Blythe, Tamarisk Shoe Tree and Rice, California
One Day [11 November 2002 -- Veterans Day]; 461 Miles

Playing in the Southwest Deserts of California

Leave Tempe, Arizona and take I-10 west to Blythe, California. [I am so glad to have found 103.1 KCDX, Florence. No DJs, no commercials -- just one song after another after another. Many of the songs are deep album cuts. I was able to listen to 103.1 for 94 miles.]

Driving I-10 west is nice especially after you pass the Hwy-85 off-ramp. Hwy-85 is used to connect I-10 with I-8 (the San Diego expressway).

But a road trip doesn't really begin until you exit the interstate. Shortly after entering California, exit I-10 onto US Hwy-95 North for 46 miles to Vidal Junction which is 6 miles north of Vidal, California. Our trip on Hwy-95 begins with a huge helping of litter.

The east side of Hwy-95 goes along the Colorado River whereas the west side is rocky desert. Hwy-95 likes to play the dividing line between life and death. The drive north offers numerous colorful views.

There were numerous picture taking opportunities, but I decided to take the same route home and would make stops on the return trip. Fast forward 46 miles to Vidal Junction.

At Vidal Junction turn west onto CA Hwy-62 as if we were heading for Twentynine Palms.

The Tamarisk Shoe Tree is getting close when you cross the railroad tracks. Here is a spot that trains once stopped. Amazingly, this burned-out railroad truss has a litter problem.

The Tamarisk Shoe Tree looked nice and healthy. Here is another view and here is a picture taken from across the highway near the railroad tracks. I was surprised to encounter an Arizona political sign (close-up view). It doesn't rain much out here and it always seems to be windy (i.e. it is dry). Here is a plea for water. This area is experiencing a litter problem. Here is litter south of the tree and here is litter across the highway.

Once you get away from the shoe tree, then the desert is clean and you can take in scenic views of far-off sand dunes.

It is time to visit Rice. Our visit to Tamarisk Shoe Tree resulted in a haul of five bags of litter. Lots of litter remains.

Rice is located in the Colorado Desert part of California. It would be fun to drive between Rice and Blythe using the Blythe Rice Road (may require 4WD high-clearance vehicle). Rice seems to be becoming the home of the Underwear Tree ( another view). This old house sure had a nice view. I noticed the train had graffiti on it. The trains still use Rice to a small extent. ( parked train cars)

Leave Rice heading east on CA Hwy-62 -- we are going home. This was a nice piece of work by the Iron Workers Unit 433.

On the drive south on US Hwy-95, stop and hike to the base of a mountain, a fun Not So Grande picture, the Blythe Intaglios (human figure and animal figures), and a big field of tall cotton).

An AzLitter.org Alert was issued on Ave 75E. The I-10 off/on ramps at this location are for trucks hauling stuff out from nowhere. This ramp has a serious litter problem ( another picture).

Distances
     94 miles.........  103.1 KCDX goes out
    147 miles.........  Quartzsite (no time to do 'Q' Mountain)
    167 miles.........  Exit I-10 onto US Hwy-95N
    213 miles.........  Vidal Junction switch to CA Hwy-62W
    222 miles.........  cross RR tracks
    223 miles.........  burned-out RR truss
    228 miles.........  Tamarisk Shoe Tree
    230 miles.........  Rice

    Go back the exact same route as we came.
    CA Hwy-62E to US Hwy-95S to I-10E.

    I left home at 6:30am and wanted to return
    by 5:00pm.  I arrived home at 4:57pm.

    461 miles exactly.  $23 in gas.

    One head-on avoided thanks to alert
    defensive driving.  Is "drive fast
    yet safe" an oxymoron?

Yucca Mountain road trip included a visit to the Tamarisk Shoe Tree via Quartzsite and Hwy-95N in Arizona to Parker.


Author: G.D.Thurman [gdt@deru.com]
Created: 12 Nov 2002