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IMAGES OF ARIZONA

March 8, 2011

 

Song: "Wanderers of the Wasteland" sung by the Sons of the Pioneers.

 

•  Yuma Territorial Prison

•  Barry Goldwater Range

•  Baker Tank

•  Betty Lee Tank

•  Igloo

•  Incredible sunsets

•  World War II tanks

•  Old mine shaft

 

•  Next page

•  Home

 

Yuma Territorial Prison (1876-1909)

        The Yuma Territorial Prison (aka the Hell Hole) served the Arizona Territory before it joined the union and is now a state historic park. The prison accepted its first inmate on July 1, 1876. For the next 33 years 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, served sentences there for crimes ranging from murder to polygamy. Only 26 of them successfully escaped. The prison was under continuous construction with labor provided by the prisoners. In 1909, the last prisoner left the Territorial Prison for the newly constructed Arizona State Prison Complex located in Florence, Arizona. We had a guided tour by a very knowledgeable lady named Linda and she brought the prison to life for us. The inner museum is comprehensive and interesting with lots of photographs.

        Pam and I toured the old prison.

 

 

 

The Gila and the Colorado filled this wash at the time the prison was used and it was difficult for an escapee to survive. A US Army report in 1846 estimated that the river was 600 feet wide at its narrowest. By 1850, both Indian and Anglos were operating ferries.

 

 

 

I had to chuckle when I saw a Sons of the Pioneers CD among the few offered for sale in the museum.

 

(Drake photo)

 

 

Linda, a knowledgeable volunteer guide

(Drake photo)

 

 

 

 

St. Thomas Mission with Ft. Yuma behind it. The gray bridge completed the transcontinental highway.

 

 

Main Guard Tower

 

Main Guard Tower

 

Main Guard Tower

(Drake photo)

 

 

 

 

Rock walls

 

 

(Drake photo)

 

 

I could have, but I refused to go right into the cell and have that door close on me.

(Drake photo)

 

The women's quarters, picked out of solid rock.

(Drake photo)

 

p. 244 "Arizona" by Lawrence W. Cheek

 

Walls and ceiling of the women's quarters. Malicious guards would amuse themselves by dropping snakes or scorpions through the ventilation hole into the room.

 

Hard to photograph an 18-foot wall.

 

The cell block was so hot that the inmates were in it only during the night.

 

 

(Drake photo)

 

 

9 x 8-foot cells with two tiers of three bunks each, one bucket for a latrine (emptied once a day) and 120-degree summer temperatures.

 

Charles Henry Phelps, lawyer and poet, editor of "The Californian", an 1880s magazine, described the climate of Yuma thus:

 

Yuma

(Charles Henry Phelps)

 

Weary, weary, desolate,

Sandswept, parched and cursed, the fate.

Burning but, oh, how passionless,

Barren, bald and pitless.

Through all ages, baleful moons

Glared upon thy whitened dunes

And malignant, wrathful suns

Fiercely drank thy streamless runs

So that Nature’s only tune

Is the blare of Sula moons.

Pierced, burnt, unswept skies

With awful mono dyes.

Not a flower lifts its head

Where the immigrant lies dead

Not a living creature calls

Where the Gila monster crawls.

Hot and hideous as the sun,

The dead man’s skeleton.

But the desert and the dead

And the hot hell overhead

And the blazing seething air

And the dread mirage are there.

 

 

(Drake photo)

 

Inner courtyard

 

 

 

 

 

Las Palapas cafe for lunch

 

Yuma's Farmer's Market

 

 

Great Mexican Food!

 

Milton and Pam's Arizona home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range

 

We spent the afternoon and early evening on the Barry M. Goldwater Range. I had been to Yuma to get a permit yesterday. We had to take two vehicles in case of breakdown and we weren't too far along the road before a Border Patrolman stopped to make sure we had everything, especially enough water.

 

 

        The Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range (formerly Luke Air Force Range) is a bombing range in the U.S. state of Arizona that runs along the Mexican border. It is used for bombing practice by United States Air Force pilots in A-10s and F-16s, and Marine Corps pilots in F-18s and AV-8B Harriers. The entire range is approved for day and night operations. Four controlled, manned, and electronically scored surface attack ranges are available for pilots to practice basic air-to-surface weapons employment, including bombing, rocket delivery, and strafe.

