Goodbye Lake Havasu

After almost three months of hanging around Lake Havasu City, Arizona, the itch to roll became too strong to ignore. So today we said goodbye to Lake Havasu City. We’ve hitched up and the wheels are rolling in search of new scenery. However, we won’t be venturing too far from the Colorado River. We’re actually going from one man-made Colorado River lake to another.

sunset at Lake Havasu

The sunsets are always beautiful!

When jello jiggles

lighthouseWe’ve thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Lake Havasu City. It was never our plan to visit western Arizona this winter, but when hurricane Harvey hit our favorite Texas Gulf Coast town square in the middle  …. well, let’s just say the jello jiggled  and we were onto plan B.

When an RVer says, “Our plans are written in jello“, they basically mean their travel itinerary is flexible, ever-changing and not firm. Your lesson for the day on RVing jargon 🤣

Once our friends, the one’s we met last summer in Prescott, heard we weren’t going to Texas, they encouraged us to come spend some time with them on their property in Lake Havasu City (sure, twist my arm).They were eager to share their town with us and show us why they love living in Havasu.

When Al and I sold our Colorado home on a whim five years ago, we thought we’d only be doing this full-time RVing thing for a year or two. Thus, we’re always looking at real estate, especially me. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Hey, you can’t take the home builder/realtor out of me just because I live in an RV. I still love architecture and home design.

golf course

Golf is popular in Lake Havasu City

With that said, our search to find a new home base started the minute we sold that last house. But if we’re being honest here, this RVing gig is kind of addictive and the thought of putting down roots in one location usually finds us hitching up and rolling before putting any ink to paper. To say we can’t (don’t want to) make a commitment would be an understatement.

float plane

We feel very fortunate to have stayed and explored some beautiful parts of this country, and when we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in an area, we think about the possibility of a home base. That certainly doesn’t mean we’d ever give up RVing. Nope, we enjoy RVing way too much to stop anytime soon!

What we like about Lake Havasu City

For starters, there’s a lake here along with a ton of other recreational opportunities. All that recreation makes for a great destination for a variety of people. During winter months, the town attracts retirees from colder regions around the U.S. and Canada. During spring months, the community fills with university students on spring break.

Whatever hobbies or interests you may have, it’s most likely happening around here. There are all kinds of activities available for all ages. There are clubs to join for those living here and festivals to attend for locals and tourists alike.

If you enjoy gambling, there are a bunch of casinos up and down the Colorado River and many offer live entertainment including top name talent.

A variety of competitions take place in Lake Havasu City. Just a few of the events include the International World Jet Ski Races, a pyrotechnics convention, a speedway, professional fishing tournaments, custom boat regattas, charity events, a balloon festival, and more.

Toys, toys, and more toys! It’s all about the toys around Lake Havasu City …. Boats – you’ll see everything from kayaks to jet boats and everything in between. Cars – hot rods, sports cars, old cars. 4×4’s – Jeep’s, ATV’s, UTV’s. Aircrafts – large and small. RVs of all shapes and sizes with plenty of RV parks, state parks and boondocks to camp.

Weather – From October to April the weather is wonderful and perfect for outdoor activities. The mild winter weather is a snowbirders delight.

A regular part of our day included a three-mile out and back walk along the Bridgewater Channel. Al and I would start our walk at Rotary Park and walk under the iconic London Bridge and turn around at the Lake Havasu State Park. Hiking the stairs at the London Bridge became part of daily exercise routine.

Bridgewater Channel

walking along the Bridgewater Channel is a popular activity

Housing and property taxes are relatively affordable and most lots have room to park those toys. There are some great hiking trails at the south end of town at Sara Park, and where there’s water, there are birds. So even though I didn’t get a chance to do my usual bird photography along the Gulf Coast this winter, I still managed to capture a few bird photos along the shores of Lake Havasu.

lighthouses of Lake Havasu City

Location – the location is great for connecting with like-minded folks. We kept very social during our stay, not only with our Havasu friends and their friends, but with other RVers. With Quartzsite only an hours drive to the south and Laughlin an hour to the north, there’s always someone passing through or stopping in Lake Havasu City.

Our latest meet up was with Debbie and Steve when they spent a week in the area. Then a week later when Al and I needed to make a Sam’s Club run up to Bullhead City, we reconnected not only with them but also with their friends.

RVers meet up at Bubba Gumps in Laughlin, NV. We meet some of Steve and Debbie’s friends. From left to right – Craig, Steve, Debbie, Al, me, Steve Dianne, Jo

The downside to Lake Havasu City

Weather is not only a huge plus half the year, it’s also a negative. Summer gets hot around here. Lake Havasu City is lower in elevation than Phoenix, Arizona, which means summertime temperatures soar into the 100 degree Fahrenheit range regularly. Lake Havasu City holds the all-time record high temperature in Arizona history with 128 °F recorded on June 29, 1994. However, on December 31, 2014, snow actually fell on the town.

