Letters From a Bus
January 2008: Heading Home
1st entry for January
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Exploring the Lake Havasu Area

Lake Havasu City, AZ, Day Five at Havasu Falls RV Resort, Site: 76

New Year's Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2008 — Seven Months

Scott Walton returned to the Santa Cruz Mountains in California with Suzanne, Meranda and the kids at three o’clock Sunday morning.  Jan and Brent were left alone once again.  Jan is still recovering from a heart attack and surgery a few months ago.  She was tired and took a rest day.  Brent caught up on errands and work around the property.  He wants to leave everything in good shape for his mom before he leaves to go back to work.  Sunday, December 30, was mostly a rest day for us also. 

We liked Dee Downs and she liked us.  She said her husband, Dan, had missed out on a fun day at the beach.  She wanted to have him meet us and see our bus.  She called us Sunday morning and they both dropped by.  I served coffee and we spent a very pleasant time visiting and getting acquainted with them.  It felt like we had a lot in common.  They invited us to come over to their house later in the afternoon to meet their dog and see their home and their Tiffin Allegro 34TGA.

It was a beautiful sunny day.  Brent thought that there was a cruise ship that would take us up the river for an hour and a half to the Avi Casino & Resort in Laughlin.  He said we could eat there and then  take the boat back.  So we drove over to London Bridge where we’d had dinner at Shugrue’s on Friday night.  We walked along the river where boats were docked and talked to a man by a big paddleboat.  He said those cruise boats operate in reverse.  They start at the Laughlin and Bullhead City casinos and go south to Lake Havasu, stop to let the passengers roam around and eat and then return.  We called Brent to let him know and then sat outside for breakfast at the Makai, located next to London Bridge on the Havasu Island side.

London Bridge is a curiosity here in the desert.  In Arizona, it is the second biggest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon.  The theme of shops and restaurants is somewhat Tudor England although the Hawaiian Makai and the tropical gift shop next door did not follow suit.  Why the Makai considered itself to be Hawaiian I do not know.  Papaya and guava juice were not on the menu.  The sun felt pleasant and the view of the bridge and the river was unique but there was a strong odor of diesel drifting up from the river.  And the Makai made the unfortunate choice of anchoring metal webbed chairs to their round patio tables so that it looked and felt like a fast food patio. 

Sitting on the patio at the Makai for breakfast. A water garden feature by the Makai has rapids flowing down to the river.
We are on Havasu Island by the Makai Restaurant looking at London Bridge towards Lake Havasu City.

LONDON BRIDGE

There is still a London Bridge in London, England that crosses the River Thames, between the City of London and Southwark.  So far, seven London Bridges have been built across the Thames.  A bridge has existed at the London Bridge site for nearly 2,000 years.  The original bridge was one of the most famous bridge emplacements in the world.  London Bridge was the only bridge over the Thames in London until Westminster Bridge was opened in 1750. 

The London Bridge that was transferred to Lake Havasu City was the sixth bridge to be built over the Thames.  Built by engineer John Rennie, it took seven years and was completed by his son in 1831.  It was known as Rennie’s bridge.

HISTORY OF THE SEVEN LONDON BRIDGES

Wood London Bridges

ONE.  The Romans on the present site built the first bridge of wood around 60 AD.  The location was most likely chosen as a bridgeable spot, which would also offer deepwater access to the sea.

TWO.  In 1014, the Norwegian king Olaf tore down the Roman bridge.  He came to the aid of king Aethelred in a successful bid to divide the defending forces of the Danes who held the walled City of London plus Southwark.  This effort was a success and they regained London for the Anglo-Saxon king. 

THREE.  The London Tornado of 1091, a T8/F4 tornado, destroyed the rebuilt London Bridge once more. 

FOUR.  London Bridge was destroyed yet again, this time by fire, in 1136.

Old London Bridge. 

FIVE. A new stone bridge was proposed to replace the timber bridge. Construction was begun in 1176 during the reign of Henry II.  The new bridge took 33 years to complete and was not finished until 1209, during the reign of King John.

