A Travel Day: Sand Dunes, Time Zones and Margaritas

Saguaro’s line the Arizona roadside

Another travel day. Today we drove west towards Yuma through miles of Arizona desert filled with saguaro cacti. As we learned at Saguaro National Park this is the only place they grow. So all those cowboy movies I watched in my youth, showing them growing in Death Valley or Monument Valley, were taking some creative license. The railroad has paralleled I-10 the whole way west and we have seen tons of freight being hauled across the country. Hubby has clocked some of these trains at a mile and a half long. Today we must have seen a dozen of them winding their way east or west. Lots of coal and containers filled with goods heading to market, I guess.

On the way to market

The desert continues as we approach Yuma. We have to climb through the Gila Mountains and as we come over the top Yuma is laid out in the valley below us. There are lots of RV parks; Yuma has to be the snowbird capital of the Southwest. It is a prime winter location for people who don’t want to suffer through the winters of the Northwest. The campground we stay in is actually in Winterhaven, California. The Colorado River separates Yuma, Arizona from Winterhaven. It also separates Mountain time from Pacific time. The campground’s owner said they operate in Mountain Time in order to be in sync with Yuma. He said it would be just too confusing to drive up the block, cross the river and have it be an hour earlier. Imagine trying to set up a time to meet a friend for lunch in Yuma? First you’d have to synchronize your watches.

Waiting to ride the Imperial Sand Dunes

Since we had arrived in camp early, we drove a little distance to the west to check out Imperial Sands National Recreation area. The huge sand dunes were incredible. 40 miles long and 5 miles wide the Bureau of Land Management maintains the dunes. There were hundreds of dry campers (no facilities are available) with every possible variation of dune buggies, dirt bikes and ATV’s. There are areas that are restricted and you can escape the motorized drone of all these machines and enjoy the beauty of this unique area.

At six PM (Yuma time) we drove into town, in search of a Mexican Restaurant (Chretin’s) that the camp manager had recommended. We had a good meal and the best Margarita we have ever had. The Margarita’s were so good we bought a gallon of their homemade mix to take with us as we head to Mexico. Now we just need some tequila.

About JudithC99

Wanderer. Writer. Artist. Photographer. Learner. Traveler of the Red Roads


  1. Hello. We, too, have seen many long trains in our recent travels. We love to count the number of “Road Engines” (the big ones) that are needed to pull the train and sometimes some push it as well. Also, the number of “switch engines” (smaller) if any that help move the train. These long trains, to us, indicate an improving economy and that is a good thing for all of us! Be well and safe travels, Ann and Jerry

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