While staying at River Island State Park we realized our water pump was starting to go so my husband drove into Parker and bought a new one at Spankys RV. He installed it quickly before dinner that evening but since it was getting dark he decided to wait until morning to finalize the mounting. The next morning a neighbour came over and offered tools and assistance. Lo and behold, it was my husband’s childhood next door neighbour when growing up. What a small world. We enjoyed a few evenings with them over drinks and chatter. They have been coming to Parker for well over 10 years and told us all their favourite spots. They even took us to Roadrunner one night for a great dinner. We had such an enjoyable time with them and will meet up with them again in Borrego Springs
Roadrunner is a barge restaurant just north of Parker and south of Buckskin Mountain State Park. A great place on the Colorado River for a drink and a meal. We ended up being the last people in the place as we were chatting and chatting. We had a wonderful time there.
Parker Dam Road
The Parker Dam Road runs parallel to the Colorado River on the western shore in California. It runs from the Parker Dam south to the bridge that leads into Parker, Arizona. The area is full of RV parks, campgrounds, day use areas, a few business establishments (post office, restaurants, gas stations), and wild burros. The BLM areas are referred to as Cooperative Management Areas and some of the campgrounds we found were $5 a night and with your interagency pass it was $2.50 a night. They all sit on the Colorado River with many sites having river views. There is even a nice Visitor Center at Rock House and the ruins of an old town called Crossroads.
In the 1930s, during the construction of Parker Dam, the town of Crossroads had about 3,000 inhabitants along with a couple of grocery stores, restaurants, a bowling alley, used car lots, garages, service stations, saloons, churches, etc. All that remains today is the ruins of the mercantile called Schwanbecks which also served as the US Post Office. It remained in business until 1973.
The whole area around the Parker Strip and all the way along the Bill Thompson River to Alamo Lake is known for the wild burro population. You go to sleep at night with the sounds of hee-haws as the burros parade through the area.
As you drive north on Parker Dam Road and just south of the dam itself there are lots and lots of wild burros wandering the road. There are plenty of signs warning you to be careful and if you stop, watch out, they will surround your car. Obviously, some people have been feeding them, which of course, is the wrong thing to do. The signs warn you not to harass the burros but it is actually the opposite, they harass you. Do not stop!
The Desert Bar
North of Parker along Cienega Springs Rd is The Desert Bar also known as the Nellie E Saloon in the Buckskin Mountains named after the old mining claim in the area. A great place to visit, have a drink, and soak up the atmosphere. In the winter they are only open on Saturdays and Sundays during the day but do have live music. A fun place. We visited there with Leigh and Brian from Aluminarium and had a few drinks and some nice conversation in the setting sun.
Three Dunes Hike
We ventured out one day for a 7 mile hike to Three Dunes in Cattail Cove State Park. We started from a rest area on mile marker 170 along Hwy 95 in Arizona and hiked the gradual downward descent to the Colorado River. We arrived to a beautiful cove area with a few sand dunes, lots of picnic tables and restrooms and not a soul around. The weather had been rainy the past few days so it was overcast and dry and perfect hiking temperature. We did keep our eye on the sky in case of flash flooding and of course, always had a plan for a way out. You just never know.
It is a beautiful area and you could see the Cattail Cove campground in the distance and you could hear the loons out on the lake.
A beautiful hike with scenic views.
CAP Peninsular Trail
Along Highway 95 north of Parker next to the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge is the Central Arizona Project (CAP) Peninsular Trail. A mile and a half of walkways, some paved, some not, with benches, ramadas, and interpretive signs along a peninsular which jets out into Lake Havasu. The trail is even lit up at night with the use of solar panels. Due to the issues of the lake have such a sharp shoreline which makes it difficult to fish without a boat, this area has fishing docks all along the trail. It is a lovely area for a short little walk and a view out onto Lake Havasu.