MiscNorth America

Lake Havasu, Kingman, Route 66 & Grand Canyon

posted by Stu 0 comments


Whilst in Laughlin at Wal Mart I was talking to the cashier who asked if I’d been to Lake Havasu, I had heard of the place but never been. She claimed it was a huge touristy place and well worth a visit. So upon leaving Laughlin we decided to head for Lake Havasu (LH). Basically the whole story behind the place is that some guy in the 60’s visited London and saw the Tower Bridge – which as we all know is locally called London Bridge. Anyway he decided he was going to see if he could buy it. After a few enquiries he eventually found someone who owned London Bridge. Paying a hefty price he had the bridge dismantled piece by piece and shipped out to LH and then re built. To his disbelief it was not the bridge he had bought, it was then explained to him that he had asked for ‘London Bridge’ and that was what he had got. Not Tower Bridge like he had assumed. Word quickly spread and before long people from far and wide came to take the piss. These days hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to LH yearly to see the bridge and in doing so have pumped millions into the local economy.
The bridge itself actually looks like a bridge you would see in England, it is now completely milked and there is an English Pub and a few other things. After about an hour mooching about we headed for the State National Park. LH is literally a town set around a lake. We paid $10 and entered the beach which essentially is an exclusive area set around the lake. It was empty and we were alone as we had a BBQ by the side of the lake as we watched all the rich kids float past blaring their cheesy pop from their speed boats. After the BBQ we had a swim in the clear fresh lake, it was great to cool down in the 120 degree heat. A great day.
We then headed for Kingman AZ; Kingman is basically a truck stop on the old route 66. About 20 miles out we were hit with hail stones and very strong winds. We made it to Kingman and I asked the woman at check in what was going on and she explained there is a Hurricane in New Mexico and we were getting the tail end of it. She advised me to go keep an eye on Channel 9 which was the weather channel and from there I saw severe weather warnings which included ‘deadly thunderstorms’ and ‘flash flooding’ A few beers later and all was forgotten.
The following morning and we had the true American breakfast – Blueberry muffins, nutri grains, a piece of fruit and luke warm tea.
We set out to reach Flagstaff via Grand Canyon. Now, pretty much you simply drive across the I 40 and then turn left at Williams. But I had decided we was going to go the route 66 way. To cut a huge story short the Route 66 doesn’t really exist anymore. Back in the day it was the road to be on, but when traffic increased it just didn’t cut it anymore and Interstates took their place in the modern world. But the Route 66 keeps its place in history. Now, anyone with kids will have seen the Disney film ‘Cars’ the basic jist is that ‘Radiator Springs’ becomes a ghost town because of a highway built nearby. The reality is that ‘Radiator Springs’ was actually set on ‘Peach Springs’ which is on the route 66. When the I 40 was built Radiator Springs was no longer the thriving and vibrant truck stop it once was. And it is true. It is nothing more than an old town whereby 90% of the place is boarded up and rotting, cars sat abandoned and falling to pieces all over the place. It really is a ghost town. From there we headed further down the 66 to Seligman which claims to be the birthplace of Route 66 (even though it is halfway along it) all the same it milks it big time and the place is littered with everything Route 66 including old Cadillac’s and the odd Harley. It is gift shop cheese fest central but well worth a visit.
We then headed up to the Grand Canyon. I was robbed $25 entry, I asked what the $25 was for when all I wanted to do was visit a natural phenomenon and was told “40 million people visit here each year, that’s a lot of wear and tear” The reality is like most things in Western USA the tourist is exploited and completely shafted, usually the US Government shift the blame to the Indian tribes who for years didn’t want anyone on their holy land – Until of course they realized people were willing to pay – Of course then their arms could be twisted and their holy land was suddenly accessible.
The Grand Canyon is one of those places that you could visit every day and it would still have the same breath taking effect as it did the first time you was there. The first thing that hits you is the size of the place. It brings a whole new meaning to vast, it is so big it just does not look real; the human mind is unable to comprehend such size. And then you notice the depth, 7,000 feet and all that is stopping you from stepping over the edge is your common sense. It makes for some amazing yet unnerving photographs. But the reality is, sitting here now trying to describe how amazing the Grand Canyon is simply is not possible. There are not the words.
We decided to go for a BBQ and headed to a campground within the park, we started to set it up and some park ranger busted us and explained that actually we was on someone’s camp site, I noticed the tent but had assumed it was a free for all. He directed us toward and empty area and within no time the BBQ was sparked up and our Bacon Cheddar Angus Burgers were sizzling away. It didn’t take long for the black clouds to get above us and within minutes I had bailed the kids into the car and was anxiously trying to finish our burgers off before the rain started. It caught me out and I shut the BBQ and legged it to the car. A short while later and all was sorted but not before I was wet and the hail had started.
Driving on to Flagstaff and it became very clear very quickly that we were in the centre of a huge thunderstorm.
Still, we made it to Flagstaff 
Next stop the 600 mile trek to Albuquerque and Amarillo…

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