Travel Blog


Hole Jackson Rafting whitewater

August 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Jackson Hole raftingJackson Hole rafting is home to one of the most exiting activities in the world. White Water Rafting has quickly become a summer activity favorite. Rafting trips vary from the calm, scenic upper Snake River which offers a unique perspective of Grand Teton National Park to the wild and exciting Lower Snake River.

The lower Snake River route runs the whitewater of the Snake River Canyon. Experience Big Kahuna and other fun rapids around the area. It’s Jackson’s most popular trip for good reason! Jackson Hole lies just west of the Continental Divide and occupies about 400 square miles. The waters of the Snake River take up part of the valley, making for an impressive view and fantastic whitewater rafting opportunities.

The Jackson Hole Whitewater offers Whitewater and Scenic Rafting Trips on the Snake River. It provides 8 miles of wildest adventurous whitewater trip in Jackson Hole. Float for 13 miles past some of the most beautiful scenery in Jackson Hole, the entire trip takes about 7 hours and many outfitters will include lunch on the river.

Jackson Hole rafting whitewater

Snake River in Jackson Hole Whitewater Rafting

Take Water River Trips through 8 miles of whitewater in the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. Combining spectacular scenery with the excitement of rolling rapids, this trip has all the ingredients for the perfect river adventure. The small 8-man paddle rafts are available on the whitewater section starting in June.
Overnight Trips-Scenic/Whitewater Combo

There are many whitewater rafting outfitters in the Jackson Hole area. You can find many on the internet, however we suggest that really word of mouth and referrals is always the best way to go. Going on a class 1 or 2 set of rapids, is not dangerous with only 2 foot waves, however higher class rapids require more skilled guides that are experienced in handling groups in more aggressive whitewater rapids.

For more whitewater rafting info in Arizona, click here.

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Rafting River Snake whitewater

June 7th, 2017 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Rafting River Snake whitewater – Take Water River Trips through 8 miles of whitewater in the Grand Canyon of the Snake River. Combining spectacular scenery with the excitement of rolling rapids, this trip has all the ingredients for the perfect river adventure. Small 8-man paddle rafts are available on the whitewater section starting in June.
Overnight Trips-Scenic/Whitewater Combo

The lower Snake River route runs the whitewater of the Snake River Canyon. Experience Big Kahuna and other fun rapids around the area. It’s Jackson’s most popular trip for good reason! Jackson Hole lies just west of the Continental Divide and occupies about 400 square miles. The waters of the Snake River take up part of the valley, making for an impressive view and fantastic whitewater rafting opportunities.

Rafting River Snake whitewater

Jackson Hole White Water Rafting
Jackson Hole is home to one of the most exiting activities in the world. White Water Rafting has quickly become a summer activity favorite. Rafting trips vary from the calm, scenic upper Snake River which offers a unique perspective of Grand Teton National Park to the wild and exciting Lower Snake River.

The Jackson Hole Whitewater offers Whitewater and Scenic Rafting Trips on the Snake River. It provides 8 miles of wildest adventurous whitewater trip in Jackson Hole. Float for 13 miles past some of the most beautiful scenery in Jackson Hole, the entire trip takes about 7 hours and many outfitters will include lunch on the river.

There are many whitewater rafting outfitters in the Jackson Hole Snake River whitewater rafting area. You can find many on the internet, however we suggest that really word of mouth and referrals is always the best way to go. Going on a class 1 or 2 set of rapids, is not dangerous with only 2 foot waves, however higher class rapids require more skilled guides that are experienced in handling groups in more aggressive whitewater rapids.

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Arizona Rafting Whitewater

April 28th, 2017 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Whitewater rafting in Arizona, brings an image of the Colorado River rushing through the Grand Canyon to mind. There is also the Verde River and The Salt River, which offer unique whitewater experiences and are less popular with vacationing whitewater rafters.

The Colorado River basin is enormous and com­plex (naturally so, even before-modern Americans began hacking it up into one of the most complicated and controversial water-delivery systems in the world), and virtually every other river in the region eventually will flow into the Colorado. In the whitewater world, the Colorado is “the big one,” and even today, the ultimate experience.

Arizona Rafting Whitewater

The image of Arizona whitewater rafting is one of power and sweep big volume rapids where the surge of moving water even more than the configuration of canyon, boulders, and bank creates the rafting challenge. The water is a dull brown, muddy and opaque, frothing rather than sparkling.

Rafting the full 225 miles of the Colorado River is perhaps the top adventure travel dream trip in America. A few other rivers in Arizona provide shorter, scenic trips.

Arizona Rafting Whitewater

White water rafting on the Verde River
The Verde River is Arizona’s only national wild and scenic river. The section from near the town of Childs to Horseshoe Reservoir runs most of the way through the Mazatzal Wilderness.

Trips run from February to April when spring run-off brings the whitewater up to Class 3. While the Verde River can be floated practically any month of the year, its primary river-running season is February to April with the best being March and April. Always want to check conditions ahead of time. Guides are available.

The season on the Verde River runs from February to April. Most trips run about 25 miles of up to class III difficulty rapids.

Whitewater rafting on the Salt River in Arizona
Salt River Canyon provides some excellent whitewater rafting opportunities. Single- and multi- day trips are available with rapids up to Class 4. Single day trips are 10 miles and often include a pack lunch and possible short hikes in side canyons. 2, 3 and 5-day trips are also available. They bring you deeper and deeper into the canyon and away from civilization.

The Salt River is situated along the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau between mountain and desert ecosystems. The result is an interesting variety of plant, animal and bird life. Trips start through oak and juniper woodlands before dropping into the Lower Sonoran desert with its magnificent saguaro cactus.

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Canyon Grand Rafting whitewater

November 28th, 2016 ernie Posted in Grand Canyon No Comments »

Canyon Grand Rafting whitewater offers endless views of scenic wonder, rich in Native American history and loaded with fun and adventure, with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Exploring the Grand Canyon by river is an experience unlike any other.

Discover hidden waterfalls and paradisaical side canyons – areas of Grand Canyon National Park that are accessible only by river. Listen to the sound of the mighty Colorado River as you lie down under a blanket of innumerable stars each night on multi day trips after your Grand Canyon rafting experience. Watch the morning sun cast its warm glow through towering canyon walls. Discover the rush of excitement from legendary Colorado River whitewater. Escape completely on a worry-free vacation with no schedules and no stress – where time stands still. These are just a few of the many benefits of taking a trip like this.

Canyon Grand Rafting whitewater

In the grandest canyon of the Colorado River, experience the whitewater rafting excitement, serenity, joy and enchanting beauty of the river as it transforms this divine chasm. Go Grand Canyon rafting 187 miles in 6 or 7 days, each day descending deeper into geologic time.

The Grand Canyon is ever-changing, with massive walls that step back to expose eons of natural history. At one place dark and narrow, and at another lush with waterfalls thundering hundreds of feet in luminous free fall. Daily side hikes lead you to sparkling streams, pristine pools, green fern glens, and ancient Anasazi ruins.

The astounding scenery through Grand Canyon National Park is enhanced by the thrill of over 60 rapids.

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Historic Route 66

September 21st, 2013 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Historic Route 66We have traveled across the USA many times by car and have seen signs for historic route 66 in many states. For those that may not be aware this route was the two lane road that travelers took when they were traveling from Chicago across the prairies to the coast in California. Before there was a highway, there was a wagon trail that wound its way across the prairies and through the mountains.

Historic Route 66

Many small towns and villages grew up at strategic places along the trail. These were places to rest up, refuel horses and obtain some water. Later motels sprung up and restaurants for weary travelers to stop at to spend the night and have something to eat. For years these hotels and restaurants provided a great service and they prospered as well.

Frontier restaurant on route 66But then in the 30’s after the depression, the US began building the interstate system with 4 lane roads that negotiated the most direct route possible and bypassed many of these same towns and villages. Almost overnight new restaurants, hotels, and towns grew up along the interstate and suddenly many of the locations along route 66 went out of business because they simply could not survive when traffic no longer came their way. The picture on the left is one such location that still exists on old route 66 in Arizona not far from Kingman. You can still stay at the Frontier Motel and eat in the restaurant. The food is good and the people are friendly.

Oatmen Arizona

oatman arizonaWe have driven parts of Rout 66 and seen some of the historic buildings. We have driven through the mountains and seen some of the locations that existed. Any that can still make it as historic places to visit are still in business. Some sell trinkets to keep them going that become souvenirs for tourists who are trying to experience some of the nostalgia of the early 1900’s. Oatmen is an old mining town in Arizona on route 66 that still exists because of the wild donkeys that roam the street. These donkeys are descendants from the donkeys that the minors used at the beginning of the century when they were looking for gold.

