Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wetlands Park Nature Preserve

  What a beautiful surprise- and only ten miles from the Las Vegas strip! About two miles of paved trails curve through this naturally scenic area. The water, which forms ponds and streams through the wetlands, comes from several sources – rain water from the washes, water runoff from storm sewers and treated water from the nearby sewage plant.

  The paved trails and boardwalk are all accessible. The information center and Nature Center (opened spring 2013) are accessed by a long ADA compliant ramp. Pick up a trail map because the trails are not well marked and loop around so it’s easy to get lost. The unpaved trails are soft sand – too difficult for wheelchair travel.

  There aren’t any marked RV parking spaces but RVs can be parked lengthwise across the car spaces.  Wetlands
36.10119, -115.02285

Monday, February 25, 2013

Colorado River Heritage Greenway Trail

   Paralleling the Colorado River, this trail extends from the northern edge of Laughlin upstream to Davis Dam. It’s about two miles one way, fairly level and smooth. Additional unpaved trails wander off into the hills.

  Parking for RVs is located in the lot next to the Laughlin visitor center. A small lot, suitable for cars or vans only, is located just north of Laughlin Hwy. The trail from the RV lot has a long upgrade and a long downgrade. The entryway from the car lot to the trail is level.  Trail
35.17066, -114.57226

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Laughlin, Nevada

   Laughlin is a mini Las Vegas with nine casinos located along the Colorado River. It has some definite advantages for RVers. Many of the casinos allow overnight parking. Some are free, some charge a small fee. Other camping options include private RV parks; public campgrounds at Davis Camp which is right on the river  and Katherine’s Landing on Lake Mohave; and boondocking  in Lake Mead NRA.

  The town is very compact so it’s easy to walk or roll everywhere. There are two paved trails along the river. Supplies and services are just across the river in Bullhead City.  Laughlin

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lake Havasu-London Bridge and Shoreline Trail

  This is not THE London Bridge but it is an actual London bridge, built in 1831, dismantled in 1967, shipped to the US, and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City in 1971. It was part of a real estate scheme to attract home buyers to a out of the way parcel of land. And it worked! Over 50,000 people now live in Havasu City.

  The bridge connects the mainland to a little island where there are campgrounds and resorts. Shoreline Trail is located on the mainland. It starts west of the bridge and goes about two miles south to Rotary Park. It’s wide, scenic and pretty smooth.

  Parking for RVs is available at the visitor center on London Bridge Road or at Rotary Park. Wheelchair users may want to park at Rotary Park because there’s a steep hill from the visitor center lot down to Shoreline Trail.  Trail
34.47231, -114.34707

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center

 This short, completely accessible trail follows the ridge of a peninsula of land that juts out into a quiet section of the lake formed by Parker Dam. It’s a unique and beautiful ecosystem which sustains rare plants and animals. The are informative signs along the trail plus the small visitor center has very well done exhibits.

 The trail is smooth concrete. It slopes slightly downhill so the return trip is all up. The sidewalk at the entrance to the visitor center has settled making a step up. Wheelchair users will need to have help. Vault toilets located along the trail are accessible.

The parking lot is large enough for any RV. Visitor Center
  34.29166, -114.10498

BlueWater Casino

   The parking lots in this casino slope in two different directions so leveling is necessary. There are two lots. The lot on the left is for preferred club card members. The one on the right is for anyone. RV parking is limited to three nights. The first night is free and a $5.00 fee is charged for additional nights.

Update: there are now two large sandy lots where RVers are welcome to stay but this is Colorado Indian Tribal land and there's a fee of $15.00 a night. Phone number on signs.  There's free RV parking along the edges of the paved casino lot. 

  The casino is roomy, fairly smoke free and has easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and card slots. Casino
34.1665, -114.26595

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Blythe Intaglios

  Fenced out! This zigzag fence opening is supposed to keep animals and maybe dirt bikes out but it also does a good job of blocking wheelchair access. The intaglios are prehistoric figures made by scraping away the dark rocks. It’s very hard to see them from ground level. There are six figures in three locations. All are surrounded by chain link fencing to keep them from being damaged.

