Sunday, March 10, 2013

Yuma fun continued

March 10, 2013:

Another adventure packed week for us here in Yuma, Arizona.

As we continue along from the previous post, we checked out the "Ocean to Ocean Bridge" after leaving the Yuma Territorial Prison. The Bridge originally carried Route 8 over the Colorado River from Arizona to California, seems to be a local road now.  The name of the bridge derives from the fact that Yuma Crossing was the best place to cross the river to enter California. If one was traveling overland from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or Ocean to Ocean, Yuma was the place.  In the begining you had to cross on horseback, boat or swim, then a ferry service was started followed by a series of bridges.  The river itself was wild and free flowing then, with cottonwood and willow trees along its banks, teeming with wildlife.  The Quechan Indians farmed the river bottomland and it was like an oasis in the desert.  Then the white man arrived in his infinite wisdom and cut down the trees, killed all the wildlife, damed up the river, started digging and blasting, polluting, draining and filling in until it was more like a dumpsite.  Presently, the city of Yuma in conjunction with the Queshan tribe are planting trees and restoring the river front area. 
Adjacent to the Ocean-to-Ocean bridge is the Southern Pacific railroad bridge. The story of how the SP managed to get their line through Yuma is an another amazing story of political intrique and corruption.  The adjacent Yuma river front was also a favorite camp spot for the hobo's back in the day. The trains would slow down or stop for the bridge crossing which was was a convenient spot for the hobo's to hop off.  The prison complex next to the bridge at the time was an abandoned and it also provided good shelter for the hobo's.  When looking into the jail cells you can see names, dates and hometowns written all over the walls, mostly dated in the 1930-1960's. I can only image the wild times that happened in this area. 

This is a most historic area, on the other side of the bridge is the St. Thomas Indian Mission Church built in 1921.  The Spanish Anza expedition,, 300 people, 1,000 head of livestock and tons of provisions crossed the Colorado River here in 1775 on their 1,200 mile trek to settle in present day San Francisco, California.  Anza thought it would be a great site for a Mission and left Father Francisco Garces there to establish the "Mission La Purisma Conception".  The native Quechan Indian tribe in the beginning were friendly, but the spanish soon exploited them in numerous ways, resulting in a revolt and the destruction of the mission and death to the spanish in 1781.  The Spanish never returned and the Indians managed to repel all future invaders until they were overwhelmed by the huge influx of people during the gold rush frenzy. 

On Monday we took a ride a mile or so from our campsite to "American Girl Road" and went back into the American Girl gold mine area.  The mine has recently reopened again, there is still gold in these hills !  There are signs of past mining activity all over the place, old tin cans, broken bottles, assorted car parts and household items, (unfortunately nothing of value, it's been picked clean), also lots of interesting rocks and wildflowers.  I tend to walk around looking down at the rocks a lot, hoping to spot a big gold nugget that's been missed.  It's a great place to ATV, there are roads all over, but most are rough and rocky. I have tried and have determined that the dually is not a good off-road vehicle.

Tuesday was a trip back to Yuma for food shopping, generator fuel, fill a water container and find a dumpster to dump trash.  Getting rid of trash is a problem in this boondocking lifestyle, normally I would burn much of it but it is usually windy here and firewood is scarce.  So we ride around looking for a dumpster (I feel like a dumpster diver) where we can dump and run.

Wednesday we took a ride north to route 78, then west to Glamis, CA where the highway cuts directly across the Imperial Sand Dunes, formerly called the Algodones Sand Dunes. We stopped at Osbourne Overlook, got out and walked out into the dunes, on Competition Hill #1, it's more like sand mountains !  This place can have thousands of people racing around on a good weekend, must be insane !  There are some serious racing types out here with exotic dune buggy's, sand rails, motorcycles, ATV's, all kinds of toys. 

Thursday I finally completed an electrical modification to the RV to add a 12 volt power receptacle, wire a plug on my spare 12 volt water pump and make some hose connections so I can pump water from my 6 gallon water container into the RV fresh water tank fill.  I'm tired of throwing that full 6 gallon container (50 lbs.) on my shoulder and then trying to pour the water in using a funnel and hose without losing half of it.  Mostly I'm tired of straining my nuts off doing this although it is a good strength test.

Thursday night saw much wind, then some rain overnight and then more wind all day Friday.  This place is wide open and the wind can be wicked at times, have to be careful opening the front door.  Fortunately, the desert soil here has a crust and doesn't blow around that much.  Another trick to be learned in this boondocking trade is where to set up for protection from the wind, how to orient the RV to get the best view, the most sun or when it's really hot, less sun, the most privacy and if you have solar panels sun angles and such enter the equation.

Saturday, we met our RV Dreams friends, Jeanne and Glen Fielen at the Yuma Air Show. This is a huge Marine Base in Yuma.  It was a near perfect day for it and it was a good time. Aircraft are always a great photo subjects, that is when they are on the ground, not so easy in the air at speed.    

Twinkles is trying real hard to stick to a new hair wash regimen called No-Poo, which is a sort of new age thing that she learned about at the RV Dreams rally, using baking soda and water, followed by a vinegar rinse. There is a learning curve to it and she's still in the experimental phase, but I think she is a fast learner ?

Sunday we are off to downtown Yuma for the Lettuce Festival, should be exciting, stay tuned !

Twinkles and Slick 

The "Arkansas Kid" had to be a Hobo, photo of a Prison Cell

Twinkles on the "Ocean-to-Ocean" Bridge

A story board about the Hobo's life in Yuma and one who helped restore the riverfront

The St. Thomas Indian Mission in Yuma

Sunset from the RV

View at American Girl Mine

A wash near our campsite

Old rusted can and flower at American Girl Mine

This is an impressive sight !

Twinkles playing in the sand at Imperial Sand Dunes

Brittlebush flowers in bloom at American Girl Mine

Would love to see this Prickly Pear Cactus in full bloom

Pop's Place in Yuma

A wavy Route 78 west on the way to the Imperial Sand Dunes

The old Hotel del Sol in Yuma

In front of the Union Pacific signal department

Robert Fowler was a daring aviator, 1st to land in Arizona, on this very spot

A quick shot at the air show 

Yuma air show skywriting

Restaurant mural of the Yuma fields

Yuma air-show

Simulated battle at Yuma air show

Product of AAI, the original contractor on the NJT Comet II railcar overhaul

Arrived with camera as it stopped for a crew change in perfect "FTN" fashion

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