Traveling across the prairies on route 66 is an experience that everyone should have at least once. You begin to realize just how big this country is and how lonely you feel out on the prairie without another person or car in sight.

For a thousand miles there may be only a few small towns and villages and just about nothing else. This is what the pioneers had to face along with dust storms, rain storms and tornadoes. Many people really have no idea just how hard it was for them.

For more information about places to stay in Arizona and things to do in the state, click here.

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Raft Grand Canyon

July 7th, 2013 ernie Posted in Grand Canyon No Comments »

raft grand canyonWhen you raft the Grand Canyon you are traveling through history of over millions of years. The picture on the left really shows the majesty of the Grand Canyon and although it is spectacular this picture really does not do justice to the Grand Canyon and all of its splendor. The Colorado River has carved this canyon out of the rock, sand and limestone over millions of years to give us this spectacular scenery that is one of the wonders of the world.

If you have a chance to raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, you should take it. The trip can be truly spectacular. This canyon is over a mile deep in spots and you can really appreciate it when you are standing on the top of the ridge looking down at the river far below. If you are rafting down the river, you also get an idea of the true majesty of the grand canyon gorge.

South Rim Raft Grand Canyon

We have driven to the south ridge of the Grand Canyon several times to view the canyon and visit some of the sites on that rim. The north rim of the canyon is over 10 miles away and the river is over one mile deep from the edge of the rim at that point. Many people hike from the south rim to the river and back, taking over 2 days to complete the trip. Most people will hike down one day and back up the next. Anyone planning to visit the river from this point will need to make arrangements to camp out or book a place in the bunk house along the river. Otherwise you will need to hike down and back the same day which can be a pretty tough trip if you are not in great shape.

North rim Grand Canyon

There is a road that takes you to the north rim and another that takes you to the west rim of the canyon. We have not been to either, although friends, who have been to these rims, tell us that the views are even more spectacular than the south rim. If you are planning to visit either of these rims, from Las Vegas, you can arrange for a bus tour and even a helicopter ride into the canyon and lunch on the canyon floor. A great trip no doubt, but nothing would beat the ride down the river in the middle of the canyon.

If anyone reading this post has taken this raft trip into the Grand Canyon, we would really like to hear from you. Your comments and description of your trip would be much appreciated. Anyone we have spoken with about these trips whether it is to one of the rims or along the river itself, they have all thoroughly enjoyed their experience.

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Grand Canyon Raft

June 21st, 2013 ernie Posted in Grand Canyon No Comments »

grand canyon raftCan you imagine going down the Colorado river in the grand canyon in a raft like the one in this picture? The view is beyond belief. Although they say a picture is worth a thousand words, even this picture does not do justice to the scenery. You will see fantastic scenery in the Grand Canyon from the vantage point of the Colorado river on a raft. We recently spoke to a person who used to guide trips that would last up to two weeks through the Grand Canyon. He never got used to the beauty and the grand views that a trip like this would provide. He enjoyed his time as a guide very much and goes back every year to take in this great view.

Grand Canyon Raft – Trip of a Lifetime

Grand canyon rafting with a properly outfitted team can be exhilarating. Something that you and your friends will talk about for many years. The scenery is one thing, the exhilarating rides through the rapids is another and the evening camp life under the stars is another. With no lights to blind your eyes, you will be able to see millions of stars on a clear night. They will equally enthrall you as much as the river does during the day.

The Water is Cold

One word of caution is warranted if you are planning in taking one of these trips. The water is very cold and comes from snow melt a long ways up in the mountains. Ice cold water such as what is in the Colorado River is also very fast moving and people have succumbed to hypothermia very quickly. They have been swept away before anyone could do anything about it. When you guide tells you to stay out of the water, he is not doing this to be mean. He is probably saving your life. Follow his advice, because if you do not one of two things will happened.

If he is a strong guide, he is going to call in a helicopter and have you removed at your expense. Although you will be very upset and probably threaten lawsuits etc, he will have most likely saved your life. If he is a weak guide, he will tell you what can happen, but then you will go and do it anyway. You probably will end up dead in the cold Colorado river water. Grand canyon rafting can be a lot of fun, just follow your guides rules and recommendations to remain safe.

Enjoy the Trip

This is really a trip of a lifetime and why would you want to ruin it by not following the guidelines of your guide. He or she has been doing it for years, knows what works and what does not and also what is safe and what is not. Follow his instructions and I am sure you will have a really great trip.

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Rafting in the Grand Canyon

April 21st, 2013 ernie Posted in Grand Canyon No Comments »

Rafting in the Grand CanyonRafting in the Grand Canyon has to be one of the premier trips to take in the world. Every trip has a variety of things that make it worthwhile. For some it will be the speed of the river and the roiling of the water as you shoot the rapids, holding on for dear life. For many it will be the tranquility between rapids as you rest and enjoy the scenery and the beauty around you. But the Grand Canyon trip is for the sheer size and beauty of the canyon itself.

Imagine rafting down a river with cliffs on either side that reach up over a mile. That’s right, the grand canyon is over a mile deep in some places and you will feel dwarfed by the sheer size of everything. Stand on the south rim and look across to the north rim which is over 10 miles away. If you are lucky you may observe several thunderstorms on the north side that are separated by blue sky. That is how immense everything is.

Rafting in the Grand Canyon –  Fantastic Scenery

A rafting trip in the Grand Canyon is so exciting. It has to be the sheer size of the canyon, the height of the walls and the literally fantastic scenery. If you have ever gone to the south side of the Grand Canyon and gazed across to the other side, you have some idea of the size of this natural landmark. Fully 10 miles across and over a mile deep the Grand Canyon is truly spectacular. If you have never been there you will not get an appreciation even from a picture. They just cannot portray the sheer size of the place!

Imagine being at the bottom of this huge gorge floating along the Colorado river which runs through the canyon. Imagine looking up a mile in height to try to find the rim at the top. In fact in some locations were the canyon narrows all you will see is sheer walls that seem to go up to reach infinity. This really has to be one of the most spectacular trips to take.

Getting to the Grand Canyon

You cannot reach some of these locations by car, by plane, by helicopter or even on foot. The only way to see some of this beautiful scenery is to take a rafting trip down the river to enjoy the beauty that is simply breathtaking. There are a variety of trips offered by various excursion tour companies that last from 3 days up to as long as 16 days. If this is a first time rafting you may only want to take the 3 day trip to test your enjoyment and experience.

Drivers can visit the south rim and the north rim of the Grand Canyon by car and they can even hike down to the river. A hike of this sort must be planned and reservations made as well to stay at the bottom. It is not recommended to hike down and back in one day, although people have accomplished this feat. Let’s just say you are really tired and possibly dehydrated at the end of it if you are not carrying enough water. Rafting locations must be traveled to up river and your car left at one of the launching spots.

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Bullhead City on the Colorado

February 7th, 2013 ernie Posted in Bullhead No Comments »

Bullhead City on the ColoradoBullhead city on the Colorado River is a small city in the north western part of Arizona long the Colorado River and just across the river from Laughlin, Nevada. It is a nice little town with all of the services that one might need while spending the winter away from the cold, snow and ice of the northern winters.

One interesting fact about Bullhead is that it is on Mountain Time and just across the river in Nevada, they are on Pacific Time, a one hour difference. Many people live in Arizona in the city of Bullhead and work in Laughlin in one of the casinos just across the river and must keep track of the one hour time zone difference.

Bullhead City on the Colorado

Winter Time Temperatures

Bullhead is a great place to spend the winter. Of course they will get some cool temperatures; however we have been there for a couple of weeks in January and experienced temperatures in the 80’s during the day and cool 50’s at night. They get well over 300 days of sun in a year, so you are pretty much guaranteed to have sunshine on your vacation. There are quite a few condo’s to rent, however there seems to be much more locations which cater to RV’s and trailers for people who move around and live in their trailers for the winter.

Summer Time Temperatures

We have not been there in the summer time, however we are told that the temperatures are routinely well into the 100’s and that there are literally hundreds of boats and sea do’s out on the water along the Colorado River. We also have seen people swimming in the Colorado in March, however there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you swim in the Colorado River at this location.

First of all this is a very fast flowing river and anyone swimming must keep in mind that they can lose their footing and be carried away by the current. Secondly the water is very cold. It is fed by melting snow up in the mountains and the water is ice cold. Anyone swimming will experience hypothermia very quickly so it can be very dangerous even for strong swimmers.

