We left Gold Canyon on Sunday, Feb 15 and made the 4 hour drive to Yuma. The drive was a little longer than we had anticipated due to road construction but we arrived safe and sound. We are staying at Westward RV & Golf resort. This park is older and a bit larger than Gold Canyon with over 1000 spots which seem to be split almost 50/50 between RVs and Park Models. Lori was quite relieved when 2 Work Campers(seasonal residents who work at the park in exchange for discounted rent) directed us to our spot and guided us as I backed in. We got setup and unpacked and as it was Sunday the park office was closed so we couldn't formally check in until Monday.
We had some problems with the Cable hookup but after reporting our problem to the office the Cable Guy dove up within a few hours. He had us up and running in a few minutes and as we were scrolling through the channels I noticed that all the pictures were 4x3 rather than 16x9 and all were kind of snowy with wavy lines. Reminded me of the old days with rabbit ears. I thought something must still be wrong with the connection but the serviceman explained that in Yuma cable service is still Analog. I thought that the mandatory date to switch to Digital had come and gone a few years ago but he said that because Yuma is such a small market and relatively poor, people don't want to pay the higher price for digital. There are two satellite TV companies which do offer Digital but only one of these offers it in HD.
The other issue we have had so far is our Internet connection. The Park does provide WiFi but we had to pay $28. for service for 1 month. My frustration is that, despite paying extra, the internet signal is so weak as to be almost useless. Any posting to the blog will have to wait for a visit to Starbucks. I have discovered that I can live quite easily with bad or noTV reception but I must have good Internet. I can see that a WiFi Booster Antenna may be in my future.
One nice thing about this park it that we are on the back row and right behind us is the wide open desert. This provides us a great place to take Charli for walks and with a 5’ masonry wall separating us from the desert, we also have some privacy.
I must admit that our first impressions of Yuma haven't been that favourable. It doesn't have the stunning scenery that we had in both Tucson and Gold Canyon and while we have spent the past few days exploring we are not finding as many interesting things to do and see. We may pull out those golf clubs yet and take advantage of the par 3 course here in the park. This park also charges more for some of the activities and we have to pay for our electric usage so even though each day has approached 90F we are reluctant turn on the A/C. We also find our thoughts are drifting back home more often so its quite possible that we have hit the proverbial wall and are just getting a bit homesick. Then I check the weather back home and windchills of -40 snap me out of it.
The 3 main economic drivers of Yuma are Agriculture, Snowbirds and the Military. Yuma's has around 92,000 Yumans and this doubles during the winter months. I always knew there were lots of snowbird parks in this area but I had no idea until we started to drive around. They are everywhere and there seems to be a particularly high concentration of Canadians.
Yuma is known as the Lettuce and Date capital of the United States and despite the fact that we are in the middle of a sandy desert one of the main economic drivers is Agriculture. How do they manage this you might ask. Most of the agricultural land is in the flood plain and after hundreds of years of flooding from the Colorado river the soil is very fertile. Since the water level of the Colorado river is now controlled by a series of Dams they can develop their farms without fear of flooding. The river, or what is left of it, provides irrigation which can be seen by a series of canals built off the river and running through the farm land.
My impression of the Colorado river has always been this massive river forcing itself through the Grand Canyon complete with white water rapids. What we see here is a river so depleted that it is only slightly larger that a stream. A series of dams starting with the Hoover Dam in Nevada control the water levels and mitigate any flooding while using the force of the river to generate electrical power. Then each state from Nevada to Ariizona to California take water from the river for irrigation, commercial and residential use. Massive canals are built to cities like Phoenix and Tucson. Once the river crosses the border into Mexico it is dammed and the remaining water is used up so that the once mighty Colorado river which starts high up in the Rocky mountains never does reach the Gulf of California. Seems sad but this is the cost of progress.
Another disturbing observation, although not exclusive to Yuma, is that people use the desert as their personal garbage dump. We went for a walk in the desert yesterday and instead of walking through one of the residential developments we decided to trek through the dunes. As we came over the rise what did we see. Old mattresses, TVs, tires, broken concrete and piles of garbage. As we walked along a trail made by dune buggies we saw garbage strewn everywhere. Very depressing.
Charlie waiting for the slow pokes.
There are about 3 of these guys that fly over us every afternoon. There are always 2 people and my guess is that, much like the balloons, for a few bucks we could be flying high.