This medieval bridge had 20 small arches and a drawbridge with a defensive gatehouse at the southern end. The narrowness of the arches meant that it restricted water flow and made the Thames River more susceptible to freezing over in winter because of the slower currents. The current was further obstructed by the addition of water wheels under the two north arches to drive water pumps, and under the two south arches to power grain mills.  This produced ferocious rapids between the piers of the bridge.  The difference between the water levels on each side could be as much as six feet.  Only the brave or foolhardy attempted to "shoot the bridge" (steer a boat between the starlings) and many were drowned trying to do so. As the saying went, the bridge was "for wise men to pass over, and for fools to pass under."

John allowed houses and shops to be built at the centre of the bridge.  Soon it was crowded with buildings of up to seven stories in height.  Houses and shops took up space and slowed down the traffic crossing the river.  When carts broke down or animals revolted, crossing the bridge could take up to an hour. For this reason people on foot often chose to use the dozens of river taxi boats that quickly ferried Londoners from shore to shore.

Although the bridge itself was about twenty-six feet wide, the buildings on the bridge took up about seven feet on each side of the street. Some of these buildings projected another seven feet out over the river. The road for traffic was thereby reduced to just twelve feet wide. This meant that horses, carts, wagons, and pedestrians all shared a passage way just six feet wide, one lane going north and one south. There were a few places where houses and shops were not built.  This allowed people to get out of the traffic and enjoy a glimpse of the river and the shorelines of London.

Nearly two hundred places of business lined both sides of the narrow street.  Merchants lived above their shops and sold goods from the street level floor. They used windows to show their goods and transact business. Over each shop hung a sign usually in the shape of the articles sold so that the illiterate could recognize the nature of the business. These signs were posted high enough that a rider on a horse could pass beneath them because every inch of the small street had to be available to vehicular traffic. Many of the top floors of the houses and shops were built over the street and actually connected to the house or shop across the street, giving the street a tunnel look.

The gates to London Bridge were closed at curfew, and the bridge was regarded as a safe place to live.  Located neither in London nor in Southwark, the Bridge community was almost a town unto itself. The greatest dangers were fire and death by drowning because few people knew how to swim.

Houses on the bridge were burnt during Wat Tyler's Peasants' Revolt in 1381 and Jack Cade's rebellion in 1450, during which a pitched battle was fought on the bridge.

The buildings on London Bridge created a major fire hazard and served to increase the load on its arches.  Over the years, various arches of the bridge collapsed.  In 1212, perhaps the greatest of the early fires of London broke out on both ends of the bridge simultaneously, trapping many in the middle and reportedly resulting in 3,000 people being killed.  Another major fire broke out in 1633, which destroyed the northern third of the bridge. 

The many bridges destroyed and rebuilt inspired the well-known nursery rhyme "London Bridge is Falling Down."  “Silver and Gold” refers to the trading done on the shops over it in the 14th century.

By 1722, congestion was becoming so serious that the Lord Mayor decreed that "All carts, coaches and other carriages coming out of Southwark into this City do keep all along the west side of the said bridge: and all carts and coaches going out of the City do keep along the east side of the said bridge". This has been suggested as one possible origin for the practice of traffic in Britain driving on the left. 

New London Bridge.

SIX. By the end of the 18th century, it was apparent that the old London Bridge – by then over 600 years old – needed to be replaced. It was narrow, decrepit, and blocked river traffic.  The bridge was replaced by a structure of five stone arches, designed by engineer John Rennie. The new bridge was built 100 feet west (upstream) of the original site at a cost of £2,000,000 and was completed by Rennie's son (of the same name) over a seven-year period from 1824 to 1831. The old bridge continued in use as the new bridge was being built, and was demolished after the new bridge opened in 1831.  A fragment from the old bridge is set into the tower arch inside the St Katherines Church, Merstham.

