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Day 170 - Dates & Petroglphs (Photo's Added)

We drove south from the Phoenix area and visited a Petroglyph site, Dateland USA (and had date milkshakes), then arrived in Yuma, where most of the RV parks were full.

overcast 65 °F

Most of the drive todeay was pretty uneventful and we thought we might get to Yuma early enough to visit some of the sights there before camping for the night.

However, Mom saw the sign for a Petroglyph site that she'd read about and suggested we visit it. It was about 11 miles off the highway, so wasn't too far out of the way. It was also quite interesting, not at all what I'd expected. The other petroglyph sites I'd seen or heard about were all in cliffs or along cliffs. As we drove up and saw a low mound of rocks, I said "That can't be it, there must be a canyon beyond it we can't see." I was wrong, this low mound of rocks was the site.

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It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and there is a large campground around it that had very few people in it. The site is well marked, with interpretive signs and information about the history of the area. The Gila river is very close by and was used as the primary trail to the west through the desert since travellers needed a source of fresh water. But, back to the Petroglyphs - these were carved by prehistoric Native American tribes. Scientists who have studied the site and nearby pottery shards believe the Petroglyphs are in two distinct styles: Western Archaic tradition and Gila Style.

There are many rocks with petroglyphs carved on them on the front left side of the mound.

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A stone with a sharp point (called a hammerstone) was used to chip the outer surface of these rocks into a pattern. Here is a closeup of one of the figures, to me it looks like some sort of stylized animal?

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These sorts of designs just cover the rocks, only in this section of the rock mound, but all the way to the top. Look for geometric patters of the Western Archaic tradition (grids, zigzags, circles and wavy lines - often associated with people from 7500 BC to 1 AD) and Gila Style (Animals, Insects, Human Shapes, also zigzags and circles - often associated with the Hohokam people from 300 BC to 1450 AD).

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So a very unusual park indeed.

It was still a little early to camp for the night, so we started back down to I-8. On the way, I took a very nice shot of this Saguaro next to a cliff.

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We also saw some Javelina's, but they were took quick for me to get a picture (yet again). We saw some Great Egrets in the irrigated fields. Seems odd to use so much water to grow crops in the desert, but the Egrets don't seem to mind.

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As we continued heading west in I-8 towards Yuma, I saw signs for Dateland, AZ (a town), but also advertising the "World Famous Date Milkshakes". Anything that unusual must be investigated, at least on this trip! Dateland does grow it's own dates, samples of several varieties are available for tasting in the gift shop. The clerk told me they have over 300 date trees in the orchard just past the gift shop and restaurant. We got two milkshakes, one date and the other cactus, then we split each in half so Mom and I could try both flavors - very interesting and unusual. We also picked up some of the local product for future use...

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After this, we ended up getting to Yuma a little too late to sightsee. I had a terrible time finding a place to stay in Yuma. The local Walmart manager doesn't want any RV'rs in his lot. Almost all of the hotels and campgrounds are full - they even had a segment on this on the evening news tonight! Seems some people who planned their vacations had to postpone them due to the bad weather in the Northern States, so they're here now as well as folks who'd already scheduled their stay for this period. I finally called a smaller campground without a swimming pool and was able to get in - but just for one night. By the time I finished registering, they were also full.

So tomorrow we'll do a little sightseeing in Yuma, then head towards San Diego - we're just a couple miles from the CA border now, so will also be on Pacific Time Zone tomorrow! (No more waking Heidi up at the crack of dawn).

Logistics:

<<Will have to wait, the campground we're in right now only has wi-fi in the clubhouse and all my notes are out in the RV, hmm...>>

Posted by jl98584 20:15 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Comments

Wow, I will have to say you have done Arizona in style, pink hat and all. I have forgotten how much I loved the Dragoons and Tombstone. The desert has it's beauty.
Colassal Cave...a major surprize mom..Now I know what you can do....

by rllomas

Nice to see you're getting caught up again. Wow--almost to CA! That begins to sound close to home.

by msj

Got the pink hat for Mom in Alamo Village (TX), but it really fits her in any state. She shocked me a bit with the caving, but that's great. CA is a BIG state, but we're going to try to keep moving...

by jl98584

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