I can hardly believe we are approaching the Memorial Day weekend already. I don’t know what my family has planned yet, but you will read about it! I wanted to wrap up Mom and Dad’s trip to Bullhead City, Arizona today.
Should you ever go, they recommend the Holiday Inn Express. The hotel is only a year old, so it is current and clean. They offer a cold and hot breakfast included in the nightly rate, and they are pet friendly. If you choose to stay at one of the casino hotels in Laughlin, Nevada (across the Colorado River), be mindful that they are older and smoky. We heard complaints about the rooms wreaking of cigarette smoke. The Colorado Belle didn’t survive COVID, and it is permanently shut down.
After their breakfast, Mom and Dad headed out for a scenic drive off Nevada highway #163 onto NPS road #20 or, as it is called, Christmas Tree Pass. You don’t have a sign indicating NPS #20 or Christmas Tree Pass Road, so plug it into your GPS and follow the instructions.
The road is fairly easy, but it does get sandy in spots. This can be problematic for lower-riding vehicles. Because of that, we recommend higher-clearance vehicles to be safe. We don’t want you getting stuck out in the heat!
Mom read about the Grapevine Trail, and in two miles, they turned left into a parking lot for the trailhead. Parking is free, but there are no human restrooms. Only one other car was in the lot, and a big water bottle was sitting by their trunk. Uh oh. They forgot their water! Even though the trail was less than a mile, they should have gone back for their water. You never know when someone will twist an ankle or fall, and getting out could take some time. You can always carry water back, but you don’t want to be without it when you need it.
Just ¼ of a mile up on the sandy, flat trail were bunches of rocks with petroglyphs on them. Dad had never seen so many images ever! They are quite impressive and worth the short walk. If you continue on the trail up the canyon, you will be shocked: wild grapes! Yes, lush, green grapes are growing in the desert. Apparently, this is why the trail is called Grapevine. Very cool!
All in all, I think they hiked about a mile. They got back into the car and continued on Christmas Tree Pass to the top where they were supposed to see a tree decorated with Christmas ornaments, thus the name. However, they saw no decorations. Mom was a little disappointed, but the drive was scenic.
They turned around to drive back, for a total of 12 miles. Mom read about a ghost town named Oatman nearby, and Dad plugged it into his GPS. The drive from Laughlin is about 45 minutes or 32 miles on paved roads, and they arrived just in time for lunch. They were greeted by wild burros who apparently have claimed Oatman as their home. The burros are indeed wild, so you have to be mindful; yet, they are friendly, especially when given treats! I can relate to that. Woof!
Oatman was a gold-mining town founded in 1902. It produced high volumes of gold until War World II hit, and the mine was shut down and never reopened. Today, the town still looks like a mining town and is a bit rough around the edges, but that is part of the appeal. It boasts a couple of restaurants and lots of little shops.
Mom and Dad chose the Oatman Hotel where over $250,000 worth of single dollar bills are stapled to the wall. Legend has it miners were required to make a deposit for their bar tab because the bar owners didn’t know if they would live. Mining was so dangerous, and people died every day. Miners would write their name on the bills and stapled them to the wall. Once they drank their fill, they would have to give more money.
Anyway, Dad’s pulled pork sandwich was good, but Mom said the burger was something out of a 70s school lunch program. Nasty! I’m sure I could have helped her eat that; I’m not too picky! She’d go back but order something else. The atmosphere is fun, and the service was friendly.
Depending upon the time of day, a gun fight might erupt in the middle of town, or you could get an education on the town history. Dad hung out with the burros while Mom shopped a bit. All the buildings are showing their age and tell a bit of the history of town. This is quite a surprise in the desert and a highlight for them.
The quickest way back to Bullhead City was on Silver City Road, which is a dirt road out of Oatman. Cars will do just fine on this well-used route. Mom and Dad did a quick change into their swim suits and headed over to Lake Mohave. Bullhead City and Laughlin are water towns, afterall.
Their National Park Pass got them in. If you don’t have one, you will need to pay a heft day pass of $25! The lake was packed with people, and they tried the Katherine Landing spot per the guard at the gate.
People had their shade tarps up and were sitting in their chairs enjoying the view. Lake Mohave is very pretty and is part of the Lake Mead National Recreational Area, the first and largest in the country.
Mom and Dad stepped in but decided it was a bit chilly for them. Yes, they are Phoenicians who like their pool temperature at 90 degrees! I am sure I would have jumped right in for a refreshing swim. Dogs are welcome in certain beaches at the lake. Please check before bringing Fido, and if the temperatures are hot, the sand might burn their paws.
People were on jet skis, boating, fishing, wading, and swimming. You can do it all at the lake! Mom and Dad were running out of day and decided they would need to come back and explore Lake Mohave a bit more next time, like a boat tour.
They ended the day with dinner at the Black Bear Diner, a chain restaurant similar to Perkins. The food was okay and reasonably priced. Mom pulled a Kuma and doesn’t remember much after that. She hit the hay! I guess she had a big day.
The drive back is easy but can be a little longer with all the traffic. They opted to stop in Wickenburg for lunch at the Sizzling Wok. It was excellent, and they gave Mom a rose for Mother’s Day.
We were glad to have them home. Although I love adventures with my family, I don’t do well with the heat anymore. I was grateful to be in my own home with my brother, Mowgli. We keep each other company.
There you have it! My account of a weekend trip I didn’t take. Let me know if you visit and what you think. Until next time, stay cool. The hot season is here.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
Enjoy my blog at https://www.lorrainebosse-smith.com/category/kuma/kumas-great-adventures/
and be sure to follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog/ and Instagram: kumaitothedog
Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!
Ginger Stahl says
Sorry, Kuma; your mom did a good job narrating what could have been your adventure. Guess with summer coming, you’ll have to lay low till the cooler fall season kicks in to get out and hike and explore.
Details were good for those considering making this trip. We all learn new things every time you hike and describe your adventures.