The desert landscape around here is rather barren. You won’t find any majestic saguaro’s or desert wildflowers, but you will find plenty of rock. The longer I was here, the more I was bothered by the lack of vegetation.

Shopping is limited. However, Havasu pretty much has everything I need these days. The biggest draw back for me personally is the distance to the nearest city. The closest major city is Las Vegas which is a 2 1/2 hour drive away while Phoenix is a 3 1/2 hour boring drive away. That means I can’t just pop in on my kids for lunch in Phoenix. Yeah, a bit too far away for a spur of the moment visit with one of the kiddos.

London Bridge

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Recommended businesses

When we spend a prolonged amount of time in a new location, we have the opportunity to learn about the area and that includes where to shop and good places to eat. Just in case you find yourself visiting western Arizona, here are some businesses in Lake Havasu City that we enjoyed and feel comfortable recommending.

Palm treesGrocery stores: I’m usually fond of shopping at a Kroger Grocery store (aka Fry’s or Smith’s in Arizona) but in Lake Havasu City, I prefer Arizona’s local supermarket brand, Bashas. The produce is fresh, local (when possible) and reasonably priced. Safeway comes in second. There’s also a RV friendly Walmart in town for non-perishables.

Repair shops: During our drive from Phoenix to Lake Havasu City, we discovered we had a broken shackle on the RV. Once we set up camp and reassessed the situation, Al decided he didn’t feel comfortable doing the job himself. After all, we were on private property plus set up on gravel. With a little research, we scheduled the work with  Adrenaline Trailers. They were more than happy to sell us just the parts, but we decided this seemed like a good time to have the bearings repacked and the trailer brakes tested along with having all the shackles replaced. They did a great job, although they were a tad messy with the grease.

My truck needed general maintenance. This was the second time I used this small, two-man shop for service on my Toyota Tacoma and both times I was pleased with the work and the price. I even recommended E & J Auto Repair to fellow RVers, Laura and Kevin, for needed repairs on their Xterra. They too were pleased with Ed’s work. He doesn’t have a website but he can be contacted at – E & J Auto Repair, 1600 W. Acoma Blvd #60, Lake Havasu City, AZ (928) 854-9399.

Lake Havasu Arizona

Lake Havasu, Arizona

RV Parts: The top rubber seals on our RV slides were starting to deteriorate from all the extreme sun that we experience here in the desert southwest. We have used rubber conditioner, but being exposed to over 300 days of sunshine a year and 70-100 degree F temperatures takes a toll on our equipment. (I know, tough job dealing with all that sunshine 😁) The folks at Sunshine RV were very helpful in making sure we ordered the right rubber slide seal for our RV. Sunshine RV became our go-to shop for RV parts. A new propane valve and shower seals were part of our purchases.

Computer Repair: Whiz Kid was extremely helpful when I encountered some computer issues.

Car wash: Our equipment was in dire need of cleaning. Mesquite Car Wash is owned and operated by a husband and wife team who enjoy RVing. As a matter of fact, they spent a year RVing full-time and would like to hit the road again if they could find a good manager for their business. Al and I had both our trucks detailed and the RV washed. They even have a nice outdoor sitting area and an inside ‘tiki shed’ with TV for entertainment while you wait. Good job and super friendly staff!

Restaurants: Lake Havasu City offers a nice variety of local establishments as well as some of my favorite chain restaurants. This is a tourist town after all. On the local front, our first stop had to be Mudshark Brewery for their Vanilla Caramel Porter and Burger Monday special. Al  loves this porter and first discovered it being sold at Total Wine & More in Phoenix. Once Al realized the maker of this tasty porter was located in Lake Havasu City, a visit to Mudshark Brewery became tops on the ‘must do‘ list.

Next up was Hangar 24. Monday through Thursday during lunch they offer all their burgers at a special price of $7 and after 7:00 p.m. the appetizers are $5. The food here is really good, and I insisted we eat here one more time before heading out of town. A fun bonus for me was the ’70’s/’80’s rock music playing in the background. Guess with all the silvers in town, they considered the lunch crowd when choosing what music to play.

Hangar 24

Hangar 24 has a very casual party atmosphere with picnic table seating, occasional live entertainment, and even an outdoor swimming pool. Yeah, you read that right … a brewery/restaurant with a swimming pool. I’m pretty sure this is a popular spot for spring breakers. Silvers for lunch and breakers at night …. smart marketing!

Barley Bros Brewery

Barley Bros Brewery has a great location – check out the view of the London Bridge

I had heard mixed reviews from fellow RVers about Barley Brothers Brewery. So we decided to check it out ourselves. The location is prime. Talk about a view! Of the four breweries we sampled, this one seemed to be the most expensive and didn’t offer any specially priced items. Although we enjoyed our meal and drinks, we enjoyed the view and location more.