Rennie's bridge had a length of 928 feet and a width of 49 feet.  Haytor granite was used in the construction.  King William IV and Queen Adelaide attended a banquet in a pavilion erected on the bridge at the official opening on 1 August 1831.  The recently constructed HMS Beagle was the first ship to pass under it.  The bridge was widened in 1902–4 to 65 feet in an attempt to combat London's chronic traffic congestion.  This was too much for the foundations and the bridge began to sink an inch every eight years.  By 1924, the east side of the bridge was some three to four inches lower than the west side.  It became apparent that this bridge would have to be removed and replaced with a more modern one.

Modern London Bridge.

SEVEN. Mott, Hay and Anderson designed the current London Bridge.  Contractors John Mowlem and Co. from 1967 to 1972 constructed it.  Queen Elizabeth II opened it on 17 March 1973.  It comprises three spans of prestressed concrete box girders, a total of 928 feet long. The bridge was built to be functional and long-lived, and, as such, it is noticeably less decorated than other Thames bridges. The cost of £4 million was met entirely by the City of London's Bridge House Estates. The current bridge was built in the same location as Rennie's bridge, with the previous bridge remaining in use while the first two girders were constructed upstream and downstream. Traffic was then transferred onto the two new girders, and the previous bridge demolished to allow the final two central girders to be added.

The rebuilt New London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

On 18 April 1968, the sixth London Bridge, “Rennie's bridge” was sold to the American entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil for US$2,460,000.  As the bridge was disassembled, each piece was numbered to aid reassembly and those markings can still be seen today. The bridge was reconstructed at Lake Havasu City, AZ and re-dedicated on October 10, 1971.  The reconstruction of Rennie's London Bridge spans a man-made canal that leads from Lake Havasu to Thomson Bay.  It forms the centerpiece of a theme park in English style, complete with a mock-Tudor shopping mall.  Rennie's London Bridge has become Arizona's second-biggest tourist attraction, after the Grand Canyon.

The version of London Bridge that was rebuilt at Lake Havasu consists of a concrete frame with stones from the old London Bridge used as cladding. Not all of the bridge was transported to America.  Some was kept behind in lieu of tax duties. The remaining stone was left at Merrivale Quarry on Dartmoor in Devon.  Consequently, a large part of Rennie's bridge never left the UK. When Merrivale Quarry was abandoned and flooded in 2003, some of the remaining stones were sold in an online auction.

Paraphrased and quoted from a Wikipedia article. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge

Looking up at Shugrue's Restaurant from the Makai.
Details of the bridge as seen from underneath.
We are on a walkway by the river that passes under the bridge.
On the other side of the bridge looking back towards the restaurant.
Looking up underneath an arch supported by a foundation pedestal.
After breakfast we walked around looking at the famous old bridge. 

With the romantic perspective of a history and literature major I felt regretful that the old bridge had not found a second home on some river in England.  But I was thinking of the fifth bridge, Old London Bridge, the medieval bridge that had shops and houses crowded on it.  That bridge remained for 600 years and was slowly destroyed by fires and congestion. It was replaced in 1831.

An engraving by Claes Van Visscher showing Old London Bridge in 1616, with Southwark Cathedral in the foreground. This was the fifth bridge and the first stone bridge. Completed in 1209, King John allowed houses and shops to be built on the bridge.
View of Rennie's bridge with Lake Havasu City in the background. This part of the Colorado River is actually a small canal that passes from Thompson Bay to Lake Havasu. Across the canal (behind the motorboat) is an Englsh theme park with a mock-Tudor shopping mall.
A photo of the Rebuilt New London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ. 12/30/07 A photo of New London Bridge taken in the early 1890s. Built by engineer John Rennie, and his son, it was known as Rennie's bridge.

The bridge we were looking at was the sixth bridge, the 19th C. New London Bridge built by engineer John Rennie. Rennie's bridge had a length of 928 feet and a width of 49 feet. Haytor granite was used in the construction. The bridge was widened in 1904 to 65 feet. This was too much for the foundations. After that it began to sink an inch every eight years. Construction on the seventh bridge, Modern London Bridge began in 1967.

