Yuma


Click on any picture to see it full-size.

I have often said that I can have fun anywhere. You can drop me in any town, in any state, and I'll find fun stuff to do.

Well, I was wrong. Yuma seems to be the exception...

So I got to Yuma around 11 am. Got gas at the first station I saw, on kind of a busy street, then went to the Territorial Prison because that was one of the things I really wanted to do. The other thing I found that looked interesting was the Camel Farm, a 'petting zoo of exotic animals'. There was the Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park as well, with a tunnel under the Colorado River, but that didn't sound as interesting as a petting zoo!

So first I went to the prison. Which was not so much of a much. It was about half the original size, because they had cut a chunk off it to build the railroad bridge that connected across the Colorado River so people could reach the 1915 Pan American Exposition in San Diego. There were some old cells, and a lot of historical plaques, and the (rebuilt, but exactly like the old one except with glass windows) lookout tower...but the prison was only a prison for thirty years, and nobody really interesting was ever incarcerated there. So...not as good as I had hoped.

Yuma from the offramp.

The guard tower

The railroad bridge

I saw the cellblocks on the right, and thought, that looks familiar somehow...and in the museum, there was an exhibit of movies that had been shot there...I had just seen a John Wayne serial from the early 30's called The Three Musketeers, about flyers who end up in the Foreign Legion, and this prison stood in for the Arab town and the fort...!

This is the pit where they put the prisoners to be extra-punished, and it had a name like The Black Hole or somesuch...there were signs all over alluding to its awfulness...and when you go in the room here to see it, it's been filled in. That was pretty typical of my day...

I walked toward the Colorado River to see the cemetery...notice the bronze sign with the list of prisoners? there are all kinds of grammatical errors in it.
So then I left, found a Del Taco for lunch (noms), found the address for my motel 6, looked up the address for the petting zoo, tried to check into the Motel 6, found out that there are two on the same main street and my motel was the OTHER one, drove there, checked in, went to the Historical Park Visitor's Center, talked to a lady there about stuff to do, found out that there is supposed to be a hummingbird garden in a park by the river, and went to find the Exotic Animal Petting Zoo.

Which was WAAAAY out of town, ten miles or so on surface streets that were badly marked...and I am not joking, when I got there it looked so awful I just turned around in the parking lot and drove away. Small dusty enclosures with very little shade. Just sad and pathetic.

So I thought, I'll go sit in the hummingbird garden and read. And I tried to find the damn thing for an HOUR. Driving back and forth up and down the streets, walking through the park with my map in my hand...it was nowhere to be found.

I did, however, run across this prickly pear with graffiti carved in it, I thought this was pretty typical of my Yuma experience. As was this threatening mass of signage at the park. This was, I swear to God, where the map told me the hummingbird garden was. I tried to find it three different ways and IT WAS NOT THERE. Just this dry dusty area. And about 3 pm I just gave up with my attempt to find anything at all amusing in Yuma, and went here to the movies, and saw Zootopia and ate ice cream, all of which was completely satisfying. Then I went back to my motel, had dinner and read and caught up on email til early the next morning, when I was happy to shake the dust of Yuma, Arizona, off my tires.