Surrey, BC to Yuma, Arizona, January ?06 ? taking the fast route!
Making use of non-campground environments each night for speed and savings.
Our yearly trip to Arizona began on a dark, cold late December morning. It wasn?t raining as we drove to the US/Canada border crossing. We thought this was a good sign.
Once through the border, it started to rain. We took I-5 south through Washington and into Oregon, as rain fell. The overhead sign flashed as we drove through Medford, Oregon, ?Highway I-5 is closed ahead – prepare to stop?.
Suddenly, the traffic stopped and we were in a traffic jam. A creek running alongside the road was overflowing and flooding the highway. The traffic crawled forward until we were turned back and directed onto a higher road through Talent, Oregon. We decided to drive back to Medford, Oregon and spend the night in a Fred Meyer store parking lot.
The next morning the rain stopped, we drove back to I-5 and the highway had been reopened to one lane traffic. A pilot car led us through the area of a mile?long mudslide, which had covered the highway. Once through the slide area we were back on four lanes.
It started to rain again but it seemed brighter. We drove through snow and fog but the road was fine. It rained through Weed, brightened up through Redding, rained across Shasta Lake and into Corning CA.
Our next night was spent at a new Flying J Travel Stop off I-5 in Corning, CA. We pulled into the designated parking area for RVs and camped free for the night. It?s a perfect place to stay while traveling. RVs and semi-trailer trucks are parked in separate areas, keeping the night quiet.
The weather was cold and rainy as we continued south on I-5 the next day. We left northern California behind and turned east onto Highway 46 at Lost Hills, CA. It was getting late as we turned south onto Highway 99 at Bakersfield, CA and pulled into another Flying J Travel Stop.
Early the next morning, it was cold and damp when we turned east onto Highway 58 south of Bakersfield. It began to warm up as we drove through Mojave to Barstow, where we took Highway 40 to Needles on the Colorado River. We turned south onto Highway 95, east at Blythe, CA to Highway 10 and south again on Highway 95. We arrived in Yuma in the early evening, tired and glad to be in the Arizona sun.
When Highway 95 reaches Yuma, it leads into the southeast corner of the city known as The Foothills, a residential area with two full RV hookups in each lot. We rented one of these sites for a month and found it cheaper than campgrounds ($200-$300 US per month), plus electricity. The streets are paved and wide, some lots have park model homes and gardens, others are for RVs. It?s a great place to meet people and become part of a neighborhood.
We enjoyed living on a street in our motorhome. We met the neighbors and learned about places to visit. We walked Randy (our dog) everyday and went to swap-meets, malls and parks. We took a drive out to Paradise Casino and walked in on the Arizona side and exited into California.
We took a short trip to the Imperial Sand Dunes in California, that are more than 40 miles (64 kms) long and five miles (eight kms) wide. Some dunes rise to 300-ft. (90-m) and can be seen for miles. A perfect recreational area for dune buggies and off-road ATV?s, the busiest times are weekends and holidays. We watched the dune buggies climb up the dunes and disappear into the valleys of sand. All off-highway vehicles must have a red or orange whip mast (extending eight feet above ground) and 6 by 12 inches. This increases visibility while riding in the dunes and it?s easier to watch them.
We took trips into Dome Valley east of Yuma, which is surrounded by mountains and is the flatest valley I have ever seen. The ground is laser-leveled, which conserves water and grows better vegetables. The growing season is year round, harvesting and planting are continuous.
Another day was spent 18 mi. (29 kms) north of Yuma where the McPhaul Bridge to Nowhere or Dome Bridge stands. This bridge was constructed in 1929 across the Gila River and is similar in style to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. In 1968 the river was diverted and now the bridge spans rock and desert. It?s sad to see such a feat of engineering in the middle of nowhere.
Everyday was warm and sunny; we enjoyed wearing our shorts and sunscreen in January. The time went quickly and soon it was time to leave. We retraced our route home and stayed in the same places. The weather got colder the farther north we drove and snow covered the ground at higher elevations.
While speeding along towards home, I noticed a sign on the left side of the highway (I-5) near Salem, Oregon that read ?This point is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole?. I guess we were heading to the North Pole.
We didn?t spend money on campgrounds this trip and enjoyed the savings. It made the trip easier and faster, plus the money we saved will go toward our next road trip, perhaps then making use of campgrounds and all the amenities they provide.