Scott’s Big Adventure, Day Nineteen: Gila Bend to Kingman

Sonoran Desert National Monument

It was a nice evening yesterday, so I decided to ride out to Gila Bend at dusk in order to see the Sonoran Desert National Monument the next morning. The big attraction in the Sonoran Desert is the iconic Saguaro Cactus. These are the gigantic, tree-like cactus which are the symbol of the state of Arizona, and in many respects, of the West itself. As I was riding down Hwy 238—which bisects the National Monument—after dark, I saw these things looking up on either side of me. There wasn’t much light, but I could tell what they were.

I spent the night in a cheesy motel in Gila Bend, Arizona, and got up the next morning and headed back the way I came. This time I could see the cactus, and they were amazing. I took lots of pictures which I’ll post one of these days. But trust me, they were amazing.

I got back to Chandler at mid-morning, and headed up the freeway towards Phoenix itself. I pulled off at Tempe to check out Arizona State University. I rode through downtown Phoenix and took some picture of Chase Field where the Diamondbacks play baseball. And as I headed out of town towards the northwest, I tooks some pictures of the University of Phoenix stadium where the Cardinals play football.

Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs is a weird place. Everything is completely flat, and all the streets run in straight lines. Its hard to tell where one town stops and another starts. Its a lot like Silicon Valley, except that there are absolutely no landmarks to tell where you are. At least in Silicon Valley, the communities all had their individual personalities before they all ran together. Around Phoenix, there’s virtually no distinction between Chandler or Mesa or Tempe.

Joshua Tree Forest Parkway

I left Phoenix on Hwy 60, headed northwest towards Kingman, Arizona. Due to time constraints, I had decided to cut the stop in Lake Havasu City to see London Bridge. Hwy 60 is pretty desolate, but about halfway to Kingman, all of a sudden I was in a virtual forest of Joshua Trees. These are kind of a cross between cactus and trees. They have wooden trunks and branches like trees, but their leaves are spiny and stiff like cactus.

Kingman Arizona on Route 66

I got into Kingman right after dark. Route 66 runs through Kingman. As I rode down it after arriving, I was expecting to find a lot of the old attractions and establishments either still intact or being restored. But there was nothing of the sort. It was pretty disappointing. It was just like the main drag in any other town or city. Nothing unique about it. I spent the night at a Comfort Inn. Tomorrow I ride what’s left of Route 66, hoping to find something resembling the old road.