Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Craggy Wash

A few weeks ago, we drove along the Colorado River to Lake Havasu, which is about 70 miles from Quartzsite on Hwy. 95. On the north side of the city is a new shopping plaza with major stores like Dillards and JC Penney that are now opening. About a mile further north on Hwy 95 is Craggy Wash, which is a two- week free boondocking area. We are still camped in the CRA campground but visited Craggy Wash and beyond to check for Escapee stickers to see if any old or new friends were there. No, we didn’t find any. Most SKP’s have moved north but we decided to put the green toad in four- wheel drive and explore.

The camping spots are quite flat but further down the trail the area is “craggy.” It amazes me how rocks are so varied in appearance with only slight changes in color. I know part of the reason is how the light hits them.

Pictured are the Road Runner that we saw and some migrating butterflies. There are hundreds of orange butterflies flying north but it is difficult to catch them on camera.

Friday, April 10, 2009

London Bridge Was Falling Down

Remember when you stretched your arms to hold a friend’s hands to swoop down and catch the kids walking under you while singing the nursery rhyme, “London Bridge is Falling Down?” I imagined the bridge to have huge girders or cables that stretched to the sky (like my arms). I thought it would look like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Wrong. All you see when you drive over the bridge is a few cast iron lampposts and empty flagpoles over the highway. You need to go under the bridge to see its beauty.

The London Bridge that was built in England in 1831 and was slowly sinking into the Thames River, isn’t even the bridge that the rhyme was written about. An information sheet from the Lake Havasu Convention and Visitors Center says that it “dates back to when Danish Pirates, having seized London, in 1014, were attacked by Viking chieftain, Olaf Haralsen, and his men. The Vikings had been enlisted by the British to help them regain control of London. The Vikings rowed under the then London Bridge, made of wood, slung stout ropes around the pilings and then rowed downstream pulling the bridge and the Danes all down into the water.”

The Vikings weren’t the only ones who tried to make the London Bridge fall. If you take a boat ride through the bridge, you can see the marks of shells fired into the bridge by German soldiers in World War II.

The brochure said, “In the early 1960’s it became obvious that the (1831) bridge was sinking 1/8 inch each year and would have to be replaced. Cause of the sinking? The bridge, originally built for pedestrian traffic, was now seeing 100,000 pedestrians and 10,000 vehicles each day. The footings . . . were on soft ground and with increased traffic flow with the weight of the structure itself” were causing it to slowly sink into the Thames River. London Bridge was falling down.

Robert McCulloch, Sr. had a dream of building a city and using the London Bridge as a tourist attraction. He hired C.V. Wood who planned Disneyland in California to be the master planner for the project. (The statute is of the two men and their master plans.)

The brochure from the visitor center said that, “The Colorado River runs through Lake Havasu and is backed up by the Parker Dam, creating the Lake.” Mr. McCulloch purchased twenty-six square miles of land along the lake in 1963. He purchased the 1831 granite London bridge for $2,460,000 and paid between five and seven million for dismantling, transportation, and reconstruction of the bridge plus building the site for it. The rebuilt bridge, that was built with five arches and is 930 feet long and 49 feet wide, was built on dry land. Then a one-mile channel was dredged out beneath the bridge.
Even though Mr. McCulloch had dreams on a gigantic scale, I doubt that he had any idea of how large the town of Lake Havasu has become since he died in 1977.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

RVing in the AZ/CA Desert

RVing in the AZ/CA desert means parking your RV on BLM land or in campgrounds and exploring by foot or with our 4-wheel drive Suzuki toad (towed). I look for wildlife that is either animal, plant, or mineral. Most of the wild burros in this area have the same genetic black mark on their shoulders. Note how well their coloring blends with the rocks to camouflage them.

The water flowing down the desert rocks into “washes” often reveals new rock formations. You can tell when rock has been moved because the dark “desert varnish” is on the side rather than on top. Most of the time it is leverite rock, which is explained to the new visitor as “leave it right where you find it”. Sometimes huge amounts of water flow down cracks and create an oasis with palm trees.

Most of the flowering cacti have shed their blossoms but we found some octillio with red blossoms and prickly pear cacti with dark pink flowers.

Back at the Emerald Cove Campground we found that the new miniature golf course has been finished. The kids on spring break found golfing a fun thing to do.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wedding of Amanda Klein to Benjamin Mead

After the lush green of Hawaii, Iowa was very brown but the temperature was in the upper 60’s and there was plenty of sunshine for the wedding of Amanda Klein to Benjamin Mead on March 21, 2009. A week later, on March 28, Iowa had two and a half inches of snow.

My son, Mark, was very proud of his beautiful daughter. Her mother, Connie, and brothers Joshua and Matthew and sister, Emily were happy but younger brother wasn’t too sure when this picture was taken.

Kari De Joode, a bridesmaid, is the granddaughter in dark pink in the picture with my granddaughters. You can see that I will have more weddings in the coming years with beautiful granddaughter brides.