If you have plans to escape cold winter temperatures, snow and ice you probably already know that Lake Havasu City on the Colorado River is an oasis. And you probably know that Crazy Horse Campground in Lake Havasu City with lake front camp sites, boat and jet ski rentals, and most every amenity that an RV owner could imagine is your winter home away from home.
But did you know that Lake Havasu City is at the center of an array of sites associated with more than 100 years of Hollywood history? And seeking them out is incentive for dozens of great fun filled day trips.
Did you know that the I40 Colorado River crossing appears in the opening scenes of Easy Rider with Peter Fonda? Just to the south of that crossing is a gracefully arched bridge. Today it carries pipelines instead of traffic.
But it opened as a river crossing for travelers on the National Old Trails Road in 1916. And it carried Route 66 traffic from 1926 until 1947. In the 1940 film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath there is a scene where Henry Fonda drives onto the bridge as the mythical Joad family crosses into California.
Needles, California has a surprising history of celebrity and Hollywood connections. In the late 1920s this was home to Charles Schulz, the cartoonist best known for the Peanuts comic strip.
In 1968, Needles was a filming location for an episode of Mission Impossible. Scenes for Sex and the City, Two Lane Blacktop and Convoy were also filmed there.
Oatman is a mining town turned ghost town that has been transformed into a fun, quirky destination. There is a persistent legend that Clark Gable and carol Lombard spent their wedding night at the hotel.
That may be a myth. But in March 1939, they did marry in Kingman, Arizona. The Methodist Episcopal church where the nuptials took place still stands at the corner of Fifth and Spring Streets. It is now county offices.
Though it is closed and awaiting renovation, The Brunswick Hotel on Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66) is still standing. The hotel restaurant is where an impromptu reception was held for the newlyweds. And on July 15, 1915, Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford. signed in as a guest.
The 1959 academy award nominated film Edge of Eternity starring Cornel Wilde was filmed in Kingman. But scenes were filmed in Oatman and other area locations including Guano Point on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Today this is the location for the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West.
Movie star Robert Taylor had a cabin on the shores Lake Mohave near Bullhead City. Alan Ladd and Audie Murphy were property investors along the river.
This winter set up camp at Crazy Horse Campground, the oasis on the river at the oasis of Lake Havasu City. Then fill the warm sunny days with a quest to find film and celebrity associated sites.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America