Driving through the desert in summer is a shimmering experience. The heat haze often masks the view. But when it rains, the desert is an unbelievable place to be.
As I headed back east I crossed the eastern Californian desert in the rain. Taking local roads – 177 and 62 – meant I was able to pull off the road from time to time, walk around the van smelling the sweet fragrance of the rain on the desert sands – complete with umbrella!
It had been extremely hot on my way east, and this made a welcome change.
Crossing into Arizona I headed for London Bridge in Lake Havasu City. The bridge was dismantled in London and brought across, brick by brick to be re-assembled on its new site, decades ago. Although I knew of this, I was surprised to see it as part of the city infrastructure, rather than a tourist attraction.
Driving Historic Route 66 has never been a great ambition of mine. I have at times stumbled across sections of it in Missouri, New Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona. This route, which was immortalised in song by Russ Freeman as far back as 1946, is world renowned. However, many are not aware that this road no longer exists. Some has just deteriorated, much of it is covered by other roads.
But in northwestern Arizona there is a section which is still complete. It is often recommended to those who wish to drive the route. At less than 100 miles, it is a lightly travelled and pleasant road to drive. Though nothing spectacular.
I chose to start in Topock “where the Mother Road meets the Colorado”. From there to Kingman it is mostly a spectacular ride over a road which looks like it has not been upgraded since the middle of last century. A truly historic experience. The highlights along the way are
Oatman – step back into last century
and Sitgreaves Pass.