College Brewery Lake Havasu City

Meeting up with Steve and Debbie at College Brewery

Near the end of our Lake Havasu City visit, we met Debbie and Steve at College Street Brewery and were pleasantly surprised with the happy hour prices … good food, good drinks, and of course, good company. Steve’s flight of beer was $6 while my margarita was under $4. College Street Brewery turned into one of those restaurants we would definitely return to for happy hour.

Overall, Al thought Mudshark had the best beer. We both thought Hangar 24 had the best burgers. College Street Brewery had the best happy hour and Barley Brothers offered the best view!

The end of our visit

We had a great time hanging around Lake Havasu City and know we’ll be back … just not during the summer months. Hmm, after writing this post, perhaps Lake Havasu City should go on the short list of places to consider when we’re ready for that home base. It’s a thought!Lake Havasu Arizona

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Lake Havasu City, Arizona

It was shortly after 6:00 in the morning as I sat in the comfort of my RV waiting for the sun to rise. While enjoying my first cup of coffee and contemplating my plans for the day, I admired the view out my large rear window and couldn’t believe my luck in snagging such a great campsite.

Lake Havasu

My view at six in the morning. I’m sitting on the Arizona side of the Colorado River glancing over to California.

I was camped at Lake Havasu State Park in western Arizona. It was the second week in January and although it was a mere 48 degrees Fahrenheit outside at six in the morning, I knew by noon the temperature would be closer to 70 degrees and sunny. Now this is my kind of winter … a gal could get used to this!

sunrise Lake Havasu

A little more light as I wait for the sun to rise.

Al was thoroughly entertained by my morning antics. Every ten minutes I was jumping out of the RV with the camera and tripod in hand trying to capture the amazing light. Unfortunately, some things just don’t resonate in print.

I loved the stillness and quiet of the morning and eventually began to stroll down the beach in search of photo-ops. I’ll admit, I was more focused on savoring the moment than I was on taking photographs.

Lake Havasu State Park Arizona

Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona – morning fog

As the sun began to rise, there was a low hanging mist in the distance. Since it was still relatively early in the morning, there were few other people out and about. It was just me and the birds and I was loving it.

birding at Lake Havasu State Park

An egret flies by while the coot in the foreground squawks. A variety of ducks are floating in the distance.

I managed to capture a photograph of the first ferry run of the morning. This ferry operates daily taking passengers from Lake Havasu City over to the Havasu Landing Casino run by the Chemehuevi Indian tribe. (pronounced; chem-a-wev-e)

Chemehuvei Ferry Lake Havasu

The Chemehuvei Ferry in the distance

During a previous Lake Havasu City visit, Al and I along with our friends hopped on the ferry one morning for the quick boat ride over to the California side of the lake. The cost is a mere $2.00 per person. However, the local newspaper always has a coupon for egreta free pass which we of course took full advantage.

Since none of us is into casino gambling, we opted to enjoy breakfast with a nice lakeside view at the Havasu Landing Casino followed by another fun ferry ride back to the Arizona side of the lake. Hmm, might have to do that again sometime.

After spending two wonderful hours strolling along the shores of Lake Havasu watching the morning unfold, I arrived back to the RV just in time for breakfast …. al fresco style.

With such a fabulous campsite and view, it would be wrong to not take advantage of that picnic table.

Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona

Lake Havasu State Park – site #10 – the lake is behind me

Unexpected Arizona …

Most folks would never associate water and boating with Arizona, and that’s just one reason visiting western Arizona is such an unexpected surprise … a very pleasant surprise. Thus, making it a popular tourist destination.

Lake Havasu Arizona

sparkling clear waters of Lake Havasu

The sparkling clear water is a recreational invitation. There are a wealth of hidden coves and beaches perfect for all kinds of water activities; fishing, water skiing, paddling, or even high-end power boat racing. You’ll see it all here.

Lake Havasu City

I so want to do this!!!

Lake Havasu boating

Boating on Lake Havasu is a popular pastime around western Arizona and my fav!

But there’s more available activities than those associated with water … although anything to do with the lake is my personal favorite. Lake Havasu City is host to a variety of festivals and championship competitions. For a complete and up to date list of events visit Go Lake Havasu.

And then there’s golf, off roading, hiking, gaming, birding, scuba, pickle ball, disc golf, skate park, and a weekly flea market. In addition there are a bunch of interesting sites to see. For starters, there’s the famous London Bridge and all the lighthouses. I’m still working my way around trying to photograph as many of the lighthouses as possible.

lighthouses of Lake Havasu

One unique event I stumbled upon was Buses by the Bridge. This quirky event united VW bus owners from around the world. What an eclectic group this was!

