Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Discovering Little Vegas, Little London, and the Little Wild West!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

OLA: Discovering Little Vegas, Little London, and the Little Wild West!

at the Lake Havasu City Visitor Center
Laughlin's Riverside, where it all started
We left Las Vegas rather sad but our journey to Phoenix had to begin. We were to meet my daughter April and store the RV for the drive up to Calgary there. But first we had a stop at Bullhead City at RPI's Ridgeview Resort. The city has a port on the Colorado River, roughly 90 miles south of Las Vegas with a population of almost 40,000. The latest figures indicate that over 115,000 people flew into the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport on casino-sponsored chartered flights in 2010, projected to increase steadily in the coming years.
Aquarius at Little Vegas

Tropicana Express at Little Vegas
Little Vegas is the unincorporated but census-designated city of Laughlin, Nevada, directly across Bullhead on the Colorado River, with a population of a little more than 7,000. Its name comes from Don Laughlin, an Owatonna, Minnesota native who purchased the southern tip of Nevada in 1964. He opened the Riverside Resort, offering all-you-can-eat chicken dinners for a dollar, 12 slot machines, two live gaming tables, and eight motel rooms. It is now the third most visited casino and resort destination in the state (behind Las Vegas and Reno). Casino resorts now dot the river bank, emphasizing not only indoor but also outdoor and family activities.

Golden Nugget at Little Vegas
Little London at the English Village in Lake Havasu City
Little London is in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, less than 30 minutes from Bullhead. It is reported to be the second most visited attraction of Arizona behind the Grand Canyon. The London Bridge that spanned the Thames River from 1831 to 1967 now crosses a 930 ft. long man-made canal that leads from Lake Havasu (on the Colorado River) to Thompson Bay. Robert McCollough, who had built a planned community at Lake Havasu, bought the exterior granite blocks from the original concrete structure for US $2.5 million from the City of London when the bridge was replaced in 1968. The bridge was disassembled, the marked stones shipped to Lake Havasu City, and the bridge reassembled for another US $7 million. It was completed in 1971. A little English Village is at the eastern foot of the bridge.
the reassenbled original London Bridge at Lake Havasu City
the wild chollas on the road to Oatman
The Wild, Wild West is in Oatman, Arizona, a former mining town in the Black Mountains between Bullhead and Lake Havasu cities. The roads were poorly paved but the wild chollas dotted the foothills and reminded us of Joshua Tree National Park where they were also aplenty. The access roads were old and poorly paved  and the town just reduced its taxes! Its current population is down to 128 from 3,500 during the mining heydays in 1915. At that small rural town, I found a colorful cowgirl tank top for only $15 and a little leather purse with 7 pockets for only $20! I always find something in small towns. But its claim to fame is the wild burros, white, grey, brown, or spotted, that walk around town. One even blocked a store’s door, to the consternation of the owner who sprayed him with water to free her door for us. They usually gather at storefronts where people feed them with little bits of alfalfa you can buy from any store.

a spotted wild burto wanting to shop, like me!
a white wild burro with Bill on the middle of the lone Patman street
So the sad departure from Las Vegas was cushioned by Little Las Vegas, the vision of the UK where my bunso (youngest child), who is soon to arrive, lives was awakened by Little London, and the Oatman burros’ and my shopping diverted our attention from the sweltering heat of the summer onslaught. When we arrived at the TT Countryside RV Resort in Apache Junction, we immediately went on a late spring cleaning spree of the RV and hurriedly shopped for groceries in anticipation of April’s and Yeye’s (my second grandchild, second daughter to my eldest Trisha and Deejay) arrival the following day. That’s when I can be a Mom and Grandma all over again!
Little Las Vegas at dusk