This post covers our 6 months in Yuma, from October 3 to April 15, 2010
Arriving in Yuma, we parked in our Camp Host site from last season, but the next morning, I was offered an office position next door in the sister park, Desert Paradise, so we moved from C-16 (the camp host site) to B-16, one street over. I soon grew to love my new job, and working with the Assistant Manager of the two parks, Sherry.
A party is always held on Halloween. This year I attended the party at both Desert Paradise and Cactus Gardens. I didn’t get any photos at DP, but we really enjoyed the Horse Racing Bingo. The regular Bingo at Cactus seemed boring by contrast, but we had fun seeing all the costumes. Bernice took a prize for hers. New Camp Hosts, Carol and Lauren came as opposites, the Devil and an Angel. We teased Lauren about the appropriateness of their costumes.
While in Hungry Horse, Montana we met new friends Ron and Anne. From New York, they are new RVers taking an extended cross country trip. They surprised us by coming to visit for a week.
We enjoyed many outings with them, including lunch at Golden Corral and then a tour of the Yuma Territorial Prison,
a drive to the Tumco Historical Mine,
and square dancing.
A few days after Ron and Anne left, good friends Glenn and Donna arrived from Texas. They parked across the park street from us for a month. We enjoyed lots of good times with them, including Thanksgiving at Cactus Gardens.
Later that evening, we played Pegs and Jokers with Donna and Glenn, Bunny and Wes and Bernice and Hoyt. Christmas is always a fun time at the park. I decorated out front, as do many others. Unfortunately, a wind bearing gusts up to 90 mph hit a few days later, and my decorating had to be done all over again. At least our damage was trivial…some in the park lost their awnings.
On a particularly pretty day in January, we went for a hike along the Yuma wetlands area, walking along the canal to the ‘Ocean to Ocean’ bridge. The bridge, built in 1914, was a critical link joining the Atlantic to the Pacific with a highway. At the time, it provided the only safe vehicle crossing of the Colorado River for 1200 miles. It has been renovated and can still be driven across.
The big February event each year is the Square Dance Festival, drawing 700 dancers or more. This year, the Diamond Jubilee, celebrated 60 years of square dancing in Yuma. Here are a couple of pictures just to give you an idea of the size of the 3 day event.
One of the more unique experiences this year was attending a Mexican Rodeo. One of the dentists in Los Algodones sponsors a Rodeo on his ranch 10 miles out of town each year. There was a large crowd waiting on the bus to take us from town to the ranch, so many people, in fact, that they had to use 4 bus trips instead of one. Once we left the town, the countryside looked much as it does around Yuma, mostly farm fields. Even the youngsters take part. The competitions were different from that of US rodeos. Here, the riders were competing to see who could stop the quickest from a hard gallop.
The best part of the rodeo was the performance by the young ladies. Eight riders wove in and out while their horses ran at top speed. Their choreography and speed was amazing. We were glad we attended the rodeo, for the exposure to the cultural differences, but overall, decided the rodeo was too abusive to the animals used. In the US rodeos, cattle are primarily used, but in this rodeo, horses were used extensively. It was disturbing to see horses thrown by lassoing their feet.
We made several trips to Los Algodones this winter, for dental work, eyeglasses and of course the shrimp tacos and new this year, milkshakes – thick, creamy with lots of Mexican vanilla. Lines at customs were long each time, sometimes taking 2 hours to get through, but at least the waiting area has been improved, with a framework that was covered to provide shade as the temperatures warmed.
J. D.’s mother visited Yuma for the first time. Wanting to show her some of the countryside, we took her on a picnic out in the desert at an oasis we discovered a couple years ago. For a slideshow of the picnic click on this picture:
Just north of Yuma on SR 95 is Castle Dome, the site of many mines in years past. Now part of a National Refuge, KOFA, Castle Dome Mine Museum provides a step back in time. Ron and I enjoyed browsing the many buildings.
For pictures from that day click on this photo:
Earlier in the season, Ron enlarged the flower bed around our tree. I filled it with petunias, but a few weeks later, the bunnies decided they needed a buffet dinner more than I needed flowers, and leveled it. It was too late to replant, but my above ground planters did well.
Leroy and Suzanne hosted a mini reunion for those of our Mainstream Square Dance Class who still dance together. We enjoyed a fun evening of visiting and reminiscing.
Palm Canyon, the most visited site in the KOFA Wildlife Refuge, is a narrow, sheltered ravine which is the last significant location in Arizona where palm trees grow in their natural habitat. A hike up the canyon provided the perfect setting to try out my new camera purchased that week. For a slideshow of the hike, click on the photo.
Most Sunday mornings found us attending services here in the park.Park services end with the last Sunday in March, so we celebrated Easter with George and Liz at their church in Yuma, Faith Baptist, along with Hoyt and Bernice, and capped it off with lunch at Golden Corral. It seems time has flown more than usual this season, and soon all the snowbirds were planning their migration north.
Cactus Gardens actually held two Farewell Parties this year. The first had great entertainment from the Yearys, out of Branson, but the company sponsoring the dinner didn’t come through with the promised meal. Lois, our manager, arranged for a second meal the next week to make amends. Sherry’s husband, Don, provided the music for this event.
My last day of work will be on Wednesday, and we’ll leave Yuma on Thursday. Looking back at this post, I know we’ve had some great times, but where has the past 6 months gone???