Sunday, January 3, 2016

On the Road: Marana, AZ, to Laughlin, NV

Thursday, December 24

We were on the final leg of our journey, and we were eager to arrive in Laughlin and settle in to one place for a while.

The most direct route from Marana, AZ, to Laughlin is through Phoenix, but I'm not about to drive through that monster of a town. It's big and busy, and I don't like driving in big and busy places, especially when pulling a trailer. So, we headed 40 miles up I-10 past Picacho Peak -- a noted area landmark -- to Casa Grande and took I-8 west towards Yuma on what is locally known as the Phoenix bypass. We followed I-8 west for about 70 miles through some of the best stands of saguaro cactus to Gila Bend. For RVers, there are a couple of RV parks here, along with a good place to get gas.

At Gila Bend, we took Arizona 85 north along a 4 lane highway for 45 miles where we once again intersected with I-10. This time, however, we headed east, back towards Phoenix, for about 10 miles where we then took Highway 303 due north. This freeway-style highway was easy driving. We intersected with US 60 in 15 miles, then headed northwest towards Wickenburg.

Wickenburg is another place that isn't particularly RV friendly as regards gas stations. There is a station northwest of town, though, that is large enough to handle RVs. At Wickenburg, US 60 heads west, so we picked up US 93 and continued northwest. At this point, our 4-lane highway gave away to a 2-lane road for the next 30 miles or so. The impatient lunatic drivers emerged, and this stretch proved to be perhaps the most stressful of the trip. There are occasional passing lanes, and eventually the road returns to 4 lanes for most of the way. Just north of Wickenburg is one of the best Joshua Tree forests I have ever seen. Then the saguaros return. The scenery along this road can be quite spectacular, especially around Burro Creek.

We finally hit I-40, where we turned west to Kingman, then picked up Highway 68 for the final leg to Laughlin. It was good to finally arrive at the Avi KOA south of Laughlin, our home for the next week or two. I'll review the park in another entry.

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