January 29 to February 10
I’m running low on staple grocery items, so Monday morning I hitch up and head for Yuma. Yuma has a resident population of close to 100,000. It has a nice selection of stores, restaurants, etc. When the winter snowbirds arrive, there are about 300,000 people in the area. There are numerous RV parks and also several boondocking options on BLM land in the vicinity. Part of what makes Yuma attractive to winter residents is this area has the warmest winter weather in the US. The average daily high is 80°.
When I arrive in the city, my first stop is the Fry’s Grocery store on Fortuna Road. It was chaos there! The parking lot was full, there were long lines at the gas pumps. I planned to top off the gas tank, but there was no way I was going to get in there with the trailer so I passed on that. Fry’s is owned by Kroger and I am able to stock up on my favorite items. I like their Simple Truth natural and organic products, I’m always pleased to find a Kroger store.
Since I plan to be in this area for up to two weeks, I wanted to find a camping area that would have good cell service. The areas on the east side of Yuma have limited service. I decide to go to Ogilby Road off I-8. This area is just across the state line in California and about 20 miles from the west side of Yuma. Also my friend Angela, who I met in Quartzsite, is coming back from California to camp in this area and we had planned to meet up on Ogilby Road.
After leaving Fry’s I head west on I-8 and make a quick stop at the Love’s Travel Center to fill the empty propane tank. Their price was pretty reasonable for the area at $2.39 per gallon. By the time I get to Ogilby Road it is late afternoon. Just north of I-8 is American Girl Mine Road. I turn in there and find a spot to camp that is about a half mile in. I figure once Angela arrives we will look for a spot we both like. I have full bars of Verizon LTE here. As a bonus, I also get two English TV channels, one of which is the channel showing the Super Bowl on Sunday, cool! I don’t watch TV much but will turn on the news occasionally while I’m fixing a meal. Usually I turn it back off within a few minutes, LOL!
On Wednesday I drive into Yuma. The main street on the west side of Yuma is 4th Avenue. There is much less traffic here than in the Fortuna Road area and everything I need is along here – Fry’s, a Sprouts, Walmart, library, etc. I do some grocery shopping and go to the library to use their wifi. I have updates to download on the laptop, iPhone and iPad. What would RVers do without library wifi!!
On Thursday Angela arrives and we drive around on American Girl Mine Road to check the other camping areas. We decide we like the spot where we are so she sets up her camp next to me. Her trailer is also made by Nash, a different model from mine. This isn’t the prettiest area, but it serves its purpose.
There isn’t a whole lot to do here, the hiking isn’t great and there is a heat wave so the highs have been up to 86°. I make a couple trips into Yuma, read, do chores and such. The Imperial Sand Dunes are the next exit west on I-8. One day we take a drive there.
This is a very popular area for ATVs and dune buggies. I like the dune buggies and it looks like it would be fun to ride around on the dunes, maybe once. Seems it would be monotonous after a while.
There is a primitive camping area here and a couple further west on the recreation area road.
There is a section of the old Plank Road here. This was the first method for vehicles to cross the dunes and was in use from 1914 to 1927. That must have been an interesting drive! You really had to be an adventurer to drive across the country in those days. It’s amazing the places those old Model T Fords would go!
On Tuesday the 6th, Angela and I were outside chatting and watching the sunset. Shortly after dark, we saw a bright light in the sky. I snapped a pic with my iPhone, but it doesn’t portray how bright it actually was. Turns out this was a SpaceX rocket burn to correct its trajectory as it heads towards Mars. It was pretty neat to see.
My truck told me it needed an oil change as I was driving to Yuma, so I schedule an appointment at Alexander Ford. I got an oil change, tires rotated and truck washed for $50. I’m happy with that.
The main reason for being here in Yuma is to go to Los Algodones, Mexico for a dental appointment. I just need a regular cleaning. The fee is $30 compared to $90-$100 in US. Since I no longer have dental insurance, this saves me some money.
I have read there are around 300 dentists, optometrists and pharmacies in Algodones. Medical tourism, as it’s called, is the town’s sole reason for existence. The people who work here mostly live in other towns 30 or so miles away. Our appointment is at 9am on Friday the 9th. The port of entry is about 10 miles from where we are camped. The Quechan Indian tribe has a large parking lot right on the border. We park there for $6 and walk across. Going into Mexico you just walk in, there is no border control to pass through when walking.
The town is only a few square blocks, the streets were packed with gringos J All along the streets there are hawkers asking if you need dental work or eyeglasses and trying to get you to go to a certain provider. I assume they receive a fee when successful.
Our appointment was at Rubio Dental Group. Their office is very similar to any dental office in the US. They also take the same sanitary precautions as you would see here, with disposable covers on surfaces, etc. I was satisfied with my visit and with the cleaning I received. In general the fees for dental work are about 30% of what is charged in the US. Just like in the US, there are good dentists and bad dentists. So one should always research to find a good provider for the services needed.
Afterwards we walked around the town a little while until we were hungry for lunch.
I’m no good at taking selfies 😦
After lunch, we headed back across the border a little after 1pm. We were ahead of the busy hours, so it only took about 5 minutes to go through border control and walk back into the US.
I felt perfectly safe there and plan to return in the future.
On Saturday morning, Angela headed out to another part of California and I headed east to Ajo, AZ. After being here almost two weeks I was ready to hit the road for new places!