Thursday, June 7, 2012


As I briefly mentioned in the yesterday’s post I am currently visiting my lovely sister Cheryl, my equally lovely niece Keri, and my equally lovely grandnephew Jaxen, here in lovely Bullhead City, which is located in what we like to call the “Tri-State” region of the American southwest. We like to call it that because the prefix “Tri” implies the number 3, and the subject “State” refers to one of the fifty federated states of the United States of America which shares sovereignty with the United States Federal Government. I just want to be perfectly clear about this.
So we’re talking about three states here, and in this particular case we’re talking about California, Nevada, and Arizona, which all come together, geographically speaking that is, approximately seven miles south, as the crow flies, of where I’m sitting right now. Bullhead City lies within Arizona, about 22 miles from Needles, California, to the south, and about 100 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada, to the north. Bullhead sits right next to the lovely and majestic, Colorado River, on its west side. Across that very river lies the third most visited gambling resort in Nevada, Laughlin. The two cities are connected by the Laughlin Bridge, constructed in 1987. Before the bridge those who worked in Laughlin and who lived in Bullhead had to swim across the Colorado River to get to work, which can be quite dicey at times. My sister still has nightmares concerning Largemouth bass.
The majestic Grand Canyon is approximately 321.8 miles to Bullhead’s northeast.
To put it succinctly, Bullhead City is located at 35° 6′ 56″ N, 114° 35′ 19″ W.
I’m certainly glad we’ve cleared this up. Now we can go on to other things.
My dear sister has lived here for over 30 years, ever since she and my lovely mother abandoned me in Los Angeles in the late 70s. My mom had married a man nicknamed Gabby, who had a trailer home here in Bullhead at first, and who later built a house, where they all moved to. My niece has lived here all of her 28 years, and has never seen anything of the outside world, which she maintains is just “one big desert.” She doesn’t know anything about forests, or snow, or oceans, and thinks the world is flat. The same goes for my grandnephew.
Just kidding Keri. Please don’t hurt me.
She can be fierce at times.
Since those early days Gabby and my dear mother, Susie, have passed, and Cheryl remained here as she had found employment within the gaming industry in Laughlin. She’s working there right now as a matter of fact. I’m using her computer to compose this post, in her home in Bullhead, alone with her lovely 17 year old cat, Circle, who my sister may find interesting to learn, roams around the house meowing as if in agony when she’s not here.
So I’m all alone with a cat right now, and could easily run amok if I so chose to do so, much like Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” however I shall resist the temptation.
Many people who live in Bullhead work in Laughlin. You can see them all over the place. One could easily say that Bullhead City provides a “labor pool” for the casinos across the river.
Many of you have asked, “Rick... where the hell did Bullhead City come from?” Well, I shall endeavor to answer that very question.
I give many thanks to Terrence Malick, and his evolution scene from his 2011 film, “Tree of Life,” to get us from the Big Bang to the advent of life on Earth, and the time of the dinosaurs about 230 million years ago. I can carry on from there.
The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, which occurred approximately 65.5 million years ago, and was possibly caused by an asteroid impact, or increased volcanic activity, or other things, got rid of all of those pesky dinosaurs, as well as a large percentage of all forms of life that largely depended on utilizing direct sunlight. This led the way for small mole like creatures, namely mammals, to take over, giving them a chance to evolve into humanoids, which led to Homo sapiens about 50,000 years ago.
Unless of course God was playing tricks with us, and he/she/it buried all of the fossil evidence that’s been subsequently found, as well as simulating the expansion of the universe, just to fool us, and the cosmos and Earth are really between 5,700 and 10,000 years old, as many would have us believe.
“Just playing,” I can hear God saying, laughing he/she/it’s ass off.
Anyway, humans got tired of living in Africa and decided to move, and they moved all over the place! Some of them settled in what we now call the Colorado River Valley, the Mohave people. That’s what they called themselves (actually they called themselves the Pipa Aha Macav, meaning "People by the River," which came the shortened name "Mojave" (also spelled "Mohave"). They were able to make a living as farmers due to the good dirt and and plentiful water around, and decided to stay here.
We don’t know a whole bunch about their history because they didn’t write anything down. Boy, I bet they regret that now.
Around the year 1540 some people who had decided to live half way around the planet in a place we now call Spain, came to visit, namely the explorer Melchior Díaz. That’s the first time the Mohave people met anyone else who was not a Mohave person. Diaz came, stayed a while, looked around, learned a lot, moved on, and eventually accidentally killed himself while trying to spear a dog with his lance. PETA should use him as a warning to those who would mistreat animals.