 

Popular tourist event …

The annual Winter Blast is the most popular event of the year bringing in thousands of visitors for the three-day weekend. It’s held each February over Presidents Day weekend. If you enjoy fireworks, then this is the show for you. Pyrotechnic vendors come from across the country to display their pyrotechnic products and skills and the spectators benefit from the fantastic show – four full days of amazing fireworks displays.

Rockabilly Reunion

Rockabilly Reunion – Car Show and Music Festival – Feb 16-18 (2018)

In conjunction with Winter Blast is the Rockabilly Reunion. This is a 1950’s themed music festival and car show. This is one hopping weekend in Lake Havasu City and reservations for any kind of lodging are a definite must.

There’s dispersed camping (aka boondocking) north and south of town, but you can expect to be elbow to elbow even in the desert during this weekend. The rodeo grounds also offers dry camping for this event but reservations are necessary.

During our first road trip with the fifth wheel RV back in 2012, we tried to find an available campsite in Lake Havasu City during Winter Blast. We were complete RVing newbies at the time. Fortunately for us, we found dry camping available at the Crazy Horse Campground during this very popular weekend. We sure learned a lot during that road trip.

Rotary Park Lake Havasu City Arizona

Rotary Park Lake Havasu City

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Lake Havasu City then and continue to enjoy each and every subsequent visit. Although I was feeling under the weather a good part of January, I’m doing much better now and hope to be out and about exploring more of western Arizona soon. My camera has sat idle way too long!

sunset Lake Havasu

Good night from Lake Havasu!

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Ok … I gotta share my newest kitchen gadget. Al loves popcorn, but we refuse to buy the microwave kind – read the ingredients. Microwave popcorn can always be found on those “don’t eat” lists for obvious reasons. Bad stuff! Anyway, making popcorn on the stove top can be kind of a pain … more so for me needing to dig out the oversized pot in my tight quarters. My friend introduced me to this nifty product (affiliate link) Cuisinart Microwave Popcorn Maker
It’s collapsible, hardly takes up any space, and makes great popcorn. The only downside is it doesn’t seem to pop all the kernels and doesn’t make a large amount. Hubby says, it makes only one serving. For most folks it’s probably enough for two.

Lighthouses of Lake Havasu

With each visit to Lake Havasu City, I learn more and more interesting and fun tidbits about the area. During our first trip to this part of western Arizona back in February of 2012, we learned about the history of the London Bridge . You can read more about the bridge here.
London Bridge Lake Havasu

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Turns out the land developer, Robert McCulloch, actually thought he had purchased the Tower Bridge and was rather disappointed when the reconstruction of the London Bridge was complete. He wondered where the rest of it was. Where were the towers?
No towers! However, the bridge was reconstructed in Lake Havasu City with one less archway than what was originally used crossing the Thames River in London. The bridge was a tad too long here in Havasu for the span from the island to mainland. Thus, the remaining bricks from one of the archways were stored for safe keeping and are used for necessary repairs, which have been required over the years.
London Bridge Lake Havasu City Arizona

Boating under the London Bridge

If you’re fortunate enough to take a boat ride under the bridge, bullet holes from WWII can be found in the bricks. Imagine, those beautiful stone bricks and the abundance of history they’ve witnessed. And since we’re talking about boating, did you know Lake Havasu City is home to more lighthouses than any other city in the entire country?
lighthouses in Arizona Lake Havasu City

I know, when you think about lighthouses, one would never associate a landlocked desert with lighthouses. However, there are more than twenty-five scaled-down functioning replicas along Lake Havasu’s shores with plans to build even more.

The construction of these lighthouses was originally intended for safety purposes, but have become as much of a landmark as the London Bridge.

The Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club, a non-profit group of independent people, wanted to make the lake safer for night boating and fishing. All lighthouses are built and  maintained by the folks at the Lighthouse Club and meet the coast guard’s navigational regulations. So not only do they serve as a unique tourist attraction, they assist in safe water navigation.

East Quoddy Lighthouse Arizona

East Quoddy Lighthouse replica – Lake Havasu City

All the lighthouses on the west side of Lake Havasu are replicas of famous lighthouses on the West Coast. On the east side of the lake are replicas from the East Coast, and the lighthouses around the island are all replicas of lighthouses from the Great Lakes.

Each lighthouse replica costs about $5,000 to build, which includes $1,000 or more just for the beacon. The majority of the labor is done by Lighthouse Club members and other volunteers, and many of the lighthouses are sponsored by families as memorials for their loved ones. Some of the lighthouses can easily be viewed from land while others can be seen only from the water.

