Needles, CA was the first town in California that travelers came to when heading west on Route 66 through the Mohave Desert. It had thriving businesses of gas stations, motels, restaurants, gift shops, and then I-40 was built and like a lot of other towns along the old Rte 66, it floundered and although not a ghost town, it has certainly suffered. Almost 5,000 people live around Needles with an unemployment rate of 9.6%. However, it has a nice Coast to Coast park fronting the Colorado River and we stayed a week there. The day we arrived, we were invited to join everyone on the beachfront for a hot dog roast and potluck. So off I went to the grocery store to buy hot dogs and buns. But wait..............................there was no grocery store! The only remaining grocery store (Bashas) folded up their tent a year ago and now the only place you can get groceries is gas stations, Dollar Stores and the 99 Cent Store, which is new. So I went to the 99 Cent Store and purchased a brand of hot dogs I had never heard of and we joined the folks around the firepit to roast (char) our dogs and share conversation. We survived without any digestive issues, so guess I shouldn’t be such a hot dog snob.
We used that week to unwind and relax after the last weeks of being on the go and lots of activities. We loved being with all our friends and enjoyed all that we did, but it also felt good to just sit and chill. The resort sits on the banks of the beautiful Colorado River and although the park is small (less than 100 sites), it is terraced so each row has a view of the River. It was hot while we were there, in the 90s) and we were glad there was a lot of shade trees and our air conditioner worked. The only thing that gave me pause, was the signs all over the resort that stated: DO NOT WALK DOGS IN THE DESERT (across the street), THE RATTLESNAKES ARE OUT! Across the river there was a substantially larger and grander home than those surrounding it and someone told us it belonged to Chuck Norris and that he would arrive to the place by seaplane on occasion. Not sure why he would want a place in Needles, but he was on the Arizona side of the River, so maybe he considered it Bullhead City, AZ.
Bullhead City was only about 30 miles north and it has everything you can think of, so we took a day trip and shopped at all our favorites, Kohls, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Smiths (a very nice grocery store in the Southwest) and Verizon. We seem to be visiting a lot of Verizon stores on this trip as we still haven’t figured our phones out and have to stop every once in a while to find out why it is doing xxx, and we usually find out it is something we pushed unknowingly. Anyway, after getting our shopping fix, we crossed the River again at Laughlin and tried our luck at one of the casinos. I got lucky and won enough to buy our supper before heading back to Needles. And check out that we were in 3 states that day: California, Arizona and Nevada.
After our week of R&R, we headed west on I-40 and drove 240 miles (a long day for us) through the Mohave Desert, where there is pretty much nothing, and arrived at an Elks Lodge with RV parking in Palmdale, CA . The campsites had electricity and water hookups but there was not a breaker on the electrical post. Ed plugged us in and sparks flew. Checking inside, most of our circuits were not working, the TV, microwave, water heater, and most of our outlets. UhOh. Ed spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what was wrong but was afraid we had fried our electrical system. We unplugged so as to not cause any further damage and did not sleep well that night. We spent the next morning calling around trying to find a repair facility that would take a look at it. One said they could schedule us for April 30th! Finally, we found someone who said they would fit us in the next day. We found another Elks Lodge in Lancaster, the next town over and only 3 miles from the repair shop. So we moved and spent another near sleepless night. Fortunately, the Lodge had cribbage that night so Ed went to play to take his mind off what was going on.
Everyone who Rvs knows there are bound to be problems with rigs that bounce along down the highway, and it is usually a matter of how much money and how much time is it going to take. So that was the news we were waiting for after driving the rig to the repair shop. We waited in the car for a couple of hours and no one had gotten to it yet, so we asked if there was a place to get breakfast nearby and they sent us to the best breakfast we have ever had. That was a good way to take our minds off what was going on. (I had the California Benedict, which was English muffin topped with Canadian Bacon, poached egg, avocado, tomatoes and a delicious Hollandaise sauce. Yummy. Ed had an omlette souffle filled with everything you can imagine, plus fruit and a sweet pastry. Yummy.)
We drove back to the repair shop and found the service tech just getting into our rig. He came out a few minutes later and said “All Fixed.” Magic words! The power surge had triggered an automatic shut down on the Invertor and it just had to be reset. Whew! Only $117 later and we were on our way. We headed out immediately for Rincon Parkway Beach where we had planned to go the day before with big smiles on our faces. Sometimes things just work out. Not always, though. We are on a run of things breaking and not working. We filled the dumpster in Needles with our printer, which decided to give out after many years of service, our flat screen TV that broke while being transported in one of our bins, our battery charger that we have had for many years and just a few days ago Ed’s camera that he has had for several years and really likes, gave up. Not to mention the car air conditioning quit and the handle to one of the outside bins broke in Ed’s hand as he was opening it. Duct tape fixed that for the moment as well as the toilet seat whose hinge finally broke. Our computer is now acting up and we will have to take it to a “hospital” to find out what is going on with it.
We are finishing up several days of camping at a State Park along the Pacific Ocean at Rincon Beach. It is a most unlikely camping spot as it has 127 spaces 45' long and you park end to end with no hookups. There is an active bike lane 2' from the rigs, a busy 2 lane road right next to the sites, a railroad track 25 yards away, and highway 101 just up the hill. BUT............the Pacific Ocean and a beach, when it is not high tide, is 10' from your rig and the sunsets at night are gorgeous. The sound of the ocean drowns out all other sounds and it is wonderful to go to sleep by. It is one of our favorite places to camp.
The first night we were here, after all the stress of the previous few days, we found a spot we could get into (which is not easy), saw the most gorgeous sunset and a whale breached right in front of us. Awesome.
Can't include any photos this time as the computer is on its way to the "emergency" room for the Geek Squad to work on it. Hope I can update with photos soon.