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Day 171 - We visit Yuma, Arizona (Photo's Added)

We visited the Quartermaster Station at the Colorado River Crossing, the Yuma Territorial Prison and downtown historic Yuma.

sunny 68 °F

Seems like the last couple of cities we passed through, we just passed through them without really visiting (Phoenix & Tucson). Of course, in our RV the big cities can be hard to navigate & especially to park in, but Yuma wasn't that big and we thought we ought to check it out before leaving town.

We started with the Quartermaster Station - which turned out to be an excellant park with lots of stuff to see (1800's and early 1900's history). It's a museum with about 1/3rd of the displays being related to it's role as an 1800's US Army Supply Depot (Quartermaster = Supply), about 1/3 being related to SW Area History, and about 1/3 misc. stuff. Here's Mom heading into the Entrance.

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On the outside grounds, they had a 1907 Train Engine and an 1875 RR Passenger Car. This probably falls in the 'misc' group, although the Railroad became the main vehicle for bringing in supplies once the tracks were completed through Yuma, so maybe it belongs here?

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Of course, the heart of an Army Supply Depot would be it's warehouse, and the Yuma Depot had a very large one:

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Inside the warehouse are several vehicles on display, including an 1800's US Army Supply Wagon.

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There were also a number of exhibits about how the supply depot evolved. The Army was unable to get enough supplies to Yuma to support it's units in the area when the Depot was first set up. They tried using wagons from Los Angeles and San Diego, but this was too costly and unable to provide the volumn of supplies needed. In 1852, the first steamboat was used to bring supplies up the Colorado River from the Gulf of Mexico. Once this method proved successful, the steamboat company became the exclusive supplier to the Quartermaster Depot. One of the early steamboat captains was Issac Pulhamus, who became quite wealthy running the steamboats full of Army supplies. The steamboats couldn't compete with the railroads once they got to Yuma, but Captain Issac and his family stayed on in Yuma and his descendants are still well known in the area.

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Next to the warehouse is a adobe building used as the main office by the Quartermaster. Since the Yuma Depot served many forts in the American Southwest, it was much larger than it would have been if it was just serving the Yuma area.

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Of course, the Quartermaster Depot was located on the Colorado River - and while the river today is lovely, it is only a small shadow of it's former self. The Laguna Dam was built just a few miles upriver in 1909 and substantial amounts of water are now redirected to irrigation.

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We also decided to stop in the historic downtown area, just to see what was there. There is an 1875 Adobe house under restoration, that was kid of cool, and also a very old adobe building that is used as a museum, which we also went through. Mom liked the flowers blooming in February - a little earlier than back home. (Unfortunately, no photo's were allowed inside the Museum, so at least this section of today's blog entry is short.)

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I went through a Farmer's Market being held downtown and indulged in some red pepper marmalade. The visitor's Center had recommended the old downtown area as a 'must see', but I wasn't quite as impressed. They do have fountains in some of the intersections, but most of the downtown isn't as old as the Adobe Moline building and Museum (shown above). The main street is a little lower and was completely washed out in floods in the early 1900's. It seems adobe tends to 'melt' in a flood - so most of the 'old' downtown is from the early 1900's, not late 1800's.

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Finally, we also visited the old Yuma Territorial Prison. The first thing you see as you pull up is a large guard tower. This was built on top of the water tower, so is probably larger than it otherwise would have been.

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This is the main gate, with Mom pretending she's not really an inmate...

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The Prison is also located on the river, but on the opposite side of the old railroad and auto bridges from the Quartermaster Depot. From the Main Gate, you can see the river banks and bridges.

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Once inside, you can visit the main cell blocks. This isn't a place I'd want to stay in at all.

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Does any of this look familiar? It might. The Yuma Territorial Prison has been used in a few movies and TV shows, including the old version of "The Three Musketeers" starring John Wayne, among others.

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The Museum area had a lot of exhibits on some of the prisoners as well as artifacts and the history of the place. I thought I'd include just one photo of one of the prisoners as an example.

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The above took most of the day (until 3 PM?), so by the time we hit the road again, we had no chance of making San Diego today. We checked out the Imperial Sand Dunes and visited the Old Plank Road (through the dunes). It had rained recently, so there were also lovely little pink flowers in some area's of the sand dunes.

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The 'Old Plank Road' was used from 1916 to 1926 to cover the seven miles of sand dunes between Yuma and Southern California so automobiles could cross the dunes. It was only wide enough for one car at a time, so had frequent turnouts to allow cars to pass each other. The road was built in sections, so if the dunes started to cover it, they could be lifted up and repositioned.

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We made it as far as El Centro (or Imperial) by the time we quit, about 100 miles.

Got some business to take care of in the morning so not sure where we'll end up tomorrow! Isn't that the way this trip is supposed to go?

Posted by jl98584 22:39 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Well you two have certainly been busy! So you have finally entered CA. Probably made it to or near San Diego today (the 20th) Only about a 1000 miles to go! So, which did you like better, the date or the cactus? Was the cactus prickly pear? We had cactus fries when we were in Sedona last October. Also prickly pear drinks, jam etc. Pretty good, actually. Rock on!

by drque

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