Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Surfing Kingman Style

April 3, 2024

   I sent this photo to my grandson, Weston and I told him, when I was growing up we didn't need an ocean to go surfing.

Grandma Bell's Gone Surfing On Red Lake
(some of this may have been exaggerated
for humor purposes)

   Grandma Bell had Allen P. rev up his roadster and she simply tied a rope to the back bumper of our car and off she went across Red Lake east of Kingman. Red Lake was actually a dry lake bed from an ancient body of water.

Red Lake
(Kingman Daily Miner photo)

The Genesis of The Great Surfer-Cowboy War

   In 1963, the chain saw magnate, Robert P. McCulloch, bought Site Six on the remote shores of Lake Havasu as a test center for his McCulloch outboard motor line of products. Later he expanded by buying thousands of acres of desert inland from Site Six. This location, south of Topock, which is where old Route 66 crossed from California into Arizona. McCulloch had designs on making it a town and a tourist mecca but he was struggling to attract visitors.

   I remember Charlie Waters (his father owned the Mohave Miner) coming to my parent's house on Gates Avenue in Kingman in 1968 and telling me the developer, Robert McCulloch, of McCulloch Chain Saw fame, had just bought London Bridge and was going to ship it, brick by brick, to Site Six and that he was going to call the proposed town Lake Havasu City. It just seemed so insane at the time, but it was a brilliant stroke of promotional genius.

   That was fifty-six years ago.

   Today there are some 55,000 people living in Site Six, I mean, Lake Havasu.

   Meanwhile, going back to 1966, these events described above helped create the Great Cowboy-Surfer War which led almost directly to The Battle of Perfume Pass.

   Hperbolic illustrations to follow.

London Homesick Blues

Well, when you're down on your luck
And you ain't got a buck
In London you're a goner
Even London Bridge has fallen down
And moved to Arizona
Now I know why
And I'll substantiate the rumor that the English sense of humor
Is drier than than the Texas sand
You can put up your dukes, and you can bet your boots
That I'm leavin' just as fast as I can. . .

—Jerry Jeff Walker, "London Homesick Blues"

"I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake up letter."

—Steven Wright

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