rollin’ on the river

Something borrowed, something blue and after 45 years I was looking for something new. No I’m talking about an anniversary trip! I knew I wanted to take her on something familiar but new with at twist, one thing I can rarely do is surprise my bride. Yeah she knows me that well but, worse yet she can’t handle a surprise or anything under someone else’s control.

Somehow I managed to fly under the radar that our weekend was planned anytime someone suggested an activity for our weekend. I even avoided the third degree, at least until the last day before we left. The last two days were hell keeping Alice in the dark and willing to get in the car and go somewhere unknown.

The anniversary weekend I wanted to plan included a sunset cruise on the water, no flights, less than a six hour drive and some kind of special show. After some searching, I found the English Village Christmas lighting at London Bridge. I figured a sunset cruise the night after the lighting ceremony would be awesome, returning to the village once lit up. Luckily we were able to catch a three hour river trip on a portion of the river we had not traveled before, Copper Canyon we had not seen.

The drive west from Phoenix covered a lot of empty desert, Alice was nervously asking if I had a shovel.

Empty desert as far as the eye can see…

She finally figured out we were headed for the Colorado River, I think she figured out London Bridge but then asking if I brought an anchor instead of a shovel. I think she watches way too many real crime stories…

Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge

I would have liked to take the RV but I could never have kept Alice guessing if I were getting the RV ready for a trip so I reserved a one bedroom condo and figured we would try to squeeze in a scouting trip to some camping opportunities along the Colorado river.

Buckskin Mountain State Park (Arizona)

The Christmas lighting ceremony was way beyond my expectations, they have a polar Bear Challenge once it gets dark, there must have been 100 swimmers crossing the London Bridge channel! The first swimmer to cross get’s to throw the big (6 foot) switch to turn on the lights. We had dinner and drinks on the patio at a pub called the Chair, we had a perfect view of the festival, above the crowd. The crowd was really getting into the event, lots of cheering as the swimmers crossed and sounded like everyone was helping with the countdown to throwing the big light switch.

Festival of Lights at London Bridge, click on photo to see the video

Saturday we came back to the English Village to go on the Sunset Experience. Instead of a big pontoon with a dozen or more people, this custom boat with six captains chairs on three levels made for the most comfortable boat ride with none of the passengers blocking your view of the river, coves and rock formations in the Copper Canyon. We were able to bring our own snacks and drinks.

Copper Canyon (California side) click on photo for video
One of 28 light house replicas, more coming soon
one of several window rock formations
another window rock

At sunset we were down river across from a mile long mountain referred to as the Sleeping Chief named for a tribal chief.

The Sleeping Chief is a mike long, head to toe

With the sun down we began the trip back to London Bridge, luckily they warned us to bring layers of clothing because it got really cold, really fast on the lake after the sun went down. I rarely wear jeans much less a jacket until it gets below 40 degrees and I was cold even with the jacket. I’ve been in -7 degree weather with an open jacket and felt warm but it was still an awesome ride back.

getting cold, dang cold!

Seeing the lights from the boat as we returned to London Bridge and the English Village did not disappoint!

Returning to London Bridge after Sunset Experience cruise – click on photo to see video
Strafing marks from WWII

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