No Gambling in Bullhead

There are no casinos in Bullhead. You have to go across the river to Laughlin to play in the casinos. Fortunately there are several bridges from the Bullhead side to the Nevada side that will take you across to Laughlin and to a point several miles south of Laughlin. Patrons of the casinos can also take a free water taxi across the river to Don Laughlin’s casino. There is free parking on the Arizona side of the river and both tourists as well as people working at the casinos will take the water taxi back and forth to the Laughlin side of the river.

Tourists can also take a water taxi from several of the water front condos over to the casinos. They can also take a water taxi from one casino to another one along the river. There is a small charge per person for the water taxi and it is a neat thing to do once and awhile to get out on the river if you do not have access to a boat.

RV & Trailer Parks

Parks abound for people who are spending the winter in their trailers traveling around the south-west in both Laughlin and Bullhead. There are large RV parks within walking distance of the casinos on the Laughlin side of the Colorado River and also in Bullhead.

Even the casinos have set aside parking space for trailers with no hook ups for patrons to spend a few nights. There are no hookups so you see people with generators and solar panels to generate electricity for their trailers and RV’s. This is not my idea of a vacation; however this is a great place to stop over for a few days without having to pay hookup fees for your RV or Trailer.

Every year we go to Laughlin and stay in one of the casino hotels. We go to Bullhead to fill up with gas and do our laundry. It is cheaper; there are fewer taxes on the Arizona side. We gill up with gas at a gas station called Terribles were you can get your oil changed for $29 and this comes with a free car wash. Gas is always cheaper on the Arizona side. For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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Grand Canyon White Water Rafting

April 7th, 2012 ernie Posted in Grand Canyon 2 Comments »

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is a fantastic place to visit, whether you are there for the view along the south rim of the Grand Canyon White Water Raftingcanyon, to hike on one of the many trails or to go white water rafting down the Colorado river. This post will provide some information about Grand Canyon White Water Rafting.  Check out a previous post about the Top 10 White Water Rafting Locations World Wide for other locations you may be interested in. Whatever you decide to do, the Grand Canyon is well worth the time spent to visit this scenic wonder.

Rafting Trip – Grand Canyon from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek

Description

The Grand Canyon is an amazing place to visit. Every year, thousands of visitors from around the world gather at the Canyon’s south rim to look down into its magnificent vastness. Many also travel through it, via the Colorado River observing subtle and dramatic changes as the canyon walls climb towards the sky illustrating untold years of geological history. Terrific side hikes are also possible for the more adventurous.

Visit Marble Canyon, the Inner Gorge, terrific side hikes and Indian ruins, crystalline creeks and waterfalls, cactus gardens and whitewater galore.

The two most noted of the Colorado’s rapids, Crystal and Lava Falls, are both rated a 10. The intensity of all rapids naturally depends on the water level, so readings for low and high water levels may vary slightly.

River Rating

Depending on water flow Grand Canyon White water rafting rapids can be rated from 1 to 10. A 10 is the same as a Class IV on the standard river rafting scale. Check with a white water tour company for current conditions based on time of year and weather conditions. The two most noted of the Colorado’s white water rapids, Crystal and Lava Falls, are both rated a 10.

Number of Rapids

There are 47 white water rapids rated 5 or higher on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, however this does vary by time of year as previously mentioned.

Minimum Age

The minimum age varies by white water tour company, however many limited kids under 8 for motorized rafting trips and 12 years old for an oar powered trip.  In addition, you may also want to inquire about the rating of the rapids that you will be traversing to confirm age requirements and safety issues.

Departure Dates

Rafting season typically runs from April to October depending on local conditions. check with a whitewater rafting tour company for specifics. We also recommend that you reserve in advance, particularly if you need specific dates.

Boat Type

Boat types can be motorized or oar driven boats and they will vary by size. Each comes with a guide and the oar driven trips are usually longer since you drift with the current. A full trip can take 7 days for a motorized trip and as much as 18 days for the oar driven trip.

What to Bring

Most tour companies will provide you with a complete list of what to bring on your white water rafting tour. You will need the essentials and you will need both warm and cool clothing due to the temperature extremes in the desert. Waterproof bags are ideal.  Here is a short list of possible things you may want to bring, however check with your tour company first:

Here is a quick list of items that you may want to consider for your next trip. If you are unsure of what you will need, speak to the organizer or guide for your white water trip to make sure that you are well prepared.

  • Bags
  • Padding and clothing
  • Dry suits and wet suits
  • Plastic Cases & Boxes
  • Footwear
  • Men’s & women’s casuals
  • Insulation and Underwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats & Gloves
  • Rain wear
  • Kid’s Clothing
  • Swimsuits

Read more

Reviews – The best rapids for whitewater rafting are House Rock, Unkar, Horn Creek, Granite, Hermit, Crystal, Lava Falls. The length is 225 miles; 364 KM. There are also lots of hiking trails available that are easy as well as difficult. Some tour companies plan short hikes as well as part of their tours. If you are interested in doing some hiking, check with your tour company before you reserve.

Comments are appreciated, especially those people who have traveled the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. We will approve all constructive and helpful comments including a link to your site for those comments that meet our criteria.

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Tonto Creek Rafting

October 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Tonto Creek, Arizona is one set of rapids that is only for experts and only at certain times of the year. This creek is really only navigable just after a major rain storm in the surrounding Tonto Creek Raftingmountains and even then there are many natural obstacles as well as man made obstacles to watch out for.

With a class IV / V set of rapids with massive boulders to navigate around and a narrow water way, this is really only for experts.

Additionally there can be barb wire strung across the creek by ranchers to stop their cattle from roaming too far. You need to watch out for this and other items that can ruin your trip in a big way.

Review of Tonto Creek Rafting

Rafting Trip – There are no rafters offering trips on this creek and you must bring in everything that you need.

Access can be gained at SH 260 crossing just east of Payson; Rye Creek confluence just east of the SH 188/SH 87 intersection; Any USFS park on the banks of Roosevelt Lake .

Description – Hazards may include, barbed wire fences strung across the creek, dead-fall strainers in the channel, live tree strainers overhanging the creek along its banks, boulder garden rapids dropping into keeper holes, ample opportunities for pinning and wrapping, narrow slot drops of 8-10 feet, or more, rattlesnakes and copper heads hiding in the rocks along the creek, and very difficult access for emergency personnel in the event of an accident.

Christopher Creek (USFS) and Ponderosa (USFS) Campgrounds, both primitive forest campsites, are located between Tonto Creek and SH 260 just east of Payson. There are no other campgrounds located along or near Tonto Creek.

The best time to run Tonto Creek is right after a heavy rainfall in its drainage basin. There is a short window of opportunity unless in the midst of a prolonged period of rainfall.

River Rating – Class IV / V

Number of Rapids – Varies based on amount of rain and the time you go. Water flow does not last very long, depending on the amount of rain that has fallen in surrounding mountains.

Minimum Age – Experts only

Departure Dates – No scheduled trips, you are on your own.

Boat Type – Kayaks are apparently the best for this, with experts who can exert perfect control

What to Bring – Everything you are going to need. Note if you catch the runoff late, you could end up walking out. The water flow falls as fast as it rises.

Reviews – None that we found

Outfitters – None offered

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Red Condos by River Bullhead City

September 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead 1 Comment »

We had the opportunity to stay at the red condos by the river in Bullhead City in Arizona this past spring and we would recommend that you really make sure thatred condos by river bullhead city you check the contract terms and conditions of the property before you sign up. We thought we did and missed a major item that really spoiled our vacation and actually that of many other snow birds.

Bullhead City – Colorado River

This is a beautiful setting along the Colorado River and all should be good, however we found that the building is not well maintained. Hallways are not clean, ping pong table is dirty and most important, the pool is not open during the March period or for that matter the rest of the winter. This was the argument we got from management. It is winter time and we do not heat the pool. Other guests were told that there is a broken part and in fact they had been told the same thing the previous year. Can you imagine having a pool not heated for snow birds? The weather was 80 to 85 almost every day, while the nights were cool which is typical of the desert.

Cannot Go Swimming

With these temperatures you want to spend some time by the pool and you want to go swimming, meet other people etc. The pool temperature was at 61 degrees F and pretty much not for swimming. On top of that there were a pair of ducks who would land every day and spend hours either sitting on the edge of the pool or in the pool. They left excrement all over the pool deck which usually took a few days to get cleaned up. This was bad and although we complained nothing was done. Others complained as well and all of us said we are not coming back another year.

