Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sandy Sights Around Yuma

Back to the BLM land behind the VFW in Yuma, so Phil could get some dental work done in Mexico. I figured out that I've spent over 6 months in this place in the 13 years that I've been fulltiming. Pretty pathetic, huh?

In spite of that, I still managed to find a couple things to see that I had not seen before.

Last year the WINs went up to the Yuma Proving Grounds to see their museum, but it was closed. So Phil, Sally, and I headed up there to see it. During World War II, Gen. Patton used this unique sandy area to train troops to fight in North Africa.

The U.S. Army Overland Train was developed to was developed to transport equipment and supplies over both on- and off-road terrains.

The 565-foot long "train" was pulled by this monster engine.

In order to maneuver over the sand, troops wore these snow-shoe type things.

We then moved over to the "Q" Casino, only 2 miles from Algodones, Mexico, so Phil could get his furniture reupholstered there. (More on this later...)

There's a beautiful view, and it's much quieter than the VFW. Notice the palo verde trees are starting to bloom. Must be time to get out of town...

We're very close to the Algodones sand dunes, which presented a real challenge to early motorists.

This "Plank Road", 7-miles long, was created to cross the treacherous dunes. Twelve foot sections were moved by horses whenever the dunes shifted. Turnouts (shown here) were provided every quarter mile so cars could pass each other.

Believe it or not, a portion of the road is still visible. More info and directions to this amazing spot are here.

The dunes were also used in the filming of "Return of the Jedi." Photos and the whole story are here.

And we couldn't get much closer to Mexico!


  1. Hot sand! Sounds like it could become another expletive, doesn't it? Interesting things...thanks for sharing.

  2. That is one BIG engine. Enjoyed all your pictures.

  3. Never made it to that museum, have seen the plank road. That engine is a Monster. Can you RV camp at the "Q"?

  4. Another interesting post from the desert ... will someday get out there to explore in person, but until then, this is the next best thing.

  5. What, no rusty stuff??? Are you having withdrawal symptoms with all that sand around?

    I like that engine that pulled all those supply wagons, imagine the nice big RV trailer you could pull with it. :c)

  6. That plank road is amazing but it must have been scary taking off into the desert on that.


  7. We looked closely at your pictures to see if we were in any of them - we're outside Yuma, as well, and traipsed ourselves to 100 feet of the fence. Then, we stopped off and photographed the Plank Road.

    Last summer we were in Cedar Key the same time as another blogger, and we were amused to find ourselves (accidentally) in her blog post chowing down.

  8. I was in San Diego last year but would love to explore this part of the country. Love your blog!

  9. hmm may the force be with you, I love the sandy snow shoe things, bet thats a workout...WOW huge engine!! You could toss a rock into Mexico from there.

  10. My Mother crossed into AZ on the Wooden Plank Road in 1916 when the family moved there to homestead. She was about 5 and could remember that they carried some planks with them to use if the sand had drifted across some of the road.


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