Tag: irrigation

Weekend in Yuma, Part II

Warning, this is long, with a lot of pictures!

Saturday morning Ed & Helen picked us up and we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Everyone had eggs and bacon and biscuits and grits and hearty southern breakfast food, except for me. I had a fruit and yogurt and granola parfait and a blueberry muffin! There has to be one in every crowd, right?

Our tour guides offered to take us wherever we might want to go and I wanted to go to California! I’ve never been to California! And we wanted to see green growing things. So, first stop was the Imperial Date Gardens in Bard, California, where they grow Medjool dates, which is the only variety of date that can be picked fresh and eaten fresh. We had a date shake, which are very popular in the area. It was very tasty, but I’m not sure if it was due to the dates or just due to the fact that I have avoided milkshakes entirely since discovering that I was lactose intolerant. Thanks to lactase enzyme supplements, I am now enjoying more dairy treats.

Imperial Date Gardens

Dates are grown on palm trees, did you know that? The palm groves were beautiful.

date grove in California

Here’s a date palm that appeared to be growing wild along the roadside, although as valuable as the date palms are, perhaps it wasn’t a date palm but some other variety.

date palm

An historical marker along the way:

historical marker

Yuma is home to the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation. This sign was right below a small dam, which you can see in the following picture.

Fort Yuma Indian Reservation posted sign


After leaving the dam area, we entered back into Dome Valley, Arizona. The Yuma area is where the Colorado River meets the Gila River. Before the building of dams on the Colorado River in the early 1900s, the river often overflowed and flooded the river bottom area, which left nutrient rich soil behind. That is the reason that Yuma County Arizona is the third largest producer of winter crops in the nation, with 100% of those crops grown on irrigated land. While traveling through Dome Valley, we saw head lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, leaf lettuce, cabbage, olive trees and many other crops growing.

olive trees

Olive trees

olive trees

The same olive trees with mountains in the background.

irrigation canal

An irrigation canal across the road from the olive trees.

lettuce field in Dome Valley Arizona

A field of green lettuce with the mountains as a backdrop. Somehow the green makes the brown mountains seem quite lovely!

antique tractor

Bill trying to decide what make of tractor was on display. I think he decided it was a Fordson.

antique tractor

Up close and in black and white in an effort to dispel the shadows and get a better view of the tractor itself.

Irrigated field

Irrigated field next to the tractor in the previous pictures.

a field of head lettuce

A field of head lettuce. I love the contrast of the green and the mountains in the background.

head lettuce

Head lettuce close up. The heads are just beginning to form.

rows of head lettuce

The same field of head lettuce. You can see where the water flows when they irrigate it by the cracks in the dirt where the mud dried.

Helen and Bill

Helen and Bill resting at Ed & Helen’s RV while we waited for Ed to walk their dog.

Helen and Ed Raynor

Helen & Ed in front of their RV.

After spending several hours touring around, Ed & Helen dropped us off at our motel and we rested up to get ready for an evening of dancing. Three couples from our Sierra Vista Thunder Mountain Twirlers club showed up for Saturday night dancing, so we tried to dance with them as much as possible along with Ed & Helen. Of course, with a huge floor of dancers, it isn’t always possible to get into the square you want before it is filled up by other dancers, but that’s the fun of a big dance. You get to meet new people and sometimes you are pleasantly surprised to meet up with old friends!

Weekend in Yuma, Part I

Last weekend we traveled to Yuma Arizona for the Traveling Dancers Festival sponsored by the Yuma Square and Round Dance Association. Since we don’t know how long we will be living in Arizona, we are taking advantage of square dance weekends to visit areas of the region that we’ve not been to yet, and Yuma was one of those areas.

We took I-10 north of Tucson to the I-8 junction and then I-8 west to Yuma. Along the way we stopped at a rest stop where there were thousands of volcanic rocks scattered everywhere.

volcanic rock field along I-8

volcanic rocks along I-8

I’m always amazed at how quickly the landscape in Arizona changes from desert to alpine to grasslands to irrigated productive land. The drive on I-8 illustrated this perfectly. We went from saguaro to scrub to these rocks and back to scrub and then, voila! An irrigated valley full of alfalfa and thousands of dairy cows.

desert at Gila Bend

The above picture illustrates it beautifully. You can see the desert scrub and barrenness and in the distance, dairy barns. By the time you get to the barns, there’s acre after acre of irrigated alfalfa.

alfalfa fields and dairy at Gila Bend

There were several dairies in this valley around Gila Bend. And then mile after mile of desert again until we were much closer to Yuma. Then we could see green off to the right in the distance where the Gila River flowed. Little did we know that Saturday we would spend much of the morning driving around that green area, which we learned was called Dome Valley.

But first, we arrived in Yuma late afternoon, checked in at the motel, found some supper and then got ready to go dancing! The dance was held at the Yuma Civic Center. The callers were great, the dancing floor even better, and we settled in to enjoy a night of plus level dancing. After the second tip, while we were working our way off the floor, I see someone waving and pointing. That’s nothing strange, but they are not usually waving and pointing at us, as we don’t know many Arizona area dancers yet. But they were waving and pointing at us! It was Ed & Helen Raynor, friends from our club back in Alabama, Brindlee Mountain Promenaders. They are now RVing full time and they didn’t know we were in Arizona. It was great reconnected with them and also great to be able to dance with them the rest of the evening, since they are great dancers.

Before the night was done, we had made arrangements to meet for breakfast the next day. And since Ed & Helen had been in Yuma for about a month, they volunteered to show us the local sights. So, watch for tomorrow’s post to hear more about all the fun things we did on Saturday!