We decided to write these posts to try and alert other potential snow birds. Anyone  who might be thinking of renting these red condos by the  river in Bullhead city. Another caution , do not take the rental agents word for anything. If it is not in the contract you will not get what you are looking for. This includes heating the pool. Make sure your contract says the pool is heated if this is important to you.

High Season

March should have been high season for snow birds, however most units were empty and that says a lot. Should we have done a better job of checking the place out before we rented? Of Course! But we did not do a good enough job so we want other people to avoid our situation. Hopefully this post will help. March is still considered winter for people in this part of the country? Maybe for the snow birds!!! An I do not mean the ducks!

If you have comments on this property, good or bad, feel free to leave us a comment. We will include it on this blog. For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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Frontier Motel and Restaurant Rte 66

August 21st, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

We were traveling along Route 66 one day in the spring of 2011 and came upon the Frontier Motel and Restaurant. This restaurant dates back to the days when Route 66 was the only route between the east and the lower western states.  This is not a place that you would probably stop at just by looking at the place from outside. It has definitely seen better days, since there really is not a lot of traffic along route 66 these days.  Never the less, they stay open and many locals go there for breakfast and lunch as well as the odd tourist that is passing through.

Hackleberry General Store

We had been to the Hackberry General store which is also on Route 66. While we were looking around this store we asked the owner if they were any good restaurants in the area were we could get lunch. There happened to be a UPS delivery man in the store. He suggested the Frontier Motel and Restaurant Route 66 which was another 20 miles up the road. He said they had great food. It would give us a taste of what restaurants were like in the days that route 66 was popular.

The best way to get there is to go east of Kingman on route 40 and take the exit for route 66. It will take approximately an hour, however it is a nice drive through the desert. You pass a number of places along the way which are interesting to stop at, such as the Hackberry General store . There is also an Indian reservation along the way with outlet stores, a lodge and a restaurant as well. It is a little more modern and you can probably get great food there as well, although we did not try it on the day we drove on this section of route 66.

Frontier Motel

The Frontier Motel and Restaurant on Route 66 was built in 1950 and has been a basic diner from the 50’s on. There is a motel attached to the diner as well, although we did not check this out. It shows its age both inside and out, however the food was good and the service was also good. It is run by a family who bought it a few years ago and are trying to make a living. There is the son with his wife and kids and his mother who run the place. The mom is the real manager and the main cook as well. We talked to her for a little while. They always want to know were you are from since they know everyone else pretty much.

We had a hamburg, which was a real hamburg, not one of these compressed things. We also had fried bread, which is really tasty for desert. Basically it is flour dough that is deep fried and sprinkled with sugar. Excellent, but like many things that taste good, probably not that good for you. Since we were from Canada, we told her about beaver tales which are basically the same, except we sprinkle brown sugar on them and raspberry jam which is fantastic.

Anyway if you are on the route 66 section in Arizona, be sure to stop at the Frontier restaurant. Great food and good conversation. It is not fancy, but  it is interesting and you will enjoy the place. If you have been there and want to leave a comment please feel free to do so.

For more things to see in Arizona, click here.

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Laughlin Bullhead Vacation Rentals & Sales

April 13th, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead 4 Comments »

We rented a condo in Bullhead City from Laughlin Bullhead Vacation Rentals & Sales for the month of March 2011. The address is 251 Moser Ave, Bullhead city, Arizona. These are the red units shown on the picture below. Fantastic view of the Colorado River and the Casinos in Laughlin, Nevada.

We were not happy with this property for a number of reasons. We are placing this post to help other snow birds who might be considering this unit as a rental. Read on.

Picture of the Colorado river condominiums

Vacation Rentals & Sales

 

We rented this unit through Laughlin Bullhead Vacation Rentals & Sales and the big issue for us was the unheated pool. We were led to believe that it would be heated. It never got above 61 F! We spoke to a few people who were at this property last year and they had the same problem, however they were told there was a broken part.  Same problem this year? There response when we complained was, well it is winter time, we don’t heat our pools in the winter!

Anyone who is trying to attract snow birds sure heats their pool and we have found a number of properties that do. They lost my respect and support right there with that statement.

If you rent from Laughlin Bullhead Vacation Rentals & Sales get everything in writing. The contract is pretty one sided and loose. There is supposed to be an inventory of everything in the unit with pictures. The pictures were there all right, but not everything in the pictures were in the unit! The response – we are just worried about the big things!

There also seems to be a lot of empty units and several have been foreclosed. Probably is putting pressure on the HOA and their budget. If you happen to be considering a purchase, check this are out carefully to make sure you do not end up on the hook for a large HOA special assessment.

Vacation Rentals & Sales in Bullhead, AZ

This property has a lot of potential, however here are the things we did not like:

  • Pool was not heated
  • Pool was not clean
  • Ducks swam in the pool everyday
  • Ducks crapped on the pool deck every day
  • Hallways are dark and kind of dingy, especially the lower levels
  • Rental manager does not respond quickly to issues
  • Condo not well equipped with kitchen supplies
  • Area around condo is very run down
  • Cannot really go walking and enjoy your self doing it in this area
  • Vacuum was broken and did not get fixed
  • Units are not well insulated

On the other hand, some of the things we did like are:

  • Great view of the river and the casinos
  • Large balcony with sliding doors from the LR and BR
  • Over 1600 sq feet of space, lot of room
  • Lots of parking in a gated lot
  • Water taxi stops at the condo when called
  • Four  TV’s one for  each bedroom as well as LR
  • Fairly clean, although vacuum was broken

Comments

If you have had personal experience with Laughlin Bullhead Vacation Rentals & Sales or with 251 Moser ave. either good or bad, please leave a comment to help future snow birds avoid getting taken. For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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Bullhead City Condos

April 5th, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead 1 Comment »

We recently stayed in one of the red condos pictured below during the month of March, 2011.  The unit itself inside was actually quite nice, although it did have a few negatives that unfortunately will deter us from returning in future years. Read more below and make up your own mind as to whether you would want to spend your money renting one of these units. The address is 251 Moser Ave, Bullhead city, Arizona. This property is located on the Colorado river across the river from all of the casinos in Nevada. There is a boat landing which can be used to catch a water taxi across the river to the casinos as well.

Picture of the Bullhead City Condos condominiums

Bullhead City Condos

 

The view from the 2nd floor balcony is really quite nice with the Colorado river in the foreground and the casinos in Laughlin across the river. They are especially nice at night when all of the lights are lit up. It really has a nice view of the river, the casinos and the mountains in the background. There are mountains on both sides of the river.

Pool Unheated

We were led to believe that the pool would be heated for March. The days were certainly nice enough to go swimming and we have stayed in other condos in this time of year were we have swam a lot. The pool not only was not heated, it was around 61 F, it was dirty and the ducks swam in the pool every day and crapped all over the deck. Not sanitary and not nice.

We spoke to a few fellow travelers and they also were expecting the pool to be heated. Bottom line get it in writing and do not believe what the sales person or the owner tells you. This property is experiencing financial trouble. They have problems collecting the HOA fees and have to cut back on expenses. Therefore the first thing to go I guess is the heated pool!

Not Well Equipped

As furniture goes, TV’s etc, this unit was very well equipped. We had to buy wine glasses, all of our spices , catsup, mustard etc, dish towels and dish rags. Most unit owners who rent to  snow birds make sure that even these basic things are provided. There was no hair dryer either.

Now before you suggest that we are being picky or expecting more than we should, let me say that we have been renting condos for over ten years and know what to expect. This unit ranked a 4 out of 10 in this area.

Laughlin Bullhead Vacation Rentals & Sales

Nice people, but not very good at following through with requests. For example, we did not have screens on the sliding glass doors for our unit. Apparently they were in the garage being stored. It took over a week for two of them to show up at our door and another 5 days for the remaining 2 to arrive. They were dusty and no attempt was made to clean them at all.

The vacuum is one of those types that has a roller for beating the carpet which is driven by an electric motor with a belt from the motor to the roller. This belt was broken, had been that way for some time because the motor shaft was rusty. We were supposed to receive a new belt, however have not seen anything from anyone in over two weeks.

These are not big things, but it reflects the level of service you can expect. Our unit was clean, I can only imagine if it had been dusty or dirty. What would we do then? The contract is all one sided so pay attention and if you want that pool heated, put it in the contract or do not go there!

Comments?

