03-09-2009, 12:17 AM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
- San Pedro, CA (LA Harbor area)
Lake Havasu/Lake Mohave Laughlin PWC Ride
SUBJECT: Lake Havasu/Lake Mohave Laughlin Road Trip
This great ride was hosted by none other than San Diego (Club President, Ray Hinton) PWC Club and SoCal Watercraft club member (Jay) Hawkeye. Here is the guest list of riders that turned out (Ray and his wife Laura, Lewis and Shirley, Chase and Kyrstein, Jay, Mark, Don and his son Tommy, Nick, Lou and Meg) yours truly and Patti.
Cross-training at its finest, with some of the coldest river waters thrown in for good measure; that’s how I’ll describe this three day weekend ride. If you recall from my last story, this cruiser turned racer just got done with back to back PWC weekends. Last weekend – I raced the Mark Hahn 300 mile endurance race at Lake Havasu, AZ with my pwcoffshore.com racing friends. Broke my Seadoo.
Week two Laughlin, NV we rode some of the coldest fresh river waters of my life. Brought the Kawasaki Ultra to the party. No one except possibly Ray knew everyone so it was also a great opportunity to meet and make new and not so new San Diego and SoCal Watercraft friends. I’ve never seen so many Yamahas on one ride before and with a great following. Seadoos and Kawasaki were outnumbered but Honda’s didn’t even show.
Two clubs made it out for this not so close (helping the economy out ride) to home. If you missed the ride then you can just wait for the video to come out. Seriously! The entire ride was captured on my new toy – a helmet mounted Fire CAM II wireless video recorder. According to SoCal club member (postfacility) all the video will be edited by one of his employees and made available for your future viewing pleasure. Let’s see if we can really pull this one off and what the finished product will look like. There is possibly three hours of recorded video time of all the riders plus the scenery and the wildlife.
But, how cold was it? Air temperature was say 70’s, sunny and clear but with near freezing water temperature. It was so cold I could not feel my hands or manhood for quite some time. Day one was just a warm up ride for the majority of the group. Our ride started at the Bullhead City side of the river. We launched at Bullhead Park with the water at the high level mark. A water GPS location for vicinity of Bullhead Park is N35.08.870 W114 34.420
To reach the launch ramp just go north of the Laughlin Casinos (1 mile) road turning right and crossing the bridge. Next go downstream for about three miles till you see the Chamber of Commerce building. Launch ramps are right there and free! From the ramp our river wild adventures took us down, then back up then back down, then all over that river till we made our way back up to the launch ramp. Downstream from Bullhead Park as the river bends you come upon Colorado Park until it bends again and that is where it is officially called River Bend. A little further downstream and you come upon Sunshine marina with Riviera Marina nearby.
Downstream of the Colorado is truly the river wild with nothing but desert on both sides. The port side of the river belongs to Arizona and the starboard side belongs to California. We may or may not have made it down as far as Needles – I don’t know my head was moving from side to side taking it all in and videotaping for your future viewing pleasure.
Possibly the second nicest part of our day one ride was the rough waters of the Colorado across from casino row. Our little group put on quite some show for all hotel and casino boat guests watching us as we raced up towards the base of Davis Dam. Totally an awesome ride on a well defined river. While observing a paddlewheel type wedding taking place Ray turns to me and tells me that this is exactly how it was for him and Laura; as they too were wed on the paddle wheeler – over 20 years ago. I’ll bet if you saw their wedding pictures you would also see part of the wedding party on vintage PWC’s in the background. Really, confirmed by both Ray and Laura that they also brought their PWC’s to their wedding party. For a full history on the evolution of the PWC, talk to Ray.
Part of the reason for our up and down adventures was due to part mechanical and part electrical problems on the Seadoo 255X and Yamaha VX110. But can you believe it, a quick trip to one of the many local PWC nearby shops and 30 minutes later the PWC’s were back in the water. The highest bill paid was around $31.00 for a broken supercharger clamp on the 255X. Now how is that for service?
Day two was the real adventure for those that chose to partake. Lake Mohave round trip ride (about 50 miles each way). We launched at beautiful Katherine’s Landing and then rode all the way up stream to Willow Beach. For those not familiar, Lake Mohave follows the former channel of the Colorado River. It is part of the Lake Mead National Recreation area. Hoover Dam separates Lake Mead and Mohave. The river actually looks and feels more like a lake in many parts; yet offers some amazing scenery and of course some great river PWC riding. The upper part of the lake upstream from Willow Beach to Hoover Dam is presently off limits to PWC’s at least until May 30th. They’re not just picking on us as the floating buoy also informs you that boats 65 hp and over are also restricted until May 30th.
To give you a little perspective as to where you are - Katherine landing to Willow Beach. At Willow Beach you are about 11 miles downstream from Hoover Dam and about 52 miles upstream from Katherine Landing. One thing to know this time of year is that the waters coming out of the depths of Lake Mead are I’ll say again - some of the coldest waters. The ranger at the entrance shack was right – 40+ degree Fahrenheit water and some ice cold frozen hands and other parts as well. It will cost you $15.00 to enter and launch for one ski and $20.00 for two.
