Jan 30 2015
From The Arizona Republic
The western part of the state is a sort of terra incognita for many Arizonans, even those who have lived here for decades. And contrary to the barren, boring landscape you may imagine, the area from Ehrenberg to Parker holds an interesting combination of scrub desert and scenic mountains, ancient cultures and World War II history, irrigated fields and modern casinos.
Things to note along the way:
Ehrenberg: Most travelers blow right by Ehrenberg on their way to or from California. You'd never know it now, but the unassuming little town, originally named Mineral City, was once an important shipping point on the Colorado River. Herman Christian Ehrenberg, an immigrant from Germany, surveyed the town site in early 1860s. After Ehrenberg was murdered in the Mojave Desert in 1866, his friend Michael Goldwater (Barry Goldwater's grandfather), suggested renaming the town in his memory.
CRIT: The Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation stretches from just north of Ehrenberg to nearly 10 miles north of Parker, containing more than 300,000 acres — mostly in Arizona — along the banks of the Colorado River. Formed in 1865 for members of the Mohave and Chemehuevi tribes, CRIT allowed members of the Hopi and Navajo tribes to settle in the region for a few years after World War II. Learn more at the Colorado River Indian Tribes Museum and Library, which holds one of the finest collections of Chemehuevi baskets in the world.
Details: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays. In the tribal government complex at Mohave Road and Second Avenue, Parker. Free; donations accepted. 928-669-1332, www.crit-nsn.gov/critlibrary.
BlueWater Casino: This large hotel and casino on the outskirts of Parker, just off State Route 95, features slots, blackjack, poker, video keno and a 400-seat bingo hall. Grab a bite to eat at the BlueWater Grille or River's Edge Cantina, or enjoy fine dining at the River Willow Steakhouse. There's a four-screen movie theater next door.
Details: 11300 Resort Drive, Parker. 888-243-3360, www.bluewaterfun.com.
Don't miss: The Poston Memorial Monument and Kiosk. On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of about 120,000 Japanese during World War II. Between May 1942 and November 1945, nearly 18,000 men, women and children were incarcerated in three camps in the Poston area. The monument, a 30-foot-high pillar, was designed by architect Ray Takata and dedicated in 1992. The 12 small pillars arranged around the central pillar form a sundial. Look for the monument just south of Poston, about 28 miles north of Ehrenberg.
Total miles: Nearly 350 miles, round trip. From central Phoenix, take Interstate 10 west to Ehrenberg. Go north on the Ehrenberg-Parker Highway (aka Mohave Road) about 43 miles to Parker. Return by taking State Route 95 south to Quartzsite and then taking I-10 back to Phoenix.This article was originally published in The Arizona Republic.