Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yuma Arizona: Old Town, The Sanguinetti House, Territorial Prison and San Luis

It was another 49F morning in Yuma this morning and the regulars here are starting to give us accusatory looks. We didn't intend to bring this weather. Honest. But we are enjoying this more than we would the more typical heat.

Grapefruit tree on our site - they say they are our grapefruit

After breakfast, Sherm, Pat, Sandy and I jumped in their car and stopped by their Minnie Winnie to return Teri's bedding for storage. Their unit is only 22 feet long but it is much plusher inside than ours. Unfortunately, the outer layer of their awning appeared to be de-laminating for no good reason. Sherm plans to get some tape and secure it while they figure out the proper fix.

From there, we went to Old Town and stopped at the Apache Hotel to see if Red was back. He was but he was not too chipper this morning so we said we'd come back later when he was more up to it.

Sherm holding Red's dog Bull (remember him from yesterday?)

We parked in the lot across the street and then walked through Lute's Casino (which is everything but a casino) to get to the street on the other side. But we had to take our time passing through the historic establishment, decorated with more kitsch than I think I've seen in one place before.

Lute's Casino (Where the Elite Meet)

Out on Main Street

Out on the street, people were starting to wander past the various vendors

This lady is selling some nice jewelery

Pretty young lady selling kettle corn

She had Polish, bratwurst and andouille

This man tried to sell me a magic balance power bracelet

Sherm and an immodest manikin

This man sang western classics and did it quite well - I tipped him

Kress R&B Club - this is above the restaurant we ate at last night

After perusing the stalls, we went into the Yuma Art Center. They were featuring bronzes by Donald Strong and photos by John Hoskin in the front. The back rooms had various works by local artists including one local lady Sherm and Pat knew.

Pat wonders if the firehose is an exhibit or a safety item

Bas-relief at the entrance to the theatre

We wandered a block over to the Sanguinetti House, a local landmark containing a museum operated by the Arizona Historical Society. Inside, Bill Mendoza was manning the front desk. Bill was born in 1927 and is 7/8 Yaqui Indian. The other 8th is the Spanish Alcala family. He lived in Los Angeles when young but came to Yuma in the 30's to visit family. Then his parents left him with his grandmother here for an extended period of time. He was also a member of the crew of the USS Midway (CV-41). Bill and I talked for quite a while. Meantime, the curator was helping Pat, who visited her father here in the 30's. He passed away here in 1954 and the curator, Carol, was able to find a copy of his death certificate. She also gave Sherm details on how to find the exact location of the Oatman Massacre. I never got a chance to ask Bill about the Yaqui and Peyote (a la Carlos Castaneda) but it was a very interesting visit.

Pat, Sandy and Sherm at the Sanguinetti House

Sandy and a train master exhibit (for Bob)

Inside the house

The original roofing material

Bill Mendoza

Bill helping Pat with some local details

Sanguinetti House garden

Parrot in the garden

Lovely palms

Leaving the museum, we returned to Main Street and had sausages and burritos for lunch. Then I bought Sandy some kettle corn and we skipped back through Lute's (which was now full with people waiting in the streets) to the parking lot. We took Pat back home and switched from the car to the bikes.

First stop, after I finally figured out where I left my Zumo (it was in the helmet I wasn't wearing), was down by the Colorado River near the Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge to see Southern Pacific Engine 2521. This old steam engine hauled passengers and freight for over 2.5 million miles along the SP line before it was retired.

Southern Pacific Engine 2521

The next stop was the museum at the site of the old Yuma Territorial Prison. This was state operated last year, when the City of Yuma assumed responsibility. We walked the site and I decided I would not have liked being sent here. It closed in 1909.

Yuma Territorial Prison

Indian Hill and mission from the Yuma Territorial Prison Guard Tower

The Colorado River from the Yuma Territorial Prison Guard Tower
(the Colorado and Gila Rivers used to meet at this spot)

Castle Dome from the Yuma Territorial Prison Guard Tower

The prison museum

Thomas Gates was a superintendent who thwarted an escape by seven men through his exceptional courage (don't know if he is related to our Thomas)

Model of the prison in its heyday

Sandy glad she is on the outside

Where the incorrigible cells used to be

From the prison, we returned home where Pat made an excellent supper of rice, dumplings, gravy, peas and a green Jello type salad which WT and KT joined us for. Then we suited up and rode south along the fields near the river until we connected with US 95 which took us through Gadsden to the termination at the Mexican border in San Luis. This Gadsden is named for the same man as Gadsden Alabama.

In San Luis, we stopped at McDonald's for hot fudge sundaes. The young lady working the counter was quite challenged English-wise, but Sherm managed to explain hot fudge sundae. Not much fudge and no nuts. WT had more trouble trying to order coffee. After a walk through the WalMart here, I have come to the conclusion that this town is part of the United States in name only.

We rode back to town on US 95 all the way. It was 18C when we left San Luis and 13C by the time we got back to Yuma. Tired, we headed to our respective abodes soon after arriving home.

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