HomeArizona

Arizona is the winter home of the snowbird.  I list some of the major cities without enough information.  I need more: please Email me.

Since the mid-forties when refrigeration became available, Arizona has been growing faster than anywhere.  Every place makes this claim but you only have to come here to understand it.

Geography

The Rocky Mountains go from El Paso, Texas up to Montana.  The Sierra Nevada goes from San Diego to Washington.  The area in the middle is desert.  This means that the northeast part of Arizona is mountainous and the southwest is desert.  You can have it all here. 

Cities

Cottonwood

There is a Thousand Trails park east of town in National Forest land.  You can stay free on the Forest land.  Stay at the forest and drive up to Jerome on the side of Mingus mountain for a great view of the area leading to the Grand Canyon..  The Wal-Mart parking lot is too small to leave your rig and go out for the day.

Flagstaff

This was once a major rail stop.  Now it is a stopover as you head across the state on I-40.  You cannot stay at the Wal-Mart.  Northern Arizona University is making a name for itself.  You can take the winding road from here to the Grand Canyon and enjoy the forests or you can drive to Williams and then north and save yourself the trouble.

Glen Canyon Dam

This is a great recreation area.  There are campgrounds near the lake.  Like right on the beach.  You can rent boats to go out on the lake.  I do not know if they are still there but you used to be able to rent barge-boats that you could drive your RV around the lake.

Lake Havasu

The home of the London Bridge and a lot of obnoxious partying power boaters.  You cannot stay at the Wal-Mart.

Phoenix-Mesa

There is nothing for RVs here.  There is a Camping World off of the Superstition Expressway.

The anger quotient of Arizona people is seen anywhere in town.  This is one of the largest metroplexes in the country and they have just completed their first round of expressways.

Prescott

The movie Billy Jack, one of my favorites, was filmed in Prescott.  It used to be a sleepy little town in the forest with a nice city square with a statue of a man on a horse (Teddy Roosevelt).  Now it is growing so fast that you can hardly find the downtown.  I miss the sleepy little mountain town.  There are some small National Forest campgrounds going west out of town.  If you keep going, you get beautiful views of the desert from up on the forested cliffs.  If you take the highway north, you come to Jerome having gone over Mingus Mountain.  Do not do this in the winter.  The highway east takes you back to I-17.

Sedona

This tourist town is at the south end of the Oak Creek Canyon.  North of town is a beautiful river canyon where you will find few places to park but is really beautiful.  If you have a rugged toad, you can park in town, meander north through the canyon back to I-17.  Go south on I-17 until the mUrphy Hill Road exit.  Go west on the hill road back into Sedona.  This road is not well maintained as the Pink Jeep tours want to keep it for themselves.  You will end up on the east rim of the canyon looking down upon the entire area.  Bring a lunch and dangle your legs off of the cliff.

Show Low

North of town is a nice state park, something like “Fools Lake”.  There is a good Elks Club park and a county park up the road.  You go north to the Petrified Forest or south to Clifton-Morenci.

The road to Clifton-Morenci is along the western rim of the Rocky Mountains.  There are warnings of deer, buffalo, bears, and wolves.  There are several National Forest campgrounds.  At the south end of the road you overlook the cliffs into the giant copper mines that were once the major industry of Arizona.

Tucson

You cannot park at the Wal-Marts in Tucson.  North of Tucson is the town of Marana.  You can park overnight in Marana.  People will angrily honk at you just for your license plates.  There is an Escapees park 40 miles east in Benson.

Yuma

This is the home of the Federal Territorial Prison – now a museum.  You get to see all of the latest US Marine aircraft.  It is also the western end of the Imperial Valley.

There is a CRA park east of town about 8 miles.  There is an Escapees park about 8 miles south of the marine base.  Near the CRA park is BLM land: you can stay here toll free.  You may also stay on the Indian land near Algodones.  There are a great myriad of RV parks and more arrive every month: this is the snowbird capital of the southwest.

