Larry & Maureen's Travel Adventures travel blog

On the way to Parker Arizona along the Colorado River

 

 

 

This looks like a beautiful place to camp - near Parker

 

Dry camping near Quartzite.

An aerostat balloon - used as part of the "radar fence" to...

Finally a BBQ!

Yuma is the lettuce capital of the US - red and green...

Yuma Marine Corps Air Station Public Tour - Harrier taking off

 

Our guide for the first part

Anti-aircraft gun

Grocery store on base

VMA 214 "Black Sheep Squadron" - one of four attack squadrons stationed...

VMA 211 "Wake Island Avengers" attack squadron

VMA 311 "Tomcats"

Dog training demonstration - Zander

Zander and Bernie

 

ANG-F 16C

 

 

Some of the artillery on display

 

 

 

A new program - unmanned surveillance

 

Control room

Where the drone is stored

1972 Sikorsky Helicopter - the newest one used on base is 1974

 

The book says it can hold 12 but it would be very...

 

Hook

Cockpit

Harrier

It's a one-man show - he drives, works 2 radios at once,...

He loves his job!

Engines

Search demonstration

Found it!

Take down!

Zander

 

Hexa

Success!

Harrier taxiing

Silent Drill Team audtions

 

Single men's barracks - 2 guys to a room and two rooms...

Available services

The base is shared by some civilian services - firefighter training -...

Finally - TV outside!


The drive to Yuma was another sunny one with very little wind. Not far out of Lake Havasu AZ is Parker. On the way into Parker there are some beautiful looking RV parks right on the water. Perhaps for the future...

Quartzite is its usual dusty self - lots of dry-campers still left there from the huge rally that happens every January. The road from there to Yuma is straight and pretty barren. We drove through the Arizona Proving Grounds (Army) where medium and long-range weapons are tested. We spotted what we thought was a weather balloon but turns out to be part of the "radar fence" that watches out for drug smuggling aircraft. It's a lot warmer in Yuma now but apparently last week they had cold temperatures too. It was everywhere!

Saturday we went to the Arizona Market. The important part was lunch - perogies, smokies with sauerkraut, onions and sour cream. Mmmmm!

Don and Debbie from Pacific Border are here and one of the afternoons we learned a new term - Heavy Happy Hour! It's when everyone brings appy food so that you don't have to worry about dinner. Great idea! Valentine's Day we had Ken and Mavis for dinner. Ken used to work with Larry years ago and they currently live in Vernon. While sitting outside, Don and Wendy who we know from White Rock stopped by. They are also staying in Yuma for a few months. Great fun to catch up!

Tuesday the Marine Corps Air Station had its last public tour of the season for Winter Visitors. It was a very interesting 1 1/2 hour free tour. Buses picked you up at the entrance and took you around the base. This is an aviation training base specializing in air to ground combat using the Harrier aircraft. There are four attack squadrons based here - Black Sheep, Wake Island Avengers, Tomcats and the Flying Nightmares. They also have a new program - unmanned surveillance. They have squadrons visiting from all over - currently there was a Canadian platoon there. The Harrier jets are the most impressive and you can always hear them taking off. The officer who was explaining his plane to us was very enthusiastic. It's quite a stressful job - one man per plane. This one man has to pilot the plane, operate two radios at once, coordinate finding the target using his wingman, a laser and/or someone on the ground, then destroying the target. He can spend as much as 6 1/2 hours in the cockpit at a time. There is very little cushioning in the seats he said.

The dog training demonstration was very interesting too. Some of the these dogs are used at the borders to search for contraband. They were not able to tell us exactly what they were looking for or exactly how they would do it.

Overall a really nice bunch of guys, very entertaining.

Wednesday we went over to The Palms and had coffee with Henk and Gail, friends from Pacific Border. Then Sushi for lunch. Then we went to another RV Park and found Alan, who we also met at Pacific Border and who rents our site in Vernon from us sometimes. We arranged to meet for lunch on Thursday. After that we went to Don and Wendy's for a short visit.

Thursday we met Alan for lunch - at The Garden Cafe in Old Town Yuma. A completely outdoor little cafe with very good food. It was very busy.

Friday we headed out.

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