"On 18 April 1968, the sixth London Bridge, “Rennie's bridge” was sold to the American entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch of McCulloch Oil for US$2,460,000.  As the bridge was disassembled, each piece was numbered to aid reassembly and those markings can still be seen today. The bridge was reconstructed at Lake Havasu City, AZ and re-dedicated on October 10, 1971.  The reconstruction of Rennie's London Bridge spans a man-made canal that leads from Lake Havasu to Thomson Bay.  It forms the centerpiece of a theme park in English style, complete with a mock-Tudor shopping mall.  Rennie's London Bridge has become Arizona's second-biggest tourist attraction, after the Grand Canyon.

The version of London Bridge that was rebuilt at Lake Havasu consists of a concrete frame with stones from the old London Bridge used as cladding. Not all of the bridge was transported to America.  Some was kept behind in lieu of tax duties. The remaining stone was left at Merrivale Quarry on Dartmoor in Devon.  Consequently, a large part of Rennie's bridge never left the UK. When Merrivale Quarry was abandoned and flooded in 2003, some of the remaining stones were sold in an online auction."

(Paraphrased and quoted from a Wikipedia article.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge

As we climbed the stairs from under the bridge and up to street level, we saw the numbers that marked the location of each stone as an aid in reassembling the bridge.
London Bridge Is Falling Down (Roud 502) is a well-known traditional nursery rhyme which is found in different versions all over the world. 

The meaning of the rhyme is not certain. Most likely, it relates to the many difficulties experienced in bridging the River Thames.  London's earlier bridges did indeed "wash away" before a bridge built of "stone so strong" was constructed.

Perhaps people building the earlier bridges were afraid that water spirits would not approve of a bridge that invading their territory. To prevent problems, they made human sacrifices to the water spirits.  This usually meant killing a child and burying it in the bridge.  One theory of the "fair lady" who has been "locked away" refers to an old practice of burying a dead virgin in the foundations of the bridge to ensure its strength through magical means.  The more plausible reference of the fair lady was to Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.  However, the rhyme is not confined to England and variants exist in many other western and central European countries.

One theory of origin is that the rhyme relates to the destruction of London Bridge by Olaf II of Norway in 1014.  Reportedly Olaf I of Norway also burned the bridge during raids in England during the 980's.  The bridge was also destroyed by a tornado in 1091 and burned in 1136.

Paraphrased and quoted from a Wikipedia article.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Bridge

Here are the lyrics to one of the original forms:

Left: we climb the stairs.
Above: we reach street level.
Dennis, ever the masonry contractor, looked at the reconstructed bridge and said, “That would have been a great job to have.”

    London Bridge is falling down,
  Falling down, Falling down.
    London Bridge is falling down,
    My fair lady.

  Take a key and lock her up,
    Lock her up, Lock her up.
    Take a key and lock her up,
    My fair lady.

  How will we build it up,
    Build it up, Build it up,
    How will we build it up,
    My fair lady?

Build it up with gold and silver,
    gold and silver, gold and silver.
    Build it up with gold and silver,
    My fair lady.

  Gold and silver I have none,
    I have none, I have none.
    Gold and silver I have none,
    My fair lady.

  Build it up with pins and needles,
    pins and needles, pins and
needles.
    Build it up with pins and needles,
    My fair lady.

Pins and needles bend and break,
    Bend and break, Bend and break.
    Pins and needles bend and break,
    My fair lady.

  Build it up with wood and clay,
    Wood and clay, Wood and clay.
    Build it up with wood and clay,
    My fair lady.

  Wood and clay will wash away,
    Wash away, Wash away.
    Wood and clay will wash away,
    My fair lady.

  Build it up with stone so strong,
    Stone so strong, Stone so strong.
    Build it up with stone so strong,
    My fair lady.

