Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Parked in Casa Grande

10/27 I got up and took a bike ride and then ran the dog. When I got back we broke down the trailer and got ready to go. As I was lifting the jack up, I noticed it was coated with oil. I had looked at the side of the trailer and wondered why it looked like it had oil on it and figured it came from the road surface at some point. I crawled under the rear end thinking that the rear differential might be leaking. It was not, so I got under the front and could see lots of oil on the cross member and a weep under the front differential. I had used 4wd to get us unstuck from the side of the road when I stopped and tested the trailer brakes in the gravel. After that I shut if off and drove all day yesterday. The engine was slightly low on oil but that could be anything because sometimes it uses oil.
Anyways, I was comfortable with driving it to Casa Grande because I figured if I'm going to be stuck someplace getting the Tahoe worked on, I to be someplace with amenities. So we are here at Casa Grande RV Resort. They have a gym, two pools, library and lots of other fun stuff all for $31 a day. The Tahoe goes to the shop tomorrow.

Lots of cotton being grown around Casa Grande.

3:10 to Yuma

10/26 Monday we didn't have to be out of the MCCS until noon and Patrick wanted to try his hand at paddle boarding. For five dollars for four hour rental, it was easy to say yes to. He managed to stay up for a long time until mom came down to watch then he promptly fell in the water and blamed her. 

After a shower for Patrick and lunch, we headed south again towards Yuma. We had to pass out of the Proving Grounds and watched the C-130s circle overhead for the jump training that goes on. They test most of the military equipment here at Yuma before it makes it to the troops.

As we got closer to Yuma we started passing lots of farms. More than 230,000 acres of rich Colorado River bottom is farmed in Yuma making it America's capitol for winter vegetables. Up to 50,000 acres each of head lettuce and romaine are cultivated each year, comprising a large portion of the half billion dollar revenue generated by lettuce in 2011. According to 2008–2009 agricultural statistics, the Yuma area also grows about 12,000 acres of broccoli, 3,500 acres of cauliflower, 6,800 acres of spinach and 3,000 acres of other vegetables. Orchards and vast melon patches stretch across the landscape. Not only is Yuma County Arizona’s top producer of lemons, tangelos, and tangerines, it is also tops for watermelon and cantaloupe cultivation.
 The Yuma area grows more Medjool dates than anywhere else in the world. Native to the middle-east, Medjool offshoots appeared in Nevada in 1927. Yuma County also produces approximately 40,000 acres of wheat, 95% of which is desert durum. Much of this wheat is exported to Italy to be made into premium pasta! Yuma County
 Because the farming relies so heavily on irrigation, they work hard to make sure that the fields are well prepared. That includes laser leveling and grading using GPS.

The next stop was Yuma Territorial Prison. A prison that was called a hell hole and made famous through television and film, most famous the 1953 (remade in 2007) film 3:10 to Yuma. The temperature the day were visited was 93 so it was easy to see that this prison was probably a real scorcher. The prison operated for 33 years from July 1896 to 1909 when it was shut down due to over crowding. The people who lived in Yuma called it the Yuma Country Club because the prison had things that the town did not have such as electricity, forced ventilation, sanitation including two bathtubs and three showers, a library with 2000 books, an enlightened prison administration and a band. But not all was comfortable in the prison as prisoners were stacked six to a cell that was just large enough for two sets of bunk beds and a chamber pot. The men and women put up with lice, ticks, bed bugs and other insects, snakes, vermin and of course the heat and disease.
 The Union Pacific built this bridge called the Sea to Sea Bridge and to put in the track to it, they tore down half the prison. The people of Yuma decided to make the rest of the prison into a park.
Below the bridge was one of the few ferry operations across the Colorado.

 This is one of the original guard towers. The stone underneath is a water tower that store water pumped up from the river. They built the wooden structure over top of it and it eventually became guard quarters as well as a watch tower.

Cool Hand Becky
The prisoners had workshops that they used to make things and earned money selling them. In their free time they were allowed to make crafts for themselves. Becky was really impressed by this gentleman's hard work.

 After the prison closed and the local high school burnt down in 1910, they moved the school into the prison. The team played the Phoenix high school and beat Phoenix. The Phoenix kids were so upset about it that they started calling the Yuma kids "criminals." Yuma High School adopted the name with pride and are still called the Criminals today.
After a stop at the grocery store, we hopped on I-8 and motored off to Gila Bend and the Air Force Auxiliary Field. We stayed at the FamCamp. It was a decent place to stay for a night. 

