Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Looking for a Base in Arizona, Yuma and Los Algodones, Mexico

Sunday, December 30, 2012

OLA: Looking for a Base in Arizona, Yuma and Los Algodones, Mexico

my new favorite, winner at the RV Christmas Decor Contest in Yuma Lakes
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.” T.S. Eliot is one of my favorite writers. And these words for a New Year sound good to me. Although we were still looking at a base in Arizona, this time in Yuma where we spent Christmas, we have cancelled the trip to Bullhead City in northwestern Arizona, very near Las Vegas, Nevada. We have decided to go west on to San Diego to spend New Year’s Eve there, the West Coast now front and center in our travel plans for 2013 because we have to be in Seattle in February for our annual reunion and later in Calgary, in time for the birth of my 5th (and our 10th) grandchild in July!

acres upon acres of cabbages...with farmers at work
Yuma has a population of 100,000 which increases to 200,000 at winter time due to the influx of snow birders, those from up north who look for warmer climes when white fluff falls on their homes. The valley is a big agricultural area with acres upon acres of cauliflower, lettuce, and green and purple cabbages.  Downtown is just like any other city with the chain stores in malls, theaters, restaurants, fast food outlets, and, of course, Walmarts! There were so many rows of RV Resorts filled with amenities and activities each trying to get a fair chunk of the snow birding market. Country Roads and West Wind RV and Golf Resort are like those we liked in Tucson and Phoenix, and cheaper!

pretty coy about his gifts...this Bill!
On Christmas Eve Bill grilled New York strip steaks for dinner while I made mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Then we went to mass at 9 PM and ended the night with chocolate cake and cocoa and the ‘opening’ of our gifts. Some of mine had been opened since they were combination birthday and Christmas gifts. Some will still be brought to us in February from England (where they were bought) to our Seattle Reunion). And my other gift from Bill will also be delivered to me in Seattle due to the vendor’s shipping delay. Three gift cards came to us through the mail. So the only gifts that were opened that night were a pair of Club Room bedroom slippers and a monogrammed mug.

The church was bedecked with poinsettias, reminded me of the all-poinsettia Christmas tree in Tucson!
Christmas Morning was when we opened ou
Bill busy with getting Christmas lunch started
r stocking stuffers, a tradition Bill and I started in 2007, our first Christmas together. The folks of the Yuma Lakes campground where we were staying provided us with baked ham, twice-baked potatoes, carrot cake and drinks and all we had to do was to bring sides for Christmas Day Lunch. Bill made candied yams while I made fruit salad. Our table had green beans casserole, cranberry salad, some green salad, cut up veggies, and rolls and butter. So Christmas Day lunch was sumptuous BUT we didn’t win any of the raffle prizes, not even the best decorated RV! Christmas Night we went to see the fascinating movie, Lincoln! And, having had such a big Christmas lunch, we simply had popcorn and Dr. Pepper for dinner!  
Bill just walking into the 'porous border'
a block of clinics and vendors
But the best part of Yuma is that it is only 8 miles from the border of Mexico. Since our campground is only 9 miles from the center of Yuma, Mexico was really just 25 minutes from where our RV was parked! We literally walked on foot to the town of Los Algodones, after parking our Saturn at a parking lot near the Port of Entry. The town is mainly four whole blocks of dental, optical and medical clinics, pharmacies, and liquor stores Yuma snow birders fill their needs for a song! I should have had my overhauling done there!
The sidewalks and plaza were filled with vendors of Mexican goods that are ‘almost free’! That’s what every hawker says when you stop even for just a second to look! But you have to be a good negotiator. When we walked to the Port of Entry of Andrade, we were asked what we were bringing into the US. We said: two sterling silver necklace/bracelet sets, three sterling silver Omega fashion necklaces, three sterling silver earrings, three big stylish heavy ponchos, one Don Julio tequila bottle, and two pouches of authentic Mexican flour tortillas. All those for only $200!

colorful place to eat!
colorgul plate of carne asada tampiquena (plus Mexican beer!)
The best part of Los Algodones was the food! Bill thoroughly enjoyed our Mexican lunch of carne asada tampiquena which is a lunch combo of chili relleno, cheese enchilada, steak, and beans, making a very colorful plate. If only it were less spicy, I might have enjoyed it better! For an early dinner we had chicken fajitas and margaritas at the Paraiso. It was like a big fiesta! There were Mariachis playing ‘cowboy’ and Mexican songs. So we danced rock and roll and cha-cha and everything in between! We should have bought those T shirts a group had on, rolling with fun and laughter, printed with the words ‘We partied in Los Algodones’!

dancing at Paraiso
Bill, carrying our stash, and wanting to bring home the giant Tequila!
But I do not really see myself being happy in Yuma and Los Algodones for long. It is too small a metropolis for a big-city girl like me. Options will get fewer as weeks roll by. In fact, we were supposed to stay for 2 weeks! Instead we cut our stay to just 5 days, with a day in Mexico to boot, and cancelled the northern route to Bullhead City, Arizona. So the words of this post, like the rest of 2012’s, belongs to last year’s language of the East Coast and the Midwest and the next ones starting on January 7 will be words of another voice! San Diego, the West Coast, Seattle, and Calgary, here we come!

Bill lining up at the Port of Entry of Andrade, and walk to the parking lot after clearance