The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

"Y" IS FOR YUMA (#AtoZChallenge)

The A to Z Bloggers Challenge letter of the day is "Y" and, since Yuma, Arizona is a destination for us almost every winter, "Y IS FOR YUMA".


Yuma is located in the southwest corner of Arizona along Interstate 8 and adjacent to the Mexican border.  In our typical winter travels we would be heading to Yuma via Hwy. 95 which links I-10 and I-8 through the small town of Quartzsite that we visit in January almost every year.  If we head to Yuma from the Phoenix metropolitan area we can follow I-10 towards Casa Grande and/or backtrack on side roads through Gila Bend.

I'd say most of the "Winter Visitors" (aka "snowbirds") that head for Yuma do so for "the season". Snowbirds are travelers that come from the colder climates of the Midwest, upper Midwest and Canada and stay approximately from November to March.  They occupy the 80+ formal campgrounds, RV resorts, mobile home parks, etc.  Other folks come to the area and "boondock" -- camp without utilities on public lands.  The most complete listing of all of the camping options is in an $9.99 app called "ALLSTAYS Camp and RV" which we highly recommend.

For the most part we only head for Yuma for 1-3 week stays and seldom do we have reservations.  Many of our Escapee RV Club "Boomer" friends have established home bases in the Yuma area and own plots of lands on the eastern side of Yuma in an area known as the "Foothills".  These specially zoned parcels allow multiple RVs to connect to water, electric, and
sewer dump stations.  We have also stayed in full hook-up campgrounds and look for places that offer 50% off discount rates through Passport America or our Escapees RV Club.


From Yuma it is an easy hop, skip, and a walk across the international checkpoint between the USA and Mexico to a small Mexican community called Los Algodones or Algodones. The town enters off I-8 and is approximately 10 miles west of downtown Yuma, just across the California-Arizona border. A local Indian tribe provides parking for a small fee and you walk one block to cross the border.  To return to the USA you must present your valid US Passport and declare your purchases with the Customs officers.  Wait times to get back to the US during the peak season can sometimes take an hour-plus.

The town's main attraction is low cost dental, pharmaceutical, optical and merchandise sought by snowbirds every winter.  The "official" Algodones website reports there are more than 300 specialized and certified dental clinics plus 50-plus dental labs that make crowns, bridges, and dentures in just 2-3 days. Many of our friends have had implants done and many more go across the border for their annual dental cleanings.  Services are typically 70-75% cheaper than in the US or Canada.

Artisans sit around the local shops and outdoor eateries creating uniquely painted "stuff" like custom mailboxes, spare tire covers, and patio decor items.  Street merchants will try to sell you their leather goods, jewelry, clothing, etc.  US currency is the preferred form of payment and some of the medical and dental practices accept insurances or credit cards, travelers' checks, and personal checks for an additional fee.

Alcohol and tobacco products have certain limitations when returning to the USA.    Everything in Algodones is located within just a 5-block area from the border crossing.

Most everyone we know who cross over the border include a stop for fish and/or shrimp street tacos or complete meals at the restaurants.


As mentioned above, there are lots of formal places to park a recreational vehicle but there are also other types of places around Yuma we have stayed.  The most unusual military FamCamp is off Hwy. 95, north of town, the Yuma Proving Grounds. When we stayed in the area the Army precision parachuting team was training there so that visit provided front row seats to spectacular action. The highway turn-off for the Proving Grounds is marked by unusual landmarks  -- military gunnery.

Watch for tank crossings!

As a golfer I enjoyed meeting fellow Boomers at the Cocopah Golf and RV resort on the far west end of Yuma. My friends now stay there for the "season" and play in tournaments almost daily.  My next visit will be longer than two weeks.  The rows of RVs are separated by long, straight fairways. Common areas include a dining room, pool, cantina, etc. 

We have attended multiple rallies at the Yuma Fairgrounds, across the street from the Marine Base.  I had an opportunity to teach and/or facilitate seminars there when Nick and Terry Russell used to host their Gypsy Journal Gatherings in Yuma.  

That's a wrap on "Y" is for Yuma.





Emily Bloomquist said...

Yuma sounds like a nice spot to spend some time. Thanks for the introduction! Mmmmm...I love fish tacos and your picture has me hungry for them. We have a number of snowbirds from Canada and the northern US who spend winters here in Ecuador, too. They fly here, though :)

Emily | My Life In Ecuador

Pat Holloway said...

I enjoyed reading about your time in Yuma. My in-laws did the same for several years & would send postcards. My father-in-law would always buy his meds & eyeglasses. He is 92 now, so he no longer is an active rver.