Monday, February 3, 2014

Laughlin, Nevada

Well here it is, a brand new year. After seeing our newest grandson on the West Coast, we decided to start off the new year with a stop at Laughlin, Nevada, which is located at the southern tip of Nevada. It's known for its' gambling, water sports and entertainment. It shares the Colorado River with Bullhead City, Arizona. We stayed at Don Laughlin's Riverside RV Park which we always do. The park was built in five phases and we enjoy the latest phase which sits above the city and has a nice view of the river and casinos. The rates aren't too bad either, especially if you gamble....

Some people hate the desert, some love it! I fall in the latter group, especially right after a rain when you can smell the sweet odor of the creosote bushes. Contrary to many beliefs, the desert isn't all hot and dusty. This is the high desert area which gets cool at night and at times is blanketed in snow!

Since we were coming from California, we took the River Rd. north from Needles. This road is not in the best condition and has many dips which may not be passable during times of heavy rain. We weren't too concerned with rain but I don't like abusing the coach.

Jasmine wants to know if we are there yet...she too, hates this road....

We finally arrive at Laughlin, arriving from the West. Across the river in the background is Bullhead City Arizona. There are several RV parks in the area, some have full hookups while others are dry camping only. The Riverside has a single parking lot for overnight guests but slides cannot be deployed. The RV park is right across the street.

This area of Nevada was largely ignored and visited by mostly miners that worked the nearby hills.

In 1964, while flying over the area, Don Laughlin, who owned a casino in Las Vegas, saw potential for tourism. He ended up purchasing a large portion of land along the Colorado River. Here he built a small casino with 12 slot machines, 2 live gaming tables and an 8 room "motel", although 4 of the rooms were occupied by Laughlin's family.

One of the area's favorites at the time was the casino's offering of all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for 98 cents. Don Laughlin wanted to call the new city, Riverside but the US Post Office liked the name Laughlin better, so that name stuck.

While the City of Laughlin has a population of only about 8,000, it's proximity to Bullhead City, Arizona, Fort Mojave, Arizona, Needles, California and Mojave Valley brings this area's population above 100,000.

Laughlin bills itself as a family oriented destination. Being along the Colorado River it offers much in water sports activities. A Riverwalk connects many of the casinos that line the river while riverboats take patrons up and down the river to the casinos. Shopping is abundant along the main thoroughfare including an outlet mall. A Sam's Club and Home Depot are just across the river, as is a major airport.

This picture, and the one's above were taken from our campsite at the Riverside RV Park.  While the RV Park is across the street from the Hotel/Resort shuttles run to take you down to the hotel and the "strip". There are several campgrounds within a short distance to the river and gambling but at $15/night with full hookups, we will always choose this park.

Leaving Laughlin heading east on Hwy 68 through Arizona, there is a large climb, 11 miles @ 6% grade. Near the summit this outcropping is aptly named "Finger Rock". If you travel this road, use caution after the summit. The road drops rapidly and the speed limit drops to 55MPH right when you enter the City of Golden Valley. It's a well documented area of zero tolerance enforcement, affectionately called a "speed trap". 

The climb up Hwy 68 is well worth the view from the summit.