  Stone so strong will last so long,
    Last so long, Last so long.
    Stone so strong will last so long,
    My fair lady.

Dee and Dan invited us for early afternoon turkey dinner.  We drove over to their pretty house up on a hill in north Lake Havasu City.  Dee is very artistic and we loved looking at the results of her projects.  She is amazing.  Dan collects old western prints and sculptures and he collects old spurs.  He cleans them up and they are each unique and wonderful to see.  We looked at their 34’ Allegro and it was fun to see the differences between their ’07 and ours. 

After a lovely dinner Dee performed her dog act with their miniature Schnauzer, Annie.  She has an entire routine with a story in which Annie shakes hands, does a high five, balances a cheerio on her nose, gets shot and falls down dead, pulls up a blanket to sleep, says her prayers and whispers a secret in Dee’s ear.  I was enthralled and began to get fantasies about what I could do with Rudi and Margot.  Dee says she spends about five minutes a day with Annie.  Annie gets lots of treats in the form of tiny cheerios to learn each trick with a code words and hand movements.  My problem is that Margot distracts Rudi.  I have to dig out my clicker and work on this.  Now I have a New Year’s resolutions to teach them a series of tricks and put it together into a little performance scenario.

Annie sits on Dee's lap with a little blanket that has a knot in the corner. On cue she pulls it up over her shoulders and puts her head down. Dan says he won't get rid of his old easy chair because Annie loves to sleep next to him on the arm rest. This smart and beautiful little dog has a great home.

Jan and her son Brent are most certainly cut from the same cloth.  They both love the desert — particularly this area.  They love to hang out on the river, to camp and fish.  Both were very anxious to show us the sights along the river and to show us all the available RV parks that are situated right on the Colorado River.  Their enthusiasm was infectious so on New Year’s Eve we decided to take an all day scenic drive.  Dennis drove all of us in the Honda and Jan and Brent told us where to go.

We started out by going south on US-95.  Lake Havasu State Park stretches southeast from Lake Havasu City in a narrow strip along the east (or Arizona) side of the river.  The distance to Parker on US-95 is about 45 miles.  The drive would take about an hour but of course we were slower as we stopped at scenic points to take photos.  We left about 10:45 AM.

First we stopped at Havasu Springs Resort at 2581 Hwy 95. (Do not put this into Mapquest. It will lead you wrong taking you 17 miles further south to Parker.) The resort is located at the south end of Lake Havasu about half a mile from Parker Dam. Brent and Jan have camped here and they like it. There is a huge RV park as well as a hotel and condos. They offer a public fishing dock on the lake, clubhouse, golf course, tennis courts, and an Olympic pool. The fish is loaded with striped bass, large mouth bass, catfish, and crappie. In addition they arts and crafts rooms and offer bus trips to Laughlin casinos. Sounds pretty good.... See for yourself at http://www.havasusprings.com/

We are south of Lake Havasu City on US-95 and I'm looking west across Lake Havasu State Park and the river towards the Whipple Mts. in California. 11:12:16 Brent tells me this is the Bill Williams River where it flows into the Colorado River. We must be near Planet Ranch Rd. which turns SE from US-95. The Bill Williams River Nat'l Wildlife Refuge is east of Parker Dam and northeast of Buckskin Mt. State Park in La Paz County by the border of Mohave County. 11:24:54
In the distance we see Havasu Springs Resort. It is located at the south end of the lake. 11:25:18 This is turning out to be an RV park research trip. We see another up on a hill on the CA side. 11:25:32
Havasu Springs Resort has a fishing dock and they rent boats. 11:41:32
We are near Parker Dam. Brent and Jan have camped here in their little RV. They love the location. 11:29:18
Dennis and Jan walk Margot and look down at the dock. 11:36:22 This little beach is where Brent and Jan go swimming. Of course everything right now is empty. In the summer they tell me it is very crowded. 11:50:48
I am standing just above the little beach and looking across the edge of the lake toward the rest of the resort. 11:52:30 There are RVs near the little beach and more mobile homes, etc. across the water. This place is big. 11:54:06

