Seein’ Things That I May Never See Again

image We say goodbye to Yuma, AZ, but not before I find out a little something about this city that attracts over 85,000 retirees every winter. (en.m.wikipedia.org) I can attest to that as the streets are lined with RV parks and Passport America’s listing for discounted places to stay in Yuma is lengthy.

image passportamericaclub.blogspot.com

Yuma’s history revolves around the Colorado River which ran wild and unpredictable before the building of dams. Crossing the river was difficult at best but Mother Nature kindly provided 2 outcroppings of granite that squeezed the waters into a narrow enough channel to afford an easy and safe place to cross and settle. The early Spanish explorers found thriving tribal communities living here and named them Yumas, from the Spanish word for smoke, humo, as smoke from their cooking fires filled the river valley. (yumaaz.gov)

Interesting Info:

  • Cesar Chavez was born in Yuma in 1927. (en.m.wikipedia.org)
  • In 1929 Amelia Earhart ran off the end of the runway in Yuma.
  • The Coronado Motel in 1938 was the first modern-style motel to be built in Arizona.
  • The rooms in the Coronado were side-by-side in a single building as opposed to the auto court-style of separate buildings.
  • The Yuma Territorial Prison inspired the 1957 and 2007 versions of the movie, 3:10.
  • The plot of the movie is whether or not the notorious outlaw, Ben Wade, can be held to be transported to the prison on the train departing at 3:10. (visityuma.com)
The Coronado Motel (nostalgia.esmartkid.com)

The Coronado Motel
(nostalgia.esmartkid.com)

Yuma Territorial Prison (cronkitenewsonline.com)

Yuma Territorial Prison
(cronkitenewsonline.com)


MARCH 18, 2016

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Today was a long day on the road. (I think I have solved my problem with how to write being a day behind by dating my entries…) We transverse the Sonoran Desert, for the most part, hot and dry. About 10 miles east on I-8 we encounter the Border Patrol Checkpoint.

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If you look closely you can see the drug-sniffer dog. We are waved through and continue going east until we pick up I-10 which dips south for awhile. Below are some of the sights I captured from the bird pooped-stained passenger seat window. And no, I haven’t piloted the RV yet!

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I come across this sign for the Butterfield Trail and wonder if it is related to the stagecoach trail with the same name in Lake Elsinore’s history. At any rate, I’d like to think so.

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The different types of cacti intrigue me. Today we see tall thick stalks.

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Off in the distance I spot a mountain that I think looks like a cursive lower case letter “r.”  Since cursive is no longer a required skill taught in schools today, I thought I would preserve its memory.

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It’s almost been 7 months since we sold our home and left Cincinnati so the following picture reminds me of all our good friends, neighbors, and acquaintances “back home.”

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The real adventure, however, begins when we arrive at our overnight destination, Mountain View RV Park, which we discover belongs to a guy named Dwayne.  As we take the Bowie exit we don’t see much, just some empty buildings, trains, and a place with a few RVS.

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I walk into the office to register and pay and when I walk out I run into an older and well-weathered man wearing cowboy boots, hat, vest, and a holster with a six shooter tucked inside. Apparently Arizona does not have a conceal law. Oh, how I wish I could have gotten his picture! He was for real, not some suited up actor playing the part.

This place is strangely awesome!

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We are in the middle of nowhere and I am in love with this place!

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There is a store that sells…

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…from elk to python to mako shark. There’s a whole wall with nothing but jerky and trail mixes and dried fruits. Locally grown and spicy concoctions of walnuts, pecans, and pistachios, among other nuts are for sale too. Gourmet jellies and sauces and green olives stuffed with just about everything are colorfully displayed in jars. We buy some pistachios and elk jerky.

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Then there are the trains that roar by often with no horn to blast their warning. This continues all day and all night and just adds to the rustic experience.

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Look closely, the blur in the background below is a train!

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This one is easier to see.

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This place is a place like no other and one like it, I may never see again.

On the Road Again… On to Yuma, Arizona

image We pass through Westmorland. By the number of roadside signs, the town is famous for its date milkshakes.

image yelp.com

So I did a little research and learned that in the 1890s date palm trees were planted in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. Ah, but not just any date palm. It’s true that the over 6,500 acres of date palms produce over 40 million pounds of dates annually, but this yield only accounts for less than 15% of the world’s production of dates. The difference is in the quality of dates produced. Among the 4 primary types of dates produced are the deliciously sweet Medjool variety.  The Spanish missionaries introduced dates to northern Mexico and Southern California in the 1700s. (seecalifornia.com)

According to its web site, cityofwestmorland.net, Westmorland is a small residential community that sits along State Highway 86. Located in the Imperial Valley, it is in one of the most scenic desert locations in the Southwest and is among one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the world.

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We pass through Brawley on Highway 86 to catch Highway 111. According to brawley-ca.gov, the Imperial Land Company laid out the city in 1902 and tried to name it after the land-owner, J.H. Braly, who refused to lend his name. In 1908 Brawley incorporated as a “tent city” of approximately 100 people who lived there working for the railroad or farming the land. Today it looks like a city anywhere.

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And also reflects the wear and tear of surviving cities everywhere.

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We head south on Highway 111 towards Mexico and pick up I-8 East towards Yuma, Arizona. Riding along the border we encounter the Imperial Sand Dunes.

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And an RV park!

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The closest exit to Mexico…

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And the Colorado River separating California and Arizona, as captured from the passenger’s seat through the window screen. (You have to be quick when traveling in an RV!)

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Finally we arrive in Yuma, Arizona to spend the night at the Arizona Sands RV Park.

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We’ll catch up again tomorrow. I still have Car Trippin’ highlights to share too. But tonight is an end to another day in southern Arizona…