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London Bridge in the Desert of Arizona

If I told you that someone bought the London Bridge and paid to have it moved to the desert of Arizona, would you believe me? It is true! I am a recent witness to the beauty and majesty of a bridge originally located in England which was disassembled piece by piece and moved 5400 miles. It has become Arizona’s second biggest tourist attraction (the Grand Canyon is number one).

London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona

I first became acquainted with Lake Havasu when I was a child. My father had seen an advertisement for a free flight offered by Robert McCulloch, Sr. (1911 – 1977). This rich entrepreneur flew interested persons to the middle of the desert where no roads led. He had planned a whole community in the hot dry heat of Western Arizona. The area had previously been used as a military base. Since my father had served in the Air Corps right after high school, he jumped at the opportunity to go on a free flight. He was one of many prospective land buyers that purchased a plot of desert. I’m sure he bought it in the hopes of building a winter home to get away from cold Utah winters.

I remember traveling to Lake Havasu once there was a paved road that went all the way to Lake Havasu. This lake was the result of the Parker Dam which plugged up the Colorado River running through Arizona all the way to California. Unfortunately, many Indian lands were covered by the new lake and they had to make homes elsewhere.

My husband and I stayed at the Havasu Dunes, a timeshare trade for us. It was comfortable and adequate although not luxurious.

We set out to check out the lake, the London Bridge, and the local museum. It was very interesting to learn about Mr. McCulloch. He bought the London bridge for a bit over $2 million. It had originally spanned the River Thames, but was sinking so was put up for sale. Not something you think about buying every day, but I guess it was on his radar! He was quite a visionary and the London Bridge has been featured in a couple of movies. If you are superstitious, you may see a British police bobby patrolling the bridge at night. Also, it is home to guano (bats) that inhabit the hollow interior.

Robert McCulloch, Sr . and President Eisenhower

Once we got near the bridge, we saw many boaters, paddlers, water skiers and a ferry. It was a water lovers paradise!

We decided to take the ferry. It was a great ride and we felt like we were back in Hawaii for a minute, but then realized we were in the middle of the desert. The learned that there were 27 lighthouses in Lake Havasu many of which were replicas of other lighthouses in the United States. We took a ride to see how many we could find. There are still plenty of land plots to purchase, some with water fronts if anyone is interested. We opted to try and pay off our mortgage in Utah before we die!

We took the ferry ride to the other side of the lake. There were plenty of ducks in the lake and the weather was fine. I thought it was a round trip, but we were heard “All ashore!”. So, along with the rest of the passengers, we took to land near a new casino. We were told it would be back soon before the ferry took off. A wind really picked up and the ride back across the lake was a bit bumpy. Safely back on shore, we made our way back through the gates to Lake Havasu and to our little cottage in the dunes.

Ferry ride in Lake Havasu

The museum wasn’t too far from the bridge itself. We enjoyed learning more about the beginnings of Lake Havasu, the actual lake and the city. It had grown quite a bit since I first visited many years earlier. So much history, including some from London, the Indians that inhabited the land before the dam created the lake, and so much more. It was amazing!

We stayed for three nights in Lake Havasu and enjoyed the break from our regular schedules. It was very edifying and inspiring. The next time you sing, “London Bridge is falling down”, just we assured that it is well established in its new home and very much loved.

Just FYI – the population of Lake Havasu City was 15,500 in December of 1975 and by 2010, the U.S. Census estimated the population to be 52,527. McCulloch Blvd is the main street and there is actually a Beachcomber Blvd on an island where many of the lighthouses can be found. Interestingly, California is on one side of the lake and Arizona is on the other.

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Wow, What a Reunion!

Just arrived back from a great family reunion, except for one grandson (me crying!) We took the I-80 from Salt Lake City, Utah to Reno, Nevada. We didn’t intend to drive in a caravan, but it ended up that three cars drove pretty close together all along the way. We Marco Polo’d as we drove (it is an app that you can record live to your party and receive live messages back -kind of like a walkie talkie, but with video). It is great because you keep abreast of where everyone is, can tell jokes, and warn of police cars, etc. One of our newest driver permit holders was driving the car we were following, so that was pretty exciting!!

Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe

A side note: I-80 Interstate freeway goes all the way from San Francisco, California east to Teaneck, New Jersey (just outside of New York City).

Another car came from Arizona with the rest of the gang except for one grandson (me crying, again), but with an additional boyfriend (yeah!). Our destination goal had been predetermined by our youngest son who had served his mission in the Las Vegas West Mission, which included Reno, part of California, and down to Vegas. I-80 is pretty exciting (not!) except you get to see part of the Bonneville Salt Flats, which are dried up desert lakes that cover 30000 acres. They were pretty amazing!

Bonneville Salt Flats



Once we got past that it was miles and miles of I-80 (about 7 hours worth from SLC) with several hungry kids and technological gadgets and chargers. The time just flew by! haha. A few pitstops later, we finally made it to Reno to a very nice hotel which was welcomed by all.

As if we weren’t tired from a day of driving, we all headed for the local movie theater to watch Spider-Man: Far from Home, and since we missed our dinner meal we ate plenty of popcorn!

The next day was very exciting as we headed for Lake Tahoe. The altitude of Lake Tahoe is 6225 feet above sea level and Salt Lake City’s altitude is 4226. Needless to say, it was an uphill climb most of the way. But, it was all worth it to see this magnificent lake. We ended up at Sand Harbor and some of our party rented canoes and set sail!

While the rest of us enjoyed the sunshine, cool water, and took in the beautiful scenery, the men were busy BBQ’ing our lunch. Yum!!

Liana checking on our lunch – thanks guys!!

Some of the gang that went to see the rocks on the other side of the bay.
After lunch, we took a hike to the other side of the bay. Wow – What a site!

Since this is getting pretty long, l will continue with day two of our trip on the next post. Here is more about Lake Tahoe: