Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day 30 - Sunday, September 27 - San Diego to Gila Bend, AZ

Starting mileage:  7350 Starting time: 10:30 am

Ending mileage:  7611 Ending time: 5:00 pm
Travel mileage:  261 Travel time: 6:30 hours

We are on our way home. It was hard to say goodbye but we plan to be back at Christmas.

It was another hot temperatures - 106 in California and 108 as we passed into Arizona.

We are still amazed at all the agriculture in the desert. We passed some newly planted (we assume - just looked like desert) fields that were being irrigated. A lot of water must evaporate when it is being sprayed into the air at mid-day when it is 108 degrees. There were some large cattle feed lots and it looked like they were growing hay for feed.

We passed through an area of mountains that were covered with large round boulders. We thought of a science fiction movie where the boulders suddenly come alive as strange "stone" beasts.

It is good to see renewable energy being exploited. Near El Centro there was another huge farm of large wind turbines. A little further along there were several acres of photo-voltaic arrays owned by Duke Power that looked like they were turning to always face the sun. Unfortunately, it looked like some of the mechanisms weren't working as they weren't all pointing in the same direction. 

We didn't even notice we had crossed the Colorado River when we entered Arizona. There is so little water in the river by the time it gets here, it is only about 100' wide. In the early 1900s it used to be a raging river that sometimes flooded 15 miles wide. The Hoover dam, other dams down river and diversion of water for irrigation have reduced the flow to a trickle. After Mexico takes its share of water, there is nothing left by the time it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

We stopped in Yuma for lunch at Subway and afterwards went to the Yuma Territorial State Park which was quite interesting. This was a prison from 1876 to 1909 and parts of it have been maintained as a historic site along with a museum constructed on the grounds.  The Yuma townspeople thought the prison was a luxury with bathtubs, showers, a library and a hospital. The inmates thought it was a hellhole, 6 to a tiny vermin-infested cell with temperatures often over 100. They also had to do hard work outside in the heat. There were many interesting histories of inmates, why they were there, how they tried to escape, etc.

Near Gila Bend, AZ we passed the Solana parabolic concentrating solar power system that uses over 1900 acres of collectors. The parabolic mirrors focus heat on tubes of molten salt which can be stored and later be used to produce steam to drive turbines to generate electricity. This allows the generation of electricity in the evening when the sun isn't shining.

We are staying at the "Space Age Lodg" Best Western in Gila Bend. It was created by a former NASA engineer. The rooms all have space shuttle and other NASA photos. The outside is glittery. We had a very authentic Mexican dinner in a little hole in the wall restaurant down the road.

We were also able to watch the lunar eclipse of the "super" moon. No worry about clouds here!

Day 30 route

Saying goodbye to Anna this morning

Strange boulder formations

Colorado river in Yuma (foreground)

Yuma prison state park - guard tower and water storage

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