Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour

The refuge was established in 1944 to protect stands of cottonwood and willow trees which provide a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Unfortunately, a lightning strike in the summer of 2021 started a fire that burnt most of the trees and there hasn't been much of a recovery.
The auto tour is about six miles total out and back. It winds up and down around the rocky outcrops before dead ending at turnaround where the road is gated off but open for hiking. Several very short trails can be found along the auto tour road.
Nothing is accessible along the auto tour road. It's a nice short drive but Highway 95 is pretty spectacular so the tour can be skipped especially since the trees are gone. Stop at the visitor center on Highway 95 which has good exhibits and a short but accessible trail on a peninsula that extends out into Lake Havasu.
The road is bumpy but maintained and suitable for shorter RVs. Refuge  Tour Map

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

West Wetlands Park.

The wetlands was a city dump until it was closed in 1970. The plan to make it into a wetland habitat and recreation area required grants from many organizations and years of work before it finally opened in 2002 for local residents and visitors to enjoy. Improvement continue to be made and the park includes picnic shelters, a pond, walking and biking trails, native gardens, a beach, boat ramp, and the coolest playground ever made.

Trails running east and west parallel each other so it's easy to loop around on different trails. The trail next to the road is paved. The others are hard packed dirt. One follows close to the river. Another runs along a ridge. The paved trail continues east for a couple of miles to East Wetlands Park which remains in a more natural state.

The paved trail is accessible. The dirt trails are accessible but wheelchair users may need assistance in spots where the dirt is loose. All of the trails are fairly level.

The parking lots are large enough for RVs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Yuma Airshow 2023

The Marine Corp has the smallest air force of the US armed forces so the airshow isn't as spectacular or large as some of the shows put on by other branches of the military. I think it was larger before coronavirus caused the show to be canceled in 2020, 2021, and 2022 so maybe in the future it will be larger again. 

Parking on the base is very limited and too small for RVs. Preferred parking on the base is $40 and general parking is free with shuttle service to and from the parking lot to the show entrance. Entry is by vehicle only and adults must have some type of photo ID.

Many people chose to park in the Yuma County Fairgrounds parking lot instead of going to the base. The planes fly directly over the parking lot and there's a good view of the runways. Unfortunately I didn't get any good photos. Of course the ground displays are not visible from the fairgrounds lot but everything else is including the demonstration of the USMC F-35B as it hovers, and takes off and lands vertically. Airshow  32.6698, -114.59304

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Gunsight Wash Disersed Camping

When we camp near Ajo, Arizona we usually head to BLM land along Darby Wells Road. We enjoy the scenery and dispersed camping there but we wanted to visit a friend who was camping a little farther south at Gunsight Wash BLM dispersed camping area. I've always had the impression that Gunsight Wash is barren and dusty. It's not! The scenery is not as pretty as it is along Darby Wells Road and there are few saguaros but there is a lot of greenery and the trees grow larger. Winter has been cooler than normal this year so the flowers and birds have been slow in arriving.

The area is almost level and the ground is very hard packed sandy dirt which makes it an excellent boondocking area for campers using wheelchairs.

The roads are dirt and one lane but they're in very good condition. Many large and level clearings provide access for any size RV and are great for people who want to camp together. We camped about 1/2 mile off of Route 85. The roads deteriorate a bit farther in but it's possible to find fairly isolated sites by driving past the 1/2 mile mark. Gunsight Wash  32.24068, -112.76128