Return to Douglas
April 1996

The Summary
Miles: 2,922
Freeway Miles: 82
Fuel Economy: 38.5 MPG
Duration of the trip: 7 days
States Visited: 5 (including Sonora)
Total Trip


To re-create a journal for the trip I have some road notes -that is all! I know the year was 1996 but the month might have been March, I know it was in the spring to avoid the heat and I left for Bulgaria in June. I am not sure of the exact dates so I have shown the trip as day 1, day 2 etc. So, for those of you that like trip logs that is what this journal will be about.

Day 1: Reno, NV to Laughlin, NV
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Roads: City Streets, US395, CA136, CA190, CA127, I-15, NV164, US95 & NV163
Distance: 614 miles
Camp: Harrah's Casino - Laughlin
Route no pic

The primary goal today was to drive through Death Valley. This I did when I turned off of US395 at Lone Pine, CA and took CA136, 190 & 127 to Baker, CA. The mountains were colorful and the desert floor was very interesting but I missed the flowers; I think I might be early. I was still working for Harrah's at this time and was on vacation. Therefore, I could make a reservation for a room in Laughlin at the employee rate, I did just that because I knew I would be arriving late in the day. I had dinner there at the Casino also and went to bed, it had been a long day.

Day 2: Laughlin, NV to Yuma, AZ
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Roads: AZ95, AZ95/Courtwright Rd, AZ95/County1/Oatman Hwy, I-40 & AZ95/US95
Distance: 224 miles
Camp: Motel
Route no pic

A lot of desert scenery with a few views of the Colorado River. It is very desolate between Quartzite and Yuma. I had been hoping that I would be in time for the spring flowers but I guess I am a little too early.

Day3: Yuma, AZ to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
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Roads: US95, MEX2 & MEX15D
Distance: 464 miles
Camp: Motel
Route no pic

I crossed the border at San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora and got Mexican Insurance and my tourist card but put off getting my car permit until Sonoyta. I then thought I would be able to get it at the check point but they sent me back to Sonoyta. There were a lot of yellow flowers on the desert brush along MEX2 near Sonoyta; I think this was grease wood brush and that is one of the first to flower so I am truly to early. It was very humid in Hermosillo and quite a bit hotter than it has been until now on the trip, I did get an air conditioned room and the hotel gave me a fair rate of exchange for my dollars. I had been slightly ripped-off by the gas station on the exchange when I filled up just north of town.

Day 4: Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico to Douglas, AZ
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Roads: MEX15, MEX14 & MEX17
Distance: 252 miles
Camp: Gadsden Hotel

Route no pic

I could have taken the 'Camino Libre', the Free Road, from Santa Ana to Hermosillo yesterday but it is a lot slower and the road surface is not as good as the MEX15D Toll Road. This morning I was going back north for only 6 miles before my turn onto MEX 14 so I did avoid the Toll Road. Both MEX14 & 17 are both bad, it is hard to say which is worse. They both have a lot of pot holes and just in general disrepair; I averaged about 35 MPH for the day. The distance that I have shown for the day includes 30 miles of driving around to places where lived while growing up in Sulphur Springs Valley and some looking around in Douglas. The last place that I lived which my parents sold in the mid 1970s is now a bare piece of ground, nothing is left standing. The other place near the Fairgrounds where I lived from the 7th grade through Junior year in High School has a couple of it brick walls still standing; all the corrals, windmill, and other out-buildings are gone. The place near the airport and chile plant look about the same but the Frontier Road house looks like it was torn down and a new one built. I had not been back since my parents sold, something over 20 years so I guess I should expect some changes. The bowling alley where I set pins and worked on the AMF pinsetters was closed many years ago and is now some service club location - maybe a VFW or something. The Gadsden had been refurbished not too many years ago but my room still looked a bit ragged; I think they put most of the money into the lobby.

Day 5: Douglas to Phoenix, AZ
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Roads: AZ80, US191, Double Adobe Rd, McNeal Rd, Davis Rd, AZ80, AZ82, AZ83, I-10, Saguaro National Monument Rd, Houghton Rd, Tanque Verde Rd, Sabino Canyon Rd, Oracle Rd/AZ77, AZ79, Cactus Forest Rd/Coolidge Av, AZ87, AZ287, AZ387, AZ238, AZ347, E Beltline Rd & City Streets
Distance: 365 miles
Camp: Roger's
Route no pic

Today I made my way north avoiding the Interstates as much as I could and then found my way through Tucson on some of the roads that I had ridden in the Tour de Tucson (a 106 mile bicycle ride around Tucson). When I got to the southern part of Phoenix I was on 'home' ground, I had lived there for 14 years, so I could find my way on city streets. I made my way to Roger's, a co-worker at Valley National Bank when I was there but didn't do much after I got there. We spent most of the evening catching up on our lives and me tell him about my up coming Peace Corps service in Bulgaria.

Day 6: Phoenix, AZ to St George, UT
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Roads: City Streets, US60, AZ89, AZ89A, I-17, US89, US89A, AZ389/UT59, UT9 & I-15
Distance: 461 miles
Camp: Motel
Route no pic

I have nothing in my notes about this day except the roads that I drove.

Day 7: St George, UT to Reno, NV
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Roads: UT18, UT56/NV319, US93, NV375/318. NV375, US6, US95, US95A & I-80
Distance: 542 miles
Camp: Home
Route no pic

This was just a long drive home. I think it was my second time across NV375, the Extraterrestrial Highway, and I'm more convinced than ever that this should be called the 'Loneliness Road in America' not US50. The only other thing that I will comment on is in hindsight; I got just over 42 MPG for the 542 miles from St George, UT to Sparks, NV with my 1990 Toyota Celica - why can not cars get that now? I think the primary reason they can not is because of government regulations of pollution and car safety. So what is the answer for better gas mileage in cars today - more government regulations that mandate that the manufactures increase them. The people in Washington D.C. Actually think that they can effect greater MPG just by passing a law that says it will be done and it will happen.