We came back to Havasu to experience the summer. This city is known for powerboats, racing, and all the water sports. My next assignment started April 3, so we took full advantage off having 1 more week off work and attended as many events as we could. We went to a car show, boat show, 2 freestyle jet ski competitions, and hung out with our friends.
Our second week back, I started working at the hospital in Kingman and Mike found a full-time job with a machinery company in Havasu. Kingman is about an hour away from Havasu, but even with the long drive, I was really looking forward to this assignment because I was going to be the primary aquatics therapist for the hospital.
I was settling in, had a great first week, and was on my way home. About half way home, I was on I-40 when I heard a horrible noise under the truck that sounded like a pin ball machine. The truck immediately starting jerking violently, but luckily I was able to slow down and pull into the median. I got out to check what happened, looked under the truck, and saw oil leaking everywhere. It was still running, but I called Mike to see if he wanted to come look at it before I try to get back on the road. He drove the bike 30 miles out to meet me on the highway, crawled under the truck and started pulling the transfer case out in pieces. Apparently, this meant it was not drivable. The truck had struck again. Thank goodness for AAA membership because we had to get towed home that night. So we got home, and as Mike started looking at the truck more, he noticed the back of the transmission also got torn out. This was not good, but at least we had the bikes for back up transportation for now. We ordered the new parts the next day and waited for them to be delivered a few weeks later.
In the meantime, we drove the bikes down to Parker for the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Races. Our friend had access to the Whiskey River II top fuel hydro pit and invited us to come. The drag boats were absolutely incredible with top speeds of 250+ mph. And the guys changing out the motor between races were awesome to watch.
The next day was Easter, so I went to church that morning, and then our friends invited us over for dinner and corn hole.
A week later we went with a few friends to watch the U.S Freestyle Championship. The winner put his jet ski in the Kokomo pool and broke the record with 3 consecutive flips.
The truck parts had come in so the next day Mike and I worked together to get the new transfer case and transmission piece on. It took all day, but we were driving it again by the end of the day! #teamwork
A few days later was the Desert Storm street party, which kicked off the week-long poker run and shootout for some of the most well-known performance boats in the country. This is what Havasu is known for.
A few days after that, we got our own boat! She’s a 1977 Blazer Exel 10 1/2 foot mini boat.
Mike found her on Craigslist for a great deal. We bought her knowing the pull-start 25 HP Johnson motor wasn’t very reliable, but the boat was in excellent shape. The motor was extremely clean on the inside, but it hadn’t been run for a few years, so it just needed to be gone through. Mike and I were both tired of working on things by this point so we took it to an outboard mechanic in town. After getting the motor back, we took the boat out and ended up paddling back. It obviously wasn’t fixed. So after a few trips back and forth to the mechanic and to the lake, then getting towed in 2 more times, we ultimately took it to another mechanic. While we were waiting on the motor to be fixed, we bought a 48 HP Johnson. This one was double the size, with a key-start, and it powered up every single time. Mike and his friend from work worked really hard to modify the boat so the new motor would fit since we had changed from a short-shaft to long-shaft. But in just a short time, we were out motor-boating!
One Saturday afternoon, we were on our way to the Nautical to pull up on the beach and hang out there when another boat cut us off trying to swing in to dock. Mike had to hurry and pull the boat into neutral to slow us down so there wasn’t a collision. We had some choice words for the driver of the other boat, so he backed up an turned around to leave. Mike put the boat into gear, but then nothing. We weren’t moving. He tried again, and still nothing. We were close to shore, so Mike got out and started swimming, pulling me and the boat along. When we got to shore, he pulled the motor up and noticed our prop was missing!
It must have sheared off when we had to stop fast for the other driver. So Mike tried to go back out to the docks to see if he could find the prop, but the water was too deep and too murky. We couldn’t see anything. So once again, we got towed across the lake back to the truck and went home. Luckily, one of our friends works at a prop shop in town so we were able to get a good deal on another prop the following week. Since then, we’ve taken the boat out several time and it’s done great!
And we finally got the original motor back in good shape. So now we have a motor for our future sailboat dinghy!
Then we got a few kayaks and hung out at THAT beach with some friends.
The next week, our neighbor at the campground had a few friends over from California so we went to the lake on his boat and hung out at Copper Canyon.
