The destination for the night after we left Yuma was Lake Havasu City. Well, that isn’t completely true. The main destination of the day was Parker where we were to meet up with my cousin Arlene for a visit. Arlene had come up to Salmon Arm this past summer to visit the Canadian relatives but we were out of town on our geocache trip to Anahim Lake and Bella Coola. When I learned she was wintering near Parker I contacted her and we agreed to meet for lunch.We arranged to meet Arlene for lunch at one and I was told Parker was about an hour’s drive north so we decided to stop in at the Yuma Army Proving Grounds on our way by.
On the way out of Yuma we drove by a couple of large vegetable fields that were being harvested. I am not sure what the veggie was; it looked like kale. Parked on the road by one field was an old school bus and by the other was a new touring-type bus. Both buses had trailers attached to the back with port-a-potties on them. I think the farm owners go over to Mexico in the morning, pick up workers in the bus and bring them up to harvest the fields; then return them at day’s end. At the Yuma Army Proving Grounds they had a display of military equipment that had all been tested at the Proving Grounds (at any one time there are 100 tests going on of equipment, technology, or laboratory projects). The Proving Grounds cover a vast area of desert out here. The Army does desert training field drills as well as test clothing, vehicles, armaments and who knows what else.
We had hoped there were some displays or something to see but when we asked at the Visitor’s Center all they said was you need to get a pass to go onto the base. We didn’t know what there may be to see down there except an army base so we decided to leave it and just look at the tanks and Howizters in the courtyard. As we left the Visitor’s Center, on the inside of one of the posts in a display kiosk, there was an invitation to visit the 8,000 sq. ft. Museum and Heritage Center on base. Well…. that would have been nice to be told about by the personnel when I asked.
However we still gave it a pass because it would take me much too long to go through a museum that large before we needed to be in Parker.
While we were looking at all the tanks we could hear an occasional deep boom coming from the northeast and see big smoke puffs from the firing of the gun they were testing. We picked up a geocache hidden in one of the big guns at the entrance and another one just up the road a little way and then headed up the road to meet up with my cousin.
We had been driving for quite awhile, thinking we must be getting close and it was almost noon when we saw a mile marker that said Parker was still 57 miles away! We had some faulty information on distance – should have Goggled it in the hotel the night before I guess. I texted Arlene and she said no worries she would just wait for us. We pulled into the Blue Water Casino parking lot a little after 1:30.It was great to have a visit with Arlene. I hadn’t seen her for several years.
From Parker it isn’t too far to reach Lake Havasu City where we were spending the night.
Lake Havasu was created when the Parker Dam was built on the Colorado River in 1937. In 1964 Robert McCullogh invested millions of dollars and incredible amounts of time and energy to build a planned community on the lake shore.
His largest project was the purchase of the 1830’s London Bridge from London, England. It was slated for demolition to make way for a larger, stronger bridge. In 1967 Mr. McCullogh paid $1.2 million dollars for it. It was dismantled, each stone was numbered, and shipped to Arizona. The new London Bridge in Lake Havasu City is a reinforced concrete structure clad in the original bridge masonry. The project took three years and $7 million to complete. London Bridge opened in 1971 and spans a man-made channel to link an island in the Colorado River to Lake Havasu City.Of course, we had to drive over the London Bridge.
Along the waterfront there is a slightly tacky ‘English Village’ of various shops and the Tourist Information Center. River and lake tours are available and Lake Havasu City is a popular snowbird destination for northern state Americans and Canadians. There are huge RV parks and lots of RVs just parked in the desert all over this area. We found our hotel which was very conveniently located near a very good Italian restaurant and I managed to finish the blog I didn’t get done the day before but that left no time to do this one, so it is a day late as well. Oh well.