Monday, January 21, 2013

Road Trip to Yuma

A few photos of our drive from Orange County to the Sonora desert in Southern Arizona.  We went from the sunny ocean front by our home, snow in the mountains, a huge expanse of desert and sand dunes to get there. In Southern California, you really can surf at 9, snow ski before 11 and ride your dirt bike or dune buggy in the desert by noon.  Not that I have that kind of energy, but you could do it, if you wanted to.  These photos aren't intended to be artistic, but snapshots taken out the window of a moving RV.

I really don't like it when there isn't a cloud in the sky when I want to take a photo. They add so much and a shocking blue sky can be much too stark for me (and a photo).

The San Onofre Nuclear power plant. Because we live inside of the first evacuation zone (in case of trouble), I'm happy to report that it is currently shut down and I'm hoping it stays that way. Yes, everyone says they look like boobs.  It opened in 1968 and despite friends and family laughing at me, I have held my breath when driving by it from that day forward. Even now that it's closed. Obsessive? Who me?

Snow! Not much left, but still...

Probably not the kind of mountain scene you are used to seeing. Even though the elevation at this spot is over 4000 feet, it's considered "high desert" and very arid.  I love this scenery.

If you've been following my travels for a while, you know how much I love scenes like this one. In fact, I hunt for them. 

Yet another example of inspiration and failure in the desert. If you are like me, sights like this fill me with questions. This is the southernmost highway in the western United States and very close to the U.S./Mexican border.

Are all freight cars covered with graffiti now? It sure seems like it. Actually, it's a nice break after seeing nothing but scattered scrub, dirt and sand for many, many miles. 

And then sand, more sand and nothing but sand! Sand dunes for miles and miles. I think my wife might have made a wrong turn and we ended up in the Sahara.  They are officially called the Algodones Dunes, but usually referred to as Glamis or the Imperial dunes. Either way, that's one big pile of kitty litter. Every person in the southwest with a dirt bike or dune buggy has either been to, or heard of Glamis.

More questions...

I think this used to be a bar/restaurant. I'd love to know the back story. I'm sure the cold beer they served here tasted pretty good when it was about 112 degrees outside.

This is what Cell phone towers look like in the desert.

From one minute to the next, the barren and arid desert is transformed into hundreds of square miles of incredibly productive farm land. It is truly one of the world's bread baskets. All of it made possible by...

Irrigation canals from the Colorado River.  The hills to the right are in Mexico.

This is where we are camping (camping being a relative term of course). In about 10 seconds these geese will chase my wife away from their turf. 
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We've been here for one week, with one week to go.  "Here" is in the middle of nowhere south of Yuma, just above the U.S./Mexico border. We're very close to the Colorado River (what's left of it this far south, that is) and Gila River. There is so much history in this area. There is also some of my favorite desert craziness here as well. The kinds of things you know I'm always looking for. Desert folk art, relics, abandoned places and things that make you raise an eyebrow, if not both.  We've seen some of these things already. I'll be posting them soon.

Today, old town Yuma... I have no idea what's there. Hopefully, no staged gun fights...


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40 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amazing diversity! Like their radio towers - at least they blend. And I lived in Arizona for a while, so used to seeing high desert mountains.

dennis hodgson said...

I've been meaning to ask you whether there were any sand dunes in the deserts of North America. Now I know. How extensive are these areas? I'm sure that there are larger areas in the Sahara, and there is certainly less vegetation. In fact, I don't remember there being any vegetation in the deep desert.

trav4adventures said...

I hear you about the blue sky...clouds DO make it so much more interesting! And, I also hold my breath every time I drive by San Onofre! Aren't we silly? I'm waiting to see your pics of Yuma. We've only been through there once, during summer, and I didn't want to stop! :-(

Shelly said...

Wow- what a variety in the scenery! The cell phone tower is actually pretty imaginative. I really like the one with the old truck~

Pam ;) said...

From sea to sand- almost in the blink of an eye- my eyes that is ;)
Great shots as you traveled. I always enjoy your views of the worlds you two see, Pat.

Sylvia K said...

What a terrific drive and amazing captures, Pat! You do see a little of everything, don't you! I love those "old" scenes that make you wonder just what stories they could tell! And since we've had LOTS of cloudy skies, those clear blue ones look pretty great to me! Enjoy your week!!

Powdered Toast Man said...

That power plant needs a boob job, those things are way too spread apart. It needs some cleavage.

Brian said...

Great photos Pat and that is a cool cell tower!

TexWisGirl said...

ooh, 3:10 to yuma. great movie. :)

be safe! enjoyed the look around!

John McElveen said...

LOVE IT!! Esp the pics of the giant Nuclear Titties--errr- Power Plants! And that Green Field--POPPED!

Awesome Bro!

John

Belle said...

I enjoyed this so much and can't wait to see all your photos. I also love desert scenery. I've seen cell phone towers in palm trees like that in Nevada and wondered what they were! I've seen the sand dunes in Oregon and didn't know they had them there too. I don't like nuclear reactors either.

