Friday, March 6, 2015

Yuma, AZ

We traveled from Ajo, AZ to Yuma March 1st going north on Hwy. 85 and west on Hwy. 8 though 157 miles of desert! Yuma is in an interesting location in that it lies at the border of Baja California (i.e. Mexico.), and the states of Arizona and California! I was concerned with the impact that being so close to Mexico might have on Yuma. Yuma didn't seem to have the feel of a border community at all and we felt safe in even the more impoverished areas of the city. Having researched Los Algodones, Mexico prior to our trip, we discovered that it has a very high concentration of medical services that U.S. and Canadian citizens take advantage of. One website joking said there is a higher percentage of Americans and Canadians in Los Algodones, Mexico than there are citizens of Mexico!
Yuma has a thriving historic downtown and a long business strip that runs to the edge of the city. Note the old downtown is next to 1st Street. We stayed at Riverfront RV Park just a short distance from the downtown area and next to the Colorado River. We felt very safe during our 3 night stay. We have friends from our years of living in Idaho that Winter across the river from Yuma in Winterhaven, California.
One of the main tourist attractions in Yuma is the historic Yuma Territorial Prison. This is looking toward the guard tower and across the Colorado River to California. There is also a historic fort in Quartermaster Depot State Park.
Yuma provides several pretty green grass parks, which I'm sure are appreciated by a community surrounded by desert. The bridge to the forefront is the Ocean to Ocean Highway bridge and provides passage across the Colorado River between Arizona and California at the historic Yuma Crossing for vehicles and foot traffic. The darker bridge in the background is a railway bridge. It passes right by the historic prison, hence possibly the movie title "The 3:10 to Yuma"? It's been a lot of years since we've watched that movie.  I think we should watch it again! 
Once you enter California you will be required to stop at an inspection station and may be asked to declare what fruits, vegetables, and animals you are bringing into the state. We were only asked about fruits and vegetables and so declared a bag of potatoes. We got a look like we were being jerks and the guard only asked further about apples and citrus fruits. I had read that potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are admissible, but may be subject to inspection. I've read that there aren't any regulations on taking your personal dogs or cats into California, but if bringing in dogs you are advised to have their rabies vaccines certificates available. We weren't asked about pets at all. The main pets of interest are ferrets, gerbils, sugar gliders, and parrots. They may require a special permit. Transporting of firewood, houseplants, and hay can also be subject to inspection. You might want to call the California Food and Agriculture Department ahead of time depending on what you are planning to bring through the check station.   
On the California side of the Colorado River are huge sand dunes and wide open desert spaces for 4 wheeling!
There are, also, casinos for gambling and entertainment!