Side Trip: Bullhead City, AZ / Laughlin, NV
Down the Oatman Highway and over Sitegreaves Pass, you can look to the northwest and see the twin cities: Bullhead City is on the Arizona side, Laughlin on Nevada's. In between flows the Colorado River, the liquid lifeline for much of the American Southwest.
Trivia: Bullhead City and Laughlin are among the hottest cities in the nation: the average high temperature in July is 112. The record? A whopping 126 degrees.
Bullhead City came about because a 19th century settler named William Hardy established a ferry service across the river. In the 1940s, Davis Dam (originally Bullhead Dam) was set on the Colorado River 70 miles south of Hoover Dam. The newly created Lake Mohave drew tourists – and Bullhead started to grow. Between then and 2010, Bullhead City grew from around 10,000 people to around 40,000. Today it bills itself as located on "Arizona's West Coast."
Meanwhile, Laughlin lies on what is apparently Nevada's "east coast", named for a Minnesotan-turned-Vegas-club-owner named Don Laughlin – who bought the southern tip of Nevada in 1964. After Las Vegas and Reno, Laughlin is the third most-visited casino and resort destination in Nevada. Ten casinos gather along the river, many connected by an unofficial "riverwalk." The Laughlin Bridge, built in 1987, provides an easy walk back to Bullhead City.
The area, being very popular with visitors (over 3 million each year), hosts numerous annual events including their Bullhead City River Regatta, Hardyville Days, Riverfest, Cornfest, jet ski competitions, and more.