A late start for the day two ride due to some confusion as to the California/Arizona time and then throw in a time change; no cell coverage for our phones, a little tire trouble and it’s a wonder we ever got on the water. With a late start of course we got a little wind that also brought up some pretty good swells up until around Cottonwood Cove – 24 or so miles north of Katherine’s. For those that paid their dues to get to this point it was not much later that the canyons blocked most of the wind making it for a near flat riding experience the rest of the way?
Seven PWC’s started the ride; two turned back, due to cold (can’t blame them) and the five that made it saw some of the greatest scenery only visible by boat. They say that some one of the greatest wildlife sightings of the area is bighorn sheep. For us it was only one “burro”. I saw this big Eeyore donkey pooh guy just grazing happily just off the waters. As I edged ever closer to him, not wanting to spook him, he suddenly looked up and seeing what must’ve looked to him like some outer space head to toe neoprene, helmeted covered beast on a green and white water beast (Kawasaki Ultra) he raised his ugly head up and suddenly, just like waking up from a huge hangover; made one of those high pitched burro sounds and galloped off uphill. Eeyore you big old beast of burden you. Come back and let me get a good shot at you – I yelled. Did you know that this big guy and others like him are former offspring’s of the burros used by earlier miners and rangers in the area. Enjoy, the video for the ranger types are now trying to round them up and move them out for they are eating too much of the local landscape.
If you go on this ride or other ride with cold water know what to do. Our friend Lewis (post facility) found possibly the most creative ways I’ve yet seen of trying to stay warm. Take one large size orange and black towel. You and I would’ve probably made do by cutting a hole down the middle sort of like a Clint Eastwood western type poncho - but not Lewis (post facility). He takes this towel and somehow wraps it around himself to try to encapsulate his body and thus stay warm. Now his system worked pretty good while standing still but not while moving on that new 2009 Yamaha SHO of his. When he started moving it was more like a hornet sprouting wings and taking to flight. Hilarious. The towel somehow makes its way out both back ends of his black personal flotation device (PFD). This towel is about 10 feet long and mostly orange and now most of it is flapping wildly in the wind; like winds on a killer bee. If he would’ve stood up to ride – I would’ve just lost it in that cold water. Then as I’m riding alongside him filming - I look over and notice him pushing the limits of his super high output (SHO) thinking that he looks real cool sitting down with no head protection from the cold. The wind is now catching on some of those loose flaps of skin on his jowls and cheeks and then he looks at me. I crack up as his face is flapping wildly in the wind along with those orange wings. If that part makes it on video then hello America’s Funniest Home Video.
Thanks guys for a truly great ride and new river riding experience. On a serious note. If you find yourself in cold water like we did – do what Lewis did but most importantly realize that you are losing most of your body heat from your extremities – mainly your head. Most of the fatal boating accidents that occur can happen when you suddenly plunge into cold water.
Our cold water trained USCG rider (active duty) did just that. Chase’ brother Mark took a high speed turn or two with that last spin dumping him in the water – sorry, didn’t make it on the video. I tried to get him to do a replay for your viewing and educational pleasure but he refused. Average Joe PWC rider would feel the breath driven right out of him upon impact in that cold cold water. Should Joe’s face be submerged he would first involuntarily gasp for a breathe, taking in water rather than air. That’s why we ride wearing full body wet suits, boots, gloves, helmet, PFD and in some instances even orange wings!
See you on the water!
03-16-2009, 11:59 AM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
God I would of love to have gone!!!! too bad I didn't have time to prep them before hand . Maybe next time! BTW You are very creative with the descriptions for the trips!!!!!!! Makes me feel like I was there!
03-31-2009, 01:48 AM #3
Thanks for sharing your adventure with that great write up. Too bad you are not allowed to go all the way up to Hoover Dam at this time of year. There is neat place off to the side that you can beach at, and then a short hike up to a make shift spa that is fed by a natural hot spring. It sounds like you could have really used it.
03-31-2009, 04:01 PM #4
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
04-05-2009, 11:53 PM #5
That water coming out from under Hoover is always cold. I don't think it ever gets out of the fiftys, even in the summer!
camaudio. You in Poway?
04-10-2009, 10:11 AM #6
- Join Date
- Oct 2008
04-19-2009, 11:35 PM #7
- Join Date
- Mar 2009
I would have loved to be there. Sounds like you guys had fun.
05-06-2009, 11:01 AM #8
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
- Camarillo, CA
Besides the free launch ramp in Bullhead at the Chamber, are there any other free launch ramps in the area?
I heard fisherman's access on the Laughlin side, just south of the bridge but north of the Riverside resort, is free...any one ever been there? Is it safe to leave the trailer there? any security or watch there?
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