were there.
Oatman is the town where all the brochures and videos show wild burros coming into town and begging…really, they beg. To many they are so cute, just adorable. To others they stink and will bite the hell out of you if you aren’t careful. They expect a handout and if you don’t give them one, look out. Did I mention they stink? Whew…it’ll take your breath away on some days.
The next dam, further south, is Parker Dam. Again, our favorite side of the river is the Arizona side that brings us down through Lake Havasu City past the London Bridge. Lake Havasu comes alive during Spring Break with college students looking for a place to party. Use to be there was a stoplight or two. Now there’s a dozen or more that have to be timed just right to make it through. A stop along the river by the London Bridge for lunch can get pricey but is worth it once in a while.
Another reason to take the Arizona side of the Colorado down
to Davis Dam is that you can cross over Davis Dam and take a short, scenic ride
along the river on the California side.
After winding along the river bank for a few miles, you come back into
Arizona at Earp, crossing the old metal bridge into Parker. There are hundreds, probably more like
thousands of homes and RV parks along both sides of the river north and south
of Parker. Next month: Part III
- Yuma and the Southern Dams.
Next month: Part III - Yuma and the Southern Dams.
Parker is our normal Colorado River crossing going or coming from California or Nevada, it keeps us off the freeway. Quite a few years ago our ’88 K100RS ABS SE had a battery problem just west of Parker at Vidal Junction. We literally coasted to a stop at the California fruit and vegetable check. Thanks to a fellow MOA member living in Parker and a Parker cycle shop that was open on Sunday, we got a new battery and continued our trip. The MOA Anonymous, don’t leave home without it.
Next month: Part III - Yuma and the Southern Dams.