|Speedboats on Lake Havasu|
Spent last weekend in Lake Havasu AZ. We had a great time- the wife, me and the Minnow. Our Teenangster had to finish a bunch of projects, including making her own Prom dress! That girl just impresses the hell out of me. And since she's mobile now, armed with a license and a 2001 VW Beetle, she opted to stay home. The occasion was Spring Break and a chance to visit my wife's Aunt and Uncle who have wintered there from Wisconsin the past couple years.
Pretty interesting backstory to Lake Havasu City. It was once a rest and rehab site for wounded WWII Army Air Corps Soldiers, or was it Airmen? The land that is currently an island on the lake was once a peninsula which had a runway for training the Air Corps, named Kingman Auxiliary Army Air Field (AAF) #6. It wasn't much of an airfield back in the day, as it was really just an emergency runway for the aircraft flying out of Yucca AAF 25 miles to the NE, or Kingman AAF #5 50 miles North. As you can see in the below picture, it was just an unimproved strip with no services or hangar facilities.
That changed in 1958 when the land was purchased as surplus from the Army by Robert McCulloch, of McCulloch Motors Corporation who wanted a place to test his outboard engines.
Later buying up another 13,000 acres in '62, he teamed up with the designer of Disneyland to develop what was one of the first planned communities on the West Coast, and Lake Havasu City was established a year later. The runway became an airport shortly thereafter as McCulloch needed a better way to get prospective buyers to the area.
A late 1950s photo of several personal aircraft at Lake Havasu Site 6 Source
Lake Havasu Airpark in 1968 with all four Lockheed Super Constellation aircraft in its livery. Source
This is how we spent most of Saturday, on a 32 foot Bennington Pontoon Boat, lazily moving down the lake and Colorado River for some swimming (a frigid 62 degrees).
We also did some fishing.
Ok, that's actually my wife's catch- a Largemouth Bass. Mine was a little bit smaller.
Ok, that's actually a lure. I was unsuccessful in my fishing endeavors.
We also took in a little sightseeing.
|There are dozens of little coves and inlets, some winding up to almost an eighth of a mile back from the river.|
|The landscape varied from sand dunes, rocky cliffs, different rock and sediment, and many different colors.|
|A lot of little lighthouse replicas from around the country line the lake and river.|
|Hard to see, but there are two Rocky Sheep near the waterline behind the fisherman.|
|And either Mom or Dad stood watch on the cliff above.|
We traveled about 15 miles down river to see the water that would be my shower in a couple days.
|The pump station sending my drinking water to SoCal.|
Did I mention they have a lot of boats?
Sorry about the quality of that video. Not just for the shakiness, but the lack of decent scenery.
As I mentioned earlier, the island was once a peninsula. In the late 60's McCulloch carved a channel through the section nearest the city as a place to put his London Bridge, which he had purchased for $2.4M when it started sinking into the Thames. Rebuilding it brick by brick over his channel cost him another $7M. Other than the lake, it's the main attraction for the city.
I appreciated that the city hasn't forgotten its roots.
There is plenty of evidence of Lake Havasu's patriotism. Besides every third car having a veteran's license plate or frame, the "We support the troops," stickers were everywhere and signs thanking our troops were just as plentiful. There were other positives we saw there. The gas prices were 50-60 cents per gallon cheaper than in California. The property taxes are apparently considerably lower as well. The demographics of the city were also to my liking- with more than two-thirds of the city registered as Republican. Our relatives there aren't going back to Wisconsin now that Spring is over- they've decided to officially become Arizona residents, abandoning their home state and its high taxes without any regrets. And the cops don't seem to want to harass folks. ATVs are ok on the streets, as long as they have lights at night and one isn't driving like an idiot. Open carry? Saw that too, but not much. Drinking on the boats? Have at it- as long as you aren't the one driving. Arizona doesn't seem to have the same welfare mentality that California does either.
We had a lot of fun, and the weekend went by much too fast. But the "Time Flies" title has a double meaning. As we left our daughter at home, we realized that our kids were pretty much grown up and we were entering another phase of our life. She'll be off to college next fall, and my son is about to leave his teen years. And we don't know where the time went. My wife and I found ourselves having far more in common with the residents there than the Spring Breakers. We're closer to the retirement phase of our life than we are to being college kids, and we're looking forward to being empty-nesters. We realized that part of what we liked about Lake Havasu, besides the boating, was the laid-back lifestyle, and its conservative political culture that is reflective of the state in general. Fiercely independent, Arizonans aren't succumbing to the overly liberal attitudes that seem to be growing in the rest of the country.
Anyway, it was a great time and I'm sure we'll be back. Maybe not to live in retirement, but having relatives there who own a boat will make it a fun destination.
And the best kind of boat is the one your friend owns.