Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Day Is IT? What Time Is IT?!

Bouncing back and forth between time zones can do quite a number on a person.  Between watches, cell phones, computers and the differences in sunsets and rises by only crossing the line from California to Arizona and back again we’ve finally given up on knowing what day or time it really is.  Occasionally, we actually do lose a day here or there and are quite surprised to find out that one went missing.  While staying at American Girl Mine our cell phone couldn’t quite figure out if we were in CA or AZ and at any given time we would be catching a tower from a different time zone and not even know it until later when the sunset or sunrise just seemed a bit ‘off’.  Not that we’re complaining.  There is something nice about not knowing what day or time it is.  While in Yuma, our latest citified stop over, we took advantage and enjoyed an even slower pace than usual.  We quite enjoyed Yuma and did our best to get a small bit of just about everything the town has to offer.  Beginning with the first thing we found… West Wetlands Park. 

IMG_0606We spent a few afternoons at this beautiful park.  The lake above is stocked with trout and bass and the shores around it are stocked with hopefully fisher-people. Remote control sailboat folk also gather here to have fun.IMG_0620We lay for a while under Palo Verde Trees to watch the hummingbirds play in the garden designed just for them.
One of the locals.
Jane, the bees LOVE these flowers but we haven’t found out their name yet.
IMG_0605Annie’s Solar Panel = 135 watts.  Yuma’s Solar Garden = 121 KILOWATTS.
Alright, Yuma.  You win that one.  But we’ll be back!
The opening of the Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge in 1915 made it possible to cross the lower Colorado river.
Prior to that another 1200 miles had to be forged to get across.  Just under the bridge is a wonderful walking path.
East Wetlands Park is yet another of the reclaimed land restorations taking place in Yuma.
There is a trail walk for about three miles along the Colorado River.
Cottonwoods line the Colorado and make an incredible sound when the breeze blows.

For our ‘free stay’ RV friends out there, Yuma has one Cracker Barrel (which after our first and last night there Nicole nicknamed the Roadway Inn… if you’ve ever stayed at one and took note of their location and noise level you’ll understand).  It also has three Wal-marts in different parts of town and based on where we were exploring we took advantage of their friendly toward RV’ers hospitality.  It was at one of them that we spotted a van with a top identical to our Annie.  We were so excited that we actually stalked the driver from Wal-mart all the way to the oil change place before we could talk to her.  Boy were we glad that we did!  Linda, also known as Tex or Texas is a remarkable woman of seventy-ish or so who has had a stroke and was told that she would not walk or talk much less drive her 40 foot RV again.  So, ‘forget you doctors’ she says, teaches herself how to walk, talk and then downsizes to a van and off she goes.  We were so inspired by her, excited to have met Annie’s half-sister and spent the next day with Linda walking around the outdoor market place and hearing tell of all of the great places to park for free.  
Turtle-Top is the name of Linda’s rig.

When we could pull ourselves away from the beautiful parks and fresh markets in town we did our best to explore some of the free or donation based set ups.  The first was the Moody Demonstration Garden where you can walk through a fully labeled garden of desert plants. 
Nicole was busy taming wild animals so we didn’t get many shots of this area but it was very well laid out and we learned the names of many of the local plants we’d been seeing for a few months now.
At the Yuma Conservation Garden we were greeted by Karen and enjoyed a wonderful talk with her about the gardens,
the history of Yuma and full-time rv’ing.  We also learned from one little girl there that when you are done feeding the ducks in the pond you simply toss the bucket in too because after all when there’s no food in it, what good is it?!
This guy was all up in arms about something!
A turtle resides at the Garden.  He wasn’t allowing photos the day we were there so we got these
guys to stand in for him.  We kept telling them to just act ‘natural’ in front of the camera but they were a little stiff.
Un-screwed bean.
Wanna hug THIS Teddy Bear?
The guy who named this one has quite a sense of humor!
Crochet anyone?
YOU try to tell a cactus not to point THAT finger!
Cousin IT.
The Duck Pond.
Apparently our bubbly personalities were of no interest since we carried no edible gifts.

Yuma is an enjoyable city rich with history and loads of outdoor activities most of which we still have not had opportunity to explore.  Since we know we’ll get back there one day in the near or distant future it is nice to know there is more to learn about and experience in the area.  We spent all total about a week in Yuma exploring their gardens, parks, local fresh markets, historical landmarks and other offerings before deciding to head out for uncharted waters.  We had heard tale of a lake / pond called Fortuna and thought it worth a run.  Following written directions, we were quite surprised to realize that it was only three miles from town and got a kick out of yet another of our ‘long drives’ to our new destination.  
A room with a view.  Ain’t life grand.
A morning visitor eating breakfast in front of our site.

While at Fortuna we met a super fun couple named Dale and Gayle (say that five times fast, we dare you) and hit it off with them like we were old friends from the start.  Gayle is a wonderfully creative artist and we were impressed by all of her innovative designs.  Dale is a rockhound and offered to take us hunting for fire agate the next day.
Our fearless leader, Dale, assumed the position.
And so did everyone else!
This is pretty much what we all looked like the rest of the day.

We learned a lot on our first ever rockhound outing. The next afternoon Dale showed Nicole how to cut open and polish a geode and one of the rocks that we had found on our hunt. 
The outside.
And yet another great example of why you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

Just before we headed to Fortuna we’d heard word of a bunch of rubber tramps who live in vans that were gathering in the desert about 60 miles away.  The opportunity to meet them, get ideas and show off our girl was one that we just couldn’t pass up.  So, after only a few days by the water we headed for dry land once again! 
We’ll let you know how it goes.