Sunday, March 15, 2009

From Quartzsite AZ to California, finally

We left Quartzsite early on that morning towards the Chocolate mountains into the desert again.

The Chocolate Mountains of Arizona are located in the southwestern part of the state east of the Trigo Mountains and southwest of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The mountains are located about 30 miles east of the Chocolate Mountains of California, but the two ranges are not connected. The range in Arizona lies in a southwest-northeasterly direction west of Highway 95 on the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground. This area is patrolled by the Military Police from Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona.

Bright yellow and a deep chocolate brown are good matching desert colors

We stopped in the mountain area and have seen military fighters flying loud over our heads (read more here about the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground).

This is the entrance to the airport at the proving ground

And still 21 miles to go to Yuma,AZ

Yuma is one of the hottest cities of any size in the United States, with average July high temperatures of 107°F (42 °C). (By way of comparison, the corresponding figure for Death Valley is 115 °F.) Average January highs are around 70 °F (21 °C). According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Yuma is the sunniest place on earth. Of the possible 4,456 hours of daylight each year, the sun shines in Yuma for roughly 4,050 hours, or about 90% of the time. The near perfect flying weather year round attracts military interest in training their pilots here. On average Yuma receives about 3 inches of rain annually.

We arrived into a wonderful green valley, it's called "The Imperial Valley"

Imported water and a long growing season allow two crop cycles each year, and the Imperial Valley is a major source of winter fruits and vegetables, cotton, and grain for U.S. and international markets. Alfalfa is another major crop produced in the Imperial Valley. The agricultural lands are served by a constructed agricultural drain system, which conveys surface runoff and subsurface drainage from fields to the Salton Sea, which is a designated repository for agricultural runoff.

A secondary industry of the Imperial Valley region is tourism. Many visitors come to the area to visit the Salton Sea (California's largest inland lake, which serves as a dumpout point for the overflow and drainage from the IID canal system and ditch drainage) and the Algodones Dunes. The New River flows from the border city of Mexicali northward to the Salton Sea.

Most of the Imperial Valley is in fact below sea level, including all but one of its major population centers. Due to this fact,[citation needed] a lot of dust and other airborne pollutants hover in the air and do not move out of the valley. The dust, pesticides, and "smog" from vehicles and burning fields causes an increased risk of asthma in the local residents. Commonly, winds blow from the western mountains; especially during the winter.

California - here we are - Yeah! :)

We were maybe 300 feet only away from the Mexican border

A pretty little chapel built on a sand hill

El Centro is the county seat of Imperial County, California, United States and the largest city in the Imperial Valley, the region east of San Diego. It is also the largest U.S. city to lie entirely below sea level (- 50 feet). It is the core urban area and principal city of the 'El Centro, California Metropolitan Statistical Area' which encompasses all of Imperial County. It is home to retail, transportation, wholesale, and agricultural industries. El Centro is Spanish, and means the center. The city's population was 37,835 at the 2000 census. The 2006 population is 40,563.

And one of the most famous person in El Centro is the singer CHER - she is born there.

A vast system of canals, check dams, and pipelines carry the water all over the valley, a system which forms the Imperial Irrigation District, or IID. The water distribution system includes over 1,400 miles (2,300 km) of canal and with 1,100 miles (1,800 km) of pipeline. The number of canal and pipeline branches number roughly over a hundred.

The Algodones Dunes is a large erg (sand dune field) located in southeastern portion of the U.S. state of California, near the border with Arizona and the Mexican state of Baja California. The field is approximately 72 kilometers long by 10 kilometers wide (45 miles by 6 miles) and extends along a northwest-southeast line that correlates to the prevailing northerly and westerly wind directions. The name "Algodones Dunes" refers to the entire geographic feature, while the administrative designation for that portion managed by the Bureau of Land Management is the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (sometimes called the Glamis Dunes).

The dunes were used to film parts of Road to Zanzibar, Flight of the Phoenix,Stargate, Resident Evil: Extinction and the Tatooine scenes in the Star Wars series.

The fence to the border of Mexico is visible all the way while driving from Yuma into California. The Border Patrol say that they catch every day almost 300 illegal immigrants crossing the border to the United States. We have seen a bus filled already with caught immigrants waiting to be transported back to Mexico.

To get to San Diego we had to pass high rocky mountain streets again.

The region with big red rocks looked almost like a landscape from Mars :)

After climbing over 4158 feet high mountains we arrived in Viejas,CA located in an Indian reservation and of course, went in the Casino there for a fine dinner buffet for only $8.99 - and it was delicious - but NO gambling tonight, we were way to tired! Tomorrow I will show you some pictures I made in San Diego.

Hi my friends,

We made it to California - and it's beautiful here. The temperatures are pretty cool in the mornings, warm over afternoon and cold again in the night. That's California waether!

Thanks for all the comments again - and I'll see you tomorrow with more reports about our travels - and to answer your questions: Yes, it's FUN! We enjoy it very much!

Susanne and David


OregonArtGuy said...

Wow,Sue! You guys have really covered a lot of beautiful territory. The most impressive thing to me is how you have documented it! Thanks for the visual and intellectual delights! :-}

Frederic Din said...

Sue, Thank you for sharing your trip via photos from Arizona to the Imperial Valley in California.

I enjoyed the pictures you took of our area and how you captured them in such a great way. KUDOS!

Frederic Din, REALTOR(R)
Your Imperial Valley Housing Specialist
Call 619-241-4415
Buy Imperial Valley Real Estate
Read my BLOG Here

The Retired One said...

Loved the sand dunes one and the "Mars"red rocks one....I have to visit that part of the country...I have never been there! Thanks for taking me on a great tour!

Anonymous said...

What a great set of photos!

Marcie said...

Love how the landscape changes throughout your travels. Sounds like you've covered a lot of ground!

Anna said...

Susanne, these dunes are amazing, hope you took many photos of them. They are nice for wall pictures. Anna :)


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