Valley of the Names (Yuma, AZ)

I’m still behind on my posts, trying to catch up…  here’s what we did on Friday:

While boondocking  just south of the Quechan Casino, our nearest neighbors, (Don and Peg), organized a day trip for many of the folks camped on our little hill-top overlooking the wash.

Don & Peg hail from Ohio and are no strangers to the area – they stay here during the winter months, and have done so many times in the past.  A couple neat things about Don is that he painted his own Coach.  A ’95 American Dream.  It looks really nice.  He is also an avid wood-carver.  He showed us some of his work, ranging from walking sticks, wood stump bowls, wall hangings, and even intricate thread spool carvings.  Yes, I said carvings made from old wooden thread spools.  I haven’t seen that before – pretty cool Don.

There were six vehicles that took Don up on his offer of 4-wheel drive adventure.  We followed Don’s Toyota through many a dry wash with the Silverado as Don took one shortcut after another.  I was worried about the front plastic spoiler that dug in to the dirt a few times, but it survived alright.  So did the hard plastic mud flaps, I was sure they were going to break off a time or two as the side-bars/steps scraped the ground.  But we made it relatively unscathed.  Now I have another excuse to detail the truck 🙂

The destination for the day was Valley of the Names.   Click on the link for more information.  Or here.  The following excerpt I copied from “An odd site is found in desert north of Yuma. For over 60 years people have been bringing in rocks in order to spell out their names and other messages in the desert. While best viewed from a low flying plane, the site is accessable via 4WD vehicles. Remember that many of these messages date back over 50 years and should not be disturbed. If you want to write your own message, BRING YOUR OWN ROCKS and leave alone the efforts of others.”

Here’s a few pics of our trip to get there… as usual, the pictures don’t do justice to the scale of the holes, dips, twists and hills:




At one point, Don got out his saw to clear some of the brush that would have otherwise scratched the sides of our vehicles.


Some of the road was through a very sandy dry wash.


And there was even some sections that could be considered “super-highway”.


Here’s a view of the surrounding mountains in the area.


And finally, we made it!  Here we are enjoying lunch that everyone had brought along.




Here are some samples of the “rock art”.  They were everywhere for miles around us.  After lunch we all drove around on our own to view the names from different roads which wound in and around the area.  Again, the couple pics here don’t do it justice… it was very hilly in most areas… you had to be careful traversing the hilltops.




One gentleman, sorry – I forgot his name, had developed a home-made rack for his pickup complete with swinging lounge-chair.  I had to put this picture in the journal.  We all got to try out the unique chair – very comfortable 🙂



On our return trip, we stopped for a “Date Shake” at the Imperial Date Gardens.  The shake was good.  We also bought some cactus candy.




Here’s some members of our group enjoying their date shakes outside the retail store.


After our 4-wheel drive adventure, we peeled off and hit the local WalMart to stock up on a few things.  We made it back in time for “Happy Hour” and later on the group had another campfire.

Stay tuned for the next post about our visit to the Yuma Territorial Prison on Saturday.  And no, they didn’t keep us there 🙂