YuMa Be Right…YuMa Be Crazy

…but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for! And Yuma definitely felt like lunacy this timearound. I had forgotten about the slow moving blue-haired traffic. The empty Walmart shelves desecrated by the onslaught of snowbirds. The weather extremes. Last year, I was in shorts and a tee shirt. This year? Wearing fleece and sleeping in wool socks while bolstering against the wind.

I came to Yuma with specific needs this year, and in spite of the lunacy, I found what I was looking for…oil changes, car and RV washes, propane, an efficient Laundromat, a movie (The Revenant…riveting!) a Date Festival, and even a hike or two.

I got a free coupon in the Quartzsite “big tent” for three free nights at Fortuna del Oro “resort” which ended up being the perfect place to get some things accomplished. No sales pitch, and the best hot shower I can remember in a long time. Papi came to my site to wash both the RV (roof included!) and the Tracker for the tidy sum of $45. If I come to Yuma next year, I will use him again.

Papi did a fine job of washing both vehicles for only $45.

Papi did a fine job of washing both vehicles for only $45.

Dr Eva was “away” while I was in Yuma, so I tried out a new dentist at the recommendation of Metamorphosis Hans and Lisa. Dr. Maria Fonseca was very personable, gentle, and thorough. Her offices are brighter and more modern than those of Dr. Eva. If I come to Los Algodones next year, I will use her again.

Dr. Fonseca has the fanciest "spit sink" I have ever seen!

Dr. Fonseca has the fanciest “spit sink” I have ever seen!

My favorite shrimp taco stand in Los Algodones -- Lupitas

My favorite shrimp taco stand in Los Algodones — Lupitas

These guys are singing my favorite Mexican song, "Tu Carcel" while having a shoe shine. ;-)

These guys are singing my favorite Mexican song, “Tu Carcel” while having a shoe shine. 😉

The lunacy of Yuma is that it seems really loud this time around. I can’t seem to find a place to escape it. The howling wind gusting and thrusting my Winnie from side to side. The drone of traffic on I-8 outside my window. The incessant chatter of conversations from spandex-wearing women on the hiking trail. One continuous steady stream of Spanish words, never ceasing for so much as an inward breath. Blaring cajunto music coming from boom boxes toted along the trail. The man screaming at the waitress because he asked for “jalapeno peppers” and she thought he said “jalapeno poppers,” while another man shouts on his speaker phone as I try to eat my lunch. The kung fu attack film blaring from the TV set in the Jiffy Lube. The jack hammer air gun in the Discount Tire store. What you resist persists, and the more I try to escape the noise, the greater the volume. There is no escape, as I find myself grounded in the mother of all dust storms. Winds are predicted to gust up to 45 mph! I’m not going anywhere! Trapped!

In attempt to ease my frustrations, let off some steam, tap into some endorphins, find something to quiet my mind, I opt for a climb up Telegraph Pass late on a Monday afternoon in the middle of the dust storm. By the time I get across town, the sky is brown. Still! Must. Get. Out!!

It’s downright blustery, but I bundle up. I am relieved to see the parking lot is almost empty. I only see one other person on the trail, and he is hurriedly on his way down. I climb as fast as my lungs will allow until finally, I reach the point deep and high in the canyon where I can hear nothing…no highway roar, no mindless chatter, no cheap tinny speakers, no cell phone conversations. Nothing but the sound of the stiff, unseasonably cold wind fluttering my pants legs. It feels oddly soothing. Up ahead, the golden light filters through the cloud of brown LA haze that blankets Yuma like a tea-stained shroud. The late afternoon sun penetrates the cloud, casting a warm glow on the earthen brown of the mountains surrounding me. I find myself digging deep into my backpack for my trusty Canon camera which I haven’t touched in over a week. And just like that, I am calmed in the midst of the storm…

“Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present, you will never find it.” ~ Thomas Merton, monk

Telegraph Pass

Telegraph Pass

See the white speck two thirds up the hill?  That's a guy on his way to work.   Some commute!

See the white speck two thirds up the hill? That’s a guy on his way to work. Some commute!

Atop Telegraph Pass

Atop Telegraph Pass

You wouldn't believe the wind on this day.  This poor guy got all the way up here, and then BANG!  He dropped the tool he was using, and had to climb back down to retrieve it.

You wouldn’t believe the wind on this day. This poor guy got all the way up here, and then BANG! He dropped the tool he was using, and had to climb back down to retrieve it.


Note brown cloud over Yuma.

Note brown cloud over Yuma.

Looking east was clear, but west toward Yuma looked like Baghdad.

Looking east was clear, but west toward Yuma looked like Bagdad.

Telegraph after dust storm

14 thoughts on “YuMa Be Right…YuMa Be Crazy

  1. Well it looks as if Yuma is there to serve a necessary purpose. At least you got things done and managed a walk as well. That RV wash sounds excellent value, it takes me a day to wash our motorhome and its nowhere the size of yours.

  2. I didn’t think Yuma could be worse than when we were there once back in 2008, but it is abundantly clear that it is………………Yikes!! 🙂

  3. The sound of silence is precious. I have become so accustomed to the quiet here that I find myself unduly agitated when there are (so very seldom, thankfully) raucous noises about. I tolerate the hum of the distiller, and the occasional intake of water for it to purify, but those are not jarring noises that disrupt my brainwaves.

    I have a pair of ancient earphones that are made of soft foam that cover my ears completely. Ordinarily I do not cotton to earphones, but these are surprisingly comfortable and tend to blot out any unwanted noise. They are also useful for listening to audio!! ;->

    Virtual hugs,


  4. We have friends who spend the winter in Yuma and we have visited fairly often, so I know of what you speak. The worst for me is the new Fry’s in the Foothills. It’s insane! I need a drink when I get out of there!

  5. Any time I am any where near any city, this is how I feel. So well expressed Suzanne. Quiet – I crave it. I don’t think most people even realize the amount of noise pollution in their world. I always feel disappointed when I hike up a lovely mountain only to find towers on top. But towers and a brown view would just make me want to cry. Love the cost of the car and rig wash though.

  6. We over nighted in Yuma on the way to San Diego, and stayed at Fortuna. It was really weird, they had planted orange trees on many of the sites in the exact place the RV door needed to open. I’ll be very surprised if we ever stay there again.

  7. Other than the great deal on the RV and car wash I could do without the noise of Yuma, or any city for that matter. Glad you got some solitude even if windy. It’s really nice in southern UT.

  8. 🙂 You’re welcome!

    It’s hard enough to walk up Telegraph Pass road…I can’t imagine driving up it! Poor guy dropped his tool…

    I have a hard time with Yuma. It always rubs me the wrong way. Hans wants to stay longer for dental, I want to dental and GO immediately!

  9. Wonderful photos. You are brave to go out in that impending dust storm, but it looks like you were above it and at a distance.
    Your header photo is a winner. Where was that taken? I like the photo of the winding road going down the mountain.
    Happy Trails, Suzanne.
    Pamelab in Houston

    • Hi, Pamela — I have the header set on a random selection, so I am not sure which photo you were seeing. If you can describe it a bit, I will let you know where it was taken. Thanks!

  10. After all your boondocking time, I can imagine Yuma must have been quite a shock. It is a very loud town. Good you found some time alone…too bad it took a dust storm to get it.

  11. Never have been able to figure out why people think they have to talk so much when hiking…weird. I am catching up with you here, for reasons completely unknown to me, I never saw your posts roll by anywhere….and here you are. So much fun reading ahead of me this evening!

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