Monthly Archives: February 2019

Lake Havasu, AZ

Last week we enjoyed some time in Lake Havasu. We stayed at the Lake Havasu State Park. We liked the park for its location and the sites, like at most of the other Arizona State Parks, are spacious.

Sunrise at Lake Havasu State Park

We arrived from Tucson around noon. We parked the RV, unhooked the Jeep and took off for the Nellie E Saloon (better known as ‘The Desert Bar’).

There are two ways to get to the bar. One way requires that you have an high clearance off-road vehicle, such as a Razor.

The other way is also off-road, but most vehicles can make it via this route.

There is always a band playing on stage and we found the food to be very good. They only accept cash so if you go there be prepared.

http://www.thedesertbar.com/

While in Lake Havasu we hiked a couple of trails at SARA Park. (https://golakehavasu.com/activity/attractions/parks/sara-park/) We hiked the 5 mile roundtrip Crack-in-the-Mountain trail. This trail is fun as you have to snake through a mountain, use a rope to shimmy down a 6 foot sheer incline and maneuver over waist deep water on wobbly metal planks. At the end of the trail you end up at the Colorado River where you can dip your feet in the water. It was too chilly for that though.

On another day we hiked ‘The Lizard Peek’ trail. There is a 600 ft elevation gain to the top of the peek, which overlooks a Lizard formation made out of stones. Can you find the lizard in the picture below? It looks pretty small when you are 600 ft above it.

Once you reach the peek of the mountain you are surprised to find a picnic table there. While there we met some fellow RVers.

In the picture below you can see a couple of hikers making their way back down from Lizard Peek.

The hike getting up was a little interesting at times and required some fun rock climbing.

Below is a picture from the top of the mountain.

I mentioned that we met some fellow RVers while at the top of mountain. Well, they invited us over to their RV park (at SARA Park) one evening to view some fantastic fireworks. It just so happens that we were in Lake Havasu during the Pyrotechnic Convention. The show lasted for an hour. Aside from being pretty darn cold, it was quite enjoyable. I captured this photo with my iPhone. While not a great photo, you can see the large number of fireworks going off at the same time.

For those that may not know this, the London Bridge was purchased by Robert McCulloch from the City of London back in the 1960s. It was dismantled and shipped to the US where it was reconstructed in Lake Havasu. Each brick was numbered so that it could be replaced in exactly the same location.

Along the coastline of Lake Havasu you will find numerous miniature lighthouses. They are scaled-down replicas of lighthouses found along the East Coast, West Coast and Great Lakes. They are actually functional and are used to alert boaters of the lake’s coastline. Funny fact: the city of Lake Havasu, in the landlocked desert state of Arizona, has more lighthouses than any other city in the entire country.

A few other notes about Lake Havasu:

We’ve never seen so many RVs in one area. They seem to be everywhere. The city of Lake Havasu is surrounded by BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and RVers can dry camp anywhere they find a spot. If you don’t mind dry camping then it would be almost impossible for you to not be able to find a spot to camp out for a few days.

The Colorado River and Lake Havasu make this area a desert Oasis.

Overlooking the city of Lake Havasu

If you like ice cream, then try out Scoops. They have the best homemade ice cream in town.

Somebody has humor in town, as seen by this phone booth.

If we ever return to Lake Havasu I think we will look to stay at Arizona’s Cattails State Park, which is between Lake Havasu and Parker. It is located on the Colorado River, is away from the city traffic and has beautiful scenery and hiking trails nearby.

The weather during our stay was surprisingly chilly, in the 50s and low 60s. We had one day of non-stop rain, which came with flash flood warnings. The cooler weather made hiking nice though. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Lake Havasu.

We are now in Indio, CA for the next 2 weeks. More on that later.

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Tucson, AZ: Feb 2-9, 2019

We arrived on Saturday at the Tucson KOA to overcast skies and chilly temps. It was not the Arizona weather we had been looking forward to. It rained nearly all day on Sunday, which was fine with us since it was Super Bowl Sunday and we planned on hunkering down anyway to watch the game.

Charlie spent much of the day on Monday at the Pima Air & Space museum while I ran some errands. He enjoyed touring the museum, except for the portion outside where he had to walk through mud to see the planes.

Tuesday’s forecast remained cold and the winds were picking up so hiking did not seem like a good idea. Considering this, we decided to explore the Kitt Peak National Observatory ( https://www.noao.edu/kpno/ ). Now, one would think that going to the top of a mountain where the wind speed was 20-30 miles per hour and the temperature was hovering around 30 degrees, would not be the wisest choice. I might also add that the mountain top was in the clouds. When we arrived at 9:00 am we were the only crazy tourists there. We signed up for the telescope tours and then strolled through the very informative museum until the first tour began. The Observatory is an easy hour drive outside of Tucson. The Observatory offers 3 telescope tours. The first one we took was to the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. This particular telescope is used primarily during daylight hours to study the sun and other close stars. The second tour was to the 2.1-Meter Telescope. This telescope originated in 1964 with a mirror made of a new material at the time, called “Pyrex.” The telescope has been instrumental for researchers to understand dark matter in the Universe. The last tour was to the 4-Meter Mayall Telescope. This telescope is the largest optical telescope on Kitt Peak. The telescope is currently being reconstructed for a multi-year research project exploring dark energy.

