Yesterday we drove a short distance down the road to the US Army Quartermaster’s Depot and Colorado River Siphon Exhibit (the visitor’s center is also located here).
The Siphon was conceived and built to provide irrigation water from the canal on the CA side to the Yuma Valley on the AZ side. The flow of irrigation water had been disrupted following the construction of the Laguna Dam (part of the Yuma Project). The Siphon is 14 feet in diameter and close to 1,000 feet long. It is considered an engineering marvel and the construction was no small feat with workers in deep diving equipment, excavating a tunnel under the River. This was in the early 1900s!! It is still working as well today – 100 years later.
The Depot is a collection of buildings originally built to perform the function of supply base for the forts in the Southwest during the Indian War era. Goods were brought to CA via ocean-going vessels and taken up the Colorado to Yuma on steamboats. There are displays and collections of various artifacts within the buildings. The Depot was active for about 20 years after which the functions were moved to Tucson, it being supplied by the railroad which had just reached that area. Railroad of course was much faster, more efficient and less expensive. The Depot continued to be used for the Army Signal Corps and for other functions by the Federal, state and county governments for well into the 20th Century.
We then made a stop at Imperial Date Gardens in Bard, CA. They have a wide variety of fruits, nuts, etc. (at very good prices) and, of course, date shakes. Ginger said it was the best one she has had.
We have actually had some clouds the past few days - rare for Yuma as (according to Guinness) it is the sunniest place in the World. They were gone by noon on Wednesday and were scattered and light yesterday. Temps have been above normal hovering around 80. We will drop back to more normal temps of 70-75 starting today. We can see why people like to come here in the winter. When planning ahead you seldom have to concern yourself about what the weather will be.
There are millions of acres of produce grown in this area. Cocopah is in the middle of crop fields used for lettuce, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. There are even crop fields in the City! The growers always leave some crops in the fields. Some are too small, too large or don't meet cosmetic standards. After they have harvested a crop and before it is plowed for the next one (one to two weeks), people can go into the fields and help themselves. We picked a little lettuce last week and will get some cauliflower and broccoli today.