Ms. A said...

Amazing shots. I can't imagine scenery like that in real life.

Nat said...

A fascinating tour Pat! I was in that region a few years back, and it is an intriguing, stark landscape...

mshatch said...

cool pics. I love old abandoned places, too.

sage said...

That's some pretty country in the winter! I remember a story about a preacher sent to Yuma back in the frontier days. He couldn't get anyone interested in church and later surmised that the winters were so nice everyone assumed they were paradise and the summers so hot they weren't afraid of hell.

Carly said...

Looks like such a fun road trip. I really enjoy how you always find the old broken down. It is just so much fun to photograph.

Carolyn Ford said...

just the kind of road trip i love! there's something very special about the desert and all the old rusty things that can be found out there!

Baby Sister said...

The scenery that you find is always so beautiful!! I always wonder the stories behind scenes like the ones that you capture. It makes me wonder what happened to the people that lived/worked there.

Talei said...

I especially loved those fields of GREEN! We've had a little snow lately in London. And I'm so sorry, so late in dropping by, Happy New Year to you and yours. :-)

tapirgal said...

I really enjoyed the trip. More, please :-) You would like Cisco, Utah. Someone once told me we should move there - based on map location only.... Needless to say, we kept going.

Stickup Artist said...

OH yeah! Awesome trip. I especially like those dunes and the old rusting truck in the rocks. Not to mention the shot on the road of the mountains behind the truck. Can't wait to see more!

FYI. The Four Aces is near Saddleback Butte State Park. But be stealthy, the caretaker will chase you away!

Happy Trails!

Betty Manousos said...

i always enjoy your road trips, pat.
thanks for taking us along.

your photos speak themselves.
they all are interesting!
looks like a great road trip full of adventure...totally enjoyed the look around.

be safe!

Sharon Wagner said...

Welcome back! I thought you got lost in the desert. The verdant field shot is lovely. You always find such interesting places in your travels.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

The dramatic transitions from ocean to desert. I'd get stuck at one of those abandoned sites for hours - it's amazing how well they preserve in the dry air.

Al Penwasser said...

These are such great pictures. I've seen a lot of cool places, but the never of the spots you've been to.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

You have so many wonderful pics here, Pat. My favorites are the one two down from the boobs, and the one with the scene in the rear-view mirror. Please don't find yourself in the middle of a staged or spontaneous gun brawl.

Be safe and enjoy.
xoRobyn

Ree said...

I love these photos, especially the old abandoned truck. Following you is 'takin' a trip and never leavin' the farm'! Thanks!

M Pax said...

I hope you have fun in Yuma. It looks so much like here except for the palm tree. We have snow.

tapirgal said...

Thanks for your comments, Pat! I am recovering slowly. Can't walk much yet due to the foot problem. I'm learning from a FB group that many of us have slow recoveries. The doctors don't seem to get this, but I am not alone. It can take months if a person gets really sick before they get diagnosed and treated.

Rosemary Nickerson said...

My fav shot was of the High Desert. Really interesting topography in that one. Have fun camping, Pat.
Rosemary

Ebie said...

Hi Patrick, I love your road trips! The views look familiar, maybe driving through Salton Sea and the Sono Bono preserve? The green grass and the geese look a familiar site.

I love urban decay too, just got back from RTE 66 trip to Amboy and back same day on Saturday.

Great retirement lifestyle!

Leovi said...

A nice collection of photos of these places almost abandoned.

Leovi said...

A nice collection of photos of these places almost abandoned.

Icy BC said...

You had the most interesting trip, with really unique photos to show. Looking at abandoned places like these, I do have so many questions in the back of my mind too.

Ashley King said...

did mom ever find that video clip of you guys and the geese? hahahahahahaha

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We loved the trips we took through that area too as you know -- thanks for the great tour and the memories.

I liked the places like where that old truck is or the beaten down gas station a whole lot better than I did Glamis. Didn't dig that place at all -- zillions of dollars worth of rolling stock all parked out on those dunes while the people just use up gas driving in circles. (The bumper sticker some of the RVs had 'it's a sand thing. You wouldn't understand' describes my feelings xactly! Loved every other place you mentioned though!

Chrissy Brand said...

Such alien landscapes to me!

The Geezers said...

Hi Pat.

Not sure if you got my email, or not. But if you're still interested in some kind of discussion, you can reach me at

fouroldgeezers@yahoo.com

Liz said...

Wow!! What incredibly countryside! I absolutely lobve that old truck!!

And I totally agree... cloudless skies are not cool!

buymebarbies said...

No Ash! I never did. I didn't save it and it disappeared. Man, that was so funny. Pat done left me to fend for my self with those geese. I kept my distance just like he did so we had a 50/50 chance of getting chased. They were honking away making sure that we knew not to come any closer! HAHA