THE KAERU KID: Discover treasures just southwest of Las Vegas

bioline_KaeruKidA smooth two-and-a-half hour drive from Las Vegas to Lake Havasu City in Arizona ended with a two night stay at an Affordable Travel Club member’s home. Twenty dollars a night for two people, including breakfast and, best of all, meeting local friendly hosts who can provide insight into the area that one might not be aware of, makes this a great club to join.

The Old London Bridge is still here. Robert McCulloch, the city’s founder, spent almost $10 million purchasing the bridge and reassembling it here, where it officially opened in 1971. He tried to build a British-themed area around the bridge, but was only partially successful. Most activities are water-centered. The temperatures are much hotter and colder here than in Las Vegas. I fail to see why more than 50,000 people live here versus Las Vegas where we have better restaurants,  activities, services such as hospitals, airports, brand stores and water activities at nearby Lake Mead, and no state income tax.

The Poston Memorial Monument in Arizona. photo by the Kaeru Kid

The Poston Memorial Monument in Arizona. photo by the Kaeru Kid

The next morning, after we enjoyed a hearty breakfast made by our hosts, we passed through Parker, Ariz. to photograph the Poston Memorial Monument. I was about 7 years old when first brought to Camp 3 and I could not really recognize any landmarks. I remember that when we were finally given permission to wander outside the fenced enclosure, a favorite activity of the camp dwellers was rockhounding. My father led and taught many groups. I never knew where he acquired his knowledge, and was amazed how he could find geodes and beautiful stones when they all looked like pebbles to me.

I read about Hauser’s Geode Beds near Blythe, and brought shovels and picks to do some exploration. Finding the location was relatively easy by following these directions (www.nuggetwranglers.net/hauser_geode_beds.htm) and a good dirt road led us to the spot. For tips on how to find them: http://ow.ly/U95he. Evidence of digging was everywhere but we were the only ones here. We tried a few random areas but it was hard work without any discovery. Discouraged, we left because there were still many other places I wanted to take my travel mate.

The next destination was about 15 miles north of Blythe to see the Blythe intaglios or geoglyphs. I’ve written about them in the past but for a more detailed description, go to: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blythe_Intaglios. These are nowhere as interesting as the Nazca lines in Peru, but to see these large figures in the desert without going to Peru is an opportunity not to be missed.

A quick half hour drive landed me in Quartzsite, Ariz., where seniors in RVs gather each winter, mostly in January and February. The normal population is less than 5,000 souls, but some claim that the town has more than a million visitors destined to see rock and gem exhibits and go to swap meets during these two months.

Unless you are a prude, I recommend a visit to the Reader’s Oasis Books at 690 East Main St. It is run by Paul Winer, a retired musician;  he has many vintage books at a fair price. Be warned that he is naked except for a sock covering his genitals.
Joanne’s Gum Museum is also located in town but I found out about it after I had left.

We returned to our hosts’ home in Lake Havasu and the next morning departed for Las Vegas,  with one more stop in Chloride, Ariz.

The Chloride mountain mural. photo by The Kaeru Kid

The Chloride mountain mural. photo by the Kaeru Kid

Chloride is an interesting place to visit for a couple of hours. It is just north of Kingman, Ariz. on IS 93, the road to Las Vegas from Kingman. Chloride is said to be the oldest continually inhabited town in Arizona. Mining attracted the first settlers and primarily silver chloride, hence the name. At its peak, the population was around 2,000, but now there are about 250 people there. After a pleasant lunch at Yesterdays Restaurant, we took a slow drive around this quasi ghost town, peeping at interesting yards decorated with either junk or yard art, depending on your point of view. I personally think these are creative efforts.

There are gunfights every high noon on Saturdays, except in July and August when they are only on the first and third Saturdays. The not-to-miss attraction are the murals painted on the mountainside by Roy Purcell. High clearance vehicles are recommended, but I drove up carefully in a Prius.

This trip illustrates how many fun places are practically in your backyard.

The Kaeru Kid lives in Las Vegas and hopes readers will send him comments at KaeruKid@yahoo.com. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei Weekly.

 

Las Vegas Tidbits

Takeshi Omae, who won a Michelin star as executive chef of Morimoto XEX in Tokyo, has opened Japanese Cuisine by Omae 3650 S. Decatur Blvd. #26, (702) 966-8080.
Because he had not had a liquor license approved yet, he was offering a fixed menu omakase, kaiseki-type (chef’s choice, traditional multi-course Japanese meal) dinner for $100, but said it would increase to $150 after the liquor license approval.

The dinner was good and featured things like assorted sashimi flown direct from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, real wasabi root to grate, and interesting beautifully decorated desserts.

It’s open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and reservations required.  There are only 12 seats, so reservations are essential, although there was only one other couple during my experience.

There is a small pond with koi purportedly costing in excess of $25,000. I think there are better choices to spend on a high priced dinner such as Raku and Sen of Japan, among others.

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