Friday, February 3, 2012

Windy Ride to Lake Havasu

Thursday the forecast was to be windy. We packed all the lawn chairs, pulled down the flags and headed the bike towards Lake Havasu. Our goal was to see the London Bridge and check out some campgrounds in the area.

I hitched up the motorcycle cargo trailer because we wanted to stop in Parker on the way back and get groceries. The wind was not to bad on the ride up.

On the way to Lake Havasu, we wanted to ride across the Parker Dam. Unfortunately we were turned around because they do not allow Semi’s, Trailers or RV’s across the dam. This included my little cargo trailer. The cargo trailer tracks so well behind the bike, I forget it is there sometimes. Since it is a trailer we were turned away. I could have unhitched it then ridden across and then come back but I was too lazy. besides we could see the spillway side and we have ridden across many dam’s.

The road between Parker and Lake Havasu is a very pretty drive through the desert mountains. We saw several boon docking area’s and plenty of off road trails for dirt bikes and ATV’s. I really need to see about knobby tires for this wing.

We arrive at the London Bridge visitor center and the wind was kicking up to about 25 mph. We parked and went inside to get the lay of the land for our visit. There are numerous shops and restaurants along the shore under the bridge and plenty of resorts.


The 1831 London Bridge was the last project of engineer John Rennie and completed by his son, also named John Rennie. By 1962, the bridge was not sound enough to support the increased load of modern traffic, and was sold by the City of London.

The purchaser, Robert McCulloch, was the founder of Lake Havasu and the chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation. ( Think Chainsaws)McCulloch purchased the bridge to serve as a tourist attraction to his retirement real estate development at Lake Havasu, which at that time was far from the usual tourist track. The idea was successful, bringing interested tourists and retirement home buyers to the area.

Robert  Plumer  was a real estate agent and salesperson for McCulloch. Originally, the deserted Lake Havasu Vacant land was given to the State of Arizona by the Federal government. The federal property was an abandoned landing strip for the military.  McCulloch made a deal with the State of Arizona and received the property for free with a promise to develop the land.

The problem was that that the real estate agents could not bring in prospective buyers because the land was in the middle of no-where and very arid and hot.  Plumer, who worked for McCulloch, learned that the "London Bridge" was for sale.  Plumer convinced  McCulloch to buy the London Bridge and bring it to the area to attract potential land buyers.

The initial response from McCulloch was "That's the craziest idea I have every heard." Then, after consideration,  McCulloch decided to go ahead with the purchase.  Plumer then arranged with a cargo shipping company which was going to sail a newly built ship from Great Britain to the US without any cargo.  Plumer said they would pay for all operating costs of the sailing, which was far less than the going rate shipping costs. The bridge arrived in pieces at the Port of Houston and then was overland transported to Lake Havasu.

After it was reconstructed , new prospective land buyers were interested in coming to see the "London Bridge" and take a tour of properties for sale. Land Sales improved and  McCulloch recouped all of his expenses for the purchase and shipping of the bridge. Since the cost of the land was nothing, the sale of the properties paid for the bridge and more.

After relocation to America, the bridge was not reconstructed over a river, but rather it was rebuilt on land in a position between the main part of the city and Pittsburgh Point, at that time a peninsula jutting into Lake Havasu. Once completed, the Bridgewater Channel Canal was dredged under the bridge and flooded, separating Pittsburgh Point from the city, creating an island.

Under the bridge


Along the shore line


Walking across the bridge


An old phone booth with no phone. So Max uses her cell phone.


On top looking north.


Looking south


While we were in town we stopped and had lunch at a Golden Coral. Then we headed back to Parker to donate a little money to the Casino and to buy our weekly groceries. Our ride back to Parker was very windy and we were ready to get out of it for awhile. We did not win any money at the casino but enjoyed the experience. There is no other place where you go in and say “Here, Take My Money” and then leave not being mad about it!

We made it back to Quartzsite close to 6:00pm and spent the rest of the evening watching a little TV until the generator ran out of gas. Luckily our show had just ended.

Friday afternoon our plan is to go metal detecting for gold. I do not expect to find any but I do expect to find some more rattle snakes sunning themselves as the day warms. But who knows, one little nugget may be just waiting to be found.

Enjoy Your Day!




Mike and Terri said...

Fascinating story about the London Bridge. Hope you find LOTS of gold nuggets! :-)

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