If you have stayed at 251 Moser Ave in Bullhead city in Arizona, and have had a great experience or not so good, please your comments to help other snow birds who are looking for a place to stay for the winter! We would really like to hear comments. They continue to advertise this property and it really does not measure up to what they are saying about the property. For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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Colorado River Condominiums

April 3rd, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead 1 Comment »

Colorado River CondominiumsColorado river condominiums in Bullhead city, Arizona are just like the name says, right on the Colorado river. They are situated across the river from the casinos in Laughlin Nevada and provide a great view during the day and at night from your balcony.

These condos are nice, but there are some negatives about them that potential renters and snow birds should be aware of.

  • Pool is not heated
  • Pool water is at 61 degrees
  • There is no beach contrary to some sites we have looked at
  • The pool is not clean
  • The ducks enjoy the pool and leave their droppings on the deck
  • The area around the property is pretty run down
  • The units while nice are not sound proof
  • There are 6 barbecues, but they are a long ways from your condo.

Picture of the Colorado river condominiums

There are some good points about this condo that we would also like to point out. You may not be interested in using the pool at all in which case these units might be just what you want.

Advantages of the Colorado river condominiums

  • Large units some with 3 bedrooms and 1600 square feet
  • Nice large balconies
  • Gated community
  • Lots of parking
  • Elevator to higher units
  • Two hot tubs
  • Storage for RV’s or boats
  • Close to casinos
  • Water taxi service available from the property
  • Very quiet, except for the boats and seados on the river.

This property is located at 251 Moser avenue and we rented it for a month in March. We were given the impression that the pool was heated, although nothing was in writing and it is not on any advertising that we saw. Several sites did advertise a pool, but nothing was said about whether you could use it or not. Our fault for not verifying this before we signed the contract.

We are writing this post to warn people that if they want a heated pool, they should verify it, get it on the contract. Do not take the salesman word for it. They use words like – we think it is heated, it is usually heated, it is probably heated etc. be very careful about this if this is important to you.

Buying Colorado river condominiums

As far as buying one of these units, they are very nice and spacious, however again buyer beware. We were told that several were being foreclosed so you can probably pick one up pretty cheap, however the HOA fees will be unpaid. You want to make sure that you do not get stuck for these outstanding fees.

I think this is the other reason the pool is not heated, they are trying to save money because the HOA is not getting the cash flow they really need due to the condition of many of the owners probably not paying. During the real estate crisis these unit owners lost thousands of dollars and are having difficulty  meeting mortgage payments and HOA fees. With so many owners in difficulty and little cash coming in the HOA has to limit their services and conserve cash as much as possible. This is the reason we think that the pool is not heated and they do not cater to snow birds who are expecting a heated pool.

Check all of this out before you purchase if you plan to buy a unit. They do have great garages for storing RV’s and boats, cars etc so this will meet a lot of peoples needs. We also found that there is not a lot to do in the area. You can visit the casinos of course, go out to various restaurants, play golf, go hiking, water sports etc. But it is generally quite limited for the more senior snow birds who may not be interested in water sports or casinos for example.

We spent a month in Bullhead Arizona and Laughlin Nevada. By the end of the month we were really ready for a change of scenery. Our next stop is Palm Springs and there really is no comparison to Bullhead Arizona. Lots of restaurants, entertainment etc. to take in. Perhaps we did not give Bullhead and Laughlin enough of a chance. We do enjoy going to the casinos but only for three to five days at a time.

For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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251 Moser Ave Bullhead City AZ

March 30th, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead 4 Comments »

251 Moser Ave Bullhead City AZ

These are the condos on the Colorado River in Bullhead city. You can see them from the river walk along the river from the other side in Nevada and from a distance they look great. In fact they have a great view of the river and the casinos. The view at night is spectacular with all of the lights of the casinos.

Picture of the Colorado river condominiums

251 Moser Ave Bullhead City AZ

The apartment we stayed in was large with 3 bed bedrooms, a large dining room and living room as well as a large patio. There are several sets of barbecues down by the pool, which takes some time to get to unless you are on that level, otherwise you need to take the elevator to get there.

Parking and Security

There is lots of parking as well and if you have an RV or a boat, I guess you could also rent one of the garages to leave it in. These are built to house RV’s so they are very large. The entire place is in a gated area, since the area just outside the gates is quite run down and I would not walk there at night. We had no problem during the day, although there is not much to see or to enjoy other than you are walking to get some exercise.

251 Moser Ave Bullhead City AZPool Area

The back yard which is along the pool is nice, with two hot tubs and a pool overlooking the Colorado River. There are a couple of Palm trees and 6 or 7 lounges around the pool. Not many for the 80 units in this complex, however not many people go to the pool since it is not heated.

The pool is not heated from January to March and probably not in April or May either. The water was at 61 degrees, yet the outdoor temperature with the afternoon sun was more than hot enough to enjoy the pool on many days during March of 2011. The claim was that it cost too much to heat the pool and most people do not go swimming in the winter. Well for snow birds that is one of the reasons you come to a place like this and other condos to provide this service.

Anyway we will not be back. I would encourage anyone considering this place as a snow bird retreat,  looking for a heated pool to avoid this place. We talked to a number of fellow snow birds. They indicated they were not coming back for this reason alone.

River Front Condos for Sale

There are places for sale if you want to buy one. The price has dropped from around $600k to less than $300. Personally I would not pay more than $200k for one of these places. Be very careful of the HOA status. A number of places have been foreclosed. This means they are in arrears with the HOA fees. A new owner might be on the hook for these fees. Maybe this is really why they do not heat the pool.

Pool Deck not Clean

By the way the ducks like to sun themselves on the pool deck. Then take a dip in the pool. There is duck excrement around the pool on a regular basis and who wants to swim with the ducks?

If you have stayed at this place, leave your comments. Maybe you enjoyed it and are coming back. We are not! For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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Apt 203, 251 Moser Ave, Bullhead City, AZ

March 27th, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead 1 Comment »

251 moser aveApt 203, 251 Moser Ave, Bullhead City, AZ

We recently stayed at the Riverfront condos in Bullhead City. These are the big red condos that you see right on the Colorado river across from the Golden Nugget Casino on the Laughlin, Nevada side of the river. This Condo is located at 251 Moser Avenue #203, Bullhead City AZ. 251 Moser Ave  is in the 86429 ZIP code in Bullhead City, AZ.  251 Moser Ave #7 has 3 beds, 2 baths, and approximately 1,631 square feet

Do Not Book This Property – 251 Moser Ave

If you are looking for a vacation rental and plan to spend some time by the pool, do not book this place. The pool is not heated January to March! There were lots of days with the afternoon sun beating down on the pool deck and no one would go into the pool because it was at 61 degrees. Many of the days were truly spectacular with lots of sun and hot. The pool is located on the western side of the condos right on the river and gets lots of sun. You cannot sit there and not go in the pool, but who wants to go swimming in 61 degree water.

There are two hot tubs which are heated and you can use them. However again at some point you want to cool off. A few brave souls did go in the water but only for a few seconds. It is as if they are going polar bear swimming like they do on Jan 1st in the north!

Also the ducks like the pool and leave their excrement all over the pool deck. There were two ducks who were there most of the day every day and left excrement all over the deck. They swam in the pool and one day they were even copulating in the pool. The whole thing is disgusting. If you are looking for a place to go swimming, don’t waste your money unless you do not use the pool ever!

Picture of the Colorado river condominiums

Do Not Believe the Sales Person

One last thing. When we booked this place we were told it has a pool and the salesmen thought it was heated. Should have listened closely and confirmed. He knew it was not heated, but was not going to volunteer the information. We have stayed in a lot of other places and have had the pools at84 degrees all year long!

Moral of the story is buyer beware and don’t assume anything like we did.

The Condo

The condo apartment itself is large , well appointed and quite comfortable. The view on the Colorado is really great and we enjoyed these parts of our stay. The condo could have been better equipped in the kitchen department. We had to buy wine glasses, filters for the coffee machine and all the spices etc. Normally these sorts of things are provided.

All in all, we have decided that we would never come back to this location. We paid $2200 for the month of March 2011 and I would demand a much lower rate. Most of the units are vacant so there is lots to chose from contrary to what they tell you. The sales agent is easy to deal with, however just do not believe anything they tell you.

Poor Service Examples

For example, all of the other units had screens on the windows. WE asked for ours to be installed ( they were in the garage). It took two weeks before they finally got around to bringing them over. The belt on the vacuum was broken, had been broken long before we arrived and remains that way, even though we reported it over two weeks ago.  Don’t expect too much.

As I said earlier, we are seasoned travelers and know what to expect. This unit and the management did not come close to meeting our expectations! For more posts about Bullhead and Arizona, click here.