Other foreigners would come, say hello, and go. When those who had colonized the eastern part of the North American continent showed up they decided to colonize the Colorado River Valley as well. The Mohave people didn’t like that at all. I don’t blame them! However, these colonists had what we call a military force, as we have today, who came to protect the colonists, and this military force settled in what we call now, Fort Mohave, and gave the Mohave people what we now call an ultimatum, either get with the program of colonization and live on reservations, or be slaughtered.
Considering the military force had what are now called guns and the Mohave people didn't, they chose to live on reservations.
The area which is now called Bullhead City was first called Hardyville, around the middle 1800s. Before that it didn’t have a name at all.
Hardyville of course was named after Oliver Hardy, the famous American comic actor, who hadn’t even been born yet.
I know, it’s weird.
From 1852 to 1909, stern wheeler steamboats made regular trips up the Colorado River from Mexico, passing Hardyville regularly. Mark Twain could be seen at the wheel sometimes.
There where minerals in the ground nearby and Hardyville became important as a mining community and grew and prospered. It had a general store, a saloon, a blacksmith shop, a quartz mill, a public hall, and a place to play pool.
The minerals were soon hard to come by and during the 20th century people started going elsewhere. A railroad was built from Needles, California, to Kingman, Arizona, which is located at 35° 12′ 30″ N, 114° 1′ 33″ W, about 35 miles directly east of Hardyville, which dissed Hardyville completely, and which led to it being abandoned, becoming a ghost town... where ghosts live.
Years later some enthusiastic people with lots of time on their hands and a boat load of cash decided to build a dam near where Hardyville used to be. I don’t know why.
It took about 9 years to build that dam. From 1943 to 1951, and a whole bunch of people were needed to build it. A decision was made to throw the ghosts out of Hardyville and use it as a base camp for the construction workers. The town was renamed Bullhead because of a big rock nearby, "Bull's Head Rock," a formation along the Colorado River which was used for navigation.
The name of the dam was first Bullhead Dam, due to that very same rock, but was later renamed Davis Dam, in honor the famous entertainer, Sammy Davis Jr.
In 1970, Bullhead City was the name of the six blocks that ran north-south along Highway 95, right across the river from where Don Laughlin had built his Riverside hotel and casino (he named it that because it was alongside a river). About 1,000 people lived there at the time and 3,000 in adjacent Riviera. In 1984 Bullhead City attacked Riviera and Holiday Shores in a bloodless coup, and absorbed them, becoming just Bullhead City. As Laughlin grew in popularity and expanded, so did Bullhead City, becoming the mighty metropolis it is today. Why it has it’s own hospitals, colleges, grocery stores, libraries, police station, airport, cable TV, and even a Walmart!
As of the census of 2006, there were 40,225 people, 13,909 households, and 9,110 families residing in Bullhead. Probably more now.
It gets very hot here at times, especially during the summer. Sometimes it’s even the hottest place in the nation, reaching temperatures in the upper 120s. Fahrenheit, not Celsius.
A lot of roadrunners live nearby. Real ones, not those fake cartoon ones.
And scorpions. I’ve seen them.
And centipedes... and bunnies.
Every year during the last long weekend in April, thousands of bikers come to the area, in what is known as the Laughlin River Run. They come here to run amok like Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” because they can’t do so at home.
The famous author of westerns, Louis L'Amour, at one time was a mine assessment worker at nearby at Katherine Mine.
The idiot, so-called adventurer, Christopher McCandless, worked at McDonald's in Bullhead for 2 months once. He later committed suicide by idiocy at the age of 24.
I once worked here as an ATM technician and had a paper route in the mornings.
It is very hard to deliver papers in Bullhead City as half of the freaking houses don’t bother posting their address in front of their homes.
This is what the Mohave Valley Daily News had to say about Bullhead in today’s edition: “Bullhead City has the lowest cost of living in Arizona, beating out Kingman and Lake Havasu City, according the ACCRA Cost of Living Index compiled by the Council for Community and Economic Research.”
Imagine that.
And that’s basically it. I hope I’ve been able to answer your questions, dear readers. It has been a pleasure and tremendous honor, believe me.
And finally, an additional personal note. Yesterday I was able to meet my grandnephew Jaxen Lee, for the very first time. He’s now a little over two years old, blonde like his mom, extremely handsome like me, and wise beyond his years. For example, after breaking the ice we both sat down in front of grandma’s computer to watch Elmo (Sesame Street) videos. I asked him which one he wanted to watch first, and he always (I’m told) picks Elmo singing “Hot N Cold,” with the lovely and voluptuous Katy Perry... as he did yesterday.
Nothing wrong with this kid.

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