Saturday, April 11, 2009

Out West

While out west a couple weeks ago, my mom, my friend, Mo, and I drove from Phoenix to Lake Havasu the long way around. We went through Sedona, up Oak Creek Canyon, to Flagstaff, then on to the Grand Canyon and finally to Lake Havasu. Above is the typical view of Sedona. I really do like the landscape there, so different from the lushness of the east. But Sedona has been developed and become quite touristy. It's just too bad the national park system couldn't have bought it years ago before the onslaught of too many houses and roads and tourist kitch.

A number of years ago I saw an episode on HGTV about an eco-village somewhere near Phoenix. We happened upon it, after taking a random exit to get gas. This is the entrance to Arcosanti, an experimental town in the high desert, designed according to the concept of 'arcology', a combination of architecture and ecology. It hopes to contain 5000 people, but at the moment only 100 people live there. They make and sell cast bells to make money.

The structures are all concrete. It's very futuristic looking.

This is looking down to the cafe from the gallery up above where the bells are displayed. I liked the shapes in this pic, cirlces, sqaures and rectangles.

Looking out at the desert.

We spent a brief time at the Grand Canyon. It was rather cold (in the 20's and really windy) but Mo and I did get a short hike in. I hadn't been to the GC since I was a kid and I probably thought it was boring then. But now I see what a wonder it is. Fantastic!

I plan on coming back and finishing the hike to the river.

Lake Havasu, the home of the London Bridge. I find this the silliest thing ever. To take this old English bridge and plop it down in the middle of the desert, just doesn't make sense. But there it is. Mo was really smitten with the idea of it though as her folks are from England found it all amazing. She did get them a souvenir of a wee piece of the stone on a card.

Spring break was in full rowdy mode. LH is a prime destination for college kids to practice debauchery. My mom's boyfriend has a boat and he was showing us some of the highlights of the Colorday river, one being Copper Canyon. This is where the spring breakers go to park their boats to party hearty. The boat above is a commercial pontoon, a floating bar really. There's a stage where the scantily clad pretty girls dance to a loud, booming beat (the canyon walls make for great acoustics). The floating attachement to the pontoon is the bar where one can buy drinks, snacks and even pasties. The guy with the mike yelled to us four ladies (ages 52-74), "Show us your boobs!" Yeah, right.

Whenever I visit, I like going out to the Desert Bar. It's only open Sat and Sun from Labor Day to Memorial Day. (summers are too damn hot). It's a 5-mile bumpy, dusty off road ride about 5 miles from the highway. Started in 1983 on an old mining site, it has become a popular place to listen to music while drinking down a cold one. It's run with solar power.

There's live music all day. Music, dancing, wine, nice weather, ahhhh!

The wall behind the stage

looking in to the outside bar area. There's also an indoor bar called the Nellie E Saloon, named after the mining claim.

Every year the owner has to make an improvement to the place in order to keep the operation going (government says). This past year he improved the ladies bathroom. WOW! This pic does not do it justice. It's a huge room, open to the desert view. The sinks are make of cut stone with copper basins.

This is the view while washing washing your hands.

The stalls are divided with welded metal walls. I don't know what it is about rusty metal, but I just love the colors.

Lots of jeeps and many more 4-wheelers tear up the desert then stop in for some beers and go tear up the desert some more.

The owner bought this firetruck in the 80's to bring water to the site. He now has a 360' deep well.

Lake Havasu City is recreation central, with the river being the main draw. But all the fun is engine powered: massive speed boats, personal water crafts, 4-wheelers, and lots and lots of water consumption. There is no conserving of water that I can tell. Plenty of swimming pools, yards that are watered on a daily basis and cars being washed in the streets. The one thing that it does have going for it is that it has no street lights, except for the main street through town. It makes for a nice night sky.
My favorite thing to do around Lake Havasu is to take this hike to the Colorado River, down a wash, through slot canyons, up on cliffs and finally ending up at the river. I'm glad to be back home though, in our nice, green landscape and spring in full force.

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