Lake Havasu City, Arizona – July 2022 – Why?

As most people know the western United States is in the midst of a long term drought, where water is precious. In previous posts I have shown Lake Powell, at historic low levels. The same is true of Lake Mead, sitting behind the Hoover Dam.

Yet here in the middle of the desert is Lake Havasu, made possible by Parker Dam. It is constantly at 97%+ full. Why – because 100 year old water rights says parts of California get the water first, and Havasu is that reservoir.

What to do with that water – create an island out of what was once a peninsula, and use the 200 year old London Bridge to cross the channel.

Havasu City was created by an eccentric millionaire back in the 1960s who bought thousands of acres of desert along the reservoir, only to find that nobody wanted to come.

The city of London needed to replace the bridge since it was sinking into the Thames River, so they held an auction where, as legend has it, had 1 bidder – Robert McCulloch.

Once purchased, he had it disassembled after carefully labeling each block, shipped by boat 1/2 way around the world through the Panama Canal to the Port of Long Beach, then across the couple of hundred miles of desert to Havasu.

They then set to it building a bridge in the middle of the desert (water to come later). This photo is off the internet.

Legend also says that McCulloch thought he was buying Tower Bridge, but this has been debunked. Eventually he had his bridge, and it was a success – thousands of tourists came, and now Lake Havasu City is home to over 50,000 people, with probably 3 times as many here for the 4th of July weekend.

While you are there you can enjoy the sound of hundreds, if not thousands of people on boats and jet skis that have been towed hundreds of miles to this remote location by their giant trucks and SUVs, to cruise around and complain about the cost of gas.

The Colorado River leading up to Havasu is similar.

Another of the attractions of Havasu is a collection of replica lighthouses. There are 28 of the houses scattered around, many of them on private property (behind gates), so the only way to see them is by boat. We chose to drive to those we could get to.

The sun set on the roar of engines and the London Bridge.

As we left Havasu early the next morning we passed the solitude of a nature preserve. Ahhhh.

Across The West – Random Photos

As we travelled about I sometimes get photos that I like but there aren’t enough for a single posting. This is a collection of those random photos.

Tucson – The look back towards the city from Gates Pass Scenic Lookout

Sunset east of Vail, Arizona

Grasslands near Sonoita, Arizona. When you get above 4500′ in elevation in this part of Arizona the desert turns to grasslands.

Winslow, Arizona. Get mentioned in an Eagles song, it ends up as a tourist attraction and mini park.

About 1:10 into the song…

Mexican Hat, Utah

Gooseneck State Park. 1000′ deep!

Bluff, Utah – Twin Rocks Cafe

Southern Utah – A common sight – the dramatic look of irrigated fields in the desert.

Outside of Cortez, Colorado – The cattle drive has ended, along the road to Canyon of the Ancients National Monument.

Somewhere in Western Wyoming

Eastern Nevada – Coming down a mountain going eastbound on I-80, with the interstate continuing into the distance.

West Wendover, Nevada – Wendover Will

Navajo Nation, Arizona – The ubiquitous souvenir stand.

Page, Arizona – June 2022 – Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

The Glen Canyon Dam was completed along the Colorado River in 1966, creating Lake Powell. The lake can hold as much as 25 million acre feet of water, but is currently only at 27%. The photos of that shortage are dramatic.

At 710′ high, it is the 4th tallest dam in the United States.

A look down river at the canyon.

The rock formations around the canyon have some of the distinctive swirls.

Once you cross the bridge you get some dramatic views of the dam, bridge and lake. For those unfamiliar the ‘bathtub ring’ indicates the high water marks.

Northern Arizona – June 2022 – Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

The Vermillion Cliffs are an eroded escarpment across far northern Arizona, rising as high as 3000′ above the nearby valley. It provides a very scenic drive from the Grand Canyon North Rim to Page, Arizona.

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is at an area where the cliffs meet the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

In the 1800s this area was known as Lee’s Ferry, with some historic structures situated along the river.

Many rafting trips depart from here and head down river.

Back at Marble Canyon is the Navajo Bridge, the last crossing of the Colorado River downriver for almost 300 miles (until you reach the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas).

There is an impressive view of the canyon from the bridge.

A bit further up the road, just before reaching Page, is the famed Horseshoe Bend. While impressive, it is not in my opinion as impressive as Gooseneck State Park in Utah (visited earlier in this trip).

Palouse Hills, Washington – May 2022 – Impressive Waterfalls

The Palouse Hills area of eastern Washington is unique in that they were created over tens of thousands of years from wind blown dust called loess. This land turned out to be very fertile for the growing of wheat and barley, and the hills are covered with these fields.

Near the crossroads town of Washtucna is an old bus that, much like Cadillac Ranch, people come along and paint it, over and over again.

Palouse Falls is a 200′ high waterfalls situated in a 377′ deep canyon, shaped like a huge bowl. It is very impressive.

The overlook has a large number of marmot’s.

Birds seemed to like to ride the updrafts from the falls.

Just down the road (and river) is the confluence of the Snake and Palouse rivers at Lyons Ferry. There is an impressive road bridge crossing the Snake.

Just down river is the more impressive rail bridge, which we had the good fortunate of catching a long freight train crossing.

The Palouse Hills is a very scenic area far from any large cities.

Vail, Arizona – December 2021 – Views From The New Neighborhood

Our move to Arizona has found us living in a town called Vail, at the far east end of Tucson. It predates the same named town in Colorado by about 100 years, but for most of it’s time was a small, dusty railroad stop. The Colorado town has nothing on the Arizona one, the mountains here have more vertical gain above the town – just without so much snow (thankfully).

