A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt

When we were in London in April, Ed heard about the London Bridge being bought and rebuilt in Lake Havasu, AZ. So we decided to make a loop through Lake Havasu on our way from Laughlin down to Tucson. Turns out it isn't really a lake, but more like a bulge in the Colorado River. So on either end of the lake, you can continue on up or down the river. Pretty cool, actually. As for the bridge, well, A - it wasn't "falling down". So much for all those days singing that song and so much for "my fair lady-o". It was standing up quite nicely, thank you very much. The bridge was dismantled in London, shipped to the US, and re-built at Lake Havasu. I was living in Tucson when it was dedicated in 1971 and it was quite the hoopla. There is a little park at the entrance to the bridge area that has little replicas of Big Ben, a pub, a castle, etc. all squished into a very small area. 30 years later things are looking a bit tired. However, there was an ice cream parlor in the small row of shops so that was good.

Now we can check the London Bridge off our list of places we must visit before we die. Okay, it wasn't every actually on that list, but we quickly added it so we could check it off and it would look like we were making progress!

The rest of the drive down to Tucson was pretty uneventful. Oh, there was some lively discussion when we reached Buckeye and had to decide if we wanted to take the Buckeye cutoff to Hwy 8, or just remain on Hwy 10 and go through Phoenix. This discussion involved counting all the little black numbers between the arrows on the map, checking the Garmin for mileage and time, a debate on the risks vs. benefits of the Phoenix freeways, and stopping for a fat-free, no sugar added Dairy Queen fudgsicle. Buckeye won.

On the last stretch to Tucson there is an Ostrich Farm. I don't know about you, but I woundl't normally put the words Ostrich and Arizona in the same sentence. The first time I saw this place, I thought someone had spiked my coffee. But it's real. One of these days we want to stop and visit (no it's not on the "list"), it's just that by the time we reach the farm we're so close to Tucson that it's hard to stop.

Then we come to Picacho Peak. Driving to Tucson, you can begin seeing this peak about 100 miles or before you hit the city limits. When I was a kid and we would take road trips, seeing Picacho on the way out of town meant we were going on vacation (usually to Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm), seeing it in the distance on the way back meant we were almost home. And that's the feeling I had last week spotting the peak. Almost home.

In the 1800's there was a minor Civil War battle at Picacho Peak and they honor that each year with a re-enactment. There is also a lovely couple of weeks when all the wildflowers bloom. When the kids were 7 or 8, we went up there during wildflower season with my best friend, Linda, and her two kids. My mom also came along. At one point we were walking up the path which had a bit of an incline. My son said, "Boy, this would be a hard walk for an old person." Mom said, "And just what do you consider old?" My son (always the diplomat - even at a young age) said, "Oh, grandma, they would have to be a lot older than you!"

A short while later my son got too close to a jumping cactus and it embedded itself in his shoe. After I took a picture of it, we all had to work to gingerly remove it without getting too many stickers in our hands. Ah, the joys of the desert.

We finally pulled into Tucson around 4pm on Sunday, got checked in, walked a bit in the desert, and headed out for dinner. It felt good to be out of the car for awhile! And to be surrounded by so many memories.

NOTE: I find that I often type dessert instead of desert. Please know that we are NOT walking through a hot fudge sundae or a creme brulee. There aren't any thorns in most apple pies. And spell check doesn't always work! I appreciate your understanding...........


namaste said...

your son should be the mayor or principal or somewhere leading the masses. what a clever retort.

i like the image of you all crossing the dessert and having to stop every few minutes for the wise guy who conveniently trips and falls face first into the whip cream. hahaha!



Desert Diva said...

I love Tucson and think it's a nice little desert city. I can't tell you how many times I've driven through on my way to California.

London Bridge is actually the "real" London Bridge? I had no idea. I think the ostrich ranch is named "Rooster Cogburn," but I've never had a desire to stop and visit. However, plotting a course to include Dairy Queen is another matter...

Nikki said...

All this talk about Phoenix an Tucson is making me sad. I know it was probably warm there. not here and not yet. Its only June. LOVE the pics especially the nostalgic one...the days when shorts were shorts. Now its either my shorts are so baggy you can see my underwear or here look at my wax job! very fun post! :)N


love the "daisy dukes" shorts in the nostalgic pic!!!