Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bluegrass on the Beach at Lake Havasu

                                                          Festival program

This trip to our first 2015 bluegrass festival took us into the northwestern corner of Arizona. We headed west on Highway 60 past Salome and turned north on Highway 72 at Vicksburg. We were surprised at the amount of traffic all the way to Parker. Our destination for this day was Buckskin Mountain State Park just north of Parker. Our site had a nice level pad with electricity and a lovely view of the Colorado River. The park was full of rigs big and small. Luci was not the smallest trailer. That honor went to a tiny Casita pulled by a Jeep. There were nice bathrooms with showers, play areas for kids, a marina store and boat launch, hiking trails, a cactus garden and birdwatching opportunities for me. I saw Phainopepla, Says Phoebe, Vermillion Flycatcher, Yellow Rumped Warbler and house finches in the trees. On the water were Coots, Mallards, Cormorants, a White Pelican and a big Blue Heron. I watched the heron catch a fish by stabbing it with his beak and then managing to swallow it while the fish was still flopping. We visited the Bill Williams River Nature center a short drive on up Highway 95. It had paved paths and viewing areas along a narrow peninsula with a bay to one side and the river on the other. The vegetation was irrigated and tended with nice labels so we could tell what we were looking at. We tried driving up a trail along the Bill Williams River but it was rutted and rocky so we turned back after trudging up the road a short distance. My binoculars didn't pick up anything interesting to look at anyway. The area along the Colorado River is mountainous on both sides so the scenery was great. We read about the geology of the area in the book we got from Bill McKee: "Roadside Geology of Arizona." It is a wonderful reference to have along on our trips. 
         A view of the campground from a hiking trail above the river.

          The full moon from Luci's door.

The next day we headed north again on Highway 95 to Lake Havesu City and Lake Havesu State Park, the venue for "Bluegrass on the Beach." The State Park stretches all along the waterfront in my map including Lake Havesu Island which is connected to the mainland by the London Bridge. Parts of the park are commercialized with jet ski and other water sport rentals plus the English Village that was a bit run down with vacant shops. Maybe the Spring Break crowds will bring some business back at least for a while. 

We could almost walk all the way back to the festival along the river. A ferry took passengers from the bridge to a casino several times a day and personal watercraft were always on the water during the day but had to obey "no wake" rules until out onto the lake.

Denny and Elaine Carlson had saved us a camping spot next to them and across a little catch basin from Jake and Jeannie Jacobs. Jake had started a jam at 7:30 that morning and it was still going when we pulled in close to noon. 

You can just barely see the stage structure above the campers in the middle of the screen. I took this photo from our camping spot. The stage and festival area was maybe a block away. The venue was located on an area of green grass with a white sand beach and picnic cabanas. A small lighthouse was on a jetty of land separating the river from the lake.
     There were several lighthouse replicas along the lake. We didn't see any but this one.

The parking areas were full of big rigs, mostly the really big ones. There were few tents, a few pop-ups, many fifth wheels and larger trailers with slide-outs but only two Airstreams, both Bambis. 
Two vintage buses caught my eye.

This greyhound ceramic was in the front window of the older bus which was kitted out inside with shiny steel and neon. 

                Tarps and stoves make late night picking and grinning more comfortable.

Three days of concerts and workshops kept us entertained. We enjoyed all of it and now that we are retired we stayed for all of it, did some picking Sunday night and went home Monday morning.

    Karl Shifflet and Big Country. The young banjo player was terrific! We saw Karl for the first time at the Douglas Wyoming festival many years ago. He still puts on a good show. 
All in all, a great way to celebrate our 45th anniversary!

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