From Havasu Springs Resort we continued southwest on AZ-95 to 6350 Riverside Dr. on the river a few miles south of Parker Dam.  Here Jan and Brent introduced us to Pierpoint Landing Fox’s RV Resort & Restaurant.  The RV park looked very shabby. Apparently the restaurant is well known in these here parts for it’s delicious BBQ Baby Back Ribs, and Mesquite Chicken, along with Prime Rib, and Alaskan King Crab Legs.  There’s a patio that overlooks the river.  I was hungry and ready for lunch but the place was closed. 

We walked around Fox’s Floating Dock Bar.  This was closed also. Read about it on their website:  “If you need to unwind, then Fox's is the only stop you need to make. Home of the river's most famous Bloody Mary's, why would you need to go anywhere else? Jell-O Shots, and Mud Slides are among the other drinks available at Fox's Floating Dock Bar. When a little craziness is desired, try the Crazy Fox. Not only is it the river's most talked about drink, you also get to keep the cup!” http://www.foxsresort.com/restbar.html

Here's the ramp down to the bar. I'm standing under the entrance wearing a heavy red windbreaker. It is cold and windy. 12:12:48
We parked near the RV park above the river and walked down to the floating bar. 12:16:05
This is the view from Fox's Bar looking across the river to the California side. 12:14:26 Brent and Jan stand on the dock by the bar. These two are big camping and fishing buddies. They are very compatible. 12:14:34
Well I’m a person that has to be fed.  As there was no food at Fox’s, Jan and Brent decided that we could go to the Bluewater Resort & Casino for lunch (about six miles south of Parker Dam in Arizona).  On US-95 we continued south and went into the casino where we found a booth in the Blue Water Grille.  After lunch we walked around the casino to look at the 3-story indoor water park.  In an atrium with three pools it has a water slide, splash pool, children’s pool, Jacuzzi and swimming pool as well as a spa. 
We continued south on US-95. We kept stopping to take photos of RV parks across the river (in California). This one looks very pretty. 12:21:26
Dennis and Jan look down on the water park from the casino floor. 2:02:46
Sightseeing and checking out RV parks is tiring. We are all ready to rest in our booth at the Blue Water Grille. 1:08:26
Brent and I explore the water park. A lady is about to go down the slide. 2:04:32
After lunch we went south on US-95 to Parker where we came to the junctions of 95, 72 and 62.  We crossed the river and then turned north to follow the river on the California side northeast back up to Parker Dam.  Along the way we stopped in several likely looking RV parks.  They never looked as pristine and attractive up close as they did at a scenic distance as seen from across the river.  This got to be a running joke. 
Outside at the foot of the water park is a walkway and a marina. 1:58:44
From the California side we are looking across the river at Fox's Floating Dock Bar in Arizona. 2:45:14
In California, we pulled into an RV park that appeared to be very extensive and scenic. It's the pretty one we saw from the Colorado side (see above @ 12:21) 2:50:54
I believe this RV park is called River Lodge Resort. The sites for RVs are tight and it is crowded. 2:59:02
River Lodge Resort has docks and beaches and a beautiful view of the Colorado cliffs across the river. The best sites are for permanent mobile homes. 2:51:36
We continued our explorations driving north towards Parker Dam. This RV park is located under a great cliff. There is a flag pole at the top of it. 3:15:22
This is the same RV park that is under the cliff. There is a nice beach and a picturesque "pink palace" across the water. 3:21:20
This was a fun day.  We all had a good time together.  Brent and Jan were enthusiastic guides and we all got to see lots of RV park options as well as the beautiful scenery on both sides of the Colorado River around Lake Havasu. 

It was New Year’s Eve and our plan was to go back to Jan’s house where Brent was planning to give us a fireworks show.  But by the time we got back to our bus at Havasu Falls, it was after four o'clock and the three of us were tired.  We decided to postpone a visit to Jan’s house until the next day.

