Once in a while, it is important to note that not all places in California have wonderful weather. I had to laugh at a report published on Wed Aug 15, 2012 in the Daily KOS by Fishoutofwater. I have copied the opening paragraph because the author captured the scene so well.
“If there is a road to Hell it is I-40 into Needles, California. The combination of intense desert heat and Colorado River valley humidity streaming from the steaming Gulf of California makes it, arguably, the most miserably hot town in America in July and August. In this summer of record heat misery, Needles destroyed the all time world record for hot rain when 115 degrees Fahrenheit rain briefly pelted the town on Monday before it quickly turned to steam and evaporated. Lightning from the storm set vegetation surviving along the riverside afire on both sides of the Colorado, completing the scene of Hell on earth.”
No one has ever denied that it can be hot in Needles but the city fascinates me. As a child, we traveled through Needles once a year on our way to Texas. I may have pointed out on another post that my family went to Texas in the summer and Montana in the winter. Sort of bass-ackwards in terms of weather.
Needles was always the first stop on our trip. Needles really isn’t that far for us in terms of time but my parents would wake us up early (meaning still dark) so we could drive through the desert before it became unbearable. We are talking 1950’s and no air-conditioning.
As a child with a vivid imagination; Needles was a magical place. I had read Steinbeck and imagined those fleeing the dust bowl. They would cross the desert and the river to find Needles welcoming them to California. It must have been a sanctuary since it was the first California city they encountered. I know that coming back from Texas, Needles meant that we were home. Times have changed and there are more cities on the Arizona side but when I was little, there was only Needles.
Needles still holds its place as a Route 66 stop. While we still sometimes just drive through, there are times that we stop and revisit those attractions. In fact, we will be stopping there in July on our road trip to Missouri. It’s worth the time to visit this piece of American history. Just check the weather before you go.