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Route 66 – Hackberry General Store

March 19th, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona 1 Comment »

Have you ever traveled Historic Route 66? We have traveled over a number of sections and most of it is pretty boring.  One part through the prairies was flat and very long. Yet if you take a minute and imagine what it would have been like to travel on what was then a gravel road for the most part from Chicago to Los Angeles, you would be very impressed. Remember there were not many towns to stop at in the western USA and before cars there were only horses and wagons traveling this route. This was a tough trip to take by horse, wagon or even by car.

Route 66 – Hackberry General Store

Much of the route goes through mountainous areas and was very difficult to traverse.

We traveled from Kingman to Valentine on Route 66 in Arizona the other day. Most of it was flat top through low mountains. Quite scenic, but Route 66 - Hackberry General Storenot too exciting until we stopped at two places. One was the Hackberry General store.

Talk about going back in time. You really have to look at the pictures and the short video to really appreciate this place.  During the 50’s, pinup girls were more popular in garages across the country. They had lots of pictures dating back to the 50’s and 60’s displayed on the walls in the washroom.

It has been in operation for over a 100 years and today mainly sells Historic Route 66 memorabilia. It also doubles as a museum with many items that date back to the turn of the century.

What caught my eye was the 1957 corvette in front of the store, which is still driven everyday by the owner. He says it is worth roughly $100k. If it was in mint condition, they apparently go for $140k.

This place is a must see if you are in the area. It less than an hours drive from Kingman and interstate 40. The store is also equipped with Wifi, so you can do a quick check of your email if needed.

Check out the pictures and the video. Click on the following link to see the video –   Route 66 Hackberry General Store

Our next post will be about the Route 66 Frontier Motel and Diner. This place has seen better days, and if locals were not going into this diner, I don’t think we would have either. Turns out the food was really great and we had our first taste of “Fried Bread” which is a local desert that they sell in the Arizona area. For Canadians it is similar to “beaver tails” but puffier.

Feel free to leave us comments about the Route 66 – Hackberry General Store.

For more posts about Arizona, click here.

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Firehouse Coffee Company

March 17th, 2011 ernie Posted in Bullhead No Comments »

We dropped in at the Firehouse Coffee Company at the Riverview Mall the other day and we were really pleasantly surprised. We have not found any Firehouse Coffee Companyreally good coffee shops in the area up til now. Even the local Starbucks coffee shops are not great. They are inside grocery stores or casinos and do not offer the ambiance that regular coffee shops offer. There is no outside seating at any of these coffee shops.

The picture on the left really does not do the place justice. It is an eclectic mix of decorations that I guess is suppose to remind of you an old firehouse, however I did not really see that. There is a lot to look at and take in. So be prepared to spend some time just looking around the Firehouse Coffee Shop in Bullhead City, Arizona.

WiFi

The Firehouse Coffee Company offers free WiFi. If you ask them they tell you it is $5 for an hour unless you buy a coffee, other wise it is free. There is no pass code so you can stand outside the door if you really need to and use the internet WiFi access for free. Strange!

Decor

The inside is really nicely decorated with tables for large groups as well as couples. There are really nice leather chairs and couches, perfect for a coffee and reading the newspaper or a good book or browsing the internet which I did. Click on the following link to see a short video of the inside of this coffee shop.

Firehouse Coffee shop

Coffee Prices

Coffee prices are about the norm, so nothing to report on that front.

Food

They were offering large cupcakes for $3, a bit expensive. They were really good, had real whip cream on top and they were laced with hot dried peppers. Hot!

There also was a red pepper, one of those hot ones, dipped in chocolate. These are for people who are really into hot stuff. This comes with the cup cake, but we did not try that. We like hot things, but that is a bit more than we can take.

They have a full menu of soups and sandwiches and other stuff, so we are confident that there is something there for everyone.

Location

It is located in the Riverview Mall area in Bullhead City along Highway 95. Great to do some shopping and then relax with a coffee or just visit for a nice place to share a coffee with someone.

We really liked this coffee shop. For more posts about things to do in Bullhead, Arizona, click here.

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Verde River Rafting

March 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Rafting Trip – Verde river rafting Perkinsville to Beasley Flat – 55 miles

Description – White water rafters can put in their rafts at Perkinsville Rd and the last take out is at Beasley Flats. There is  about 55 miles of gorgeous river flowing through a beautiful and scenic river valley. Between Perkinsville and Beasley Flat it is characterized by desert riverbanks, willow and cottonwood trees, ocotillo, and Saguaro cactus. A verdant ground cover of desert scrub. The river flows as a Class I to II stream with usually gentle currents and a moderate gradient.

Paddle trips can be taken year-round if there has been sufficient recent rainfall around Sullivan Lake to keep the river flowing, or not at all during drought years. Check ahead to confirm sufficient water flow. This reach of the river flows past the confluence of Sycamore Creek on river left, the towns of Clarkdale, Cottonwood and Camp Verde, Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Camp Verde State Historical Park, ending in the “scenic” portion of the river that has been designated as “Wild and Scenic”. Adjoining land along this reach is private property, and care should be exercised to avoid trespassing without advance permission.

Places to Stay

The river is very remote, though access at the small towns is good where paddlers can find places to stay (other than the usual riverside camping, if so inclined), food and supplies, restaurants and other services and amenities. Dead Horse Ranch State Park offers an excellent place to stop and explore the surrounding area. Permits are not required for private, non-commercial groups, but upon entering the “Wild” section of the “Wild and Scenic” area group size is limited to a maximum of 15 persons and no more than 15 horses, cattle or other livestock per group.

The area is popular for many outdoors recreational activities including horseback riding, camping, hiking, mountain biking, bird and animal viewing, nature photography, hunting, fishing and other activities. Be sure to pack the camera, because there is much to see and photograph along this river that is a green oasis in the midst of a large desert state.

Verde River Rafting Summary

River Rating – I to II

Number of Rapids – Gentle rapids throughout

Minimum Age – all ages

Departure Dates – January through April and August through December

Boat Type – Canoes, Kayaks or rafts since this is only a class I or II rated river.

What to Bring – Standard rafting can camping gear if you plan to camp along the river.

Reviews – None yet

Outfitters – Permits are not required, there are no known outfitters along this river

If you decide to white water raft along this river, always go with someone and always tell someone where you are going. This is the golden rule of rafting and hiking to ensure you remain safe and can be found if there is an emergency.

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The Desert Rose Benson Arizona

February 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Desert Rose Benson ArizonaThe Desert Rose Benson Arizona is located in southern Arizona, east of Tucson and close to Bisbee and Tombstone. Tombstone as you may know is home to an old western cowboy town were the famous Bird Cage Saloon was located. Many card games, bar fights and gun battles took place inside and outside of the Bird Cage. There is a tour you can take of the Bird Cage in Tombstone which I would recommend. Very interesting and informative about how women and men lived a 100 years ago in this area. They also have cowboy gun fights at various times during the day if you are into that sort of thing.

We like to stop at the Desert Rose hotel in Benson just off I10 for a number of reasons. For those of you who have never heard of the Desert Rose, it used to be the Benson Holiday Inn Express.  We like staying here because not only is the price reasonable, it is always immaculately clean, has a great breakfast and a very nice pool area just off the breakfast area which is very enjoyable during warm spring, summer and fall days.You can also do a laundry if you have been traveling for a while and there is a small gym for those who want to limber up and get some exercise after being in the car for some time.

Also at this particular exit off I10, there is the usual gas stations, fast food joints and one other hotel.

Benson itself is not that exciting. Consisting of a spread out village ( There is a Walmart), there does not seem to be a lot you would want to do here. There are many trailer parks for RV travelers to stay at, although we cannot attest to how good or bad they are.

You are only an 30 minutes from Tucson, 30 minutes from Tombstone and an hour from both the Titan Missile Museum and old town Tuscon.  There is also the Bone Yard and the PIMA Air museum. For those of you who do not know what the bone yard is, it is a place were old airplanes and planes that are not currently needed to be in service are stored.

There is well over a thousand planes at this one location. It was chosen because of the dry climate and also the hard packed earth that will support the weight of the planes. The PIMA air museum is an excellent place to go, but be prepared to spend a day  touring this facility. You can see World War 1 and 2 planes, and many other famous planes that have played a part in our history.

As we mentioned we always try to stay at this hotel if we are passing through the area. However we are concerned that it may not last, since it no longer is part of the Holiday Inn Express chain.

They lose out on a lot of advertising and many people might not stay there if they do not know about it. We heard the operator at the front desk explain several times that they were under the same management, just no a member of the Holiday Inn group any longer.

