February 1-7, 2019 —The first week of February found us boondocking in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land for one night then moving south to Yuma, Arizona for the rest of the time. Even though there is ample BLM land available in the Yuma area we decided to change it up and stay at a Harvest Hosts farm location and at a Boondockers Welcome host site. We enjoy the variety of overnight accommodations and often learn a great deal of information about the local areas from both of these programs.
Our main objective in going to Yuma was to cross the border into Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico for dental cleanings and exams. This was our third trip to Mexico for dental care (2017 Los Algodones, 2018 Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, Mexico) and all three have been very good experiences. Thousands of residents of the United States and Canada cross the border every day for dental care as well as other services such as optical and auditory care and pharmaceuticals. See more on our latest trip across the border below and our 2018 visit with pricing here.
All nights this week were free stays with one night at Palm Canyon BLM, one night at a Harvest Hosts location and the remaining five nights at a Boondockers Welcome location.
Peaceful, quiet, serene. Mountains, cactus, wildlife. This is why we love boondocking in the Arizona desert. Here we are parked on BLM land just outside of Kona National Wildlife Refuge on Palm Canyon Road between Quartzsite and Yuma, Arizona. The site is able to accommodate any size rig, is relatively level, very quiet and has excellent Verizon and AT&T service.
A path with the designation of National Recreation Trail just begs to be hiked. The Palm Canyon Trail in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge takes hikers to the base of a canyon where the only native Arizona palm trees, California Fan Palms, can be found. The trees are shaded except for a short window of time mid-day so plan your trek accordingly. This hike is moderately easy but be mindful of loose rocks, especially when descending out of the canyon.
Our home for a night overlooking a field of cauliflower thanks to From The Farm, a Harvest Hosts location near Yuma, Arizona. In addition to growing fruit and vegetables, the farm features a restaurant and antique store. We tried our first date shake while there and really liked it. We might have to stop back in for another…..
The Bridge to Nowhere near Yuma, Arizona, also called the McPhaul Bridge, is an abandoned suspension bridge that was built in 1929 and once spanned the Gila River. The bridge was considered too flimsy for modern traffic and a new one was built upstream in 1968 following the diversion of the river by a dam. Interestingly, the new bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1993 and the old “flimsy” bridge remained intact.
We heard a story that this bridge was the model for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco but we haven’t been able to confirm the truth to this. There definitely is resemblance in the structure of both.
A big reason for us going to the Yuma, Arizona area was to cross the border into Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico for dental care. Los Algodones, nicknamed “Molar City”, is home to 350+ dentists in a four square block area. Most of their patients are from the United States and Canada with the draw being the low cost of the dental services provided. We both had cleanings and exams completed at Oasis Dental Group at a cost of $35 each. This was our second trip to this clinic and will return next winter.
After our visit to the dentist we treated ourselves to dinner and strawberry margaritas. The food and drinks were amazing!
“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need……roads.” Dr. Emmett Brown, Back To The Future
Off-roading for the day in the California desert near Picacho Peak. What a great time! Thanks to our Boondockers Welcome host for taking us along in his Jeep and sharing this awesome adventure.
Valley of the Names. During World War II soldiers training in the desert north of Yuma, Arizona began decorating the area with rocks used to spell out their names in the sand and called it “Graffiti Mesa”. The tradition continued after the war and the graffitied area grew. Now known as “Valley of the Names”, it encompasses over 1,200 acres of land decorated with signatures, messages, dates, initials and designs. The area is located off Barney Oilfield Road in Winterhaven, California and is best accessed with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
And just like that another week has come and gone. Stay tuned for next week as we continue our exploration of the Yuma area and then make our way north to Lake Havasu for more desert adventures. See you then!