We are learning that we can’t write about all of our adventures. But, so you know, Susie had a big thumbs up from her oncologists whom she saw on our trip back to New England. We had a fun train ride East and really enjoyed seeing family and friends.

We read about Mittry Lake Wildlife Area in the Shunpikers Arizona Guide. Other than that we didn’t really know what to expect. Wow, we sure got a nice treat!

We nestled Shiny in a pull off that overlooked a small pond adjacent to the lake. As it turned out it was the best spot on the lake, in our opinion at least. We had a great view and a bit of privacy. Yuma lived up to their claim of being the sunniest city in the world. Jenny had no problem keeping Shiny’s batteries charged.

Here are some scenes from one of our walks.

Talking to some fishermen we learned that the lake is known for it superb bass fishing. There was not a lot of boat traffic during the week but it picked up on the weekend. Around the boat ramp were gravel lots where large clusters of RVs parked. At most BLMs you are limited to 14 days, if you leave for 5 or 6 days you can come back and stay for another 14 days. But at Mittry Lake it is 10 days in a calendar year.

My bucket list became a little shorter when we visited the Yuma Territorial Prison Park.

This was an active prison from 1875 to 1909. Even though there has been no prisoners held here in over 110 years it is still rather eerie. The prisons version of solitary confinement was called the Dark Cell. A 15 by 15 foot cave with a small iron cage in the center. It was complete darkness in the cell. An iron bed with no bedding, bread and water served once a day and no toilet.

One is allowed to enter the Dark Cell these days and with my iphone flashlight I looked around. Didn’t look like a whole lot of fun to me and did I detect a foul odor?

Our friends Donn Fowler and Judy Kerry drove all the way from Huntington Beach California to join us. What fun! We met Donn & Judy last year at Organ Pipe National Monument. Judy and Susan are both retired Occupational Therapists. Judy plays a number of instruments including guitar and ukulele. Donn plays an assortment of percussion devices. So needless to say we play music while we are together. As much as my arthritic shoulder will allow anyway. Susie even joined in with her Uke!

While we were at the Yuma Prison I noticed a poster announcing that Grand Funk Railroad was playing at the Yuma Proving Grounds. Donn checked into it and sure enough just five miles up the road from our camp site was the event. And with a big smile Donn announced it was free!! How could we not go?

I saw them back in the early 70’s at the Orpheum Theater in Boston. It was fun then and this time was no different. They played all the old hits.

There are over 175 different crops grown in the Yuma area year round. The list includes alfalfa, Bermuda grass seed, cabbage, cotton, dates, lemons, lettuce, melons, onions, and wheat. 

Photo gleaned from the internet

About two-thirds of wheat grown here is exported to Italy for use in making premium pastas. Interesting!

Some growers cultivate kosher wheat to be used by Orthodox Jews to bake matzo.  Kosher rules dictate that the wheat is to not receive moisture immediately prior to harvesting, so Yuma’s desert conditions and controlled irrigation make it a perfect location to grow this crop

Yuma County claims to be the winter lettuce capital of the world and is responsible for 90% of all leafy vegetables grown in the United States. I believe it, we drove by fields of produce that went for miles.

Here is an interesting fact about the date industry here. In 1927, the Medjool date palms in Morocco became diseased and began to die off.  The U.S. Government assisted to try to save the species.  Eleven offshoots were brought back to the United States and were quarantined in Nevada.  In 1944 four of those offshoots ended up in Yuma. All the Medjool date palms here come from those 4 offshoots. Amazing!

Onion Farm

Boy I can sure get sidetracked, back to Mittry Lake. The Birds.

If you think that Susie has misidentified any of these birds, would you let us know? Thanks!

We sat for hours watching four osprey playing above the lake, occasionally one would dive down to the water for a snack. A Harris Hawk also soared above the lake everyday scanning his/her hunting grounds. All the birds in the pond in front of us got very nervous when it approached.

We could have stayed at Mittry Lake much longer but alas, if we are ever to make it to Alaska we have to keep moving. There is lots on our to-do list before we cross the border!


    1. Thanks, Sandy. I agree with you. Larry writes interesting posts. He’s a good travel partner in that way. He sees and pays attention to things that I overlook.

  1. Great news, Susie!!! Valley of Fire! (not to be confused with the Valley of Fires, where we met). One of our favorite spots and good free showers! Sounds like you are living the good life you were looking for. Never stop exploring!
    Re: your Mittry Lake birds, the only one I’m not sure of is the grebe. I’d say it was probably a Western Grebe. Great place and one we have to check out. We’re home for the summer, expensive foundation work to be done in June. We may get up into Quebec for a while but nothing major until August. Our hope is to cross Canada to B.C. and then down into Washington & Oregon to see our grandkids and some old friends. That would be in Oct/Nov. We’d leave Cozette in Oregon to be picked up the next spring. Our paths might cross? Alaska! I hear the road into Denali is in big trouble due to rockslides.
    Safe travels.
    Michael & Denise

    1. Great to hear from you, Denise. I am sure that our paths will cross. Life is like that! That is especially true when you are wearing really special hand knit socks!

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