When we were not touring the telescopes we were learning a lot from our guide back at the visitor center. It was a very interesting day and we were very happy that we went. If you decide to take the tours make sure you take a lunch with you, as we did. It is an all day event and there is nowhere to purchase food on the mountain.

Click on a picture to activate the slideshow:

After a day of getting educated and excited about telescopes we decided to tour the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona (https://mirrorlab.arizona.edu/) on Wednesday, since it was again supposed to be wet, windy and cold outside. The Mirror Lab is currently casting eight 8.4 meter segmented mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope which will be installed in Chile. There is no other lab like this one in the world. The hour and a half tour included about 45 minutes of information in a classroom setting followed by a tour through the mirror lab. We learned a lot about telescopes and how the mirrors are fabricated. We highly recommend taking the tour if you ever have the opportunity.

After our mirror lab tour we stopped by the University of Arizona’s Planetarium and Mineral Museum. We enjoyed the Planetarium show and even found the Mineral display to be quite interesting.

Finally on Thursday we got some sunshine and temps in the 50s so we headed over to the Saguaro National Park – East. We took the 8 mile loop drive in the park to check out the scenery and then we drove a few miles outside of the park for a hike. We took a 5 mile roundtrip hike from Douglas Spring. The weather was perfect and the trail led us to a small ‘waterfall’ where we sat and had lunch. I’m always amused with the tall cactus figures, as you can see from the pictures below.

In the last picture, in the distance, you can see snow capped Mt. Lemmon. The road to get up there was closed due to ice and snow so we did not get an opportunity to venture up there.

For our last day in Tucson we hung out around the RV, for the most part. We also had to take our 4 week old Jeep Wrangler to Safelite to get a crack in the windshield repaired. It looks like new now. Hopefully it stays that way.

We did not eat out at all in Tucson because early on I discovered a fantastic market nearby that had the freshest seafood. Yuri, the fishmonger at Rincon Market, has fresh fish delivered up to 4 or 5 times a day. During the week I cooked up Halibut, Ahi Tuna, Scottish Steelhead, and Scottish Salmon. Everything was exceptional. One evening, after our long day of tours, we stopped by the market but I decided I was too tired to cook so we grabbed a bottle of wine from the market, sat at their counter and ordered dinner. I had salmon while Charlie had New York Strip. I highly recommend the Rincon Market https://rinconmarket.xyz/

We are now on our way to Lake Havasu for a short week, and then onto Palm Springs, CA. On our way we are stopping over in Eloy, AZ for a Chinese New Year celebration with friends. More on all that later…..

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Chiricahua National Monument

We left Fredericksburg TX and drove 9 hours to Las Cruces, NM. Our friends suggested the St. Clair Winery and Bistro for dinner. It is just down the street from the Hacienda RV Park, where we were staying. I’m so happy that they suggested it because we thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance, food and wine. We highly recommend it. https://stclairwinery.com/las-cruces/

In the morning we drove to Wilcox, AZ for the sole purpose of visiting the Chiricahua National Monument; https://www.nps.gov/chir/index.htm

As soon as we arrived at the Lifestyle RV Resort in Wilcox we unhooked the Jeep and drove the 37 miles to the park. There are no towns or services between Wilcox and the park, but it is a scenic drive.

We got to the park mid-day and decided to just do a short hike up Sugarloaf Mountain for a 360 degree view. It is a short 0.9 mile hike up to the top, with an elevation gain of 470 ft.

The following day we arrived at the park just before 9:00am to catch the shuttle up to Echo Canyon. We then hiked the Echo Canyon Trail and the Upper and Lower Rhyolite Canyon Trails back to the visitor center. It was a scenic 2.5hr walk through the rocks. When we started our hike it was barely 40 degrees on top of the mountain. When we ended it was nearly 50 and partly sunny. Perfect weather for a hike.

In the afternoon we decided to take a scenic drive over the mountain via the Pinery Canyon Road. This road is not maintained in the winter and you drive it at your own risk, but since there wasn’t any snow we did not have any issues.

The only negative with taking the canyon drive was that we ended up on the other side of the mountain, near Portal, AZ and had to drive an hour and a half back to our RV park. Portal seemed like an interesting place with beautiful mountains to hike, but we didn’t have time to explore. Maybe another time.

We are now heading up to Tucson for a week. More on that later…..

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