September 23rd, 2019

Your Travels: Small towns, big attractions

By Ernest Fode on August 31, 2019.

Submitted photo Ernest Fode
The historic Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson. It's famed for being where gangster John Dillinger and his gang were captured.

My summer road trip started in Tucson, Ariz, and ended in Las Vegas. During my two weeks plus trip I visited small out-of-the-way places like Gila Bend, Yuma, Needles, Bullhead City, Laughlin and Primm.

Arriving in Tucson the temperature was a sizzling 42 C on July 17. What interested me the most during my stay in Tucson was the historic downtown hotel, the Hotel Congress, which I had booked for three nights.

The three-storey Hotel Congress, built in 1919 is a cultural landmark that anchors downtown Tucson. The rooms are extremely small. There are no TVs in all 40 rooms thereby maintaining the hotels original concept. All rooms have iron beds with vintage radios and 1930’s style phones that still work connected to the main lobby switchboard.

In 1934 this hotel became famous in national newspapers as the hotel where gangster John Dillinger and his gang were captured.

Interesting historical stops I made along the way were in Gila Bend, Yuma and Quartzsite in Arizona.

The Colorado River Museum on Hwy 68 in Bullhead City, Ariz. caught my interest. I spent an entire day at this Museum learning about the history of the Laughlin-Bullhead City-Davis Dam area.

A film on the history of U.S. Route 66 was shown to visitors.

Bullhead City, population 40,000, is located on the Colorado River directly across from Laughlin, Nev. Laughlin, with its casinos, and Bullhead City are connected by the Laughlin Bridge. Driving north through a place called Searchlight with its one casino, if you blink you may miss it entirely.

My last stop was at Primm Nev. population 1,100, on Interstate 15 at the California-Nevada state border. Primm is a pit stop for people driving to Vegas from California.

While staying at the Whiskey Pete’s Casino and Hotel, I visited the Bonnie and Clyde Museum inside the casino. The original shot-up car is enclosed in glass with the 100-plus bulletholes riddled through the body of the car. A video also shows the life and times of these infamous bank robbers.

Despite forever seeing cactus, the Joshua trees, the arid landscape and enduring desert heat I enjoyed visiting Arizona’s and Nevada’s many small town attractions.

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If you’ve been on an interesting trip lately, we want to hear about it.

To help localize our Saturday travel page, the News is encouraging readers to send in 200 to 250 words about a favourite journey, along with a photo or two that tells part of the story.

Send your travel stories to cbrown@medicinehatnews.com.

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