Durrituck Beach Lighthouse Lake Havasu City Arizona

A few  lighthouses can be seen during a stroll along the canal in Lake Havasu City – Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Currituck Beach Lighthouse Lake Havasu City Arizona

Each lighthouse replica is adorned with a plaque

One of my personal favorites is the Split Rock Lighthouse. When Al and I lived in the Chicago suburbs, every summer we would pack up our canoe and camping gear and head to northern Minnesota. The stretch of road along the north shores of Lake Superior between Duluth and Grand Marais is a beautiful and scenic drive … a drive I always enjoyed.

Lake Havasu Arizona lighthouses

Both sides of the road feature interesting sights. On the north side of the road, we see waterfalls. The iron ore rich land turns the cascading water into an interesting copper color which rapidly flows over huge rocks and drains into Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse replica – Lake Havasu City

Glancing to the south side of the road is Lake Superior; the largest of the Great Lakes. A rocky cliff shoreline serves as a reminder that these waters can be dangerous. You won’t find many beaches along Lake Superiors north shore but you will find lighthouses.

Split Rock lighthouse Lake Havasu City ArizonaDuring our many travels through this part of Minnesota, a stop or two to capture a photograph of the Split Rock Lighthouse was always on the agenda.

Somewhere in my storage unit back in Colorado are all my vacation photos from those Minnesota vacations.

I had a great time watching the sunset over Lake Havasu. As I stood next to the Split Rock Lighthouse replica, I couldn’t help but reminisce. Ah yes ….  fond memories indeed. Wherever does the time go?

Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu City is a great destination for a get away year round. Just remember, this is the desert and temperatures in the summer do soar, but fall, winter, and spring are an RVer’s dream. For info on a lighthouse tour, click here.

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Can you believe Christmas is just around the corner? I’ll be keeping a close eye on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Here’s a few items on my list (affiliate links). What’s on yours?

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Best thing about RVing

What’s the best thing about living in a RV full-time? Ah, that list is long, but if I had to choose one thing, that thing might come as a surprise. I know it came as an unexpected surprise to me; a pleasant one at that, I might add.

Lighthouses of Lake Havasu

One of the most popular questions about full-time RVing, seems to revolve around location(s); what’s your favorite place, a must see spot, most memorable scenery? Somewhere toward the bottom of that list of questions might be, “Do you miss family or friends?”

daughter

fun with my daughter

Of course we do! We always miss our children, which is why you’ll find us traveling in and out of Phoenix, Arizona on a regular basis. And although we keep in contact with our non-RVing friends, the biggest surprise, and most fun, has been all the new friendships we’ve forged along this journey.

So back to that question …. What’s the best thing about living in a RV full-time? It’s the community of like minded people and the forging of new friendships that makes this RVing lifestyle so special and so much fun.

Sure, the discovery of beautiful places is always a delight, especially to anyway who enjoys photography as much as I do, but the making of new friends, genuine friends, still tops my list of one of the best things about the RVing lifestyle.

I’ve discovered, the mobile life can turn even the most extreme introvert into a social butterfly. That’s not to say, there isn’t an abundance of solitude. RVing is whatever you want it to be, but know, that you’re never alone and there’s always someone willing to lend a helping hand or share a smile.

White Mountains

The White Mountains in eastern Arizona

Over the past several years of RVing, we’ve developed a core of friends; the kind of friends that would drop what they’re doing and travel miles to come lend a helping hand. We treasure that kind of friendship and do not take it for granted.

While staying at a RV Park in Prescott Valley this past June, we developed an amazing friendship with a couple from Lake Havasu City, Arizona. They had just purchased a new to them Motorhome and were having problems with their television. We offered to take a look and help these folks trouble shoot the issue. To make a long story short, this was just the beginning of our ensuing friendship.

Pinetop Arizona

Friends Park Model in Pinetop, AZ

These new friends were on a quest to find a small summer home to escape the extreme summer heat at their home in Lake Havasu City. Once the Prescott area was ruled out, they moved on, much to our chagrin. However, we stayed in touch regularly as their search continued throughout Arizona.

In early August, we received a phone call from them informing us that they had found their perfect summer get away and they couldn’t wait for us to see it. They urged us to come visit, which I assure you didn’t necessitate any arm twisting.

We left the RV behind for the first time in four years, and took a four-hour drive to the White Mountains in eastern Arizona. It felt like we were on vacation. Our friends purchased an absolutely adorable Park Model in Pinetop, Arizona, and refer to it as their little cabin in the woods. It’s so cute and perfect for their needs.

Corgi

our wonderful host and hostess – Kate and Duke

 

After our two night visit, they insisted encouraged us to come visit them at their home when they returned to Lake Havasu City. The mere mention of the word boating, quickly got my attention. Sure, twist my arm some more!