A few weeks later, my friend from Nashville invited us out to LA for Memorial day weekend. On our way, we passed by what’s known as the Rice Shoe Fence in Rice, CA. Originally, travelers heading to the Colorado River on Highway 62 began hanging one old shoe on a tree. The tree was burnt down in 2003, so now travelers line an entire fence of old shoes, along with memorials, and other oddities.
We continued until we got just outside the south entrance at Joshua Tree National Park, where we tent-camped for free on BLM land. We drove through the park the next morning then headed to LA.
We stayed at Cinema Suites, an adorable bed and breakfast in West Hollywood.
We headed out to meet up with my friend, but stopped at Santa Monica State beach on the way. Traffic was crazy as we expected. It took us 30 minutes to find a parking spot, but we made it to the beach and got to dip our toes in the Pacific ocean. It was freezing! The air didnt help either. It was in the low 60’s, which was a 40 degree drop from what we were used to in Arizona. I had a dress on and Mike wore shorts and a t-shirt…we should have brought pants.
But we got back to the car, cranked the heat, and headed to Pacific Palisades to meet up with my friend. Her friend was leaving the country for a month to work on tour with a band, so she was having a goodbye party. The house sat on a mountain with incredible views overlooking the ocean.
We hung out there the rest of the night and then decided to go out in West Hollywood with 2 of our friends. We parked on the road behind all the bars, as close as we could, since the temperature was dipping into the 50’s. We waited in line, having to sway back and forth to keep the blood flowing, only to be greeted by a doorman in a tuxedo who wouldn’t let us in because we didn’t have on pants!
What? I can’t show my knees?
We figured we didn’t fit in with this Hollywood crowd anyway, so we walked down the street to the only bar/restaurant that was playing country music and spent the rest of the evening there. When it was time to go, we walked back to the car, only to find a $50 parking ticket! We didn’t see any signs and there was no parking meter, but the ticket said the street was reserved for residents only. That was the final straw. We didn’t like CA anymore. Too many people. Too many rules. We were ready to get back to AZ. So we got some Taco Bell, went back to the B&B, and left first thing Monday morning. We stopped by Pirate Cove in Needles, CA, ate some lunch, and watched all the boats come and go in the marina before heading home.
June 9 was Mike’s birthday so we went out with a few friends and celebrated him turning 29!
Over the next few weeks, Mike and I had decided to stay in Havasu a little longer to enjoy the boat, our friends, and save up some more before we headed to CA. But the temperatures continued to rise up above 115. Riding the bike everyday was starting to get too hot, especially with all my gear on. The truck was up and running, but we were only driving it short distances in town. It had started to make a few more noises, so we wanted to get it checked out by a mechanic before racking up a lot more miles on it. So I talked my recruiter and he got me a rental car for the next month! A 2017 Chevy Sonic.
The next weekend we spent celebrating our friend’s birthday. And of course hanging out at the lake.
Then on June 20, our truck caught fire.
Mike and I had plans after work to meet at Wendy’s for dinner. I was there waiting for him when he called me saying the truck had caught fire. He said he smelled fuel when the truck started smoking, so he pulled over, popped the hood, then flames started coming out, catching the engine on fire. The fire department couldn’t get there to save it before it became a total loss. But luckily Mike didnt get hurt and we had full coverage insurance on it. After the fire dept. left, the sheriff waited with us until the tow truck came to get the truck. Then we left and finally got our dinner at Wendy’s. We passed the truck again to head back home when the tow truck driver waved us over. He had pulled some pieces out of the interior, which ignited another small fire on the pavement. He said if he wouldn’t have checked and started driving with our truck on his flatbed, the truck could have caught fire again going down the road!
We were without a vehicle again and back to truck shopping.
We went to several dealerships in Havasu to look at different trucks. This time we were looking for newer trucks with a manual transmission, which is hard to find. They didn’t have what we were looking for, so we expanded our search. We decided to go to Cottonwood, AZ to look at a 2016 Dodge with a manual transmission, but it was beat up on every side so we decided against it. While we there, we took some time to go to Sedona, go hiking, go down a natural rock slide, and of course hit up Buffalo wild wings for dinner.
Then we came back on Sunday and hung out with our friends on their boat at Copper Canyon.
Then for the 4th if July weekend, we enjoyed being on our friends boat and hanging out in the channel.
With all of the good seems to come bad, but Mike and I agree that living this lifestyle is completely worth it. We have met some really great people who will be our lifelong friends and who have opened up so many opportunities for us and made traveling an absolute blast. We’re going to keep on keeping on and live this life and enjoy the time we have!