The intaglios are about 15 miles north of Blythe on the west side of the road. Look for the sign and also a roadside stone monument on the east side. The dirt road to the intaglios is rough but okay for passenger cars and small RVs.  Intaglios
33.80003, -114.53273

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Palo Verde Park Campground

  This is a small county campground located right off of Hwy. 78 and along a little lake which was, at one time, a loop of the Colorado River. Some of the sites have a very pretty view of the water and mountains. There aren’t any hookups and just a few scattered tables but there is a restroom, dump station and potable water. The ground is hard packed dirt so rolling around is fairly easy. Campground
33.39952, -114.72503

Monday, February 18, 2013

BLM Boondocking

   Another beautiful boondocking and gathering spot for the rubber tramps, found by Bob of Cheaprvliving .

  There are three different types of BLM boondocking. Long Term Visitor Areas, found in California, Arizona and Nevada, require the purchase of a 180.00 permit which allows you to stay from September 15 to April 15. A short term permit, which costs $40.00, is also available for these areas. It’s good for 14 days and may be renewed. Other BLM boondocking areas, located in most of the western states, are completely free of charge but have a 14 day limit. After that time you must relocate.The rules are slightly different in each state so check the BLM site for the state where you are camping.

  This free camping spot that Bob found is surrounded by private land but very close to Yuma. In a situation like this, the only way to be sure that you’re on BLM land is to have a very detailed map. The maps are available online or at a BLM office.  Each map covers just a small area ( California has 104 separate maps!) so just buy the maps for areas that you are really interested in visiting.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Yuma Casinos

   Warm winter weather and a close proximity to Mexico makes Yuma very popular with snowbirds. There are over 30 RV parks and acres of BLM boondocking land. Most of the Walmarts do not allow overnight RV parking but all three casinos do. Starting with the 2015/2016 winter season all of the casino are charging a small nightly fee and some are limiting the length of stay.

   The Quechan Casino, pictured above, has two large dirt parking lots. The lots start to fill by late afternoon so plan on a fairly early arrival to get a parking spot. This is the nicest casino of the three with a good ventilation system, new machines and easy to move chairs. It’s an uphill trek to the casino entrance. Quechan
32.73971, -114.72083

   The Paradise Casino also has dirt lots for RV parking. They’re low lying and get flooded during rain storms but there’s always plenty of room to park. The casino is small and a little smoky. The side entrance has a sloped sidewalk and the doors are not automatic so it might be easier to use the main front entrance. Paradise
32.73326, -114.61317
  Cocopah Casino has wide paved spaces for RVs. They’re numbered and there may be a small fee to stay overnight. We didn’t see any signs. We stayed the night and left about nine the next morning. Nobody came to sign us in but we noticed the most of the other RVs had hang tags. The casino is easy to get to from the RV lot. It’s fairy small and has very heavy chairs. Cocopah
32.6057, -114.65429

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sanguinetti House Museum

   E.F. Sanguinetti moved to Yuma in 1883 when he was 15 and became a well known businessmen with a chain of general stores, a dairy, an ice plant, a mortuary, a stockyard and a thousand acre farm. The two original rooms of his home, with later additions added on, houses the museum displays. This is a very small museum, somewhat lacking in content. The little garden and aviary behind the house are very nice.

  The museum and garden are accessible but there’s a step down to the original two room house section. It can be accessed through an outside door. The gift shop has a step up onto the porch but no ramp.

  There are several free city lots across the street. Parking is also available at city hall. All the lots can accommodate RVs. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.  Museum
32.7233, -114.61967

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yuma Crossing Bike Path

  This is a short trail, about 1 1/2 miles one way, which runs from East Wet Lands Park to West Wet Lands Park. Most of the trail is along the canal levee so it’s not very scenic but it’s still a nice walk with a wide smooth trail surface.

  The parking lots at either end are large enough for RVs.  Bike Path
32.72751, -114.6161

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park

  The depot was establish in 1864 to supply frontier forts in the western territories of what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. A six months supply of ammunition, food and clothing plus the wagons and mules to transport the goods were stored at the depot. Five original builds are still standing. There are a few small exhibits in the buildings and displays of old equipment on the grounds.

