Thursday, 1 March 2018

A Fork in the Road

Sometimes in life there are forks in the road you travel on that give you the option of two directions.  Quite often you know that the one fork will take you back to your comfort zone and nothing will happen out of the ordinary so that is the one most often chosen.  The other fork sometimes leads to the unknown, and lots of people will miss some neat things in life for not taking this road and that is the fork I take more often than not.  You may have to work at getting where you are going, but when you get there, you may have a memory and some stories that you can tell for years.  Today was one of those fork in the road days for Harold, Ed and myself  when we went for a Jeep ride to find the Valley of the Names.

The Valley of the Names is north of Yuma out in the desert and I think there is a good road to it from Yuma, but of course I decided to take the back roads around the mountain and across the washes to get there.  There was lots of bumping and banging and jostling going on but the other guys just nodded and said they were enjoying the drive. What good sports they are.  Harold once said, "Lorne I would follow you to the end of the world!!" but I don't think he knew just how close he would come today!!  Although the road was bumpy and long, the trip out was uneventful with a lot of nice scenery.

I hadn't told them where we were going yet so it was a bit of a surprise when we topped the hill and looked out over the thousands of names made with rocks on the sand hills.

There were names everywhere.

Some of the dates go back to about 1999.  That seems to be some of the oldest ones.

People take lots of time to make the names almost a work of art.  It was quite interesting. The whole thing goes on for a couple miles long and maybe a half mile wide.

I got this picture of the area from Google maps.  It gives a little perspective.  If you are around Yuma, look up the Valley of the Names and take a drive there.  I think there is a car accessible road from Winterhaven up to it.

Google's version

We headed back home because we have other plans with the girls this afternoon and would hate to miss them.  It had taken us over an hour to get here on the bumpy road, so on the way back I decided to save us some time and take the RIGHT HAND FORK IN THE ROAD.  It looked like it was only about 3 miles across the mountain pass to where we were parked with the Ponderosa.  The road seemed fine and could save us some valuable time.

Well soon after we made the commitment to go that way, we started to encounter some hills and narrow winding roads.  Trees along the road that will give the best paint job Arizona pin stripes.  Lots of steep drop offs and only ATV tracks on the road.  It would take a JEEP to make it down this road.  At this point, I still had the option of turning back, but NO way.. I had made the decision to take the fork in the road and besides that I just remembered, we DO have a JEEP. (Grand Cherokee!! LOL).  You can see in the next picture where the road fell out of site literally.  There was no return.

When we went down that steep wash, we were certain we could not climb back up if we retreated now, so we were committed.  We came around a corner and down into a river bottom that was about 8 feet wide and made of solid boulders.  The rocks were about 2 ft in diameter and sticking up all over the place.  We had to go less than 1 mile an hour, and there were lots of spots where we had to walk ahead and pre plan our route so we could wind around the boulders that threatened our undercarriage.   I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was concentrating on getting us out of this mess.  Harold kept reminding me that we had no cell service either.  Thanks Harold!!!   This rocky road went on for what seemed like forever!!

We came around a corner and there was a rock outcropping with sharp rocks sticking up about 3 feet and a drop of about 5 feet beyond.  For a second we thought this was the end of this road but then we looked to the left and there was a hill that was almost straight up about 30 feet to a nice road above.  We had no choice so into 4wd low and up the hill we went.  Ed was sitting in the back and never said a word.  I don't think he could speak!! We never even spun a wheel and that Jeep just walked up there like nobody's business.  At the top was an open pit mine and of course a good trail from there on that the mine trucks had used.

We saw a helicopter overhead and I thought maybe the girls had sent out a search party because by this time we had spent about 1 and 1 /2 hours getting through this short cut.  Whew were we glad to see the other side of the mountain pass!!!  Lesson learned???  Always take the fork in the road if you want something to remember.  The 3 of this will discuss and laugh about this often I'm sure.

We arrived home right on time and the girls were ready for our next adventure.  We were heading in to tour the Yuma Territorial Prison.  This is a great tour to do in an afternoon and I will just post some pictures and you can go read about it on the web site if you want more information.

3 Stooges or Maidens in distress?

This was supposedly a poster that was hung in Yuma threatening anyone who wasn't pulling his or her weight.  I'm not sure if retired snowbirds fall under any of those categories???

One of things we miss most when we spend lots of time in the deserts of the south west is green grass.  Lots of times when we do see it, it is coarse and uninviting.  We saw some at the prison that had just been cut and the smell and softness was amazing.  I couldn't resist taking a roll in it.

After the tour we all went to Texas Roadhouse to have our belated birthday supper for Harold and Sue.  Every year they have a joint celebration so we had to honour that again this year.  Harold is 21 this year and Sue will be soon!!!

Everyone else likes the peanuts and I like to write on the floor with the chalk.  See what I wrote?  I think I made a couple brownie points, I hope!!!

The happy crew!!

And our awesome server.  Servers could take a lesson from him!!

Isaack our server
And of course out came the famous Texas Roadhouse saddle for the birthday kids.

Harold in the saddle

Sue in the saddle
Top that day off with a nice little fire and life is good.

The view out our window tonight:

Our Location Today: Boondocking near Ogilby Road, Winterhaven CA. 32.8572 -114.8343


  1. Hahaha....what an adventure. You certainly are a character. I look forward to meeting you and hearing this story in person. Although it would probably be more interesting to hear it from one of the other fella's as I bet your perspective is a bit off. Glad you all had fun.

    Looks like the prison was a nice place to tour. Seems lots of folks toured that this year.

    Happy Birthday to the birthday folks.

    I like the view out the window.

    P.S. The old tv is still in your spot but the tires, and fridge are missing.

  2. Yes one of the other boys would probably tell the story better. I should have had my view out the window as one from inside a prison cell but I didn't think of it in time. You are free to take the fridge or the tires when you go. I think it is kinda like the free give away area lol!!!

  3. What a day. Surprised you didn't see Doug and Dolly,s names. I stumbled onto the names and stopped and put a big heart with our names. Didn't know the place had a name. Thousands of names there I bet.

    Just like me. Turning back is not an option. Sure glad you made it and didn't end up stuck on a large boulder.

    I'm glad you took the kids to Yuma prison and not the joyride.

    1. We didn't see your names but we didn't know to look for them. We didn't have time to do ours so that will be a next year project.


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