Gold Canyon, Az

Gold Canyon, Az
New Years Day 2015, Gold Canyon, AZ

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Havasu & London Bridge

We left Yuma on Sunday morning at 10:00 with an ETA of 1:00 for Lake Havasu.  We arrived pretty much on time despite a 20mph crosswind for the first part of the journey.  Once we started to get up into some of the hills the wind got blocked out a bit so the MPG went up and my blood pressure went down.  Both good things.

A shot from the highway driving north from Yuma.
Lots of the desert plants are starting to bloom.

The scenery for most of the drive was much like the above picture till we got close to Parker which is located in a mountain range with some pretty dramatic colours.  We will be making a day trip back to Parker so more pictures in a later post.  And yes Betty, we did see the golf course and it is gorgeous.  I doubt we will be playing the course this time as the temps are to stay in the 90's and thats just too hot for our spray and pray type of golf game.

We arrived in Havasu Falls RV Park and got checked in.  The individual sites are a bit tight but they have level concrete parking pads with a great view of Lake Havasu and the mountain range for a  backdrop.  More pictures of that to follow in a subsequent post.  This is a much smaller park with 129 sites.  The facilities aren't as extensive as other parks we have been in but we are off sight seeing most of the day and haven't been using the facilities that much anyway.  Electric is included in our weekly fee so the A/C will be running non-stop.  Its interesting how the pricing works for most of these parks.  Here we pay $280. for the week which includes electric.  Our neighbour is here for the month and is paying $550. plus electric.   Cable and functional Wifi is included.

Monday we decided to visit the visitors centre and tour the London Bridge.  First some history of the London Bridge and its move to Arizona.

The Old London Bridge from the nursery-rhymes was built between 1176 and 1209, replacing earlier wooden bridges.  It lasted 600 years.  From 1305 and 1660 the southern gateway to that bridge often displayed the severed heads of traitors stuck on long pikes for all to see.  The "new" London Bridge was designed in 1799 and construction was completed in 1831.  The bridge was made of solid granite blocks and due to its weight it soon began to sink into the mud of the Thames river.  That, plus the fact that the bridge was unable to handle modern automobile traffic resulted in the bridge being  put  up for sale in 1967.
On April 18, 1968 Robert Paxton McCulloch, a founder of Lake Havasu City, was the winning bid for the sum of $2,460,000.  The bridge was disassembled block by block and the exterior blocks were numbered for later reassembly.  Since only the exterior facing blocks were going to be used to cover over the new concrete bridge core the interior blocks were resold in England by McCulloch.  He netted almost as much for the sale of the interior blocks as he paid for the entire bridge.

So who was this McCullough guy.  He came from money but took that to another level.  Heard of McCullough Chainsaws.  How about Paxton Superchargers used in many cars including Thunderbirds and Mustangs.  Oh and his wife's maiden maiden name was Briggs, daughter of one half of the Briggs and Stratton company.  His inlaws were the Evinrude.  Guess engines were in his blood.  

In 1964 McCulloch founded Lake Havasu City and used it as the home for his engine factory and housing for it workers.  He fell in love with the area and the Bridge project was his way of giving back and developing the area as a tourist and recreational centre for western Arizona.

Back to the bridge.  The blocks were shipped by freighter through the Panama Canal to Long Beach, CA and then transported by truck to Havasu.  As you look at the pictures below note the channel that flows under the bridge.  It wasn't there before the bridge project.  It was dredged making an island out of a previous peninsula that jutted out into the Colorado river. Cost of shipping the bridge, reassembly and dredging the channel, $5.1 million making his total outlay about $7.5 million.  The "New London Bridge" was reopened in 1971 and has been drawing tourists ever since.

I checked and its not bigger on the inside.  Dr Who fans will get that.
Ok its not a blue police telephone box but the closest I could get.

 This guy was pretty good.  I saw another one and he never made it out of the water.

Its spring break down here and the wildlife is much different than what we are used to.  More on that tomorrow.
 Some of the shops are built to mimic old english style construction.  We were a bit disappointed as most were selling beach wear rather than London Bridge type souvenir stuff.
On the other hand that fact probably saved me some money.

The water was a beautiful green, something like what you see in the mountain streams in the Rockies, with lime green algae blooms.  You can see them floating in the river.

They said they have never seen the algae this bad and the Resource people are looking into the cause.  The abnormally hot weather could be the reason methinks.  

We went to Shugrue's for lunch and I had the Waldorf salad and Lori had to have Fish & Chips.  Didn't come wrapped in old newspaper though.  

The food was great and had a fantastic view of the London Bridge right out our window.

The following shots were taken in some gardens just below the restaurant where we had lunch.

 Here is a shot from on the bridge looking back at the gardens and our restaurant.

The Colorado river is just beyond the little lighthouse on the right side of the channel.

Statues of McCullough and the master planner of the project, C.V.Wood with Lori sitting at their feet.  She kept telling me to hurry cause her buns were getting toasted sitting on the hot concrete.

Here are a couple shots from the far side of the island.  Still lots of room for more development, as long as the river keeps flowing.

Did you know that after the battle of Waterloo the British collected all the French cannon and rifles.  They were subsequently melted down and made into the lighting posts seen here.

Thats about it for now but tomorrow we are planning to take a Boat tour down the channel so undoubtedly some more pictures of "The Bridge" and some of that amazing spring break wildlife.