Sunday, November 18, 2012

Odometer 25574 Trip 230 Yuma, AZ Sunday November 18, 2012 This post includes two stops. First day took us almost to Parker, AZ and today we rolled into Yuma. We had the idea of stopping at Buckskin Mountain State Park just north of Parker. Some years back we stayed at Cattail Cove State Park, closer to Lake Havasu City, but along the same stretch of the Colorado river, and we enjoyed that stay- So… why not? The weather was perfect, and the park was very nice. We checked in and set up in a river-view spot.
The lake is the reservoir above Parker Dam and it reminds me a lot of the reservoir we used to have above Savage Rapids, near Rogue River. After lunch, we pressed on toward Quartzsite. The road from Buckskin, through Parker follows the river and each turn gave us a glimpse of the Colorado River. As we left Parker we entered the Colorado River Indian Reservation. The highway turns east and then south, which keeps it out of view of the river, At the intersection of 95 south and Interstate 10 I wanted to visit the small town of Quartzite. I really wanted to stay overnight in Quartzite and cruise the huge flea market that runs there every winter. We passed through here in February of 2009 and I marveled at the thousands of items and the 100's of tents and bazaars, but back then we were in a time crunch and couldn't tarry long. This time it would be different- or so I thought. When we arrived I saw that we were much too early and I was told that things wouldn't really get going here until January. There were only a handful of places set-up and it took about an hour to see it all. The area around Quartszite is unique in that is is the only place in Arizona where the BLM will let you buy a permit to camp (boondock) in the desert for an unlimited amount of time. All other BLM lands will allow you to camp for up to 14 days. On our way out of town we saw quite a few RVers taking the challenge and setting up camp in the desert on both sides of the highway. About 30 miles north of Yuma we entered the Yuma Proving Grounds. Signs on both sides of the road warned us not to leave the highway! As most of you already know the Proving Ground is the military testing area for long range artillery, aircraft target acquisition equipment, armor, and wheeled, and tracked vehicles. What you may not know is that the area used to be much larger than it is now. In 1942 General Patton chose the area from Pomona, California 350 miles eastward to Tuscon, Arizona (18,000 square miles) as the California-Arizona Maneuver Area or CAMA. Over 1 million soldiers from more than 400 units have trained here over the years.
Yuma is a city of 93,000. Pretty big by our standards, and the winter season makes it prime time here, so we searched the camp directory for a reasonably priced park to stay in. Joan found us a space at the Friendly Acres RV Park. This place has about 10 short term sites and all the rest are for permanent or semi-permanent residents that either live here full time or return every winter. Job one, when we got set-up at our site was to go out and purchase a new water pressure regulator, because someone who will remain nameless, left his attached to the hose bibb in Las Vegas.

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