The clouds bring no more rain so we run a few errands in Parker and decide to take a drive to see what we can see. We've commented several times since we arrived that even with all the new resorts, and the huge number of RVs and snow birds in the area, Parker has changed very little in 40 years. The new Walmart, a couple other stores, and the casino, all on Highway 95 are the only significant changes, while the main town looks very much the same.
Poston, AZ, sounds familiar when I look on the surrounding map, and checking online I see that it was one of the Japanese internment camps we read about during our visit to Manzanar in October.
About 25 miles from Parker, we drive through acres of agriculture to check it out. It is an easy monument to miss on the small two-lane road with no signage, its beige colors blending into the desert landscape.
Poston is only a small market and a large fire station. And the Poston Internment Camp Memorial. The breeze is chilly, and in ten minutes we've read everything, taken some photos, and are back in the warm car. No landscaping, no benches, a single drinking fountain, little indication that anyone knows about this place. It is interesting to note that the memorial was built with funding from the local tribes, placed on their land.
|Nothing here explains the meaning of the oddly shaped monument|
|A single, small flag is the only sign of "life" here|
Bill tells me to turn left instead of right, and we're on the "back way" to Big River. Through another beautiful gorge, along a long stretch of undeveloped Colorado River, we take our time enjoying the quiet desert.
Once again we talk about how much we love having the opportunity to just "be" out here in nature, taking our time, making our own schedule. Such a blessed life we live!
Lake Havasu City is not a place we want to be on the weekend, but we do want to see how much it's changed in the 35+ years since either of us has been there. Thursday seems like a good day to make the 33 mile drive.
This section of Highway 95 along the Colorado River is - you guessed it - beautiful! Unfortunately there are very few places to pull off and take photos. You'll have to come here and see it for yourself - you won't be sorry.
Just outside of Lake Havasu City we pull off toward a local park to see some of the red rock up close.
Bill sees a face in the rock that I just can't find. He captures it with the camera and aha! the native warrior looks back at us.
I'm hungry and getting cranky when I can't find the eateries that I'm sure are just under the London Bridge. Poor Bill survives my erratic driving and we finally find what I'm looking for after we drive over the bridge. After a good lunch at Shugrue's on the water I return to my normal, delightful self, and we take a short walk below the bridge.
Robert McCulloch founded Lake Havasu City in 1964, and four years later paid $2,460,000 at the auction of the London Bridge. Spending another $7M to have it moved, the bridge became part of its new home in 1971.
|One doesn't think "London" when they see palm trees|
|A shorter span than the London location, but all original stone|
With a population of 8,000 in 1971, "city" was a stretch. But today we are both shocked by the size of this place. Large businesses, hotels, hospitals, dozens of large neighborhoods, parks, schools, and a plethora of sporting goods stores, rentals, and repair shops. Lake Havasu is truly a City now, and completely different from our memories.
|More sprawling metropolis than desert oasis|
|Functioning lighthouses provide safe navigation at night|
I'm not a proponent of dams, but I feel a bit nostalgic about this one, having first crossed it in a bassinet in the back of our 1956 Ford station wagon, and then dozens of times for the next thirty years.
More memories just up the road as we pull off to take a few pics, and there on the shoulder are three wild burros.
The wild burros have been here at least as long as the dam, have little regard for vehicles on the highway, and make up many legends. While they are sadly trusting of humans, their skinny bodies don't look like they take many handouts.
When I was 7 years old Dad and I were on this road at night and hit a burro at about 40 miles an hour when she surprised us around a blind corner. It is a horrible memory as the highway patrol officer had to put her down, our impact not killing her immediately. I remember my dad being devastated by the accident. I also remember the 1942 De Soto sedan being towed back to Iron Mountain, and never running again. Seems it was a draw between vehicle and animal (despite no seat belts, Dad and I were fine).
A couple years later there was word of a pure white burro in one of the herds, and wonderful stories surrounded it's arrival. Very few ever saw it, and then always from a distance. Camping out with friends one night we awoke to several burros nosing around our cots - and one of them was white! What a treat to see it in person, and so close to us - and to excitedly tell our envious parents the next morning :-)
So some things don't change, others do. I feel lucky to come back and spend time in these places of my youth. To see which ones have, and which ones haven't.
|Watching the skies change from our front yard|