Monday, March 22, 2010

Where in the World is Yuma, Arizona?

First let me give credit where credit is due...

To Cat @ Juggling Act of Life for writing a wonderful post about where she lives
and introducing me to Blog-Trotting.

A place where you can visit many corners of the world
without leaving your home.
As her banner says, "A Virtual Travel Blog!"

After you read about Yuma, AZ,
head on over to see other destinations and explore the world,
right from the comfort of you home.

We have not been a Yuman all our life...but we are definitely Yuman now! We moved here in 1994, with 13 year old twins and a 15 year old daughter. bet it was. However, we believe God had our destination planned before we ever knew about it. With Him, the growth our family received through the move, glorified His work. That story for another time, but for now, let's explore Yuma...

Since Arizona Mamma @ Our Daze in the Desert covered the state, let me tell you about our neck of the woods desert.
Yuma is at the very bottom of the state, the very bottom of the Colorado River, and at times at the bottom of one's list of places to visit. It is right smack dab on the border of Arizona, California and Mexico. All you have to do is drive across the 4th Avenue Bridge and you're in California. Drive another 10 minutes west on the `8' to Andrade,California where the Algodones border crossing is and you're in Mexico.

Port of Entry, Los Algodones, Mexico, Near Yuma
(Photo courtesy of Webshots)

Or in my case, drive to the end of our street (8th Street) and you could be in Mexico if this old bridge/dam thing across the Colorado was passable. 

Fortunately it's not and for good reasons. One, it would make our street very busy. Second, it would require security like a port of entry. I don't see it ever happening and really am thankful our dream of easier access would be nothing more then a nghtmare.

This is our veiw of Mexico from the end of our street.

Of course the Border Patrol drives the river's edge and the canal regularly 
for unlawful entries that get past that LARGE fence barrier.

There have been many nights we have had them on our property searching for them as well. With 3 BIG dogs in our yard, we have never had them come any closer then the neighbors pastures or the levi road. We have had search lights from helicopters shine down on us. One time, while watching the 'Grand' Bug, the dog's became excited. I looked out the bedroom window to see why. What the hay? I grabbed Bug and went outside to see a white van abandoned with all their doors open in our back property. There were 3 border cars behind it, but no one was around. Then up the drive 2 more cars came. I don't remember what our words of exchange were but I do remember taking Bug back inside. I kept watch from that window of the action. Imagine my surprise when a LARGE bus back down our road into the yard. What was more surprising was the 20+ if not 30 kids were lead single file into the bus. Yes, they were kids, not one looked over the age of 18. And they came out of that van. They must have been sitting on each others laps or on the floor Who knows!

Back to Algodones, which is probably one of our favorite places to take our guest when they visit. We always take a picture of the group right inside the border crossing. These are a just a few of our visitors.

The sites, the color, the food, the pharmacy's, all attract so many people each year.
Don't forget to barter on the price. They will tell you they have Walmart prices or "it's almost free today". We like to take the price they gave, offer half, and when they come back with another price we go half way between ours and theirs.

Linda @ Arizona Skies has blogged about Algodones, so head on over to her and see more pictures and how she describes this amazing shopping experience. If you ever plan a trip there, remember you need a passport or border ID card to come back into the US.

San Luis Arizona has a border crossing to San Luis, Mexico, about 25 miles from Yuma. Rarely do we head that way. It's always really busy, not the best place to walk into and besides most visitor's prefer Algodones.

Back into Yuma, there is really a lot of history to be found. There are so many interesting things to see and do in our oasis in the desert

To learn more about Yuma's history head on over to They do a lot of work in restoring and preserving Yuma's Heritage.

Another source is in this book, The History of Yuma and the Territorial Prison

The Ocean to Ocean bridge was built to join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with a major highway over the Colorade River. It was built between Yuma, Arizona and Fort Yuma, California  at a cost of $76,000 and was dedicated in May 1915. The 336 ft. bridge is still in use today after being closed a number of years before being restored.

As you drive off the bridge, it drops you right into Old Town. This is were you will find Lutes Casino, though it is not a casino. It is the best eatery in town and holds an array of nostalgic items. This is a must see on anyones list when they visit Yuma.

Another of our favorite places to take visitor is the Yuma Territorial Prison. Unfortunately it is was scheduled for closing due to budget cuts. However, through fund raising and The Chain Gang there is hope it will remain open. They even began a national campaign, so if you want, spread the word by going to the link above. Every little bit helps.

