We're working our way through the American Southwest. This week, it's Yuma as we work our way over into Arizona. Yuma is at the convergence of California, Arizona, and Mexico...
Near the western end of town, reminders of the old days sit across the freeway from each other. The Territorial Prison on a bluff looking over the Colorado River held the area's ne'er do wells within its thick, rock walls. Those who were more upstanding…or maybe just lucky at not being caught…would have a cold beer while playing cards across the way at Lute's Casino.
For this trip, our hotel would be the Springhill Suites, just off of Interstate 8 at the 16th Street exit. Our room would be a large, semi-suite with a living room and a separate bedroom area with a king-size bed. There is also a full-size sofabed in the living room. The bathroom is large. You have your choice of a tub and bath chair, or a roll-in shower.
We don't need a roll-in so we opt for the tub.
The $81 rate includes a full, hot breakfast. No one would mistake it for gourmet, but the eggs, sausage, toast, and waffles are good and wholesome.
Nearby is another alternative, the La Fuente Inn and Suites where the price is nearly the same, the suites are really big rooms, it's not quite as accessible (no roll-in showers), but they do offer a great hot breakfast, have a really fun happy hour each night, and a beautiful pool area.
Seven miles to the west, back in California, we start the trip by walking over the border to Mexico in Los Algodones. A medical tourism hotspot catering to snowbirds, today we're just making a fast shopping trip to get some great, cheap premium tequila and some medicines to stock up our medicine cabinet with. Letty also gets some big bottles of vanilla for cooking.
Back in Yuma, a trip to the old territorial prison is in order. At a cost of $8, it's not cheap, but what a step back in time. Walking through the sally port, you see the massive, iron reinforced adobe walls. Other parts of the prison use solid rock walls five feet thick.
Small cells with chamber pots line the corridors. Some have rings embedded into the ground to chain the prisoners in place. The dark cell, used for punishment, is indeed a scary place. An iron grid on the floor outlines the spot where the former cage was. It is imperative to watch your step in this dark room.
The entire complex, save for one cell, is accessible to wheelchairs but some parts may be bumpy.
For dinner, we go over the freeway to Lute's where we sit among the memorabilia hanging throughout the room. Dinner tonight is the Lute's special, which is a cheeseburger topped with a sliced hot dog. It's good, cheap, and kind of a gutbuster.
The sun comes up late here in the winter…Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time. At 7:15 in the morning, the first rays pop up over the eastern mountains. We have a final breakfast at the hotel before packing it up and heading back on the road.
Editor's note: You may also want to view our previous reports for this destination. We took another, more extensive, trip here in October. The links are below:
Medical Tourism - Los Algodones, Mexico
Medical Tourism - Yuma, Arizona
Copyright 2011 - Darryl Musick
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