No, not that one.
Yes. Yes, they do indeed have the London Bridge in Arizona. Crazy but true. It’s one of the highlights of this scenic town situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Havasu and one of the reasons we decided to make Lake Havasu City one of the stops on the whirlwind tour of Arizona we were on. The London Bridge and the Pocket Cruisers Convention.
After the long drive from Scottsdale/Phoenix through cactus-strewn desert and craggy brown mountains towering in the distance, the sight of the sparklingly clear green water in the lake was pretty refreshing.
Speaking of driving, I have to say how much we have enjoyed having a rental car and making this road trip. Even though we have traveled quite a bit in the last two years, we have never actually taken a long road trip together. And let me just tell you that a two-week road trip, driving all over the state of Arizona is an excellent test of your marriage compatibility.
Apparently ours is pretty good.
Although, in good conscience, I have to admit there was that one episode of yelling and gesticulating when I very clearly pointed to the left lane and Tom assumed I was pointing to the right lane and exited off the Interstate instead of continuing the way I had clearly indicated. This was not so much an argument as an example of him being completely and totally in the wrong.
It’s also nice to have a rental car because we just stuffed our dirty laundry into a garbage bag and left it in the car. Our suitcases got lighter and lighter which was very pleasant but we finally had to stuff those smelly clothes back in the suitcases. And I use the word “we” very loosely because in actuality that was me doing the packing because he doesn’t do it exactly right.
Much like how he does not understand my clear gestures to the left lane.
So, Lake Havasu City.
One of the best things we did was take a tour of the London Bridge because the tour guide was seriously great. The tour is really cheap at only $5 (kids 12 and under are free) and you can book it right at the Visitor’s Center which is inside the gate to the bridge and the area with shops and restaurants located around and under the bridge. Our tour guide was obviously very knowledgeable about and very interested in the history of the bridge and he really made it come to life for us.
Robert Paxton McCulloch was an American entrepreneur who bought and relocated the London Bridge and had the Bridgewater Channel dug from Lake Havasu so water would flow under the bridge. Strangely enough, London actually owned some of the land around the bridge for a short time as it was gifted to them. They eventually sold it back, but there are still London state markers like those around London, England as you enter the area.
They also have some phone booths like those you would find in England which required the requisite photo shot.
We wandered around a bit, then met up with our small tour group in the Visitor’s Center. Our first view of the London Bridge was pretty spectacular.
We walked around the area and our guide explained how McCulloch purchased the bridge at an auction. He was actually outbid by some others but as he was the only one who was going to keep the bridge together instead of using the stones to construct something else, he won the auction. He had each of the stones carefully numbered, then the bridge was dismantled and shipped back to Arizona. Can you imagine the job that entailed?
As we walked across the bridge, the guide explained all about its detailed history, then he took us under another section and showed us where some American soldiers had carved their names when they were stationed in London during World War II. It amazed us to think of everything this bridge had seen.
After our tour, we took a walk around the area, which is really very nice. Lots of shops and restaurants, but not too touristy at all. The weather was beautiful in February and lots of people were strolling around. There are several hiking trails you can take, some of which are quite long. We were just in the mood to stroll around, so that’s just what we did. We watched, amused, as a local dog jumped in the shallow water of the Bridgewater Canal and kept an attentive eye on the resident ducks.
Then we saw some girls in a paddleboat who were obviously feeding the ducks as they had an extensive retinue.
It was time for lunch and we wanted to see the Parade of Sail for the Pocket Cruisers Convention, so we scoped out the area restaurants and found the perfect place on a balcony overlooking the Channel at Papa Leone’s Pizza. We really just chose it because of the strategic location of the balcony, but the pizza turned out to be hot, fresh and excellent. I recommend it as a great lunch or dinner spot.
The Parade of Sail is basically just a parade of all the pocket cruisers – small one or two person sailboats – to show off their lovely little boats. It’s a beautiful, scenic sight. First they all moved back to the beginning of the channel and lined up.
We had finished our lunch, so decided to walk over onto the bridge to get some pictures from a different perspective. The sun was sparkling on the clear water and it was such a beautiful day. Then, we were thrilled to see a fellow University of Kentucky fan sail by!
It has been a full and quite lovely day. We went back to the Quality Inn for a rest and then out to dinner at the Black Bear Diner. The Quality Inn was a nice place to stay and they had a wonderful hot breakfast buffet each morning. We had enjoyed our short time in Lake Havasu City but it was time to move on to Sedona and a new adventure.
And time to practice our traffic gestures so one of us who does not understand obviously clear hand gestures does not exit off the Interstate.
Full disclosure: Our stay in Lake Havasu City was provided by Go Lake Havasu, but as always, I will share my honest opinion about any travel experiences I have.