Day 16 of the Tour proved to be both exhilarating and exhausting. It was the last segment of our east-west, cross country journey. We left Arizona in the morning knowing that by the end of a long day on the road we would finally reach the Pacific Ocean.
The road outside Tucson took us to Gila Bend (pop. 1,922), where we were warned to be careful because it’s a major drug trafficking route. We stopped there for gas and quickly departed. Somebody should have warned us about the freaky high mountains too!
We occasionally describe certain parts of the Country as “having no there, there”. Sentinel, AZ is one such place. Read the sign closely and you’ll get the picture.
Sadly, the one attraction in town that seemed to draw some visitors, The B-B Cafe, recently closed.
The Imperial Sand Dunes near Yuma AZ are a magnet for off-road riders. It was amazing to see ATVs racing along this huge sandbox. Return of the Jedi was filmed here.
Continuing our westward journey, we landed in the tiny town of Dateland, Arizona (pop. 852). Founded in the early 1920’s as a water stop along the railroad lines, the town is located just north of the Mexico border between Yuma and Gila Bend in the Arizona desert.
We stumbled onto the Dateland Travel Center, home of “the world famous” date milk shake. Its Medjool Date is also said to be world famous. We were greeted by Lee, who explained the different types of dates grown here. And don’t get us started on the samples Lee gave us to taste…delicious.
Bart was our very own taste tester.
This is the AZ-CA border crossing. Looking for Medjool date thieves?
Our day long journey to the West Coast ended in the welcoming town of Solana Beach, CA (pop. 13,326). We’ll roost in this beautiful spot a couple of days and enjoy some fun in the sun…SoCal style.
The Discover Small Town America Tour has logged nearly 4,000 miles on its east-west, coast-to-coast quest to find amazing places and people off-the-beaten-path.
Wow. Our first look at the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Spellbinding and not a “surfer dude” in sight. Yet…
The West Coast’s rocky cliffs and magnificent surf are so different from the Gulf Coast of Florida, where the Tour began on November 5. Both scenic views are beautiful.
Next up: Stayed tuned for our next road report on some cool SoCal beach towns – including Solano Beach – as the Tour continues exploring places along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.