Arizona, Blythe Intaglios, boondocking, California, KOFA Wildlife Refuge, Mojave Preserve, Spiral Labyrinth, Yuma Territorial Prison
Leaving Ajo, Arizona we headed north to Gila Bend and I-8W towards Yuma which is located on the Colorado River in the southwest corner of Arizona. There’s precious little on this stretch of highway but there is a place named Dateland where surprise! there’s a date grove! We like dates, and so we stopped, sampled seven kinds (Honey Dates were the best) and bought some of these sweet healthy treats. We also tried their “world famous” date milkshake…okay dokey, we can scratch that off the list now 🙂
As you’ll note in the title above, we had a mission on this leg of our adventure. Having been to Bisbee we know the 3:10 to Yuma movie had that location all wrong. However, since the movie ends with the train just leaving Contention City we wanted to actually see the notorious prison Ben Wade implies he will once again escape from. The first seven inmates entered the Territorial Prison at Yuma on July 1, 1876 ( five days after Custer had his last stand at Little Big Horn in Montana and the year my grandfather Deppa was born) where they were locked into the cells they had built themselves.
Over the course of 33 years 3,069 prisoners including 29 women (many incarcerated for adultery) were held here. Although there were many attempted escapes only 2 from within the prison confines were successful. While we’re not sure it’s worth a trip to Yuma, do put it on your MVL (Must Visit List) if you’re in the area.
While plotting our travels on Google Maps I had noted something marked Spiral Labyrinth outside the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge 6 miles down a dirt road off US Hwy. 95 in Arizona. I was curious, so I did a little searching and found next to nothing about this, but what I did find was interesting so of course we went looking. Of unknown origin, but not old, this very carefully built stone labyrinth is amazing and fun. Someone worked really hard and near as I can find it’s almost a secret. Put it on your MVL…but….you have to find it yourself 🙂
From the labyrinth, we headed for California’s US Hwy 95 and Blythe where we were looking for the very ancient Blythe Intaglios. I have known of these geoglyphs for most of my life and was very excited to see them. The road they are off of went quickly from bad to nope, so we only managed to see 3 of them. They are behind ugly protective fencing (why can’t people behave?) so some of the magic feeling is gone. Even so, one can’t help but wonder… why? Put them on your MVL.
After spending the night back at Arizona’s Cattail Cove State Park we headed out for our next California destination, dry camping at Hole In The Wall. Sandwiched between two interstates, 15 & 40, the Mojave National Preserve and indeed the area leading to it, is incredibly vast and empty…and beautiful. We found a lovely spot in the almost empty campground and settled in for several days.
There are a couple of stories about how this spot got named Hole in the Wall. One is because of all the holes in the rock, but my favorite is because a former gun-slinger finally settled down in the area and named it for his former hide out 🙂
The first day we hiked all around behind our site enjoying the views and rock formations. On day two we did the Ring Loop Trail into Banshee Canyon. It is so named because early settlers said the wind blowing through sounded like a banshee! It is an incredibly neat place and I highly recommend it go on your MVL.
We are currently doing chores in Pahrump NV, not a garden spot but they have real stores, gas stations and a very nice Escapee’s RV park not to mention the Chicken Ranch Brothel just down the road. It’s Nevada, what can we say? On Monday we head for Death Valley. We’ve seen it a bit and WOW…..can’t wait to show & tell you all about it!