Saturday, March 29, 2014

Our Great Southwest Adventure: Day 2

Day 2 of vacation: March 17, 2014
Lake Havasu City, AZ to St. George, UT

We started off today's adventure with a stop at the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City. I had wanted to see it for so long and was so excited to finally get the chance. It's maybe not the fanciest or most detailed bridge, but the story behind it is interesting. Who buys a bridge in London and has it shipped piece by piece to the US, and not just anywhere, but to a small town in Western Arizona? 

I know I'm not alone in thinking it's pretty cool. The London Bridge is the second most visited spot in all of Arizona, right after the Grand Canyon, of course!

We took a lovely stroll by the river, and got a letterbox along the path on the way to the bridge.

My first attempt at getting a good picture with my brother…fail!

The ducks of Lake Havasu

Closer up on the bridge

Taking a stroll across the bridge. It felt just like walking in London. Maybe…I wouldn't know.

Details of the lamp post

And walking back across.

It was so lovely here, it'd be fun to go back and just enjoy the town another day.

"Little London"

After that, we headed North on another quiet highway. Some might say it's boring, but I still think seeing mountains everywhere is thrilling. That's what happens when you live in the midwest for so long I guess!

Took a detour West on I-40 to find a letterbox in Mohave county. The below picture is some contraption we saw before taking the last exit before California…not sure what it was! 

Driving through Toppock, AZ… blinked and missed the whole town. ;)

After a brief drive on the historic route 66, we back tracked and continued on our drive North, heading to Kingman, AZ.

Twists and turns, gaining elevation, driving through mountains!

Our side of the highway- heading North - was very lonesome. However, the other lane heading South was packed - we're guessing lots of spring breakers heading back from a weekend in Vegas? Not sure why they'd want to miss out on St. Patty's day fun! Oh well, we were very thankful we weren't headed there. :)

Our only reason for stopping in Kingman was to plant Curtis' Mohave county box. We found a quiet and secluded spot off a trail leading to Fort Beale. 

Above, Curtis scouts out the area looking for the perfect planting place; below, Grant takes a selfie.

If only there were more hours of sunlight in the day, we would have hiked further, but with a full day ahead we had to keep moving! So far, we were making great time (probably thanks to wanting to leave the sketchy hotel as fast as possible…)

The drive was very uneventful (thank God!) and Curtis always loves to find things to make the trip more interesting. Today, that came in the form of roadside markers.

We pulled over to learn more about the area. Then, we also saw a rare plant to AZ: A Joshua tree! We saw a couple, and when there was one close enough to the road, we pulled off for this picture:

…and another marker. :)

Again, if there were more hours in the day, we probably would have gone in search of this ghost town too!

We followed the Colorado River the whole way up.

Yay! We've reached Nevada! This was my first time in the state, and I'm happy to finally be able to say I've been to all states surrounding my home state. :)

Exited the interstate right away to visit the Hoover Dam.

Looking up to the Hoover Dam Bridge!

There's an interesting monument for the Hoover Dam, commemorating the hard workers, brave leaders, and just how impressive it is. Here's a look at what they have shown off:

All that, as well as the star patterns on the ground, so that in the event where civilization falls and rebuilds, the people who discover this will know exactly when the dam was built.


I didn't get a good picture of this plaque because we were too humored by how funny his ears look standing on the side… :)

At last: the dam itself! Here are some dam pictures:

The high water line is where the white rock ends and brown begins. 

Thankful for my brother being on this trip - thanks to him, Curtis and I were able to have many pictures together! 

The fanciest men's room I've ever seen! :)

We could see fish swimming in the water below.

My question for the dam is, how many times a day do you hear yourself being compared to a skateboard ramp?

We took the dam tour. Here we are on the inside.

How far underground are we??

Silly boys!

The elevator…here we're thinking, great, we're at the front of the line for an elevator that fits 50 people, we're going to be stuck in the back. Ahhh...

The generator room!

The cool patterns on the floor… first thought? That'd make an awesome stamp! Yes, we are true letterboxers at heart.

Back outside, finally! Admiring the dam one last time, now that we know more about it!

So wide…so great.

One last dam monument!

After that, we chose to bypass Vegas completely and take the long, scenic route along Lake Mead. Though it added on to our trip, I say the views were completely worth it! It's not every day an Arizonan gets to see a lake with water in it!!

The road was vacant, and the drive was very pleasant!

If we couldn't see the lake, there would be mountains all around.

As we drove North, the mountains became more colorful as well, leading up to Valley of Fire State Park.

Peaks of "fire" coming out!

Maybe someday I'll help Curtis with driving the truck, but we really have a great system going: He drives, I navigate/take pictures every 10 seconds. (the view is always new and exciting!)

Some of my favorite pictures of the contrasting colors: bright red/black!

And there's the lake again! Yes, I have a lot of pictures from this road…but what can you expect, the drive was like 70 miles according to Curtis!

Finally, right before reaching the end, we went off the road a bit to drive to the trailhead for a loop taking us around the ruins of St. Thomas. When the construction of the Hoover Dam began, the people of St. Thomas was forced to leave because Lake Mead was predicted to cover all of the town. It did for a long time, but now the lake has receded, and we were able to take a walk through the area.

Signs there was once a lake here: water plants.

Seashells were all over the ground.

The first of the foundations that we found.

Curtis checking out an old tree stump.

An old well, covered up.

(above) There was a snake inside this well… Curtis claimed it was dead and there was "no way it could climb up the sides" but once the boys started throwing rocks at it, I took off running. I take no chances with snakes! :)

The last of the foundations we saw. We think this was the large courthouse/schoolhouse that was pictured on the board at the beginning of the trail.

It had the same front steps as this structure too!

After the hike, (about 2 miles) we crossed the street to visit Valley of Fire State Park. It was getting late, but the setting sun made the red rocks look even more beautiful. We drove through most of the park, got some high quality letterboxes, and saw some cool looking rocks. We unfortunately didn't do much hiking, but from what we saw, we'd love to do more in the future. The only problem was the harsh blowing sand…it stung, but we know that's what helped make this place so beautiful!

Yes, I see mountains all the time, why so many pictures? Because these are RED! :)

I love the colors. God is so creative. It's great.

How pretty!!??!

Finally, driving out of the park, and finishing with about another hour's drive to St. George, UT. 

Biggest disappointment of the day? The time change going from Pacific to Mountain time… I missed Dancing with the Stars premiere :( Not like I ever get to watch it anyway, but I thought I'd take advantage of the hotel TV. I'm pretty sure the guys were secretly happy to not have to endure that.

Oh and yes, this was St. Patrick's Day. We were a little concerned about running into parades or being kept up all night by parties, but St. George may have been the quietest town in the country that night! We went to pick up a pizza at Popa John's at 9 (because every other restaurant was closed by then) and judging by how fast it was done and the one person working there, I'm pretty sure there hadn't been anyone there in hours… Oh well, that was our St Patty's Day in Utah for you :)

Wrap up of day 2: drove 300ish miles, hiked 6.5 miles, found 4 boxes, planted 2 boxes*, and saw a dam, a lost city, a lake, and a state park!

*what about the second box we planted? Oh, that's a mystery box. You gotta figure it out on your own :)

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