Monday, April 28, 2014

Getting used to life in Arizona

Life in Arizona is certainly a contrast from our life in Washington, and some of the changes take some getting used to.

For example, low-flying military jets. There's a Marine air base next to Yuma International Airport. While we haven't seen any commercial planes taking off or landing, we've seen plenty of low-flying military planes whooshing overhead at high speeds. The first time I encountered this, we were riding scooters back to the RV park. The planes went by so quickly and noisily, I almost crashed my scooter in surprise. While the RV park we're staying at doesn't seem to be in the planes' flight path, we do get a lot of low-flying helicopters, especially at night.
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Yuma gets a fair amount of winds, so much so that we rarely put the awning down on the trailer. There's a palm tree right next to our trailer, and I enjoy watching the branches blow in the breeze through the translucent vent over the bed. Song birds roost there during the morning, with their warbling providing a wonderful alarm. I do not, however, like the pigeons that hoot all around the clock. One of these days, I swear I'm gonna make us some pigeon pie!
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In Washington, we had signs warning of deer and elk on the road. In Arizona, they warn about wild cows and burros, neither of which we've seen (I don't count the “wild” burros of Oatman) on the road, though Jon did see a deer on the road the morning we took the freeway to Wellton, a town about 30 miles east of Yuma.
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I can't get used to the Border Patrol inspection stations a few miles out of Yuma: eastbound on Interstate 8 and northbound on U.S. 95. As gringos, we are automatically waved through, though one time an inspector stopped us long enough to ask if we were U.S. citizens. He quickly waved us through without asking for proof when Jon said we were. We have seen cars of Hispanics pulled over and being questioned. I wonder how many illegals they catch this way, since motorists can take back roads that bypass the inspection stations.
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Though I used to complain about having to cut the grass at our house, I really miss green grass. Here, most homes have graveled yards filled with cactus of various types and palm trees. By the way, a palm tree is no substitute for a stately Douglas fir. Give me one of our national forests any day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Restful rest areas

Hegy rest area

When you’re traveling, rest areas are important stops on your travel routes. On our journey from Kennewick, Washington, to Yuma, Arizona, two particularly stood out for me.

The first was Hegy rest area in coastal northern California. It’s a small rest area in Highway 101 set among the forests, with a nature trail leading through the trees to overlook the Pacific Ocean.
A very restful, pretty place, it is named after William Z. Hegy, a Canadian who migrated to Eureka, California, where he was a highway engineer with the state. A stretch of highway between Trinidad and Patrick’s Point also is named in his honor.

Nevada rest area
The second rest area that impressed me was located on Highway 95 in Nevada, not too many miles from the border with California.
The architecture is just not what one has come to expect in a rest area. Also unexpected was the metal art that decorated the doors to the rest rooms.