South on 95

10/25 Sunday We left Campbell Cove and headed south towards Yuma. First we made a stop at the Lake Havasu City visitors center to grab a post card and a window sticker. The VC was a purpose built place by the bridge to be a tourist attraction, a museum about the London Bridge and Mr Robert McCulloch. One thing about traveling and doing this blog is that I learn more about the history of people, places and things. McCulloch was know for producing chainsaws and other power equipment. My dad owned a McCulloch chainsaw. MuCulloch also designed the centrifugal supercharger (now know as Paxton Superchargers) and pioneered many light lawn and power equipment.  He owned an oil company, an airline that flew free flights to Lake Havasu City to bring buyers into the area for his new city and tried to bring light aircraft to the masses. Today McCulloch is part of Husqvarna, USA.

Pictures of pictures in the museum.
 First the bridge was built over dry land out and then the canal was dug.
Just above you can see the planned visitors center.

A more recent photo but it has changed since. The visitors center is on the right hand side above the bridge. 

95 runs along the Colorado River for a while through beautiful landscape covered in ATV trails. Lots of people were out recreating in their Jeeps, ATVs, side-by-sides and boats. Seemed like everyone had a boat or an ATV. My kind of place.

 After Parker, the road starts to straighten out and then turns south and runs to Quartzsite on I-10. We had Sunday lunch in a little dinner. The food wasn't that good but the pie ala mode was. 

The countryside went from rocky and hilly to sandy and flat. Occasionally a saguaro popped up. I missed seeing those guys.
We settled for the evening at Lake Martinez Recreational Area Campground. It belongs to the Marine Corps and is military only part of the Yuma Proving Grounds. It was seventeen a night for water and electric. It was secluded and beautiful. We were treated to a beautiful sunset over the blue waters.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Going to Lake Havasu

10/22 The day was bright and clear and we loaded up and got rolling about ten o'clock. We went north back to Flagstaff and then west on I-40. Of course we did a few detours onto Route 66.

 It was somewhere past this point on I-40 that I was trying to pass a semi and his nose was about the rear wheels on the trailer. I saw a cop on the left side with his lights on and I couldn't get over so I tapped the brakes but wasn't going to slow much. After glancing in the mirror to see where the semi was, I looked up to see a work truck stopped in the middle of the left lane. I slammed on the brakes but knew I would never stop in time and I couldn't move right because of the semi so I turned the wheel to left and thanked God for a wide stone shoulder because we buzzed that guy doing sixty on the shoulder. So many things could have gone wrong but we passed by the truck and came back on the highway. The semi had moved all the way over to the right shoulder but I couldn't see that in the mirror and didn't have time to look. The cop didn't come after me and hopefully he understood what was happening. He had some good dash cam video to show the guys back at the office.
So we cruised on down the highway pumped on adrenaline. Eventually I needed to get off the road and what better place to stop that in Seligman, AZ at the Road Kill Cafe. (You kill it, we grill it). It beat lunch meat sandwiches, again (ugh).

 We turned on AZ 95 down to Lake Havasu City. I haven't been here in twenty years the last time was to watch the Jet Ski World Finals in 1996.
Waving at you!

We settled into Campbell Cove RV park and watched the sunset.
 Friday we took the day off to soak up the sun and dry out from all the cool temperatures and rain. It was in the eighties and sunny. Beautiful weather. I saw on the internet that Wolf creek Pass had snow and the plows had been called out. We timed our trip through there just right.We're not looking forward to the cold when we go back home for the holidays but it will be good to spread out and spend time with friends and family.
Saturday was another leisure day and we took a tour of the London Bridge. This bridge originally spanned the river Thames. In 1964 Robert McCulloch bought the old bridge which was replaced with the present one in London, had it disassembled and brought back to the US where he used it to span a canal that he dug making Pittsburgh Point into an island. It was a gimmick to sell real estate for the new community that McCulloch was building called Lake Havasu City.

 The canal is a popular place to park your boat and spend time watching others pass and catch up with the neighbors. This is one of the epicenters of the hot boat movement and there are boats and boat builders everywhere. I was drooling over the boats. I missed mine

 We drove around Pittsburgh Island. There are 18, 1/3 scale replica lighthouses around Lake Havasu that imitate lighthouses on the east and west coasts and the great lakes. These we installed as a safety measure to make night boating on Lake Havasu a little safer.