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Surprise in Lake Havasu
By Carol LeBeau
10/2/2011 3:25:48 PM


You know what’s great about retirement? You finally have time. Time to sleep. Time to read. Time for friends. And my very favorite – time to do something new and different. In fact, since leaving my day-to-day duties as a news anchor and reporter at San Diego’s 10 News, life has gone from being tightly scheduled to wildly unpredictable!

Since my “new” job with Palomar Health allows for a little more flexibility, I’m slowly learning the art of spontaneity. So, a few months ago, when a wonderful woman named Carlene called and invited me to be a guest speaker for her women’s group in Lake Havasu City, I said “sure, why not?” Then I looked at a map.

Located in the high desert of Mohave County, Lake Havasu City is a six-hour drive from San Diego through a rather bleak and desolate corner of Arizona. Road trips of any distance typically include Tom. There’s nothing my husband loves more than “road behind him!” But Tom had work commitments, so I was on my own for this trip.

The first three hours were familiar. I’ve often driven over the local mountains through Imperial County into Arizona. But this time, I took a hard left at Yuma and headed north on US 95. For the next two hours, I saw nothing but a border checkpoint and one bleak-looking mini-mart.

There was virtually no traffic as I crossed Interstate 10 and continued my climb into the high desert. The view was nothing short of breath taking. The early evening sun created a magnificent display as it bounced off the walls of multi-colored rock formations.

The sun was just settling behind the lake as the city slowly came into view. The popular resort community of 52 thousand was winding down for the night … gearing up for another day of beach-going, boating, fishing, off-roading, golf and hiking. I spent a peaceful night at Carlene’s.

I knew Shugrue’s restaurant was the site of the “Women’s Connection” event at which I was to speak. I had no idea getting there would require driving across the London Bridge! I’m sure the food at Shurgrue’s was fine, but all I can remember is the view from the banquet room window of the historic landmark.

I’d all but forgotten the story that made news more than 40 years ago. The bridge was bought in 1968 for $2.5 million dollars from the City of London. The entire span was completely disassembled, and the marked stones were then shipped to Lake Havasu City and reassembled for another $7 million. The London Bridge then opened in 1971 and is now the second most visited tourist attraction in Arizona – second only to the Grand Canyon.

What a treat – a pleasant and beautiful road trip topped off by a close encounter with a piece of British history! Who knew Carlene’s invitation would lead to such a wonderfully, random adventure for this old, retired gal?

I can’t wait for the phone to ring. I wonder where I’m going next?!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.