Yuma is a great place to escape the winter cold. In fact, thousands of “Snowbirds” come here every year to do just that. And if you do come, bring your RV. If you don’t have one, I’m sure they could hook you up at one of the many dealerships in no time flat. Driving into Yuma we were amazed at the huge number of RV parks and the rows after rows of RV’s- they have ten million RV parks here with a billion spaces each. I’m exaggerating, obviously- but it’s probably like nine and a half million, or something like that.
Yuma is a neat town, but the real reason we came here is to see Trav’s Aunt Donna. Aunt Donna has lived here for several years (although she escapes north in the summer to avoid the triple digit temperatures), and was an outstanding tour guide for us! We were only here for a couple of days, so she took us on the whirlwind tour.
Knowing a local has perks! We were able to get the scoop on the local happenings and history, took all the back roads, and of course, got to know where in town to go to get all the best deals and to see the sites.
Our first day out we hit the Yuma swap meet- which is humongous! It took us a few hours to see everything there. After that we visited the camel farm- not something you typically see, so we wanted to check it out. The farm has lots of animals, not just camels, and they do a lot of nativity scenes in the area this time of year. We also visited a couple of state parks, and the Ocean to Ocean Highway bridge (built in 1915 as the final link in a highway stretching from the Atlantic to Pacific Coast- before this bridge was built, you couldn’t drive coast to coast).
After all our touring, Lute’s Casino was the perfect spot to stop and rest. It’s one of those “local joints” that you’re lucky to come across on accident. We didn’t need luck, though. We were with a local so went straight to it. Lots of kitsch, lots of attitude, dark and slightly menacing in the way you want a place to be when you just want a beer with no frills. Actually, Donna and I had a beer. Trav had a root beer float (frill boy).
Our last day we headed south to visit Los Algodones, Mexico. The vendors there were very friendly and offered to sell us everything dirt cheap, just today, because we were their very special amigos. Seeing that we weren’t going to buy their wares, many jokingly changed their tactics and offered Travis a haircut for a small fee (his hair has been getting a little long), to which he would joke back, “I don’t have a job, so don’t need one and couldn’t afford it anyway.”
A lot of people here will drive close to the Mexican border, park, and walk over (which is what we did). The border towns there know what people are after, so besides the typical maracas and poncho stuff, they have medicines, booze, eyeglasses and even dentistry at very low prices. Discount dentistry seems to be a huge business. Walking down the streets, every third vendor would say. “Hey man, need a dentist? No need for an appointment, we have an opening right now.” Yes, nothing inspires trust like a dentist with no patients. We skipped the dentist. Instead we had some great Mexican food for lunch and crossed back into the states without incident.
Next week Aunt Donna does her Christmas trip north and we must move on as well. Trav tells me there’s a huge computer museum in San Diego- oh boy, I must not faint from the anticipation.
We’ve really enjoyed our time here in Yuma- thanks Aunt Donna for your hospitality! It’s been great to see family!