Checking in from Big River, CA …
My final walk through Arizona crossed the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation and the town of Parker. As we have seen several times, the reservation lands are pretty barren and undeveloped except for the mandatory casino in virtually every case. This particular reservation is home to the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Navajo and Hopi nations. Parker sits within the boundaries of the reservation. We were shocked to find that the sales tax in Parker was just over 13%. The reason—the normal sales tax is doubled with the extra half going to the tribes.
The Parker Dam straddles the border between Arizona and California and crosses the Colorado River some 155 miles south of the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas. The reservoir which is created is called Lake Havasu and covers almost 650,000 acres. The dam is 320 feet high with 235 feet being below the riverbed, making it the “deepest dam in the world.” The dam has four huge turbines which generate a tremendous amount of hydroelectric power, half of which is used to pump water into the Colorado River Aqueduct, the primary water source for the cities in greater Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego. Additionally, Lake Havasu provides most of the water for the Central Arizona Project Canal and Aqueduct, which irrigates desert agricultural areas and provides municipal water for Phoenix and Tucson.
The lake is also a favorite recreational area for much of the Southwest. It is truly beautiful; a radiant blue gem surrounded by ruggedly mountain terrain. We have seen some gorgeous places while walking across the US. Lake Havasu ranks with the most picturesque. Be sure to check out the extra photos on this website and at Heart Trek USA on Facebook. The lake and the river below the dam were packed with boats on the weekend with lots of people escaping the heat. Numerous RV parks along the banks attest to the popularity of the area. Lake Havasu is also known as the Spring Break capital of the Southwest. Move over Panama City Beach and Daytona.
A main tourist attraction in Lake Havasu City is the London Bridge which spans a neck of the lake and crosses the river. In 1968 after years of the bridge “falling down” and scheduled for demolition, Robert McCulloch (the founder of Lake Havasu and an oil tycoon) bought the bridge from the City of London for $2,450,000. It cost another $4.5 million to move the bridge and reassemble it. The bridge first spanned the River Thames in 1831 and the Colorado River in 1971.
“Welcome to the Hotel California”
On the western edge of Parker, I crossed a bridge under repair and unceremoniously entered the Golden State of California. Then just a mile or two into California I walked through the tiny unincorporated town site of Earp. As you might guess, the town is named for the famed Old West lawman Wyatt Earp who wintered in the area for almost twenty years following the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone (he spent his summers in Los Angeles where he died in 1930). Earp staked out more than 100 copper and gold mining claims in the nearby Whipple Mountains. The post office in Earp is 220 miles east of the county seat in San Bernardino, making it the most remote post office in the country.
For the next week, we will tackle what may be the most difficult part of our journey. From Big River to Twenty-Nine Palms, CA, my trek will cross the mountains and desert of the southern Mohave. That’s 110 miles without a single town or rest area in what may be the hottest part of our trip. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 110-115 degree range. Brenda will be carrying me to my starting point each day and staying close by with cold water and G2. She’ll have an extra can of gas since there are no gas stations, and she’ll need to keep the AC on. Wish us luck. As the song states, “…this may be Heaven, this may be Hell.”
We wish to thank those who continue to aid our trip. Jim at Desert Pueblo RV Park in Bouse and Kathy at Big River RV Park in Big River each have allowed us to park our RV free for a couple of nights. We appreciate the support of these kind folks and so many others.