Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yuma, Arizona

Sunday, Jan. 8th - Tuesday, Feb. 14th

After our family Christmas, we headed right back to one of our favorite places, Yuma Lakes Campground with the Muggins Mountain Range in the distance.  Movies are so cheap here.  Tuesday we went to La La Land in the morning, Chik fil a for lunch and Westside Story in the evening.  Thursday we went to see Fences with Denzel Washington and went to Five Guys for lunch.  The next Monday we went to Herradura's for lunch.  On Tuesday we went to Patriot's Day and In and Out Burger for lunch.  Wednesday we went to Walmart and the Hamburger Stand for lunch.  Thursday we went to Hidden Figures and Bubba's BBQ for chicken dinner.  The next Monday we split up.  John went to Rogue One and I went to 20th Century Women and we went to Chili's for lunch.  The next Monday we went to The Founder and Chicken Run for yummy broasted chicken.  Wednesday, Feb. 1st, we went to A Dog's Purpose and had lunch at Native Grill and Wings and I went to see Jackie in the evening.  We also saw Loving and Sing while we were still in California with John's sister in January.  The movies were all good and, as you have probably already figured out, I've pretty much given up cooking.

Sign in front of one of the campers in our campground that we can totally relate to, having pretty much everything we own crammed into some cubby hole of the RV.

We toured the E.F. Sanguinetti Home Museum and gardens on Tuesday, Feb. 7th (our #1 grandson's 18th birthday).  The gift shop next door was the home of steamboat Captain Jack Mellon from 1874 to 1883.  Sanguinetti is known as the Father of Yuma and had a phenomenal business career here from 1890 to 1946.  His rose garden was his pride and joy.  Now weddings and other special events are held in the garden.  There is also a lovely outdoor cafe and gardens behind the home and several quaint little shops in the back alley.

Sanguinetti was born in 1867 and left home penniless at the age of 15.  He worked as a store clerk when he arrived in Yuma for $40 a month plus room and board.  Each month he sent $33 home to save and kept $7  for his living expenses.  After four years he bought a partnership in the store when he was 19.  By 1898 he was the sole owner and the largest employer in the area, eventually owning or co-owning over 30 businesses.  From real estate to farming operations to mining equipment to an ice plant and public utilities, he served almost all the needs of the residents and businesses alike.  He had one major setback when he invested heavily in cotton and prices dropped considerably in WWI.  His losses were upwards of $1 million and his financial advisers pushed him to claim bankruptcy, but he refused.  It took him 20 years, but he repaid everyone of his debts.  His businesses at one time employed 200 residents.  In the late 1800's mining was a big industry in Arizona, a veritable Arizona Gold Rush.  Major mines like La Fortuna, Kofa (King of Arizona) and North Star mining camps needed equipment supplied by the Sanguinetti General Store.  He also provided wagons and mules that delivered the supplies, at one time owning 400 mules.  When not hauling freight, they were used to clear and level Yuma Valley for farming.  Gold from every mine came through the store.  In 1890 he bought and reopened the Castle Dome silver and lead district, one of the oldest and most productive mining districts in Yuma County.  An estimated 10,000 tons of lead plus 500,000 ounces of silver, along with gold, copper and zinc, were pulled from the district.  He spearheaded many developments that brought Yuma into the 20th century.  He organized the first public utility generated with a 20 kw. generator fueled with mesquite logs and founded the Chamber of Commerce.  When the Southern Pacific Railroad was planning to build new tracks into Yuma, he recommended they build a levee to protect the tracks from floods, which also protected the town from spring floods.  The new tracks and levee facilitated the building of the first dam on the Colorado River - Laguna Dam, which instigated the first vehicle bridge across the Colorado in 1915.  It was the first time automobiles could drive from Los Angeles straight to Miami, thus the name Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge.  It was reported at the time that the bridge had been badly needed, since the traffic had increased to one car everyday!  He also supported the building of the municipal airport.

Postmortem photography became fashionable during the Victorian Era.  The dead were immortalized by posing in photographs with living relatives.  It was often the only family photo.

  The lady sitting in the chair in this picture is dead!

Then we walked down the block to the new City Hall.  Just inside are murals showing the past and present with the Village of Yuma 1876 and homes and businesses from the late 1800's and the surrounding mountain ranges.

In the foyer is the City of Yuma airplane and the car that were used to set a new world record in 1949.  The story was carried in papers, magazines and on radio around the world.  The two pilots were in the air non-stop 46 days and broke the world endurance flight record.  They flew almost 90,000 miles without a complete oil drain, just adding as needed.  They got a tremendous ovation by a crowd of 10,000 when they finally landed October 10, 1949.  

This picture shows how they refueled and handed up lunches.  Traveling at 75 mph the refueling crew handed up gas to the flyers.  They used over 9,000 gallons.

They had a lot of paintings in the hallways by local artists.  This one was my favorite, Gila Mountain Sunrise by Sally Bell.  Yuma is surrounded by several mountain ranges including, the Chocolate Mountains and Muggins Mountains Wilderness and the Kofa Mountain Range and Wildlife Refuge.

Then we stopped by the old City Hall, but there wasn't much here, just a few old black and white pictures of the original town.

We parked next to this 1948 Jeepster at Walmart.  Thursday we met up with our friends from Montana, Duane and Paula, at Carol's house for a nice visit.  We were supposed to meet up for lunch at La Fonda's on 3rd St. and 10th Ave, but they went to La Flor on 10th St. and 3rd Ave by mistake.  We had both already gotten tables and drinks by the time we figured it out, so we had lunch separately and met up afterward.  What are the odds there would be two Mexican restaurants on the corners of 3rd and 10th with such similar names?  I hit the flea market on Saturday one last time before we left Yuma.

We see all kinds of campers from really old junkers to beautiful palaces, but once in a while we see something very unusual.  There was a single guy staying in this little homemade number.  It had lids on both ends that opened on top like a dumpster that he had full of stuff.  I'm not sure how there was enough space in there for a bed, but I guess it was working for him.

Tuesday, Valentine's Day, we moved to Emerald Cove Campground on the east side of the Colorado River about six miles from Parker, Arizona.  We are parked right on the river and will be here two and a half weeks, then to Verde Valley between Sedona and Phoenix for a few days to visit friends Jim and Claudia, and Casa Grande for a few days to visit with Julie, and back to Yuma.  Then maybe Palm Springs, up to John's sister's and onward north as the weather gets warmer.

Looking forward to seeing friends and family again this summer.

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