I was sad to say goodbye to San Diego and I would happily go back there for a nice relaxing holiday one day. Our next stop on the tour was a sort of gap day to split up the drive to the Grand Canyon. Our destination was Lake Havasu City, it’s supposedly a Spring break hotspot were students go to get hammered for the week (Happy days!)
We set off early from the campsite aware that it was going to be a fairly long drive ahead. After 2 days everyone was getting on really well and being in such close proximity makes it feel like you’ve known them for years and not 2 days. It’s different…but good different. We were told that there would be a couple of stops along the way which would hopefully break up the drive. When I looked at other people’s Trek America trips before I left I thought they didn’t show how long they were driving for and now I know why… Nobody wants to film/take loads of pictures or do anything really when on the road, it’s nice to chill out and chat the hours away with people you’ve got a lot to learn from. I took my Kindle and used it mostly on the plane there and back, I think I read it twice whilst in the van because I was enjoying taking in the sights of rural America.
Anyway we arrived at our first stop of the day that was the weird and kind of wonderful Salvation Mountain. It is literally in the middle of nowhere making it a stand out tourist attraction of the Colorado Desert. Leanord Knight decided to paint the mountain as a tribute to God and made this perfectly clear with the huge God is Love on the front of the mountain. It’s whacky and a bit weird but like everything in America you kind of have to embrace it.
I wandered around thinking to myself why? Just why? And I guess there really is no reason, except for the fact that he was a hippy, I guess that’s reason enough for me. He used cement and sand to build the mountain out of old junk he could find and covered it in paint. There’s a cute little yellow brick road you follow to get to the top where you see desert pretty much to the horizon. If anything, for me that was the best part. If your driving through I’d definitely stop by, the friendly guy tried to convince us we should go some other places around there which felt weird but he meant no harm and took some pretty cool pictures of us in front of it. I guess he’s had a lot of practice.
I left Salvation Mountain feeling…(I don’t really think there’s a word) and we were on our way back through the desert. We headed off onto a none existent road were we stopped to see another stunning view from the top of some sand dunes. It was ridiculously hot and so was the sand, I guess the sun hasn’t got anywhere else to go when your surrounded by miles and miles of desert…
It was a nice way to break up the drive to our campsite and when we finally arrived it was early evening. We decided not to set up tents and be proper campers so unloaded the few bits from the trailer before taking a chilly dip in the Colorado River. I was surprised by A) how cold it was and B) how strong the current was. The campsite was nothing special but the surroundings made it one of my favourite places we stayed. We overlooked a mountain range and the serene waters whilst speed boats and jet skis zoomed past. (It sounds like the beginning to a bad romantic novel!) But seriously it was very nice!
It was mine and Matt’s (Switzerland) turn to cook and we’d decided on taco’s (fajitas, wraps) whatever you want to call them! Franzi made an amazing guacamole that would have the mexican’s wanting a try and we all tucked in to our second camp meal. If I do say so myself it was OK, not Nigella standard but good enough for 6 hungry campers.
There was another trek group that were staying the night so we decided to chill with them for the night and took a late night (even colder) dip in the river. It was such a clear night and the sky was full of stars, (next line of the book) it was also nice to mingle with another group of trekkers. We all enjoyed a few beers whilst hearing where they had been and what they had got up too before falling asleep to the sound of the river splashing…Ahh…
We woke up and packed up the van before heading into Lake Havasu City. We got there fairly early so it was really quiet around the harbor. Nowhere was open and we just kind of wandered around not really thinking much of it. The original London Bridge was moved over there to try and attract tourists which I guess, in a way it did but it still seemed such a waste of time and money to move such a massive piece of history across the world. It wasn’t at all like being in London although they did try with the ‘traditional pubs’ and the red phone boxes (because that’s all London has to offer right?)
They just needed a lot of rain machines and maybe it would be more believable… I sound like I didn’t enjoy it, it was OK but I wouldn’t rush back to see it when the other London Bridge is much more impressive. (and closer!)
The next stop on our tour was the Grand Canyon so everyone was really excited to get there. It wasn’t too long of a drive but we took a little detour to a small town on route 66 were they based the Disney movie Cars.
It was pretty much identical to the town on the movie from the signs to the shape of the buildings and it was another random place that I would never had known existed if I were Road-tripping by myself. We sat and had lunch at a little outdoor diner were we all got a milkshake (which I spilled everywhere, woops!) after having a look around the super touristy town.
I guess on an american roadtrip you have to pass through route 66 so I was glad we got to see it and picked up some tacky souvenirs for my family. We were finally headed to one of the highlights and most amazing places I have ever seen… The Grand Canyon.
Have you ever driven down Route 66 and found some cute cafe or tourist spot? Do let me know in the comments!