UPDATE: As I was writing this an email came stating:

Subject: Yuma Community successful in keeping prison open

The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is announcing that we have reached our goal of raising $50,000 to keep the prison open. We will continue to support the Yuma Territorial Prison Chain Gangs and their fundraising efforts. Any money raised over the $50k will be used for programming, education, and much needed infrastructure needs. Please join us at the Pull Thru for the Prison in the parking lot of the Foothills Bank this Friday 11am-9pm. Thank you for helping to keep the prison open!

Another great experience is Yuma Proving Grounds. Not only do they test the many things needed to protect our country, they also have the Golden Knights training. Each year, they come to our great weather and put on awesome displays.

Recently built was a park for all ages. 110-acre city park that has a stocked pond for fishing, walking and equestrian trails, plus ramadas with tables for picnics and other gatherings.

When the park opened in 2007, residentss were able to buy paver's and pickets to help fund the construction. We had a picket of our 'Grands' at the time added to the fence and a paver. Everytime we go to the park, the paver is the one thing they will spend time looking for. Although they spelt Gabrielle without the 'e', when we have pickets made for the 'Grands' that have since arrived, we will inquire about having it fixed.

We also got a nice big shopping outdoor shopping mall. At first we thought "outside in Yuma?", but it actually turned out really nice and brought some really good stores to town.

There are a number of annual events happening in Yuma.

Each January we celebrates Lettuce Days. We grow, well not we - the farmers, grow a lot of it here. I mean A LOT of it.

These pickers were working the field down the street from our house.

After the lettuce comes the wheat and melons.

Yuma also grows cotton, corn, cabbage, and celery to name just a few.

March brings Midnight at the Osais and if you love old cars, you need to come to Yuma the first weekend of the month to see all these awesome cars. Friday of the show, there is a cruise where most of the cars do a parade around town. It's a 3 day event and to see all the cars it takes at least 2 of those days.

March also means MCAS Air Show and the Golden Knight even drop in. It is huge! It's been a while since we have gone to it. Now that we have 'Grands', we should make a point of heading out there this weekend.

The Yuma County Fair takes place in April. We love going out for the Destruction Derby...

As the Snowbird season winds down and the heat rises a lot of people head to the river for tubing, or to Fisher's Landing and Hidden Shores for boating. Unbelievably not something we do. We tend to head to cooler places like San Diego or the Napa Valley. We do have a great 4th of July celebration both at home and at the fair grounds where there is another destruction derby. It tends to be hot and sticky, go figure, and add that to the crowd of people and it is rather uncomfortable. We enjoy the fireworks from parking lots and canal roads. As the fair ground round up theirs, Cocopah is beginning theirs. Makes for a great spectacular night of fireworks in the sky.

In November, we have The Colorado River Crossing Hot Air Balloon Festival - presented by the Caballeros de Yuma. It's amazing to see all the balloons in such vibrant color float above the desert. They even fly right over our house if the winds are right. This is one event we have enjoyed since moving here. 

On Saturday night, they do the Desert Glow at the ball park.

From probably October to May the Imperial Sand Dunes become a city all of itself. Just minutes from Yuma, I would estimate about 50,000 people descend upon them over the Thanksgiving and New Year holidays. Each weekend you can see caravans heading out, coming from San Diego or the Phoenix area.

Did you know these movies were filmed in Yuma?

Star Wars (Special Edition)
George Lucas Film

In The Army Now 1994
Pauley Shore, Lori Petty

True Lies 1993

Stargate 1993
Kurt Russell, James Spader


Return of the Jeti 1993
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

Rambo III 1988

Flight of the Phoenix 1965
James Stewart, Ernest Borgnine

Star Wars 1977
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill

To see what other movies were filmed in Yuma click here.

So that's a rap!
Thanks for reading about our oasis in the desert.


  1. You know, I've heard of Yuma but I've never been there. It looks like it's worth a visit though! I love that the prison was able to raise enough cash to stay open. It's on my list of places to see now =)

  2. I've only been to Arizona once (Phoenix) but we are visiting again this fall. Maybe I can talk my husband into go to Yuma! :)

    Very cool. Love the prison pictures.

  3. I had no idea there was so much going on in Yuma! How wonderful that they were able to save the prison!

    I think I would have totally freaked out if all of that illegal crossing business had happened in my yard. And all kids. Such a sad situation.

    Thanks for the fantastic tour!

  4. Holy spimoly. You sure know alot about where you live. What an adventure. Thanks for sharing your town with us. I'm off to lurk around for a while.

  5. Wow, great post :) I hope someday I get to share my city through blogtrotting :) The research of it all might kill me though ;)

  6. Yuma looks fantastic to me right about now!! I live in bush Alaska where our winter still continues and I am so ready for it to be over!

    That park looks fantastic too!!

    Thanks for the tour.



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