Lake Havasu City

Our friends had plenty of room for us to park our RV next to their motorhome and pontoon boat

In mid September, we pulled into their place in Lake Havasu City and were quickly directed into a parking spot. Al and I incorrectly assumed we’d be staying in our RV while parked on the property. Instead, they had the Casita in their backyard all set up and ready for us.

Casita living

Friends backyard. The main house is on the right and the Casita (studio apartment) is on the left

So not only did we have a free place to park the RV, we were given a free studio apartment for our extended stay … for however long we wanted to stay. Now, that’s some serious friendship!

Lake HavasuKeeping my mom’s saying at the forefront of our thoughts, “Guests and fish begin to smell after three days“, Al and I didn’t make a commitment as to how long we’d stay. We didn’t have anywhere to be until October 1st, but we also didn’t want to over stay our welcome and accidentally damage our friendship.

Well, our two and a half week visit flew by and both couples agreed it felt more like a mere weekend stay and none of us were ready to bid farewell. Fun times!

I’d say it’s safe to assume, regular visits to Lake Havasu City are in our future.

Adirondack chairs

Friendship is a wonderful thing!


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Oh, yeah….Happy Hour!

Parker, ArizonaAfter our visit with the wild Burros, we continued our journey.  Between the towns of Parker and Lake Havasu City, highway 95 in Arizona parallels the Colorado River skirting between red rock cliffs, resorts, and shoreline.  I find this stretch of road particularly scenic.

While enjoying a lovely scenic drive, the four of us developed quite a thirst and appetite.  We had a destination in mind to satisfy our needs and the Pirate’s Den proved to be the perfect spot.  Ya-hoo…it’s happy hour between 3:00 and 6:00; drinks are $3 and taco’s are $1.25 each…..and talk about a fun atmosphere.

Yep, good food, good drink, great company………I could get used to this place!

We spend a couple of hours sitting under a yellow umbrella indulging in some tasty tacos and cool margaritas.  Hum, we wondered if staying at the adjacent Pirate’s Den RV Resort might be in our future?

Parker AZ

Pirate’s Den RV Resort

After some pondering and discussion, it became clear…… having the Pirate’s Den bar steps from our RV door may not be in our best interest.  The title ‘bar fly’ comes to mind.  Hum, would that really be so bad?  Ah, days swinging in a hammock, followed by slurping drinks while lounging under yellow umbrellas amongst blue skies and sparkling water….. 😕

With tummies full thirst quenched, we returned to camp at Cattail Cove State Park to watch the sunset over the warmth of a roaring campfire.Cattail Cove State Park

The following day, our last day in the area, was spent walking and picnicking along the shores of Lake Havasu.  We packed a picnic lunch and headed off to Rotary Park located in the heart of Lake Havasu City.

Al and I spent a couple of hours strolling the paved walkway that meanders along Lake Havasu.  We walked to the famous London Bridge and beyond taking in the sights.  This is really a beautiful park dotted with playgrounds, picnic tables, a huge skate park, sandy shores, marinas, and a wide concrete sidewalk for all to enjoy.

London Bridge

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City, AZ

Lake HavasuShortly after strolling under London Bridge the sidewalk ended but we continued to the little lighthouse in the distance.  The lighthouse sits within Lake Havasu State Park boundaries.  Al and I walked further into the State Park checking out the campsites.  The campsites looked nice with a few even backing up to the water.

During our visit, they were completing various updates; adding water and sewer hook-ups to some of the campsites.  Full hook-ups at a State Park?  Location and scenery to boot? We’ll need to add this to our list of potential spots to call home during a future visit!

This State Park is not only located at the shores of Lake Havasu but is conveniently located within city limits and thus is a short distance to nearby stores, restaurant’s, and bars.  Yep, I’d say Lake Havasu State Park is worthy of a visit.  But unless you’re in your twenties, you may want to shy away from this area during Spring Break.  Lake Havasu is now one of the top places in the country for Breakers to party.Lake Havasu

Another popular time, not so much for the twenty something’s, but more for their parents, is President’s Day Weekend in February.  Reservations for this three-day weekend are a must.  Lake Havasu City puts on a huge and popular fireworks display in Sara Park.  There are live concerts, a hot rod show, and much more happenings throughout the town.  It actually gets quite crowded.  A couple of years ago, we just so happened to visit Lake Havasu during this popular time.  And although fun, it did get very congested.Blue Heron

In our opinion, no trip to Lake Havasu City would be complete without a visit to Rotary Park, as well as a walk over and under the famous London Bridge.

We loved our five-day visit to Lake Havasu, Arizona.  It was also great visiting with friends.  Although we may not have the opportunity to revisit Lake Havasu this year, we hope to make it a lengthy pit stop some time in 2014.

