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to lake havasu and back

We left this past Monday to drive to Lake Havasu City to see friends from the Bay Area. For our Monday route, we chose the charm and beauty of Barstow and Needles. For our theme song, we chose Jay Farrar’s “Barstow.” “By the time we make it to Barstow, we’ll be more than halfway to _____.” Those of you who have been to Barstow and Needles can fill in the blank. Those of you who haven’t been to Barstow or Needles, save yourself the trip and use your imagination.

We arrived at Lake Havasu on Tuesday and had a great visit with Curt and Kim Russell (and John and Jake). We knew the Russells from our church days in Walnut Creek. Curt works for PG&E and recently took an assignment in Needles. Needless to say, they live in Lake Havasu and he drives about 35 miles to work. He’s overseeing the clean-up of a contaminated site.

Most people in Southern California think of Lake Havasu as a party town. Many western college students will head to Lake Havasu for spring break and I can see why. It’s hot, sunny, and there’s water. Lake Havasu also has a number of snowbirds; typical of Arizona. But there are people who actually live there year-round. It has a number of nice parks and family activities. It even has two Starbucks. (Though I committed a coffee faux paus and bought coffee at McDonalds on the drive out of town).

For the route home, we opted to go South to Yuma. This meant following the Colorado River along AZ 95 until arriving in Yuma. We stopped in Quartzsite, AZ, and enjoyed a fine dining experience at the local Carl’s Jr.

Unfortunately, the air condition does not work in Tonya’s van. As we travelled south to Yuma, the outside temperature peaked at 102 degrees. Of course, it only felt like 98 degrees to us. I think the girls did better than I did. After entering San Diego County, Tonya’s van also decided to start cutting out. Three times we had to pull over, wait a few minutes, and then start back up. It didn’t appear to be overheating. It may be time for a new van.

So … we arrived back in San Diego around 5:00 and within minutes the girls were in the pool. By 6 PM, dad was asleep.