While in Quartasite, Arizona we took a day trip. We thought we would drive north on AZ 95 to Lake Havasu City, but we did not make it. Instead, we explored the small town of Parker with a population of three to four thousand people. There we found enough to see and do to keep us busy for the better part of the day.
Parker was first an Indian reservation. If I am not mistaken, part of the city still is on reservation land. Ely Parker was the first Native American to act as Commissioner for the U.S. government.
A museum and library of the history of the Native Americans is located in Parker. You can find it off AZ 95 at Second and Mohave. At the museum you will find Native American ruins and paintings. In October, Native American Days is celebrated and December there is an All-Indian Rodeo.
We began a search for a local restaurant that would serve good food. Our Garmin wanted to direct us to Hardees, McDonalds and the like but we prefer to support local establishments. Their food is, by far, the best if you find just the right place. We found our right place when a local health food store employee directed us to Cyber D’Lites Internet Café and Bakery. The café is located at 1600 California (AZ 95) in a strip mall. The sign is small, so keep your eyes open and look to your left if you come from Quartzsite. I took this photo from their website.
They have doubled their size since this picture was taken. Now they have a wall of local artist’s artwork. Photography, oil and watercolor paintings grace the wall of the café.
Being an artist, I LOVED the work on one artist. The imagination and creativity in this work swept me off my feet. I know that some of you are going to utter “say what?” but I raved all afternoon about it.
If I had one empty space in our motorhome, one of these would be hanging right now. But then, I would have to take down one of my pieces. It’s not going to happen. Anything I take down will be replaced by something I do as we travel.
Back to the D’Lites. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by an attentive server with fresh bread, with a dipping sauce unlike anything we have had before. We ordered the most delish veggie wraps. I had the sun dried tomato and John had the spinach tortilla. Inside was total and tasty veggies with a chef made chipotle sauce. Our sides were slaw for me and French fries for Mr. Skinny.
After our delicious meal we set out on a quest to find the Parker Dam. John thought is was in one direction and I thought it was where the directional signs indicated. Being such a sweet, submissive wife (uh hum), I deferred to John’s judgment and we drove F O R E V E R! We drove in a huge circle, along the Colorado River, up into the foot hills, back along the river and then on flat land only to be back into Parker. I quietly just started following the directional signs.
This route was very interesting. The landscape changed significantly on the California side of the Colorado River. I have never seen a river so blue! Beautiful.
We drove past RV parks that were located on the river. They looked inviting for a summer stay when you would want to be on the beach every waking hour to keep cool. Highway signs indicating that wild Burros were in the area. I has hoping that we would see at least one and we actually saw two groupings that we could get photos.
I thought I was able to get a photo of one that came up to the car to beg for food, but it did not register on my camera. I did get to scratch her nose though. The burros are as curious as our Llamas were. I do miss my critters.
Following the Burro experience we came upon Parker Dam. It was much more narrow than what we had expected. After the Hoover Dam, this looked pretty anemic. That is until I learned more about the Parker Dam.
Parker Dam is the world’s deepest with three hundred twenty feet below the river bed. It was built between 1932 and 1938 as a project of the Bureau of Reclamation. The dam is the second largest producer of hydro-electric power. North of the dam, the reservoir holding the water is Lake Havasu.
Water from the dam irrigates ten million acres that produce twenty five percent of the fruits and nuts grown in the U.S.
The Bureau of Reclamation has constructed six hundred Dams and reservoirs including the Hoover and Grand Coulee Dams. The Bureau is now part of the Interior department and is now a water management agency.
People think of only the Grand Canyon, Phoenix or Tucson when they think of Arizona. There is so much more to see, do and learn. We have just begun to scratch the surface. Next January and February we will return to learn more about this wonderful state.
My next post will continue to share a bit more about another small town in Arizona and how it and the surrounding area played a vital part in our history.
Until then, safe travels and my God bless you during this season of Lent.