YUMA ADVENTURES

We had a few Yuma adventures when we were staying at the Yuma Proving Grounds in AZ back in early 2009, going in several times for movies; we had lunch and dinner at a couple of very nice restaurants, but I can’t remember their names. All I really remember about Yuma is fields and fields of lettuce, orange groves, and date palm groves. The town is about 1-1/2 hours south of Quartzsite, right on the AZ/CA border. If you’re into 4-wheeling/ATVing, it’s just over an hour to Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, CA, and there are nearby wildlife refuges well worth visiting.

Yuma Lettuce FieldsLettuce Capital of the World

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But there’s a lot going on in Yuma itself; my friend Ann and her husband, RVers from Montana, recently spent about three weeks in Yuma and sent me some great information on their Yuma adventures.

“This is our third winter traveling throughout Arizona and we've been all over the state. We've stayed at RV Parks, RV Resorts, AZ State Parks, you name it. Here are my Yuma observations:

Yuma doesn't have the drop dead beauty of Sedona, or the Grand Canyon, or northern Tucson.

It doesn't have the high end art galleries of a Sedona, Tucson or Scottsdale; it's not cutesy-touristy like Tubac or Jerome.  But by no means is Yuma ugly.  It has beautiful mountains in the background and green fields all around.  However, Yuma is rather average in the beauty department – definitely not spectacular.

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Yuma is just a regular working class city, agriculturally based – known as the "winter vegetable capital of the world."  Farming is Yuma's #1 business.  Sunshine, rich soil and good water create an oasis that produces more than 175 different crops, including more than 90% of our nation’s green leafy vegetables.

Tourism is the #2 business.  The thing Yuma does, and they do it exceedingly well, is entertain and cater to what they call their "winter visitors"  - that means us – the senior snowbirds. They make sure there are lots of Yuma adventures for you to choose from.

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I counted 36 RV parks/resorts in the visitor's guide.  Those are the ones within Yuma; there are more in the outlying areas. I also counted 13 motels/hotels.

These resorts vary in the amount of activities they offer and the facilities vary from simple and meager, to luxury. The two resorts we've stayed in here each have so many things going on it is dizzying.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here’s the list of activities at Westwind RV and Golf Resort: billiards, bingo, bridge, bridge lessons, cribbage, darts, mah jong, mexican train, pegs and jokers, pinochle, poker, rummoli, Texas hold 'em, Bible Study, guitar lessons, oil painting, pen and ink roughing, card making, ceramics, craft for fun, lapidary/silversmithing, quilting, scrapbooking, wood carving, dance lessons (ballroom, square dancing, line dancing-beginning and advanced), aerobics, lap swimming, water exercise, yoga, zumba aqua and zumba gold, bocce ball, horseshoes, pickle ball, shuffleboard, volleyball, church choir practice, church service, craft fair, jam sessions, potlucks, red hats, solos, ladies/mixed beginning golf league and lessons, men's golf league, mix leagues, golf scrambles, karaoke, fashion shows, bbq and pool parties. Yuma adventures never stop!

Some of these activities happen every day, others three times a week, some once a week.

Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis, CAImperial Sand Dunes, Glamis, CA

You would not have to ever leave the park if you didn't want to, as there is also a restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The resorts have regular concerts; entertainers we grew up with are now performing at RV Resorts!  Peter Noone (Herman's Hermits) was just here, Tony Orlando is coming.  Frankie Avalon, Jan and Dean and Abba were here last year, and the list goes on.  And there is lots of entertainment by less well known performers going on all the time.  All the entertainment is geared toward us seniors and all the music is that which we grew up with.

Now, that's what the resorts offer, but the city of Yuma does the same thing!  (if one were a teenager here, one might be bored....but not a senior citizen)  There's a big sign outside our park which reads "Caution: Adults at Play" and that pretty well sums up life in Yuma for a snowbird.  Our next door neighbor here told us he heard winter visitors bring in over 880 million dollars to Yuma each winter.  I think they know who butters their bread! And they do treat us well.

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In nearly every store and restaurant we've visited, we've been consistently treated politely and respectfully, and that cannot be said about some other places we've been (including resorts and cities).

Yuma Lettuce FestivalYuma Lettuce Festival

Adventures in Downtown Yuma

My husband and I attended a wonderful concert in downtown Yuma in the Historic Yuma Theatre, in the Yuma Arts Center.  The quartet was called the Doo Wop Divas, and consisted of four cute as a bug young ladies singing two hours worth of girl group doo wop music from the 60s!  I haven't had so much fun at a concert for 25 years or more!  They were just wonderful, vivacious, superb performers.  If you ever get a chance to see them, don't miss it!  And they had a 5 piece backup band that was excellent.  Every song they sang, we knew, and they acted liked they loved what they did, which made it more fun. And they dressed in the era clothing and were perfectly choreographed (remember how the groups of the 60s had all the same hand movements, body movements while performing?  Well, that's what they did.  It was a way cool Yuma adventure!

This same theatre is having a country show soon with the music of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, followed later by a Fats Domino concert (not Fats himself, but rather a performer doing his music). 

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Then there are the swap meets!  One huge one nearby is open every Thursday through Sunday.  Big tents filled to the max with everything (seniors) would like, with (natch) music from the 50s and 60s playing happily in the background.  Even a live band for the noon hour and you can order food and drink from the food court and listen to the free music.  There are also two other swap meets full of the same kind of stuff going on each week, but neither of those is as big as the main one.

One week there was "Midnight at the Oasis" downtown - over 1,000 classic cars were on show, and bands playing classic rock.  Again, entertainment for us seniors.

Oh...just wanted to comment on the ambiance in the resort too: it's like we're all 16 again.  Too funny!!  The guys buzz around in their hot rod golf carts, and they have souped up ATVs too, for going out into the desert;  the "girls" are in their bathing suits out laughing in the pool, or riding around on their retro cruiser bicycles.  Lots of residents have dogs, especially small dogs, and these little babies are groomed and pampered....some being pushed around in little doggy strollers. Oh my – don’t miss out on Yuma adventures!”

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What about you? Have you had some Yuma adventures of your own that you can share with us?

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Loved this book since I'm always looking for new places to explore in Arizona.

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