Pirate's

Sara’s Crack :-)

hiking ArizonaWe really enjoy the hiking around Lake Havasu, Arizona.  The trailhead to some really great hiking trails is located in “Sara Park” at the very southern end of Lake Havasu City.  The website I found gave us information and directions to approximately seventeen different hiking trails in the area, many of which intersect.

I brief Al on a few of our options and wonder if he’ll choose my preference.  I usually do the planning, but today I want him to decide the days activity.  There’s one trail I was particularly looking forward to hiking; “Crack in the Mountain Trail” other wise referred to as “Sara’s Crack”.

After describing the various trail options with sights and mileage, can you guess which trail Al picked?  Yep !  You guessed it…….”Let’s go check out Sara’s Crack!”hiking Arizona

The trails are clearly marked and color coded.  We take the yellow trail which follows a soft, sandy wash.  Its pretty much flat the first mile and eventually leads into a canyon.  As we continue, the rock walls narrow turning into a slot canyon.  We have some super easy bouldering to traverse until we come to the dry waterfall.hiking Arizona

slot canyon

dry waterfall in the slot canyon – there’s even a rope to assist with the 7 foot fall

I’m ready to scramble slide down this 7 foot high slick rock until Al puts the kibosh on my fun by asking the time.  We’ve been hiking about forty-five minutes before arriving at the “crack in the mountain”.  Remember when I commented in my last post about our time in Lake Havasu not being long enough?  Well, case in point….we were not able to complete the whole 5 mile hike due to time constraints and commitments.  But hey, we did make it to the crack …. Sara’s Crack 😆

Arizona hiking

Al standing in ‘Sara’s crack’

Oh, how I wanted to continue this hike, but that meant we needed to allow ourselves 3 hours total to complete.  We knew that was not an option today as we had already scheduled other plans in the afternoon.  Thus, we returned the way we came, enjoying an hour and a half hike.  Although the hike was easy, the next day my calves and glutes were feeling the effects of walking in the soft soil.

Arizona hiking

‘Crack in the Mountain Trail’ follows a soft sandy wash. DO NOT plan to hike during or after a rainstorm. Flash flooding can occur!

We returned to camp at Cattail Cove State Park for a quick lunch and shower and then met our friends for some afternoon socializing.

We started with a little scenic drive heading south on Highway 95 then crossing over the Parker Dam into California.  It’s very pretty. There are sand dunes, RV Parks, day-use parks, golf courses, and wild Burros.  Since our friend Don was driving, I restrained myself from asking to stop for photo-ops.  Somehow, I think that was Al’s plan all along.  He knew if we drove, our usual frequent stopping may not only have Don and Nancy (hubby too) rolling their eyes but take twice as long to reach our destination.  And Happy Hour was waiting!

Ah, but we did stop so I could visit with the wild Burros on one of the golf courses.  I may have found these guys to be way too cute but somehow I don’t think the golf course maintenance crews find them very adorable.  Nope, picking up after these guys is probably never ending 😉

After the Burro stop (s) we continued south a short distance before turning east across a bridge into the town of Parker, Arizona.  We then headed back north on highway 95 where we find the perfect place for Happy Hour…….Parker Arizona

Vacation Time….seriously!

Since moving into the RV full-time, we’ve received a mix of opinions from loved ones and friends.  Everything from “You’re living the dream” to “You’re not serious”.  One comment we received recently from a dear friend was, “What do you do when you want to go on vacation?  Move back to town?”  Al and I chuckled because we both knew Rog was being a smart a*s, but it did get us to thinking.

desert sunsets

Nothing boring about sunsets like this!

Since we decided to park our rears at the RV Resort in Phoenix for three months, I wondered what happens if I get bored like I did while living in a sticks and bricks home?  The RV Resort is just that; like living in a subdivision, like any other community except everyone’s homes are all mobile in some form or another.  So its pretty much like living in a sticks and bricks neighborhood.  😕

RV Park

One street in the RV Resort. These are the larger, more permanent mobile homes

It appears I bore easily since it only took thirty days parked in this location and I was ready to move on.  Actually, I was ready to move on before we were fully set up….but that’s another story.  Due to commitments and financial reasons, moving on wasn’t an option BUT a short vacation was.  It also helps to be prompted by a friend.

Somehow I doubt when Nancy emailed me that they were all settled in to their winter camp host position in Lake Havasu that 5 days later we would pull in and become their neighbor.  We met Don and Nancy last year while camped at Cave Creek Regional Park located in Phoenix’ north end of town and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.

Arizona State Park

We snag a prime site at Cattail Cove State Park

Don and Nancy went full-time about a month before we did and this is their first workamping position. We were eager to check out this State Park along Lake Havasu in western Arizona as well as meet up with this lovely couple.

