Our drive on the 17th took us east of Yuma through Dome Valley. There is a complex system of irrigation canals throughout the valley, diverting water from both the Colorado and Gila Rivers. There are 200,000 acres of irrigated land around Yuma and the Dome Valley enabling a 12 month growing season. Approximately 40-50 inches of water per acre are required to produce lettuce. Crops grown include lettuce, salad greens, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, carrots, melons (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew) all in the spring. There are a variety of winter vegetables grown too. In 2009 there were 120 million boxes of vegetables shipped from here. There is also a large cultivation of cotton, alfalfa, bermuda grass, wheat and other grains, as well as 13,300 acres of citrus trees (especially lemons) and large quantities of livestock, including cattle and sheep. There are also a large number of Medjool dates grown in the area. From there we drove a bit more north and went past the Yuma Proving Ground. It is part of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command and covers 1400 square miles. Following is some information found about it. Specific proving ground capabilities include testing of: artillery; mortars; mines; ground and aircraft weapons; target acquisition and fire control systems; wheeled and tracked vehicles; and air delivery material, equipment and techniques. There is a live fire facility, an impact area for high explosive munitions where unexploded munitions may be present. The Cibola Mounted Nav Course is a 55 kilometer mounted (wheeled vehicles) land navigation and orienteering course. The Yuma Tactical Road-March Route is a 60 kilometer cross-country corridor that covers many types of terrain. This course is designed for wheeled vehicles, and is ideal for squad, platoon or battalion sized tactical road marches. The Aviation Mission is supported by Laguna Army Airfield with two runways, one at 5,150 feet and the other at 6,000 feet with ramp, hangar, laboratory, and office space. Castle Dome Heliport provides helicopter testers with a dedicated facility that includes 22,000 square feet of hangar space and 8,000 square feet of office space in one building. Blaisdell rail head facility is located approximately 10 miles south of Yuma Proving Ground. It is available to transport people and equipment. YPG also has a new Mine/Countermine complex. Mines, countermines, demolitions, and unexploded ordinance testing is performed at the new complex, and at the Smart Weapons Test Range. Yuma's ranges are equipped with modern instruments including six laser radars, three tracking radars, mobile optical tracking mounts, a GPS-based multi vehicle tracking system, and a GPS satellite reference station. You can't see any of this from the road - all heavily fenced. They also don't do tours, which we quite like to do! We continued on west from there to the Imperial Dam. This is a dam on the Colorado River. We also found an RV resort there called Hidden Shores. It's quite isolated but also very nice with a 9 hole golf course. We continued around on our loop ending on the west side of Yuma. Towards the end a bee flew in the window and stung Maureen on the arm. It hurt quite a bit and started to swell. She popped an antihistamine and it was fine. The 21st was another burger bash at Yuma Palms RV Resort. Just as good but we remembered to bring our own cheese this time. On the 22nd Joan and Eric piled into our Jeep and we drove up to Quartzsite to see what all the hype is about. We had originally planned to join a bunch of Tiffin owners and dry camp for a few days. It's a good thing we didn't because the day before there was quite the wind storm - they had to cancel their potluck because the tables wouldn't stay up. We walked through a lot of the tents with rocks and gems for sale. There was also a huge tented area with vendors who would appeal to RVers. There was a Canadian section - the western provinces and territories were represented - there was even an RCMP officer in his red serge in the Saskatchewan booth! All very interesting. It's a good place to get tips directly from manufacturers. We also bought a cheese grater! We got back home about 5:30. The 24th was the Open House at the Marine Corps Air Station. We went to this last year as well. We went with Joan and Eric. We saw some huge DC10s that had been used for refuelling some Harriers that had come from the East Coast. They can do this in mid-air. After that we went to LaMesa RV and looked at some of the Tiffin product. We also saw Bob Tiffin who had made a stop on his way from Quartzsite and we also had a BBQ chicken lunch for free! On the 25th we took a drive up Hwy 95 to Castle Dome Mine Museum. It was a very interesting museum, highlighting some of the characters who lived there over the years. The buildings were original but had been moved closer together to make the museum visit easier. Silver mining began in 1864 and continued until 1979. There are over 35 buildings full of artifacts. There is a 1/2 mile tour through all the buildings and then Maureen crossed the road and went through the 3/8 mile mine district tour. Not a lot has been done to the facility - directional signs (arrows) are painted on rocks, pieces of metal and chunks of wood. On the 26th we went to the Camel Farm. We had been here last year but this year they had a new baby camel - only 10 days old! There were also lots of baby goats and the usual miniature donkeys which are so funny. The 28th was the annual Classic Car Show and Burger Bash. There were 150 cars in the park, gathered around the clubhouse. They served 2600 burgers for lunch. It was hard to find a seat! The weather was beautiful and we sat around the pool area. On the 29th we drove to El Centro, 50 miles west in California. It has the closest Costco where we got some flank steak and also some new flashlights. On the 31st we took a trip down to Algondones again. We got a nice parking spot almost at the entrance. Larry needed an extra pair of prescription sunglasses. He found frames that worked and actually ended up with two pairs - one bi-focal and one single vision - for $330 US. Plus they were ready in 3 hours. The number of people going back across the border with their purple pharmacy bags with cheap medications is astounding. Larry was able to return some of the pills he had bought a couple of weeks ago because they didn't work for acid reflux. He got his money back, no questions asked and no receipt. The people coming down for dental work is even more amazing - $200 USD for a crown, $400 for a full set of false teeth. A lot of people come down here for dental surgery! The line to return to the US took about 45 minutes - and it was moving quite quickly.