Life on the Open Road (April 2006 - May 2008)

The continuing saga of a single fulltime RVer who travels the western US. This is part one of my journey, from April 2006, when the blog started, to May 2008, when the blog continues at

My Photo

I have been a full-time RVer for 18 years, primarily "boondocking," camping free without hookups, in the Western US. I am connected electronically with the world via satellite TV, phone and internet. My batteries are charged solely by solar panels. I welcome your comments and emails.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Sights of Yuma

Yuma is full of Old West history, mainly because it was the only place the Colorado River could easily be crossed. A ferry operated right here, taking Gold Rushers to California. Of course, more water flowed through in those days.

This railroad bridge, built in 1923, is still part of a very busy train line, the only place trains can cross the river for hundreds of miles. The grey bridge next to it is the original 1915 bridge that completed the Ocean to Ocean Highway, and is still in use today.

Yuma Territorial Prison is a living museum of the Old West. More than 3,000 desperadoes, including 29 women, convicted of crimes ranging from polygamy to murder, were imprisoned in rock and adobe cells here during the prison's 33-year existence between 1876 and 1909.

The Yuma Union High School occupied these buildings from 1910 to 1914. Empty cells provided free lodging for hobos riding the freights in the 1920s and sheltered many homeless families during the Great Depression.

The cells, main gate and guard tower are still standing, providing visitors with a glimpse of convict life in the Southwest a century ago.

An engraved invitation to a hanging!

Nearby is the St. Thomas Indian Mission, founded in 1780 by Padre Garces, who is represented in the statue. He was massacred by Indians in 1781. This building is a replica of the original mission, and is still an active parish.


Blogger Bob Parker & Donna Huffer said...

It looks like your volunterring to host Yuma for the W.I.N.S.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous roamingbarbara said...

Interesting and great pictures. I really like the 'paddy wagon'. At least I guess that's what it is. Also the mission picture is gorgeous.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Corrie Clay said...

You even got a train on the bridge, I bet Grandpa was proud.

Also, I didn't know executions were such formal affairs.

1:09 PM  

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