If you have stayed at this hotel and would like to offer your comments please do so. Our rating is high and we recommend it to everyone. Spam comments will be auto deleted.

For more information about places to stay in Arizona and things to do in the state, click here.

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Upper Salt River White Water Rafting

February 7th, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona No Comments »

Upper Salt River White Water RaftingRafting Trip – Full Day 10am – 4/5pm; 3,4,5 Day Trips (52 mile Wilderness Bridge to Bridge Trip); Overnight trips ; Two Day 10am – 4/5pm the next day; Half Day 10am – 1/2pm; and Custom and Charter Trips. With a variety of trips available, there is pretty much something available for just about all skill levels and age levels. This is a beautiful place to visit and view the vast scenery that nature provides. Book early so that you can get the dates and raft sizes that will suit your group.

Upper Salt River White Water Rafting

Description –This Salt River watershed contains approximately 32,100 very rugged acres and was established in 1984. The Salt River and its spectacular canyon bisect the wilderness for its entire length. Elevations range from 2,200 feet at the canyon’s lower end to 4,200 feet on White Ledge Mountain. This area can be visited practically any time; however, there are no maintained trails within the entire wilderness. Travel is basically done by raft or kayak during the short and dangerous river-running season.

Mandatory Visitor Permits for river-running are required between March 1 and May 15.

River Rating – The Upper Salt River of Arizona rapids are rated class III.

Number of Rapids – number of rapids vary with the trip taken depending on half day, full day and multi day trips.

Minimum Age – Depending on the flow rate some outfitters will allow children as young as 7 years of age.

Departure Dates – Mandatory Visitor Permits for river-running are required between March 1 and May 15.

Boat Type – White water rafts suitable for one to 12 people.

What to Bring

What to Bring – Temperatures vary quite a bit in the spring time in Arizona, requiring different gear for different days, even hours.Check with your outfitter to confirm what you need to bring. Bring a swimsuit to wear under a wetsuit. Cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts and denim keep you cold once wet and does not belong on the river. Tops and bottoms made of synthetics such as poly-pro, capilene, fleece, silk or wool are designed to keep you warm when wet.Bring or rent wet suit booties, Extra clothing, Sunscreen, Water, Restraining Strap for Glasses, and Waterproof Cameras as needed!

Gear required for day trips is much different from what is required on camping trips. Some have car access while others do not. Your outfitter will provide details based on specific trips that you sign up for.

Outfitters – There are numerous outfitters providing white water rafting trips on the Upper Salt River. Check with them directly to book your white water trip.

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Bisbee Arizona

February 3rd, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona 1 Comment »

We are traveling across the US and writing posts about different places we have visited. Our main page can be found by clicking  here. We have included several pictures of Bisbee,  throughout the post for your enjoyment .

Bisbee ArizonaOne of the places we like to visit is Bisbee, Arizona.  This is an old mining town that has preserved a historical district and then converted into a kind of 60’s style art and craft place.  It is not uncommon to see many people who live in Bisbee who dress as if they are still in the 60’s and enjoying that life style. They do not exactly blend in with the tourists, but that gives a flavor to the village that you would not otherwise have.

There are lots of antique shops, gift shops, shops selling stuff that has been collected at garage sales as well as old saloons and restaurants located in buildings that have been around since the beginning of the century. There are of course new buildings as well and some have been fixed up, but for the most part this is a town that relies on tourists visiting to get a taste of the past.

The mine still operates and there are tours as well, which we did not take of the copper mine. Bisbee is located almost on the border with Mexico. A short drive to Douglas will take you to one of the border crossings into Mexico.

This is a quiet town, with the locals seeming to know everyone. We went into one saloon to see if we could have lunch. Bunch of guys sitting at the bar, a few tables scattered around with a couple of tourists sitting at the tables. The menu was scribbled on a white board and had to be deciphered before you could figure out what was actually on the menu. We decided to continue up the street and look for another place. Wish we had just stayed were we were.

We ended up at The Savory Spot, at 105 Tombstone Canyon, Bisbee, Arizona. Another old building, but they had a nice little courtyard outside which was inviting. Unfortunately we thought it was just a bit too cool to sit outside, so we went inside the restaurant. Can you picture a small 15 foot by 10 foot room with 4 tables and as soon as we walk in the waitress asks if she can help us. We felt as if we had been caught and had to stay whether we wanted to or not.

Turns out that many of the locals go to this place including the local editor of the paper. She sat at a little bar and ordered her Wednesday burger on Tuesday, whatever that means. We sat at one of the four tables and just listened, after all any conversation anyone had could be heard by everybody in such a small room.

The food was ok, a bit over priced considering the decor which was non-existent. The table was greasy as were the vinegar and oil bottles for the salad. We ate our food, a salad and a toasted tuna sandwich, and we did not get sick, however this is not a place I would recommend.

The waitress was missing teeth and the apron she was wearing was in need of cleaning. She was friendly and helpful but I couldn’t help wondering how this place continued to exist, other than the locals seems to like it which brings me to another story about the editor of the paper.

She came to the restaurant under the guise of ordering her Wednesday hamburger on Tuesday, because she said she just could not wait another 24 hours. However the real reason she was there was to pump the waitress for information about a police situation that had occurred the day before. Turns out that a routine traffic stop for a cracked windshield had turned into an arrest with possible police abuse of the driver.

She was pumping the waitress for information, since it appeared the individual was known to the waitress. We could not hear all of the discussion, however it sure was interesting. It also shows how much power a local editor has when it comes to printing information in the paper!

For those of you reading this post, and considering making the trip to Bisbee, it is definitely worth the trip, if only to spend an afternoon wandering in and out of the craft shops and antique shops. There is also an old hotel to visit and on a nice warm day you can sit on the veranda and enjoy a nice cold beer.

I could not resist taking a picture of this car. Obviously a tourist who enjoys antiques and the quiet ambiance of an old mining town such as Bisbee Arizona!

If you are looking for a quiet evening spent in the 60’s you might even stay the night in one of the motels or bed and breakfasts. Obviously this is not for us, since we prefer more modern situations and service.

If you have been to Bisbee and have similar comments or even a different perspective, please leave a comment for our readers. Spam comments will be deleted. For more posts About Arizona, click here.

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Titan Missile Museum, Arizona

February 1st, 2011 ernie Posted in Arizona 1 Comment »

We visited the Titan Missile Museum just south of Tucson Arizona. This is an excellent museum to visit and well worth the $18.00 for the one hour tour.  The museum offers 3 kinds of tours. Every day there are one hour tours that stat at 9 a.m. and run Titan Missile Museumon the hour. There are also 4 hour tours on special days, check the web site to confirm what days these tours are being offered. There is also an over night tour were you spend the night inside the missile launch center 6 stories under ground. For us the one hour tour was sufficient, however if you are an enthusiast, I think the longer tours would be of interest to a lot of people. The picture above is an old warhead without the nuclear material of course. The entrance to the museum is via the old elevator shaft that takes you deep into the ground where the control center etc was. your tour begins at the top where someone from the military will guide you through the museum.

The address is : 1580 W. Duval Mine Rd., Sahuarita, Arizona

We arrived first thing in the morning for the first tour and ended up having our own private tour of the facility. A normal tour can have as many as 20 people so we were very fortunate.

The picture on the left is one of the fuel trucks that provided the fuel for the missile. There were two of them, kept on opposite sides of the property to avoid accidental mixing and of course explosions.

The following is a summary of what we picked up during the tour and can also remember.

These Titan missiles carried a nuclear war head that was considered to be 100 times stronger than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima and would flatten an area of 945 square miles.

Our guide emphasized that the US followed a deterrence strategy, which meant that they would never launch a first strike against the Russians. Instead they apparently advised the Russians of how many missiles they had, were they were aimed and their capacity along with the time it would take to launch them from time of detection of a launch against the US. What it meant is that both countries would be annihilated if the Russians launched a first strike which was a huge deterrent for them both.

The picture on the left is the missile in the silo taken from about 30 feet underground.

From the time the crew was given the order to launch, the missile would be in the air in less than one minute. The president of the United States is the only one who can give the order to launch these missiles. Before the crew can even begin the launch process, they must first receive a coded order from the president. Once the order was transmitted and received by the Titan Missile Launch Crew team, they referred to a very specific process to prepare to launch the missile. This process was put in place to protect everyone from premature launches of a devastating missile.

The crew followed a very secure process to ensure that the order was real and that it would always take two members to launch the Titan missile. There were two codes that needed to be entered from different sources and two crew men must turn separate keys to launch the missile. There was a 4 man crew and none of them could be alone while inside the installation  other than the kitchen or the head to ensure that a missile could never be launched by a single person.