  Most of the site is accessible but there are a few slightly high thresholds.

  The parking lots are large enough for RVs.  Depot
   32.72777, -114.62362

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

  Experience prison life from 1876 – 1909  by stepping into one of the small six man cells, visiting a dark solitary confinement dugout or dressing up in a striped shirt for a mug shot photograph. Actually the prisoners had it pretty good with shower facilities, electricity, a library, and a chance to earn money by selling their crafts.

  The museum, theater, cells and prison grounds are accessible. The door from the museum to the grounds is heavy. The guard tower, located on top of the water storage tank, is not accessible due to a long flight of steps. The prison cemetery is located down a slope and accessed by a path with loose rock.

   The overflow parking area has long Bus/RV spaces.  Prison
  32.72779, -114.61478

Friday, February 8, 2013

Museum of History In Granite

  This is quite an ambitious project. Jacques-Andre Istel bought the land without any planned use for it but he finally settled on inscribing a record of all human history on large granite panels. It’s supposedly constructed to last for 4000 years, as a permanent record for future generations.

  The panels are a work in progress. They’re also a bit haphazard, covering such diverse subjects as the beginning of the world according to the Bible, the evolution of man, the French foreign legion, and the history of flight.

  Admission is just a few dollars. If you want to visit the little pyramid and stand at the self proclaimed “center of the world” you’ll have to pay a couple of more dollars but you do get an official certificate! This part can definitely be skipped. There’s also a short movie which does not explain the project very well and a little church on the top of a huge mound of dirt.

  The little church is not accessible due to a long flight of steps but everything else is. Wide, smooth, concrete sidewalks provide access to all of the inscribed panels.

   The parking lot is large enough for RVs. Museum
   32.74984, -114.76507

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Castle Dome Ghost Town

   Only about seven of the ghost town buildings were found on site. The rest were reassembled from bits and pieces of buildings found nearby so the town is lacking in authenticity but it makes up for it by having tons of mining equipment and artifacts that the owners have gathered together. Many items were found while rappelling into the old mine shafts.

   Admission is $10.00 which includes a self guided tour of the town buildings and a walk along a path through the original town site which has many old mine shafts, a graveyard, and some old equipment.

  Nothing is accessible. The paths are loose rock and all of the buildings have steps.

  Look for the sign at mile marker 55 - Kofa NWR Castle Dome. The road is paved for a couple of miles then becomes washboard dirt through the Yuma Proving Ground and into the refuge. Once on the dirt road it’s about eight miles to the ghost town.This is a two lane road with only a few spots where a large RV can turn around. Because of the condition of the road surface you may not want to subject your RV to the abuse that driving on it entails.  Ghost Town
33.04625, -114.1779

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Kofa NWR Boondocking

   Camping, up to 14 days a year, is permitted as long as you stay within 100’ of a designated road. There are many large flat areas but we had a little trouble finding a good entry point because the road grader had made a pretty high berm along the sides of the road.

  Look for the sign at mile marker 55 - Kofa NWR Castle Dome. The road is paved for a couple of miles then becomes washboarded dirt through the Yuma Proving Ground and into the refuge. You must travel on the dirt road about four miles before coming to the refuge. This is a two lane road with only a few spots where a large RV can turn around. Because of the condition of the road surface you may not want to subject your RV to the abuse that driving on it entails.  Refuge
33.02302, -114.22242

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tyson's Well Stage Station Museum

  This little museum, housed in the old stage station, consists of four rooms of artifacts donated by the citizens. Exhibits on the grounds include a assay shack and a little stone village built by Walter Barrett.

  There are several accessibility problems. Most of the doorways have a step up or a high threshold. Some of the doorways may be too narrow for larger wheelchairs.

  The parking lot is big enough for RVs but there’s only one entrance/exit so if you’re driving a large RV you may want to park next door at Silly Al’s Pizza. Museum
33.66619, -114.21973