        Additionally, three expansive, uncontrolled tactical ranges are available. Each of these tactical ranges spans several hundred square kilometres, and each contains two airfield mock-ups plus many diverse arrays of targets, including structures, vehicle convoys, aircraft, and armor.

        These ranges are used to train pilots for strike and close air support missions, and support various types of live ordnance. Furthermore, JTACs from various services and countries frequently train on the same ranges and direct the air attacks. An air-to-air gunnery range is also available.

        Near the center of the range complex, Gila Bend Air Force Auxiliary Field (near Gila Bend, Arizona) serves as an emergency landing strip for pilots training on the ranges. The Air Force operates the eastern portion of the BMGR (south of Interstate 8) while the Marine Corps operates the western portion. The primary users of the range include aircraft from Davis–Monthan Air Force Base, Luke Air Force Base, and MCAS Yuma. (Wikipedia)

 

We walked around for a long time. Milton pointed out old mine shafts, varmint holes, and two kinds of tanks - one a water hole, the other armoured tanks from World War II.

 

Fascinated by the spectacular ugliness of the landscape, I took loads of pictures from inside the car.

 

 

 

 

Baker Tank picnic site

 

Baker Tank picnic site

 

Baker Tank picnic site

(Drake photo)

 

Baker Tank Wash - red sandstone embedded with granite boulders.

 

Baker Tank itself - a water hole in rock

 

Baker Tank

 

Baker Tank Wash

 

Baker Tank Wash - a closer look

 

Baker Tank

 

Baker Tank

(Drake photo)

 

Tiny plants at the Baker Tank wash

(Drake photo)

 

Baker Tank wash

(Drake photo)

 

Baker Tank wash

 

Baker Tank

 

According to their tracks, lots of small animals had a drink at Baker Tank

 

Baker Tank Wash

 

 

Baker Tank picnic ground. An artist would have a heyday here.

 

Baker Tank Picnic Site

 

 

On the road to the firing range.

 

 

On the way to Betty Lee Tank (we didn't go to the mine) we found a veritable burying ground of World War II tanks and ammo, like petrified trees exposed by wind and water.

 

(Drake photo)

 

 

I had seen these only in movies. I tried to picture the crew in the desperate heat of the cabs, people like Pat Brady of the Sons of the Pioneers who was a tank sergeant under General Patton and whose tank sustained a direct hit.

 

 

 

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

 

Live ammo?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little "war practice" town, complete with tanks, barbed wire, and open mine shalfts

(Drake photo)

 

 

 

4-wheeling

 

 

An old mine shaft

 

 

 

 

We had both the Jeep and the Ford Explorer

 

Barbed wire par excellence. With little razors instead of barbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drag used to erase the tracks of people escaping into the US so the border patrol could watch for new ones.

 

 

Now, near Betty Lee Tank and mine, we are into really desolate mining country. I felt very sorry for the prospector's burros on this ground.

(Drake photo)

 

 

Now this is 4-wheeling!

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

 

Betty Lee Tank - five or six feet down into the natural well. Hard to show that in a picture.

 

 

My brother stood down 3 or 4 feet into the well to get this shot. I couldn't watch.

(Drake photo)

 

 

The idea is for me to crawl inside that igloo of sandstone and lean out the window, regardless of scorpions and rattlesnakes and tarantulas.

 

Well, if Alice can do it so can I. I think. (I'll have to speak to the photographer about this view....)

 

Just try to look nonchalant - then get out quick!!!

 

 

The ground under our feet was pock marked with dozens of little holes, obviously entrances to homes. "Some kind of varmint," agreed my brother, but to me they were all snake holes and I didn't feel like standing around waiting to see what might poke its head out. As a matter of fact, I didn't see a single snake while I was in Arizona and I wasn't disappointed at all.

 

(Drake photo)

 

More holes and sandstone igloos

 

We came in this way so I guess we can get out.

 

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

We're fast losing the sun.

(Drake photo)

 

 

 

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And so ends another perfect day.

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