The next afternoon, on New Year’s Day, Dennis and I drove out to Jan’s place.  This time at the earlier hour I was able to walk around the property and get the full tour.  She has five acres, which seems like a lot to me, but you’d be surprised at how fast five acres can fill up with stuff.  Jan’s son, David Soden, stays there with her on and off.  He is a trucker so he is gone most of the time. 

We crossed back to Arizona at Parker Dam. 3:33:34
This time we are able to find our way out to Jan's property on our own.
From Jan's front yard you can look ENE towards Pine Peak in the Hualapai Mountains.
The birds in Jan's trees are artificial.
Jan's front yard facing southeast in the general direction of Phoenix — about 135 miles away as the crow flies. Oh gosh, I used to have a firepit just like this. I loved it.
Brent told me about the "jumping cactus" with thorns that leap out at you. Jan shows me an example of it. Notice, she is poking at it with a stick! When branches get old and brittle they break off easily and seem to jump out at you.
I wonder if it is related to the Teddybear Cholla, which is described as having spiny joints that readly attach to passersby.
Jan's dog, Bebe, watches every move Jan makes.
Rudi loves to dominate large balls by pushing or pulling with his paws or butting it with his head. Here poor Rudi thinks he's found a ball but he can't make it go anywhere because it's a buoy.
Brent hauled in a big supply of firewood for him mom and now he's busy stacking it up by the house. A camp circle around a firepit tripod is set up in the front yard. We are ready for our night time fireworks show.
Jan shows us her handiwork as we walk around the yard. I make her pose by the facade of rock she put up on the house. We both know Dennis, the masonry contractor, is not going to hand out any compliments. But I admire Jan's indomitable spirit. Nothing holds her back. I could never do what she has done.
We are coming around to the side yard. Here's the back yard. There's a swing set to sit and admire the sunset.
Brent shows us the pit he dug, which he hopes will be a pond. The ground is hard and this was tough work. At the back end of the property is storage for the boats and RVs. We are facing NW towards I-40.
Between Brent and David and Jan, the place is filled up with cars, trucks, RVs, boats and other equipment.  Jan is very strong and a do-it-yourselfer.  She’s made improvements on her mobile home and established a garden.  Brent has helped her and made improvements too. 

Jan is Swedish but she must have pioneer ancestors. In early November of '07 she had a heart attack. Because she was alone she had to drive herself sixty miles to a hospital in Kingman. They transferred her to Flagstaff where she had heart surgery. It's been less than two months since she got out of rehab. Right now she can’t do the kind of heavy work she was doing. Soon Brent will be back at work at the masonry and she will be on her own. 

After our outdoor tour we came inside and Jan served up an excellent dinner. Meanwhile Brent started our campfire and then he treated us to our fireworks show. He put up six professional rockets that burst in bright blossoms over our heads in the dark desert night sky.

Jan painted a mural on some panels by storage. The back of the property faces SSW towards Crossman Peak in the Mohave Mountains.
I admire a print on Jan's wall and catch Dennis's reflection in the mirror.
Everywhere I look I see examples of Jan's artistic abilities. Here she has done a faux painting on a bedroom door.
Brent feeds the wood stove. Behind it is a window looking into the kitchen. Jan covered the wall with wall board and then gauged out indentations between the "stones" and "bricks." She painted them to look like masonry and mortar.
Jan used taper's compound to apply 3-D vines over the stones.
Christmas lights on the window give us a cheerful light as we stand around the campfire and wait for Brent's fireworks. Wow! I managed to catch two out of the six. I didn't know private parties could set off fireworks like this. Thanks Brent!
On January second we plan to start driving towards home. Dennis has appointments at UCSF and I need to see my doctor to find out if I only have a sprained ankle or worse. Unfortunately a big storm is brewing in the Bay Area and we may be delayed on our way home.
Elsa Walton, Havasu Falls RV Resort, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Tuesday, January 1, 2008