We’d heard about Cattail Cove State Park from fellow blogger Mona Liza.  We also met the Lowe’s last year at Cave Creek Regional Park just after their 2 week stay at Cattail Cove.  For our visit, I was quick to use Mona Liza’s blog as a reference for some great sight-seeing and hiking ideas in the area.Colorado River

Upon arriving at Cattail Cove State Park, we were warmly greeted by our friends and quick to get to the business of catching up.  Eating, drinking, campfires, and conversations had our stay flying by.  As a matter of fact, when we arrived on Sunday the original plan was to leave on Wednesday.  We extended our stay to Friday.  Even that proved to be not long enough.  Our stay ended way to quickly as do most vacations and Friday morning we begrudgingly packed up and returned to the “Resort” in Phoenix…sigh.

There is so much to see and do in the Lake Havasu area as well as plenty of unique, out of the way spots to just chill and watch the clouds move, or in this case…. watch the waves roll in!

Lake Havasu

Nancy and Ingrid chilling lakeside

On our first day at Cattail Cove State Park, Don and Nancy introduced us to Whyte’s Retreat Trail.  This 2-3 mile hike starts at the campground and meanders on a bluff along the lakeshore before turning inland and returning to camp.

Lake Havasu

trail starts out meandering along Lake Havasu – there’s plenty of ups and downs

Trail maps are available at the ranger station.  We were fortunate to have our own personal hiking guides…..thanks Don and Nancy 🙂  The hike took us about an hour and a half which allowed for plenty of stops to chat and admire the views.

Al and I did the hike again the next morning and completed it in about 50 minutes.  I’m sure the gale force winds that second day were instrumental in keeping us moving at a steady pace.  This was the perfect trail to get us warmed up for the next days hike; aptly named “Crack in the Mountain Trail” …..

Hiking

Whyte’s Retreat Trail takes us around coves – trail upper right

hiking Havasu

Whyte’s Retreat Trail meanders along Lake Havasu – we’re careful to watch our footing

Lake Havasu City

Al and I have wanted to visit Lake Havasu for quite sometime.  We also wanted to check out Quartzsite, AZ.  With no firm plans or commitments, we depart Desert Edge’s RV and head to Interstate 10, westward bound.

on the road again!

We stop in Quartzsite for gas and I hop into the Rig, make us a couple of sandwiches, take Bear for a short walk, and after eating check the place out.  Quartzsite is an interesting, eclectic sort of place.  The RV parks are jam packed this time of year.  So we decide to head north on Hwy 95 toward Havasu and make several notes about the Quartzsite area for next winters excursion.

Lake Havasu City is loaded with RV Parks and just outside of town are numerous spots to boondock.  It is a playground mecca for adults.  There are endless places for ATV/Four Wheeling.  All sorts of water activities are available from boating, jet skiing, sailing, paddling, etc.  If you don’t have your own toys, there are dozens of places to rent the toy of choice.

Lake Havasu

We want to camp as close to the water as possible and pick Crazy Horse Campground to spend a few nights.  Fortunately for us, the campground is all booked up and we are sent to their overflow lot.

Our home for five days

When I say we were fortunate the campground was booked, I sincerely mean fortunate.  The RV’s in the campground are packed in like Sardines.  Hardly enough elbow room between units…..not my cup of tea!  The overflow lot overlooks the lake and there’s plenty of room for everyone.  The ATV trails provide excellent hiking for Bear and me, that is, until all the ATVer’s show up.

young girl on her ATV near our site

Saturday some young kids have fun tooling around on their four-wheelers.  They drive slow and responsibly and we’re not bothered by their activities.  It’s nice to see kids being kids and playing out in the dirt instead of sitting in front of a computer/TV screen.

Although I would not recommend Crazy Horse Campground, I would recommend staying in their overflow lot.  The Campground is old, the staff and guests were less than friendly, but the location is awesome.  We were able to walk to the famous London Bridge and stores.

London Bridge

The RV Park is on an island/peninsula and we need to cross the London Bridge for access.  The shoreline along the island and mainland is a lovely park setting with walking trails, a dog park, marina, beaches, and picnic areas.  Lake Havasu City was developed by Robert McCulloch in 1963 on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu.  He later purchased the London Bridge, which was dismantled and shipped to Lake Havasu City.  It was completed in 1971 and connects the peninsula to the mainland.

activities of all kind!

Al and I take advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather and walk the London Bridge and shoreline.

If you can think it, they do it!

Later back at the campsite, we are buzzed by what I call flying lawn mowers.  There are about half a dozen buzzing around and Al is totally infatuated.  I believe the proper term is powered gliders and Al is ready to return to the skies.  Yeah right, I don’t think so!  Although Al does not

powered glider

miss his commercial aviation days, he does occasionally miss those daring Navy missions and flying on and off an aircraft carrier.  Aah, to be young again!

I leave Al to his thoughts and have him build me a campfire while I prepare dinner.