South Western Arizona Yuma

Trip Start Jul 04, 2012
Trip End Jun 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
Shangi La RV Resort

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, January 11, 2013

As hard as it may be to leave sometimes, the road beckons and new adventures await.  After exploring California for over two months we headed toward Arizona. Next stop Yuma. Lettuce capitol of North America. As you drive through the area there are acres and acres upon acres of any type of lettuce you can think of.  If you are eating a salad right now it probably came from  from this area .It is a little more than strange to see such intense farming in the desert.  But thanks to modern irrigation,fertilizers,and intensive use pesticides and herbicides we all can eat salad in January. Good or bad you decide.
 Yuma's other claim to fame is its history.  Because of its location at the confluence of the Colorado and Gila rivers, it became a important stop on the settlers trail to the west.  So for  history buffs like us there are several interesting areas to explore.
 First stop, the Yuma Territorial Prison. Built in 1876 before Arizona became a state, it was the only prison in the territory for 33 years. Running water, flush toilets,electric lights and health care it was considered to be one of the best run prisons in the west and modern for the times.  Despite this, it was still a tough place to do time.  Six prisoners to a eight by four foot cell with one bucket for a toilet.  Hard manual labor from sun up to sun down.  And if you got out of line, time in solitary confinement with midday temperatures in the 130F degree range. As you walk around the cells you can still feel the ghost of prisoners past (no executions here but prisoners died of snakebites, disease and "accidental" means).
While we were there they were hosting the Gunfighters Shootout. Groups of re-enactors performed skits from the wild west shootout days. The boys enjoyed gun fighting action. Zak spent the next few days practicing his quick draw skills!
 We also spent a few hours exploring the Quarter Masters Depot.  The US army used this area as a supply depot and staging area for expeditions in the area.
 The last of our thee days in Yuma was spent at the Castle Dome Mine Ghost Town.  In the 1880's gold was found 40 miles north of Yuma.  Within a year 3000 people lived in Castle Dome.  The town boasted 5 saloons, a hotel, numerous stores and a Sheriffs office.We  had a great day looking at the old mine shafts, and exploring the historic buildings and learning about Arizona's early days.
The three days we spent in Yuma were a great introduction to Arizona's wild west past.  We will continue to travel east to the Sonoran Desert.  Giddyup cowboy!!

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