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Friday, February 17, 2017

FINDING NEW WAYS FOR THE DESERT TO KILL ME

So one day while I was hiking on the desert I felt a tap on my shoulder.
When I turned around there stood this giant scorpion preparing to attack.
I promptly broke out my trusty Swiss Army Knife, yelled ON GUARD
and the battle was joined.
     After 17 days of boondocking on the desert we decided to live the life of luxury in one of those upscale RV resorts in Yuma, Arizona.  Since we had a coupon for 3 nights free, why not!  Full hook-ups, long showers and easy access to grocery stores felt pretty good.  Yuma is on the border of California, Arizona and Mexico and, in my mind, had one of those western town reputations established from watching 1950's movies.  Very little of that western influence remains as the town is a massive "snow-bird" destination.  We quickly learned to avoid any store on senior discount day. Those geezers can get meaner than a nest of hornets if you get between them and their discounted Geritol!
Sugarloaf Mountain, Yuma, AZ.
I took an excellent mountain bike ride
around this interesting desert mountain.
Lute's Casino, Yuma, AZ.
     The most fascinating historical artifact in Yuma is the Yuma Territorial Prison.  The prison was opened in 1876 and remained a prison until 1909.  Thereafter, it was used as a High School (hence the Yuma High "Criminals" or "Crims" moniker), a hospital, and hangout for the homeless, before it became a state park.
Yuma Territorial Prison.
The "Dark Cell" at Yuma Territorial Prison.
The only light or ventilation into this cell came from a
small hole in the ceiling.  For fun, the guards would
drop scorpions and snakes into the ceiling hole.
     How the prison came to be located in Yuma involved political shenanigans of the highest magnitude.  At one point Arizona legislators decided to assign the towns to house 1) the state capitol-Prescott; 2) the state university-Tucson; and 3) the state prison-Phoenix.  Before voting on the law to create the new locations the legislators decided to take a break for lunch.  As they filed out, one sneaky legislator remained behind.  Once everybody left, he crossed out Phoenix from the law and wrote in Yuma for the prison.  After lunch the new law was immediately voted on and passed without anybody noticing the alteration.  Hence, Yuma ended up with the prison.  Who could have imagined a politician being so dishonest?!!!
A typical School Superintendent.
Sounds like a very lovely lady to date.
These 2 bats are the only current residents
of the "Dark Cell" at Yuma Territorial Prison.
     While we were in Yuma we enjoyed watching the Patriots win that fantastic Super Bowl game.  I have to admit that at some point I became a doubter but, to her credit, Nancy remained optimistic throughout.  I hope the Patriot haters weren't too deflated with the result!
     Our next location turned out to be one of our most favorite winter destinations--Borrego Springs, California.  Borrego Springs is a desert town tucked into a beautiful valley below a mountain range. It is dry, warm and actually has some greenery.  Any place where water can be found is identified by a grove of California Fan Palm Trees.
Palm Canyon
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
California Fan Palm Trees
found in Anza-Borrego State Park.
     The prevailing desert plant in the Borrego Springs area is the Ocotillo, a unique plant, which with very little precipitation will turn green and sprout leaves hiding its deadly, 1-inch, needlelike thorns--OUCH!  Borrego Springs is up-scale, with a tiny downtown area, several resorts, and a few restaurants.  There is very little to do here except hike, jeep, and relax.  We liked the place so much that we ended up staying almost 2 weeks and are currently considering a longer stay.
An ocotillo.
Hidden Falls
Hellhole Canyon
Anza-Borrego State Park
      The town is most noted for its desert sculptures created by Ricardo Breceda.  There are over 30 giant metal sculpture spread out all over the desert depicting dinosaurs, camels, sloths, dragons, a sea serpent, elephants, horses, mammoths,  big horn sheep, and the list goes on.  My favorite was the sea serpent which appears to dive through the sand, travel under the road and reappear on the other side.
For Kathy & David Scranton
and
Dee Dee & Tony Sparks.
Happy Jeeping!
Borrego Springs sculpture.
Borrego Springs sculpture.
Borrego Springs sculpture.
Why do we always end up in these predicaments?
     Our favorite day trip was to the town of Julian, California.  Julian is a tourist town on the western side of the mountains so it gets a lot more rain--enough rain to grow apples.  As a result, Julian has become known as the apple pie capitol of California.  Driving the mountain passes to get to Julian is reward enough, but a Julian apple pie certainly "takes-the-cake!"  Yummm!
The Sea Serpent is crossing a local highway.
Borrego Springs sculptures.
Borrego Springs sculptures.
Nancy is up for a little gold panning.
     On our return trip from Julian, I had Nancy drop me at the top of a mountain pass for a little hiking.  The trail was supposed to be only 6 miles and all downhill so why not stretch my legs a little. True to form, I became instantly lost.  Instead of following a hiking/horse riding trail, I descended into some unknown canyon which headed south instead of east.
Story of my life!
Nonetheless, I was determined to get hiking instead of aimlessly searching for a trail so on I went. The canyon dropped close to 3,000 feet in elevation and mandated that I scramble over huge boulders as the canyon cascaded down to the desert.  Often I had to route-find around 15'-20' drops.  My only comfort was following previous tracks in the sand.  Unfortunately, the tracks were not human but rather were the tracks of Big Horn Sheep.  Finally, I found myself exiting the canyon onto a paved road.  Yay!  There was one minor problem; the canyon I was supposed to hike exited only 2 miles from the campground.  My canyon deposited me more than 12 miles from the campground. Sooooooo; NAN HELP--I REALLY NEED A BEER!!!  It was Verizon & Nancy to the rescue and, in retrospect, my misguided adventure turned out to be an absolute blast!  "I love it when a plan comes together!"
Borrego Badlands
Borrego Badlands
Nancy peeking around a canyon wall in The Slot.
Anza-Borrego State Park
The Slot
Anza-Borrego State Park
The Slot is an easy 1 mile
hike through a narrow slot canyon.
     Sadly, our time in Borrego Springs is coming to an end and it is on to new adventures.  We will definitely return to this wonderful place.  But for now--I wonder what is around the next corner........
From Lute's Casino in Yuma, AZ.
     CHEERS!

     Oh, BTW: Congratulations to the UCONN Women's Basketball Team on their 100th victory without a loss! This year's group is now 25-0 with the most difficult schedule in women's D-1 basketball and they are winning despite the fact that they have no All-Americans on the team. WOW!!!
Dinner anyone?

3 comments:

  1. You are certainly right about shopping in Yuma. We made the mistake of going to Walmart there and were totally frustrated with the speed of many of the shoppers!

    We really enjoyed the prison tour, so much history there.

    Wished we could have gotten together again when we were in Quartzsite, hopefully next time we meet up there will not be so many people around so we can sit around a campfire and catch up.

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  2. What a wonderful blog and such great pictures. I am so glad you always make your way back to Nan, after your scary adventures.

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