Friday, March 12, 2010

Yuma, Arizona...a Winter Home?

And we're off to Yuma! We debated staying in Las Vegas long enough to watch the Olympic gold medal hockey game between Canada and the US, but that would have meant getting into Yuma really late, so we headed out. An aha moment...as soon as we got in the rental car and started driving, we were in heaven. It reminded us of our cross-Canada trip. We'll be driving to Yuma next year!

Pinkie loves the open road!

Searchlight, Nevada...or Smalltown, USA

Look at the dips in this road! It was like a mini roller coaster!

Now, I don't know why we both got excited over seeing a train. We don't really see that many anymore, I guess...either that or very small things amuse us on the road!

If we drive out next year, we are going to do Route 66!

The topography started changing into rocky outcrops...

"I can see for miles and miles..."

A train bridge...over the road!

Terrible's...gotta love it!

Now we're talking desert...right about now, we were wondering about the outcome of the hockey game. I texted Pam and Megan looking for some news! Canada leading 2-1 in the third period. Yay Canada!! Oh no...25 seconds left and it's a tied game. Noooooooo! The next time a text came in I was almost afraid to look. Sidney Crosby scored for Canada!!! Gold medal!!! Awesome!

These people just park their RVs wherever. I can't imagine this being a great place to spend the winter months, but whatever works for you...

The first signs of the Saguaro cactus which are native to the Sonoran desert in Arizona and a few small areas of Mexico and California. A cactus is at least 70 years old before it develops a side arm!

Another RV "park"...this one does look a little better than the previous one, but still doesn't have too many facilities. That isn't stopping a whack of people from staying here.

As we got closer to Yuma, more and more of these fields appeared. We soon learned that they are lettuce fields. Yuma grows 93% of the lettuce consumed in the US. It wasn't what we pictured for the desert!

Lettuce fields and date palms...gorgeous!

We continued to be amazed as we passed fields and fields of produce...

And here we are coming into Yuma...

Well, that looks promising! We found out that the day we are leaving Yuma, they are having a huge antique car show.

The population of Yuma is around 190,000 plus 85,000 people who make Yuma their winter home. Yuma is one of the hottest cities in the US. The temperature is great around this time of year (70-80 F), but it soars to over 100 F in June, July, August and September, often topping 120 F.

Yuma is located on the border of Mexico and California.

We called Barb and Ed to let them know we had arrived, and they came over to meet us. Here is Jim outside the hotel waiting for them to arrive. We had a great visit and made plans to go out for dinner that evening.

Here we are at Julieanna's, one of the nicer restaurants in Yuma.

The food was great and we had fun catching up with Barb and Ed. Barb had gone through several major medical issues in the last year, so it was nice to see her feeling like herself again.

This peacock periodically gave out a loud shriek, just to let us know he was there.

A silent band!

Julieanna's has a beautiful patio. It's a little chilly when the sun goes down, but they have lots of heaters outdoors to keep you toasty.

Our sentiments exactly!

The next day was a Tuesday and that is market day in Yuma. Barb and Ed picked us up and brought us downtown.

A portion of Main Street is closed off to traffic...

Barb and Ed see a dog just like theirs, so they stop to have a chat!

OMG...donuts like Grammie used to make!! $3.00 for a dozen minis...I showed some restraint and only bought 6.

Mr. Garlic...he sold garlic everything....it's good for you!

Barb is picking out produce for supper that evening. They have invited us to their apartment for dinner. Barb mentioned that a head of lettuce was only 25 cents when they first arrived in Yuma. It was now about 75 cents. Scandalous!

I did a double take when I saw two guys with the same hairdo...or should I say "hat do."

These ladies were having a great time playing all types of music to an appreciative group of tourists.

No flower gardens, but cactus gardens instead. Actually some bushes were in bloom with beautiful red flowers. They had an astonishing 8 inches of rain so far this year, when normally they only get 3 inches for the whole year.

We left Barb and Ed to go visit a date farm. This huge lettuce field has been recently harvested...

Lemon trees!

Here we are at the date farm. We bought some dates and also some date bites, small pieces of dates rolled in oat flour. So yummy! They offered all things dates (except date squares!) including date shakes. Sinfully delicious! We are actually in California here. The border crosses back and forth following the Colorado River, so several times we were in California without even realizing it.

I would have taken pictures of every cactus I saw. They are all so unique!

Date palms...the medjool dates originally came from Morocco. There are many farms in this area and they all originated from 9 shutes which were brought from Morocco. Look at the beautiful blue sky!

We headed over to see Barb and Ed's place. Barb made a wonderful meal using a stove top with two burners and a microwave. That's organization!

The next day Jim and I decided to take an organized segway tour of downtown Yuma. I read several reviews online and everyone said you quickly learned how to use the segway and they all had a great time...


We signed up and then spent a few minutes roaming downtown while they waited for everyone to show up. We spotted more old cars...seems like it would be a great old car event.

Time to get some segway training...Kate the owner showing one of the guys in our group how to steer.

Jim was off and flying in no time. The segways top out at 10 mph. Several times he had it going so fast that it cut out!

I am a little tentative...I am sure if the owner of the BMW knew we were all learning to ride near his car, he would probably park somewhere else!

And in no time, we were off touring the town. After about 20 minutes we stopped for our first break. I was glad to get off. My feet hurt!! A little tense, perhaps??

All lined up neatly...no one fell getting off. I think we're getting the hang of this!

They have been doing a lot of work to make the wetlands into a beautiful park...

Another break as our guide, Marsha, tells us about the area...

Whee! The hardest part is staying still to have your picture taken...

We are officially pros! We lined up for this shot like we had been doing it forever. The first group shot they took, we were all over the place. This is definitely a fun way to do a tour. We need to be on the lookout for these. I guess they are quite popular in Europe...

Historic wedding chapel...soliders coming home from the war would meet their girlfriends, but couldn't book a hotel room together unless they were married. There were some quickie weddings!

The first air conditioned hotel in Arizona...several western movies were filmed at the Arizona Territorial Prison in Yuma after it closed and John Wayne often stayed here in a suite on the top floor. They also arranged it so that his horse could stay on the roof.

Our last dinner with Barb and Ed....seems like all we did is eat together!! They are heading back to Ontario and we hope to see them again in our travels.

We went for a drive the next day and checked out some of the local neighbourhoods. Nice area...

So what did we think of Yuma? Well, the weather is warm...but knowing Jim and I, would we be content here, or would we always be looking for something to do? And there isn't a lot of things to do in Yuma that you can't do in a few days. We're going to head to Scottsdale to meet up with Joni and Max. Seeing another part of Arizona may help us make up our minds...

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