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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default San Diego to Phoenix and back, with a stop in Yuma

    On Thursday, the day after Christmas, we left our home late in the morning. The destination was the Phoenix area. It was supposed to be a Christmas celebration with family. However, 6 days before Christmas, my dad had a mild stroke. So he spent Christmas in a rehab center in the East Valley.

    We spent four days there in the Valley of the Sun. One day we celebrated Christmas with my parents at the Rehab Center. Not much fun for any of us, but Dad was in good spirits nonetheless. He got the good news that he would be released on New Years' Eve Day, so we made our plans to leave and get out of their way Tuesday (today).

    We always take Maricopa Road (now known as AZ-347) and AZ-84 down to I-8, then I-8 across to San Diego. For several years now, we have made notes about the places along the way that we have not yet seen, and have decided to rectify that on upcoming trips. Today's stop was the Arizona Territorial Prison State Historic Park at Yuma.

    The ATPSHP is located off of Giss Parkway, on Prison Hill Road, right along the Colorado River. You can see and hear I-8 from the park, so it isn't far from the highway at all.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 012 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    One of the first things you see when you walk up to the park, before you pay your admission fee, is the combination of water storage tank and prison guard tower. It's now an observation tower.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 007 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    You go through the Gift Shop Information Center, pay your walking tour fee, then go out to the right to see the Riverfront Park, that big bridge pictured above (which is Giss Parkway), and then slip back to go up into the observation tower/guard tower. The view up there is beautiful. Here's a nice view of the prison area.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 016 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Going through the sallyport, you see the iron gates on both sides of it. It is long enough to house a carriage. It's been refurbished but is part of the original prison. From there the prison went into the cafeteria, which no longer exists.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 020 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    You cross a small space, then step into the Museum. It is a fairly new building, not part of the old prison at all. Inside were descriptions and photos of prisoners, superintendents, artifacts found when rummaging through the property, and this gatlin gun.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 027 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    No, you're not seeing this backward, nor did I upload this incorrectly. This is a clock made for a bar in Yuma, backwards so that it can be viewed correctly through a mirror.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 028 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Once outside, here's a wagon, with the cell block still standing in the background.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 032 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Cells were populated with 6 men per cell. It was very small! Two triple-high bunk beds were in each cell, with a chamber pot for all 6 men to use at night, and a small shelf unit. During the daytime, they were usually working in the various workspaces, which unfortunately no longer exist.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 035 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    One place a prisoner may have worked was the barbershop. Next time you're in a barber or beauty shop chair, think of this one. (BTW, there were women prisoners here too.)

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 043 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    We spent a couple of hours here, seeing the Prison as well as the Prison Graveyard and part of the Riverfront Park.

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 054 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 057 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    AZ Territorial Prison & CO River 009 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    It was well worth the time, and the $6 admission for each of us, to see this place. It sure makes you appreciate what you have!

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 12-31-2013 at 07:14 PM. Reason: Flickr to RTA transfer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Life's Changes

    I came across this older post of mine, and it made me a bit sad. Our trips between our home in San Diego County, and the Valley of the Sun area in Arizona, are coming to an end this month. After my dad passed this past summer, Mom has decided to sell the house and move in with my brother .... in Tornado Alley, Kansas. As I type, she and my brother are sorting up "take-ables" and "leave-ables", and we will be there in a few days to help. Then it goes into the hands of an estate liquidator and real estate agent.

    We've been doing that trip for almost 39 years, and have seen a lot of changes. When we first started, I-8 wasn't finished around Gila Bend or Yuma yet, so you went through both towns. The Imperial Sand Dunes, outside of Yuma, were popular, but not like they are today, with the toy haulers and their sand buggies almost every weekend and holiday between October and April.

    When I-8 finally went around Gila Bend, we weren't too disappointed. The next that it went around was Yuma, but one still had to go into town if you needed gas or a bite to eat. Sambo's was the first to be built on 16th Street at the exit, with a gas station and then Denny's soon to follow. Sambo's has been a number of different restaurants since the chain went out, but Denny's still going.

    Fortuna was another one that suddenly built up. When we first started to do this travel, there were a couple of big truck stops out there, and what was then a KOA (now Blue Mesa RV Park or something like that). Now there are a ton of RV parks, more restaurants, grocery stores, a whole new town.

    Wellton has *always* been a speed trap. Hubby got a ticket there in the first couple of years, and then never again. That was back in the day when 55 was the limit, and NOBODY liked to go that slow. Hubby puts on his cruise control at the speed limit now, and we've never been stopped, but we sure see the AHP sitting there under the overpasses or having pulled somebody over.

    Our usual route between I-8 and the Valley of the Sun, because my parents lived in the East Valley, was to take AZ-84 to Maricopa Road, then Queen Creek Road to I-10. Well, now, of course, with the mushrooming of Maricopa the community, Maricopa Road is mostly 4-lane and known as AZ-347. They are in the process of building a bridge over the railroad, which may ease the congestion at what was once the only traffic light and railroad track gates in town. Now there are about 18 lights between AZ-84 and the connection to I-10. We may never see that bridge be completed.

    Phoenix itself has grown. My parents first lived in Casa Grande when we started the CA-AZ travels, but then moved to the Valley of the Sun more than 30 years ago. The end of the south end of the city was pretty well at Chandler Blvd. Now it's way out there closer to AZ-347 connector/Queen Creek Road!

    Anyway, I'll miss these 3- and 4- day weekend, and Fall/Spring Break trips over to the Valley of the Sun.


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