Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Blast and Ed's Birthday

We tried to time our stay in Lake Havasu City so we could attend the balloon festival on our first weekend and the Winter Blast on our last.  We learned that the best night for the blast was Saturday, the day we were scheduled to depart.  So we left Havasu Falls RV Park and moved only twenty miles down the road to The Steps, a BLM site that is popular with boondockers, where we met up with a group of Escapees Boomers with whom we attended the Winter Blast back in Lake Havasu City.
At every Escapees event we have attended we always hear about Ed's birthday celebration and we have now had the opportunity to attend one.  The story is that several years ago the Boomers were going to celebrate fellow Boomer Duane's birthday.  They went to the store to pick up the cake only to discover that someone had forgotten to order it.  The baker only had one cake available. It had been ordered for Ed's birthday but, unfortunately, poor Ed had passed away and the cake was not picked up.  The Boomers got the cake for half price and a new tradition was born.  Each year at The Steps they celebrate Ed's birthday with this little twist.  Rather than singing Happy Birthday, they sing the theme from the TV show Mr. Ed, A horse is a horse, of course of course.......... It was all great fun and the cake was great too.   
The Winter Blast is a display of fireworks presented by the Western Pyrotechnics Association.  Members of the group get a chance to show off their latest displays of exploding rockets, bombs, cannons and firecrackers.  In order to get a good seat where you can see both the aerial and ground displays, we had to arrive by 4 PM, 3-1/2 hours before darkness set in. 
This was the 25th Winter Blast so the show started by setting off the XXV that was covered with 1,000,000 firecrackers.  It was ok, but the displays that followed were much, much better.
As soon as the sun went down the aerial show began with a few people setting off random blasts.
Finally, after 3 1/2 hours, the show began.  Each of several companies showed their best stuff.
Now if you would like a better sample of the sounds of Winter Blast here is a link to Cool Judy's blog that has a few videos she shot.  We have seen fireworks displays all over the country, but  this one has to be near the top, as you are really close and the companies are really showing their best stuff.  And it is all set to great music to boot!!  We thought it was OUTSTANDING!!!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Lake and Oatman Asses

Any time we are near water we talk about maybe buying kayaks so we can get on the water.  We always decide against it as it would be another piece of equipment that we rarely use.  We often go on boat excursions, but that can be costly.  Here at Lake Havasu we found a way to get on the water that "can be" inexpensive, the $2.00 boat ride to the casino on the Chemehuevi Reservation across the lake in California. It is a ride to the casino so you see what I mean by "can be".  It turned out to be a neat trip and I was lucky enough that it was inexpensive.
The boat runs every hour from the dock at the London Bridge to the casino.  It was a beautiful day so we got to sit outside.
This is one of the campgrounds on the island.  Nice but very expensive and beyond our budget.
The casino is very small.  It is part of a complex of homes, campground, restaurant and marina that is a 70 mile drive if you don't take the 15 minute boat ride.
Lake Havasu City from the water.  The original town started at the lake shore and has grown up to the edge of the mountains.
One last look at the London Bridge, this time from the water.
Another day we drove to Oatman.  To get there you drive on the longest remaining stretch of historical Route 66.  We have done several sections of the Mother Road in the last year.  I don't think I would want to go to Oatman in the rig, as the road is steep with many switchbacks.  It was a great drive in the CRV.
A neat roadside memorial to America's veterans. 
This unusual line of rocks comes down from the cone of rock above.  I'm assuming it was an ancient lava flow that has been exposed by erosion.
Oatman was a mining town from 1906 until 1942 and has become a tourist stop to see the burros that were left behind when the old miners quit their claims.  You never know who you will see but we met a lot of asses in Oatman.
Nanc and an ass she met.
The old stores sell the usual variety of tourist goods.  That said, there were a couple of stores that sold a lot of American made goods rather than the cheap imports.
Twice a day, including at High Noon, there is a shoot out in Oatman.  The little buckaroo in the picture (left) came prepared with his own gun.  I'm not sure if the sign was for the tourists or the burros.  
The burros have the run of the town and are always looking for food that, of course, many of the stores sell.
It is estimated there are more than 600 feral burros in Arizona.  There was a big flashing sign across the road from the RV park in Lake Havasu warning about burros on the road, but we never saw any there.  
If you go to Oatman don't miss the turtle garden.  There are a couple of these big fellows.
We drove through town when we were leaving and had one last close encounter.  Oatman is a really neat, old Western town with great old building and, of course, the burros. A nice little excursion.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Friends and the Picnic Table Trail

