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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Sea and a Pile of Trash

 We thought we would explore the area again today. We ended up in Niland California at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.  Originally named Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge in 1930 it was renamed to honor the areas late congressional representative in 1998. The area was originally 37,600 acres but much of that has been inundated as the Sea has enlarged, only about 2,000 manageable acres remain. 

The Salon Sea 

Very large California Fan Palm

From the wildlife preserve we continued north through Niland to check out a RV Resort, Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort, that had been highly recommended. The story on this Resort is that hot springs had been discovered after WWII by construction workers who recognized the therapeutic and healing effects of the artesian mineral water and spread the word. By the late 50’s people from all over the country were coming to camp by the pools.

After a quick tour of the park we headed back toward the town of Niland. Just east of town on government land on the site of an old military installation is the infamous “Slab City”. Slab City is both the strangest and most disgusting place we have ever seen. The first place you come to is Salvation Mountain. This is a work in progress and just keeps growing. Other than the large main painted hill the new addition is man made out of hay and mud plastered on logs, sticks, garbage, ladders and who knows what else. I’ll just post the pictures and let them tell the story. The rest of slab city is nothing but a garbage pile in the desert. It is beyond description and it might be best to Google it to learn more.

Salvation Mountain

A couple of the vehicles parked at the foot of Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain 

Entering the addition

One of many side rooms 

Continuing through the maze 

Another room

and another 

and another 

Shows some of the garbage that goes into the structure

 What would the place be without a shoe tree

Once we got back to Yuma we stopped for dinner at the Quechan Casino and enjoyed the Prime Rib special.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Yuma Territorial Prison

One of the items we purchased in Quartzsite at a RV accessory supplier was this sun shade that attaches to the awning. This actually works better than I thought it would because it is very hard to see through from the outside thus giving us a nice almost private screen room, I say almost because there are no sides. Anyway it keeps the area under the awning completely shaded.

Our new sun privacy shade

You can see out but not in

Looking east from our spot

We toured the Yuma Territorial Prison today. The prison was in operation from 1876 until 1909.  A total of 3,069 prisoners lived there including 29 women during this time.

Prison enterance

Front gate

Guard Tower on top of the prisons original water supply

A look into the cell area

Up to six prisons shared a cell with nothing but a bible and a pot for a toilet 

Entry to the dark cell (for incorrigible prisoners) 

Entering the dark cell 

 Dark cell

Looking out from the dark cell

looking at some cells from the yard

Here are just a few of the female prisoners that lived here.

Looking from the guard tower

View from the guard tower overlooking the Colorado river

 Just down the road is St. Thomas Mission

St Thomas Mission 

View from the mission parking lot

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Military Memories, Date Shakes and Beautiful Weather

Yuma Proving Grounds Main Gate

Friday March 21st

We left Quartzsite this morning and ended up at Imperial Dam Recreational Area. This is BLM land and contains six or seven different areas where camping in self-contained vehicles is allowed. We were at Squaw Lake campground which has fresh water, flush restrooms and showers.  Squaw Lake is part of the backwater area of the Colorado River and it is very popular with fisherman, recreational boaters and canoe and kayak enthusiasts. As fate would have it the day we checked in so did the Phoenix Paddlers Club. So it was busier than normal.

Squaw Lake Campground
Squaw Lake Picnic Area
Back Waters of Squaw Lake
Squaw Lake

Back Water Area of Squaw Lake
Squaw Lake Campground
Squaw Lake
Squaw Lake

 On the drive in we passed the Yuma Proving  Grounds, this area at 1,300 acres is one of the world’s largest military installations. There is a large display of armament outside the main gates that was interesting. I was able to find the equipment that was attached to the unit I was in. My memories, fortunately, were all good ones but I would imagine that is not the case for all who visit this site.  

Saturday March 22nd

We drove around the lake to check out a very nice RV Resort as a possible next stop for us but it was a bit out of our league. We also drove to Imperial Date Gardens, and had one of their famous date milk shakes, I didn’t know what to expect but it was very good. The area is very pretty as well with all the date trees.

Date Farm

 Date Trees

 Old homestead that I thought would make a nice picture
Laguna Dam first Dam constructed on the Colorado River

The evening was spent visiting with a RV couple that was parked next to us. They were Germans and lived in the small town next to the one that I was   stationed in while in the service. They keep a very nice truck and 5th wheeler stored in California and then they travel around the US when they visit here every year for five or six month’s Very interesting people.

Sunday March 23rd

We left Squaw Lake and headed south toward Yuma. We decided to get a place with electric again so we can charge everything up again and find a place that has phone and Wi-Fi service; we have been without both for the last couple of days. Whatever did we do before we had cell phones and the Internet. We are at Fortuna De Oro RV Resort in the foothills area of Yuma. We checked in for the week. The weather is approaching the 90’s this week so after a week of this we may be ready to move on.