You cannot stay at the Wal-Mart: the police will roust you.  If you want to stay in a parking lot, from the Wal-Mart, go south to the airport, then east to the Foothill Fry’s store.  I see many RVs spending the night here.

I hear that Yuma is the fourth fastest growing city in the country.  I believe it.  The city is very hot in the summer and in March it is already approaching the 100º mark.  In December it is still warm.  Therefore, snowbirds.  The city is interesting in very many ways.

Agriculture

There are hundreds of acres of citrus trees: lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits.  I like the limes.  Wal-mart sells them for 5 to 15 for a dollar.  Two years ago I saw limes in Ohio for $1.50 per lime.  There are also crops of every sort in continuous rotation for miles outside the city itself.  You see airplanes spraying (sometimes you get a bath so learn how to duck).  Tractors with behemoth implements drive up and down the country roads.  There are fruit flies around the citrus groves that get into everything.  Watch for them at the Escapees park.

The fields are interesting.  They plow the fields into yard wide rows with sharp trenches between the rows.  They plant seeds in the rows and cover them with continuous plastic sheeting.  They then irrigate the trenches between the rows.  The plastic sheeting protects the seedlings from rain, bugs, and weeds.  It also retains moisture at the surface where the seedlings most need it.  When the plants sprout, the plastic cover is removed.  If it grows and you eat it, you will find it grown here.  If you are allergic to anything in the form of dust or similar irritants, beware.

Growth

There is no Costco.  The nearest one is in El Centro (where you may spend the night at the Wal-Mart).  The Sam’s Club is small but by fall there will be a new one on the east side – replacing the old one.  They have a great Wal-Mart Super Center and are building a new Wal-Mart 3 miles away.  The hospital is sprouting a new building more than doubling its capacity.

I have already commented upon how great I think the Yuma Library is.

You know that Kmart declared bankruptcy.  I believe they deserved it but that is a different matter.  The Yuma Kmart is closed making shopping at Wal-Mart a hazard to your mental health during the normal business day.  The Kmart closing was a stupid.  Kmart has aimed at the Chicano communities across the country now as a specialty store.  Yuma is the ultimate Chicano community.  I swear the entire city speaks Spanish except for the recent transplants and snowbirds.

When Kmart declared bankruptcy, they requested a reduced rent rate from the land owner and as I understand the story, were refused.  The Kmart property is now vacated and the owner and Kmart have both lost.  I do not like the store but it had a good home in Yuma.

Taxes

Sales taxes here are the highest of almost anywhere: up to 10.8%.  There are also taxes on food.  Since a large part of the population is transient, this is the easiest way to get the snowbirds and the Marines to pay at least their share of taxes.

MCAS

The Marine Corps has an air station here.  There are always jets flying by.  Often helicopters.  If you like the feeling of security of knowing the military is on duty, Yuma is for you.  There are also many young marine families.

Geography

This is the halfway point from Phoenix/Tucson to San Diego.  It is also a major entry to Mexico (San Luis).  Twenty miles west of the city is another border crossing, Algodones.  Algodones is full of low-cost dentists and pharmacies.  You can buy medicine there of all types – often cheaper than you can get it on your USA insurance.  On the other hand, bringing it back across the border without a prescription may be illegal.  They used to really be paranoid about this but I understand that you may now bring back a three-month supply of most drugs.  Dental work is good and prices low enough that carrying USA insurance is not worth the cost.

You pass through Yuma on I-8 going east west from San Diego.  US 95 starts at San Luis and heads north along the Colorado River for most of Arizona.

Scenery

Not really any scenery unless you are a devout fan of deserts or corporate farms.  I like the desert.  I like the clear skies at night.

Politics

Since this is Arizona, the primary population is Republican.  Since most Rvers are Republican and most military are Republican, and most of Arizona is already Republican, make sure you watch your words if you are not so inclined.  Like I have stated elsewhere, many of these people would not vote for Barry Goldwater because he was too liberal.

Suggestions?  Questions?  Comments?  Push Home/eMail above.
Written:  2003          Updated:  March 24, 2004             Back to Top