While we continue to enjoy our time in Lake Havasu, we will be leaving here this weekend and heading to Yuma for several days.  Other than having a bit too much wind, the weather has been getting better and better.  The ten day forecast calls for highs in the 80's and good sleeping temperatures at night.  When we see how bad it has been in other parts of the country we are very happy to be here with a bit of wind.
When we hiked in SARA Park last week we could see people at the top of the hill above.  When we inquired about the trail we learned that a group had placed a picnic table up there and it had the best dining view in the area.
At the bottom of the trail is a geoglyph in the shape of a giant lizard.  We often find rock art in the desert, but at 80 feet long this one is by far the largest we have encountered. 
This trail had a couple of more difficult sections.  Here is Nanc climbing up a ledge.  I'm glad there was another way down as, for me, it is always easier going up than coming down.
She made it.  We had our lunch and enjoyed the view undisturbed by anyone.
A panoramic look at Lake Havasu City from the picnic table.  The city stretches from the lake shore to the edge of mountains.  
The lake and island.  It still amazes me to see all this water in this arid, arid land.
Find the lizard.
The trail to the picnic table is only about 1 1/2 miles long, but it climbs over 500 feet.  The switch back trail on the opposite side is a much easier climb (no ledges).  If you want a great view of this area the Picnic Table Trail is a must do.
Neat hummingbird we saw on the way down.  We are hoping to see the spring bird migration before we leave the Southwest.
Since Nanc had hit it big at the casino in Parker, we had some "mad money" burning a hole in our pocket.  We decided we would drive to Laughlin, Nevada where there are several big casinos in a stretch along the Colorado River.  We hit two of them and while I did not do as well as Nanc on the last visit, I did come out ahead, so I considered it a successful trip.
Making and meeting friends is one of the best things about our fulltiming lifestyle, so when we heard from Boomer friends Luke and Judy who are staying nearby, we got together with them at a nearby restaurant and had a fun evening getting caught up on their travels.  Luke and Judy introduced us to our ballooning friends Mike and T Liberti and you know what a wonderful experience that has continued to be, We can't thank them enough for the introduction and we hope to see Luke and Judy down the road sometime soon.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SARA'S Crack and the Desert Bar

We continue to enjoy our time in Lake Havasu City.  The weather has gotten a bit cooler, but is still well within our goal of avoiding s**w and other types of winter happenings.  This past week we took a neat hike at nearby SARA Park, drove to the Desert Bar and stopped at the casino were Nanc did very well:)
The RV park is right across the road from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.  We sure feel really safe because, as you can see, even this "bad" cactus has surrendered to the authorities.
We drove across Parker Dam (in the car, no RVs allowed) into California.  The dam was built in 1938 and created Lake Havasu.  The dam is an engineering wonder at 320 feet high, but 235 feet of that height is below the riverbed, making it the deepest dam in the world.
At SARA Park we took the Crack in the Wall Trail and, as you can see, it is quite narrow where it passes through the mountain.
It sure gives you a good look at what happens when the desert gets those heavy monsoon rains.  The power of water even in this arid land.
Find the lizard.
Just below the crack you come to the lake shore.
The different colors of the rocks are fascinating.
This couple of old coots were looking for a handout from the couple of old coots having lunch on the shore.
Balance Rock overlooking the spot where we had lunch.  There were several boats out on the water.
More of the colorful desert landscape.
There have been some great desert sunsets.
On Saturday we drove to the Desert Bar near Parker.  I say near as it is five dusty miles off the paved highway.  It is only open on Saturday and Sunday from noon to six during the winter.
The bar is off the grid with all power coming from solar and a generator.  The faux church facade has become the symbol of the bar.
They had a great band.  That is me waving in the middle of the picture.
Business must be good because the place continues to get bigger every time we come back.  The Desert Bar is a neat stop for a great afternoon of fun and music.

While this winter is still not over we have already made plans for the next one.  We are going to go to Florida and we needed to make reservations if we wanted to be at a couple of our favorite places.  We are going to Betty's RV Park for six weeks around Thanksgiving, then to South Florida to spend Christmas with our friend Mary Lou.  We will then spend January at the Elks in the Keys.  While we usually go places without reservations, there are times when we know we will need them to get into a particular place.