The crew had sufficient food and water to last a month and an air supply that would last up to 10 days. If there was an attack, the crew was expected to survive, although there may not be much left top side for them afterwords.

When this site was decommissioned, the blast doors had to secured in such a manner that it is impossible to launch the missile. This was done to convince the Russians that this site was decommissioned. The Russians are watching via satellite and observing that nothing has changed at this site even today.

The crews launch quarters and control center is sound, blast  and vibration suppressed. There are 3 foot steel and concrete doors, the entire crews quarters and launch center are on giant springs that will dampen any vibration when the missile launches.

There was a four man crew, with a senior commander in charge and 3 other people responsible for various operations. They completed a 12 hour shift and there was intense security around the site for entry and exit to this facility.

Our guide demonstrated for us how the launch took place and specific steps that the crew would go through. My wife got to be the senior commander for an hour and launched the missile after following these specific steps. I am never going to be able to live this down. One of the keys that needed to be turned was located in this console shown on the picture to the left.

The location of these missiles in Arizona was chosen because of the arid climate and now that it is a missile museum, there are lots of retired military people to act as guides for this site.

If you have been to the museum and would like to make comment that will assist our readers please do so. Spam comments will be auto deleted.

For more information about places to stay in Arizona and things to do in the state, click here.

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Lees Ferry

December 21st, 2010 ernie Posted in Grand Canyon No Comments »

Lees FerryRafting Trip – Grand Canyon by Raft – Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek

Description – Lees Ferry

The Grand Canyon is one of the earths true natural wonders. A place with profound beauty, history, geology, and ecology. Each year, thousands of visitors from around the world gather at the Canyon’s rim to look down into its magnificent vastness. Many will also hike or ride a donkey along the trail to the canyon’s bottom. But there’s no better way to really see the Canyon than to travel through it, via the Colorado River.

Journeying through the Grand Canyon on your watery pathway, you will see dramatic changes as the canyon walls climb towards the sky, mesmerizing you with awesome beauty and untold years of geological history. There are  side hikes, crystalline creeks and waterfalls, Native American history, and breathtaking scenery that can  enrich this amazing adventure.

This is one of the longest rafting trips in the US. Covering 225 river miles, this trip offers all the scenery, side canyons and whitewater excitement of canyon trip with the glories of Marble Canyon, the mysteries of the Inner Gorge, terrific side hikes and Indian ruins, crystalline creeks and waterfalls, cactus gardens and whitewater galore. You can  explore the numerous side canyons, which crisscross this magnificent region, each having it’s own unique attractions, just waiting to be discovered.

River Rating – 42 major rapids rated 5 or above on a scale of 1 to 10

Number of Rapids – 42,  The two most noted of the Colorado’s rapids, Crystal and Lava Falls, are both rated a 10. The intensity of all rapids naturally depends on the water level, so readings for low and high water levels may vary slightly.

Minimum Age – 12 years

Departure Dates – Dates vary by year, 2011 – May 21 until October 10

Boat Type –  Varies by outfitter, most are 18 feet inflatable rafts, holding 4 passengers and a guide.

What to Bring –

  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
  • Grand Canyon National Park Entrance Fee
  • Items of a personal nature (an equipment list will be provided)
  • Sleeping bags and pads (these items often can be rented from your outfitter)
  • Insurance of any kind, including travel insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages

What’s Usually Included?

  • Transportation by van from meeting point to put-in at Lees Ferry and return from Diamond Creek
  • Expedition equipment, including highest quality rafts, 2 person shared tent, personal flotation device (PFD, waterproof bags, camp chair as well as eating utensils, plates and cups for overnight trips
  • Skilled, professional, experienced guides
  • Meals from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on your last day

Reviews – Feel free to post a review of this trip and white water rafting adventure.

Outfitters – O.A.R.S. is one of the outfitters we have reviewed and  has been in business since 1969 . Great trips on some of the world’s best rivers, coastlines and mountains are the recipe for this success. Always focused on our clients and their vacations, it is our genuine—if not biased—belief that river trips and wilderness vacations are extremely valuable life experiences.

EXPERIENCE

• In 1969, O.A.R.S. became the first exclusively oar-powered rafting outfitter to offer river trips through the Grand Canyon. The immediate success of these trips inspired founder and President George Wendt to expand his business into the largest and most geographically diverse rafting, sea kayaking, and multi-sport company in North America.

Since 1969, the family-owned and operated company has shared in the world’s waterways with more than 450,000 guests. With more than 75 itineraries on over 35 rivers and coastlines worldwide, four decades of experience in the industry, and some staff members who have been with the company since nearly the beginning, O.A.R.S. is routinely recognized for serving up some of the “Best Trips on the Planet,”

For more posts about the Grand Canyon and Arizona, click here.

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Arizona White Water Rafting

February 21st, 2010 ernie Posted in Arizona 3 Comments »

What are the physical requirements for rafting?There are many Arizona white water rafting locations to try out in the state. We have attempted to list all that we could find on this post. We may have missed some or perhaps your company wants to hi-light one that is particularly interesting. Please give us your comments on any that we have missed and we will add them to the list of Arizona white water rafting locations.

Arizona White Water Rafting

Here is our list of locations in Arizona for white water rafting. The picture sis from the grand daddy of them all, the Grand Canyon.

  • Beaver Creek, Arizona, Wet Beaver Creek to Verde River, class -?-, 9 miles long.
  • Bill Williams River, Arizona, Alamo Dam to Lake Havasu, class -?-, 36 miles long.
  • Black River – & East Fork, Arizona, Below Wildcat Point, class IV-V, 90 miles long.
  • Black River – East Fork, Arizona, Diamond Rock to Wildcat Point, class -?-, 18 miles long.
  • Blue River, Arizona, Blue Crossing to Forest Service Road 475, class IV-V, 34 miles long.
  • Chevelon Creek, Arizona, Woods Canyon Lake to Little Colorado River, class -?-, 75 miles long.
  • Colorado River, Arizona, Hoover Dam to Willow Beach, class -?-, 12 miles long.
  • Colorado River, Arizona, Lees Ferry to Lake Mead, class I-V, 230 miles long.
  • Eagle Creek, Arizona, Along Forest Service Road 217, class -?-, 12 miles long.
  • East Verde River, Arizona, US Route 87 to Verde River confluence, class V+, 34 miles long.
  • Gila River, Arizona, Kelvin to Ashurst-Hayden Dam, class -?-, 15 miles long.
  • Gila River, Arizona, Virden to US Route 666, class -blank-, 53 miles long.
  • Little Colorado River, Arizona, Below Grand Falls to above Black Falls, class -?-, 16 miles long.
  • Little Colorado River, Arizona, Cameron to Colorado River, class V+, 51 miles long.
  • Oak Creek, Arizona, Pump Stabove Sedona Cornville to Verde River, class -?-, 35 miles long.
  • Salt River, Arizona, Gleason Flats to Horseshoe Bend, class III-IV, 19 miles long.
  • Salt River, Arizona, Highway 60 to Mescal Rapid, class III-IV, 7 miles long.
  • Salt River, Arizona, Route 60 to Roosevelt Reservoir, class II-IV, 60 miles long.
  • Salt River, Arizona, Stewart Mountain Dam to Granite Reef Dam, class -?-, 12 miles long.
  • San Francisco River, Arizona, Alma to Clifton, class -?-, 40 miles long.
  • Tonto Creek, Arizona, Box, class IV(V), 2 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Bartlett Reservoir to confluence with Salt River, class I-II, 19 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Beasley Flat to Gap Creek, class II-IV, 7 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Camp Verde to Beasley Flat, class -blank-, 8 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Childs to Horseshoe Reservoir, class I-III, 25 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Clarkdale to Camp Verde, class -?-, 28 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Horseshoe Reservoir to Bartlett Reservoir, class I-II, 19 miles long.
  • Verde River, Arizona, Perkinsville to Clarkdale, class -?-, 18 miles long.
  • Virgin River, Arizona, Virgin River Gorge, class -?-, 11 miles long.
  • Wet Beaver Creek, Arizona, Beaver Ranger Station to Beaver Creek, class -?-, 9 miles long.

Many of these rapids will vary in intensity depending on the time of year. In the spring or after heavy storms the water in the river can be quite treacherous and only the highly skilled should venture onto some of these rivers. In other areas they are more conducive to family outings for white water rafting. Check with your local outfitter to see what the conditions are and what preparations you may want to make before booking your rafting trip.

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