In the last 30 years it has grown tremendously but still has that ‘outpost’ feel, being at the edge of town, next to the mountains and desert. This posting has random views of some sights around Vail and beyond.

While Route 66 is the most famous east-west route in the pre interstate days, in reality more people actually took U.S. 80 west to California. This route made it’s way across Southern Arizona, including a portion between Benson and Vail, on it’s way to Tucson.

U.S. 80 crosses Cienega Creek on a 1921 bridge, next to where two Southern Pacific railroad routes also traverse the creek. A cienega is a wetland unique to the Southwestern U.S., resulting in a landscape unlike the surrounding area because of the constant availability of water, with large trees lining the banks.

Just to the east is the ghost town of Pantano, another railroad stop in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Today only the water tower remains.

About 30 miles south of Vail is the town of Sonoita. As you cross the Empire Mountains the landscape changes yet again, with large fields of tall grasses, instead of the Sonoran Desert look of Vail.

A local propane dealer has a cool collection of decorated tanks.

While Saguaro National Park East has a Tucson address, it is in the Vail area. It was a good day to take the dog for a walk, and take a closer look at the cacti.

The Vail area, and all of Southern Arizona, have spectacular sunsets.

Note the full moon peeking through the clouds.

Central Ohio – May 2021 – Weekend Wanderings

With minimal travel we had a weekend hiking close to home that gave a few photo ops of downtown Columbus, as well as nearby Licking County.

The trip to Licking County included a hike in Blackhand Gorge Park. Named for a (now long gone) Native American petroglyph the hike goes through a small ravine along a creek. The sandstone cliffs have a variety of vegetation growing on them.

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering the backroads of the county.

We came across this fantastic abandoned schoolhouse. As I approached for a closer look the bird came flying out adding to the excitement.

Cincinnati – May 2021 – Architecture

The Cincinnati architecture tour starts with a view of the historic City Hall. This impressive Romanesque building dates from 1893, after taking 5 years to build. The design was intended on reflecting the taste of the German descended majority of the population of the city at the time.

The Cincinnati Fire Museum (back side). Dating from 1907, the building is on the National Register.

The Plum Street Temple (now known as the Isaac Wise Temple), was built in 1865, with construction occurring during the Civil War. As with City Hall, which is caddy-corner from the temple, it is built in a style (Byzantine Moorish) that was popular in Germany at the time.

With World War II, all the temples in Germany in this style were destroyed, leaving only this and one in New York City in this style.

The Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone Company Building – This art deco building was completed in 1930.

Note the frieze – it is a series of rotary phones.

One interesting note, in the 1930s it contained the worlds longest straight switchboard (photo from Cincinnati Enquirer article). The floors were built at an unusually tall for the time 12′ high to support the equipment.

The western end of Garfield Place has a number of interesting structures.

The red brick building is the 1891 Waldo Apartments. The designer, Samuel Hannaford, also designed the Music Hall, nearby City Hall, and the Hooper Building.

The Covenant First Presbyterian Church is another late 1800s religious building. Both the church and the Waldo are on the National Registry.

William Henry Harrison is overlooking the entire scene. The statue’s statement of ‘Ohio’s first President’ is a bit of a controversy, as Harrison was born in Virginia, but elected from Ohio.

The Doctors Building is just down the block, on the south side of Piatt Park. The building has an impressive terracotta fa├žade, while the construction itself is brick and concrete.

The east end of Piatt Park has a wider view of the Doctor’s Building on the left, as well as a statue of James Garfield.

The Garfield statue was commissioned just 2 years after he died, finally being unveiled in 1887.

Tucked in what is essentially an alley, the Cincinnati Gymnasium and Athletic Club dates from 1902. The club claims to be the oldest continuously running athletic club in the country, including Rutherford Hayes once being a member and president of the club.

In a controversial move the club would hold basketball games against other clubs, charging an admission and sharing the proceeds, thus making them ‘professional athletes’ in a time where that was frowned upon.

The Second Renaissance Revival Building was named to the National Registry in 1983.

The former Shillito’s Department Store building is unique in that the front and one side is very Art Deco in style, but the back is a far more traditional look.

TV fans of the 1970s will recognize this building as the home of ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’. In reality it was the home of the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper.

This limestone building was opened in 1926. Today it is home to a couple of hotels.

Cincinnati was clearly a boom town in the 1920s, as yet another of the classic buildings, the Taft Theater, opened in 1928. This art deco hall seats 2,500, and is used for touring Broadway shows and concerts.

The John Roebling Bridge is one of the highlights of the city. When completed in 1866 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 1057′. This was supplanted by his more famous Brooklyn Bridge in 1883.

A mix of old and new – the St Louis Church. Another 1930s building, it’s location at Walnut and East 8th Street is located along the new Cincinnati Streetcar route. Ironically the streetcars that would’ve been there when the church was built was torn out in the 1950s, only to be replaced by this new system costing $148m.

Just down the street, and a few decades before, streetcars ran everywhere. (photo from Wikipedia – ‘Metro Bus’). If only they had left the tracks.

Easily the best (in my opinion) is Cincinnati Union Terminal. Once a grand train station (still a small Amtrak station), it is now a museum center.

The building is known as the second largest half dome building in the world, after the Sydney Opera House.

Two landmarks for one – Fountain Square and the Carew Tower.

Fountain Square has been the center of the city since it was installed in 1871. The fountain’s name is ‘The Genius of Water’.

The Carew Tower was the tallest building in the city from it’s opening in 1930 until it was surpassed by the Great American Tower in 2010. While the interior is very ornate, the exterior is a very basic approach towards art deco.

Our tour complete it is time to get out of town at the 1937 Lunken Airport Terminal.