Yuma and…back to Tucson

We arrived in Yuma on October 22nd and got settled in for what we thought would be 6 months.  We were staying at the Cocopah Golf and RV Resort which is located in the extreme northwestern corner of Yuma, where the Colorado river bends and forms a natural border between Arizona and California.  From our rv site we were actually only about a quarter mile from California.  In addition, just about a mile south of us was Mexico and the city of Algodones.

All around us were fields in various stages of growing, from bare ground to lush greens, ready for harvest.  As we learned, some 90% to 95% of the green leaf vegetables in the United States are grown in Yuma.  Since the early part of the 20th century, the Colorado has been dammed and diverted to make the land along the lower Colorado River some of the most productive in the country.  Greens like cabbage, spinach, lettuce and even dates are all grown near Yuma.  At any one time, a field is either under planting, growing or being harvested.  Quite a different landscape than the stark desert we crossed on the way there.

We did manage to get to Algodones, Mexico, one afternoon, and it’s pretty much like most other border towns.  I guess if we had to choose, we like Progresso a bit better.

In most of the seasonal parks we have stayed in have been in areas with much to do and see, usually within 30 – 45 minutes drive.  Yuma is different in that it is primarily agricultural.  We had the golf course and beyond that there wasn’t much to do.  So after 3 months in Yuma we decided to return to Tucson for the balance of our winter.  We enjoyed our week in Tucson and there are a number of activities we didn’t have the time for.  In addition, we have friends and family in Tucson, so on February 1st we left Yuma.



We arrived in Tucson on the 15th of October for a week of sightseeing, meeting previously unknown relatives and some relaxation before heading to Yuma.  We stayed at a small park that was literally right down town and was close to the light rail trolley so we could see a lot of the city.  We spent the first day stocking up at Costco, then we took the trolley downtown, walked around, stopped for a coffee, and just had a nice relaxing day.

The next day we met with Mary’s distant cousin, Bob, and his wife, Kay.  Mary connected with Bob through her genealogy search on Ancestry.com.  We met at downtown for lunch, then made our way to the library where genealogical information was exchanged.  This info has largely been added to Mary’s “tree” and has filled some blanks for her.  We said goodbye to Bob and Kay then went to an olive oil store to replenish our stock, then dinner and back to the park.  All in all a great day with new friends.

One of our desired stops in Tucson was Biosphere 2, the closed environmental experiment where 12 people spent a year without going outside, in a fully self-contained environment.  This was done to test the feasibility of establishing colonies on the Moon and maybe other planets.  They had several “climates” represented including jungle, desert, rain forest, and ocean.  Very clever and interesting.  Nobody lives in the Biosphere now, however they still maintain many of the experiments.  Biosphere is located north of Tucson and the drive out there is through desert and mountains.  Very picturesque but we think a steady diet of desert would get old.  We like greenery.

10/19  –  We took the trolley to the University of Arizona campus today.  Our rv park has given us a coupon book with several interesting stops at U of A including the Flandreau Science Center and Planetarium, the Space Imagery Center and the Arizona State Museum.  First we have to say how lovely the campus appears.  Also how friendly the students and faculty that we met treated us.  We stopped at the Imaging Center and as we entered (probably the wrong entrance) we were presented with an elevator and no idea where we should go.  Fortunately, along came Ken (from Wisconsin no less) who is one of the professors and as it turned out, he is in charge of an electron microscope lab.  He very graciously gave us a brief tour of the center, then turned us loose to look around while he got back to work.  The center is devoted to visual, remote exploration of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, etc, and there are numerous rooms where faculty members are assigned individual objects.  Outside each room are hundreds of large photos taken by telescopes and spacecraft.  One of the current major projects is OSIRIS-REx, a mission to analyze data from a craft that would land on an asteroid and gather data.  Pretty cool!

While on campus we also visited the Arizona History Museum where a docent was just beginning his tour.  Obviously much of Arizona history is centered around Native Americans, so we learned quite a bit about their history, including the Yumans and Cocopahs.  The rv resort we are going to when we leave Tucson is on property owned by the Sovereign Nation of the Cocopahs.  So now we have some background.

Finally, in the late afternoon, we attended a presentation in the planetarium and strolled through its’ associated science museum.  A very nice day overall!

To round out our first visit to Tucson, we went to the Pima Air Museum, one of the largest non-government funded aerospace museums in the world.  Virtually every aircraft the military ever flew was represented there and we rode a tour that was narrated by a former mechanic who had information on each plane.  Also on the grounds was an indoor display of a B-29 that actually flew in WW2 and some very interesting stories of its’ former crews.  There also was several other hangars showcasing the space race and other aircraft, including the SR-71 spy plane.  A day well spent!

Much more to see and do in Tucson, but we needed to get on to Yuma.  We hope to return!


October 10, 2017

Organized creatures that we are, our travels aren’t quite as random as we’d like.  We tend to plan our routes around certain “must-see” landmarks.  On this trip, Carlsbad Caverns was one of the places of interest we really wanted to see.  It certainly didn’t disappoint.

We stayed at the Carlsbad RV Park which was on the road to the Caverns, about 20 miles away.  We settled in, grabbed a pizza and got an early start the next day.

The road to the Caverns is pretty forgettable, until you turn into the Park.  It’s a beautiful drive over several miles to get to the main building where there is a gift shop, restaurant, museum and the entrance to the caverns.  We were given the option of either walking in through the “natural entrance” or taking an elevator down the roughly 800 feet to the main room of the caverns.  We elected to walk.

The natural entrance is a large, steep hole in the ground with a zigzag walkway that is easily traversed, however we were not expecting it would take us around an hour and a half to get to the bottom.  It was tiring but well worth it.  On the way down we passed several other hardy souls going back up.  Definitely hardier than us!

Once at the bottom we walked out into the “Great Room”, a gigantic cavern that is the primary focus.  There is a trail that winds around and through the great room, and there was a sign telling us that the entire circumference would take us about another hour and a half.  We were a little pooped and considering the hour, we decided to take the elevator back up and return the next day to tour the Great Room.


The next day we took the elevator back down and explored the Great Room.  Very impressive!  Pictures really don’t do justice to the size of the cavern.

We spent a couple hours there then decided to go to Sitting Bull Falls for the afternoon.  Another nice drive to this out of the way park.  We were there during the dry season so the falls were less than usual but still pretty, falling about 80 feet into a small, clear pond.  It’s tucked back in a corner of the small park which has picnic facilities and would be a great place to picnic or just relax.

The next day we left Carlsbad for Las Cruces, New Mexico,  We were now really into the desert, crossing through a couple mountain passes and down into the flatter, cactus strewn plain that we have always read about.  We spent 3 days in Las Cruces, sightseeing, visiting the Old Town, getting ready for our final week on the road before beginning our winter in Yuma.