Twenty families in their RVs from our club met at Lake Havasu State Park on January 8, 2020, for a five-day caravan to the annual Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair. Due to the festival’s popularity, wagon masters Nick and Viki Nickels had the foresight to coordinate the twenty firm campsite reservations at this park over a year ago!
We gathered at the Nickels’ campsite which had a nice view of the lake for a potluck dinner the first night. The potluck was highlighted by a special treat: thirty pounds of pulled pork thanks to Viki Nickels. As usual, there was plenty of food for all the family members plus several guests. Tim and Jenny Munson along with Ken and Carole Schumacher brought lots of firewood for our campfires during the cool mornings and evenings.
Our campsites were within walking distance to the festival, the launch pad of the balloons and many food and other vendors. The blustery weather kept the balloons grounded for a couple of days, though they did air up partially and provide a colorful picture of the many differently colored and shaped balloons. The weather was great on the last day of our stay and many balloons went up from sunrise through the early afternoon. It was a fantastic day of looking at all the balloons.
When we were not watching the balloons, Nick had set up amazing tours of personal garages of two of his old friends. The first garage had ten hot rod cars and several motorcycles. They were all immaculate. When the owner turned the key on one of them, its engine roared to life. The second garage owner fabricated anything and everything needed to fix and to restore his rare cars, one of which is a 1941 Graham four-door sedan! Along the way, he designed and fabricated tooling to couple hydraulic hoses to hose end fittings. This tooling has been adopted by the automotive and the trucking industry. The owners also gave us a tour of their beautiful homes.
We also went to Jersey’s Bar and Grill for dinner and saw (and heard) the hot rods rolling up and down the street, a favorite pastime on Thursday evenings.
Meanwhile, there was ample open time. Many folks took advantage to see Oatman; visit the casino on the other side of the lake; check out some amazing houses in town; or visit Desert Bar (near Parker), Arizona’s most remote watering hole. It is a unique tourist attraction, bar, and café created by one couple over about thirty years. Check them out on their website.
For our last evening of the caravan, Chip Haynes gave us a nice send-off as he played banjo music around the campfire. Some folks had said it was one of the best state parks they had visited.