From Joshua Tree National Park, we traveled east to Lake Havasu on Twenty-nine Palms (SR 62) road on October 21. A short distance from the railroad crossing in Rice, something up ahead caught our attention. Folks on the internet call it the Gas Island Shoe Tree.
Someone expanded the idea and created a Mask Bush (my words). Close by stood the ruins of a concrete and stone building adorned by spray-can artists. There was an old school at this spot when my family drove this way to and from the Colorado River during the 1960s and early 1970s. I’m not sure if it is the same building.
After our brief respite, we continued on up the Arizona side of the Colorado River to Lake Havasu City and soon arrived at Havasu Hills, pleased we had found reservations to accommodate us since no other RV park had vacancies.
Lucky for us the 2022-23 season opener at Havasu 95 Speedway gave us something to do for a night out. Unfortunately, our friend Chris Blackwell had a bit of trouble with his #99 car and had to give up in the middle of the race. We still had a good time visiting with him and his family and watching the go-carts, flat karts, and factory stock cars race around the track. I liked the Bandoleros the best. The speedway operates races once or twice a month, from October through April each year.
It’s hard to pass up live music at the Bunker Bar while in Lake Havasu City. What could be better than rocking out,out,out,out, drinking a can of beer, and eating a hamburger or hot dog while watching a couple show off their dance moves in front of the bandstand? Checking out the collection of military equipment and dinosaurs installed since our last visit was a bonus.
We had a new restaurant to try during this visit. Next to Havasu Hills is Iron Wolf Golf and Country Club, where we ate at Bogeys and Stogies Sports Lounge and Grill. The golf course was, and still is as of the posting date, under renovation, but the restaurant had recently reopened. The typical sports bar with plenty of TVs hanging from the walls served up crispy-on-the-outside and flaky-on-the-inside fish and chips, paired with a delicious salad.
We hadn’t been on the lake in several years, so we reserved three seats on the Sunset Copper Canyon Cruise. The 90-minute narrated tour set out from Lake Havasu Marina, passing by one of the 28 lighthouse replicas installed along the 400 miles of shoreline. Formed in 2000, the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club builds and maintains the replica lighthouses. Each of the lighthouses is a scaled-down replica of a famous one gracing the shores of the East Coast, West Coast, and the Great Lakes. They all serve as working navigation aids.
While the boat headed south, our tour guide regaled us with tales of Robert McCulloch, the founding father of Lake Havasu City, and the historical and military uses of the land prior to his arrival. I remembered as a child listening to my parents and grandparents talk about McCulloch. They laughed at the crazy man who bought the London Bridge and rebuilt it in the middle of a desert.
A lake perspective of the city showed us how much growth had occurred over the years and yet there remains stretches of untouched desert hills, much of which is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. I’ve watched the London Bridge Village during its bustling periods and in the lean years. By the looks of things during this visit, the businesses and restaurants have survived the pandemic and are thriving. With a population that has grown from 4,111 during the 1970 census to 57,144 in 2020, and adding in the approximately 835,000 visitors during a year, I guess Mr. McCulloch wasn’t so crazy after all.
As the sun began its descent behind hills, we entered Copper Canyon. Shadows revealed the gray and green and red tones of the canyon walls, which fade away under harsh sunlight, as if an artist had come along and splashed the walls with a touch of paint. It’s no wonder why this canyon is one of the most scenic on Lake Havasu.
The sunset photo is a good place to say adieu for now. More on our Lake Havasu visit to come.