Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lake Havasu / Benson Bay

Photos in order (I hope)

1. Jumping Cholla - the one that "got" me
2. Wildflowers at Benson Bay
3. London Bridge
4. Gaow setting up the tent at Buckskin Mountain
5. Benson Bay

Sister in law, Gaow, and I took a 2 day trip to Parker, AZ and Lake Havasu. We were a little late leaving, and it seemed to take forever to get there – Through miles and hours of the desert beauty sameness. We were both hungry when we left Phoenix – not realizing there was no where to eat until we actually got to Parker. We had discussed KFC and were looking for it to no avail. We stopped at a burger king, and when we left there – of course – 2 blocks away was the KFC.

The first site of the Colorado River was amazing. The color is a deep teal - tourquoise? more blue than teal. it looks like you might be able to see to the bottom. What intense color.

About half way between Parker and Havasu City, we stopped at Buckskin Mountain State Park, and set up our tent. We had our pick of several spots, and picked the one under a huge shade tree. They had a “cabana” set up for tents – a walled and covered section for each site with a picnic table, and half wall – probably a wind break with shelves on one side – pretty nifty for a tent site. All the tent sites were right on the river – we could look out and watch the water skiers.

It was windy, and Gaow shook out the tarp to lay it down – but the wind wrapped it around her instead. I headed for the camera, but before I could grab it, she had placed rocks to hold it in place. It seemed to take a long time to put the tent up – no grass, just a layer of pebbles over hard dirt.

The hills are covered with wild flowers - a carpet of black-eyed susans, other flowers, pink, yellow purple, white. They are beautiful

Then we drove down to Havasu City and visited London Bridge. The bridge is impressive. It leads to an island. But, the tarted up touristy area built around the land side is tacky, although I was told it is going to be remodeled.

As we were leaving Gaow was stopped by a Psychic, who said she was very sad and had suffered the loss of a loved one. I just turned Gaow away, and told the woman that we didn’t have time, we were just leaving. Gaow is too trusting, she would have gone with her, not quite understanding what was going on. Not that I’m against Psychics, but this just hit me wrong. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone in with Gaow, and let her experience it. (After all, in her childhood, an aunt told her a foreigner would come and take her away from Thailand. My brother said that the moment he set foot in the village, he was a marked man!!!)

We got back to the tent just before dark, and watched a beautiful sunset. We had a pretty good night, but in the middle of the night, Gaow got cold – she is so tiny. I had not brought in my sleeping bag or fleece poncho because we had two big double fleece blankets, and I thought that would be enough. Obviously not - so I dug out more bedding, and she finally settled down and slept the rest of the nite. Warning, Gaow is a blanket thief – big time!!!

The cold of the night gave way to a very, very warm tent by 8 a.m. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was just as beautiful out as it was the day before - without the wind! People are already out waterskiing on the river. Last night they had a big bonfire and party at the RV park across the river

In the morning, we packed up and went to the marina near Benson Bay. We planned to get breakfast at the restaurant there, but wouldn’t you know it, the place is closed on Wednesdays.

We got directions to the bay “there are 3 trails, take the funky one” I took my trek sticks with me for the hike and a good thing too. We took the wrong trail, ended up climbing up and down hills – the sticks kept me on my feet going up and coming down. I stopped to take a photo of a cactus flower, and walked away, brushing the plant – remember when I told you about the jumping Cholla? Well, it got me!!!

It’s a pretty little bay – and for those I haven’t told yet, was named for my brother. He spent a couple tours in Parker during his Coast Guard career, and was very involved in Civic work. The land end of the bay is that same beautiful blue - and you can see down to the bottom - but wouldn't you know it - I didn't get a photo of that part of it.

We came down from the hills, and walked around the flat land. Gaow was looking for the “Benson Bay” sign so she could have her photo taken beside it. I learned later that the sign was gone, but Michelle wants to make a sign for it. I told her to contact the Rangers at Cattail State Park, as they told me they maintain the beach at the bay.

After that escapade, we headed home, taking a different road. I dropped Gaow off at my niece’s apartment, visited for awhile, and headed for Kit’s – at about 6pm. I learned there was a 101 Loop (expressway) that would get me there faster than driving up Bell Road. Remember, it is 6 pm – in the middle of rush hour, on a road headed due west. I didn’t know where the road was taking me, and I couldn’t see the signs because of the sun being right in my eyes. It was a hair raising ride. I finally recognized a street name and exited, and made my way safely “home”.

Remember when I said I could find anything around here as long as it was on Bell Road? Well, now I have added Union Hill to my map – so I can make a big circle. Virtually anywhere I want to go, I can find now. Restaurants, stores (including a JoAnn’s super store), gas stations, etc. No need to go further. Union Hill is not as busy as Bell Road, and has far fewer traffic lights.

Gaow went to the DMV to get an ID card, and they gave her a learners permit awhile back. I promised her I’d let her drive. On our trip to Parker, I was totally unfamiliar with the roads, and didn’t know where the big trucks might be, so I promised that on her next day off, I’d take her somewhere to drive.

I had visions of Madame ending up in a ditch. But the day finally arrived. We drove out to New River, AZ where Michelle and Eric live – they weren’t home, but they live way out in the country – on a gravel road. Gaow got behind the wheel. We started on the gravel road – no traffic. She did a good job, so I took her out on the paved road. In all, she drove about an hour, and we actually got up to 40 mph once. Traffic coming from behind made her nervous, so she would pull off, and let them pass, which was ok. Her main problem was that the driving she has done in the past was in Thailand – they drive on the other side of the road. She used to drive a Tuk-Tuk (little open air taxi type thing). My brother bought a PU truck a few years back, but he seldom let her drive. On our ride – whenever she wanted to use the turn signal, she turned on the wipers instead – because they are opposite from the truck in Thailand.

Oh, and Madame did not end up in a ditch. There were no ditches!!!!

Speaking of Michelle and Eric – 6 weeks ago, they had a fire in their power box and have been without electricity for all this time – but hope to have it working early next week. Two different departments of the power company have been wrangling over who does what first, which is why it is taking so long to get fixed. I understand Eric has been having fun figuring out how to do things without power. Michelle is not amused. Think of it! No washer, no dryer, no dish washer, no water (electric pump) no hot showers, no land line phone, and the list goes on and on.

It has taken quite long enough to get this post done. I’m back in the posting mood, so should have another up in the next day or two.

What's in a name:
Sore Finger Road
No Name Street
Terrible's Gas Station

Until next time,
Bear Hugs


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