After leaving Anza Borrego, we headed over to Yuma, another place we had never been. We were going not only to check out this snowbird capital, but also to look at a RV oriented property which a fellow blogger had for sale. We were going to be “camping” on the property for a few days while getting the lay of the land.
Actually, Yuma exceeded our expectations. Almost from the moment we left Anza Borrego, we were in serious agricultural country all the way to just west of Yuma, where there are really serious sand dunes. But once we got to Yuma, the agriculture continued big time mostly on the north side of Interstate 8.
As we investigated further during our visit, we discovered that this entire region and California’s Imperial Valley, supplies winter vegetables, particularly lettuce, for much of the nation.
We also discovered that this is a date growing area, much like the Cochella Valley south of Palm Springs. In fact, we kind of stumbled on Martha’s Garden, a date oriented store and deli right in the middle of its own date grove and date processing operation. We had heard that the deli included an exceptional tuna sandwich on their menu that included cranberries and walnuts. So, we made a point to visit Martha’s Garden. Although the location is out of the way in Yuma’s agricultural area, and not “mainstream”, we GPS’d the address and made the trip. We were not disappointed.
Yuma has a lot of history relating to development of the Southwest. One of the big surprises for us was the fact that Yuma served as a sea port of sorts by use of paddlewheeler river boats. All manner of goods would be sent from and to Los Angeles and San Diego by clipper ship all the way around Baja California. The ships would make port at the mouth of the Colorado River at the Mexican town of Port Isabel, where cargo would be transferred to river boats for further travel up the Colorado River to Yuma. Who knew?
We certainly got the “lay of the land” during our four day visit. We found that Yuma is spread out west to east along Interstate 8. The Colorado River and “Old Town” Yuma are at the west end. Much of the new commercial development is in the middle (east of downtown), and the newer residential development is further east in what is known as the Foothills area. We were particularly impressed with the Yuma Palms outdoor shopping mall, as well as the Yuma Regional Medical Center which is currently undergoing a significant expansion. Even so, the existing portion was substantial.
A first-time visitor cannot help but be amazed at the snowbird influence in Yuma. The area is awash in large RV parks, and much of the residential communities are RV-oriented. It is not unusual in the Foothills area to see $200-$400,000 homes mixed with developed lots containing Park Model homes or casitas, almost all having RVs situated with full hook-ups.
Another thing we noticed while spending time in Yuma, particularly coming from “let us gouge you” California, was this…
And, of course, you can always expect spectacular sunrises and sunsets in Arizona. This particular one may have been the best sunset we have ever seen. And we have seen a lot. The colors were simply unbelievable, and the photo does not do it justice. Click on it to see a larger image. Amazing!
In closing out our visit, while taking a relaxing drive through some of the farmland right in Yuma, we came across this “equipment” museum kind of out in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, it was closed, so we were not able to go inside. But based on what we COULD see from outside, it looked quite interesting. Maybe next time.