We left Friday afternoonish in a pouring rain. Pouring. We got up into the Laguna mountains, into the Cleveland National Forest, and by then it had turned into a hard snow. It's funny what we take for granted. For us, living our whole lives near the beach, we think nothing of it. It's sticky water and sand that stays in every nook and cranny of your body for a week after you go there. For newcomers it's a roaring ocean crashing against the shore, every wave different from the last. For others, snow is just a pain you have to deal with every winter. For us, it was such a thrill! Danny hadn't seen snow in 30 years, me in 27, and Savannah had seen it once a few years ago.

The area we were driving through doesn't get snow very often, and when it does there isn't much. That made this snow extra special. It was coming down hard, covering the trees and whooshing past us. I got more pictures, but they're all a blur. In fact, most of our trip is a blur, both mentally and pictorially.

Near Pine Valley, in the Cleveland National Forest. Our first snow of the trip. You can't tell in the photo, but it was blowing straight sideways.

Video (Sort of. The grey spots flicking by are snowflakes.)


We got down into the Imperial Valley and were greeted by an entirely different scene. By the way, did you know that Imperial Beach is named after Imperial Valley? People who lived there vacationed on the shore, so it was named Imperial Beach. I had never been further east than El Centro, and that was over 30 years ago. So Savannah and I were now officially in 'uncharted territories'. I was impressed to see genuine sand dunes. Sand dunes!! I knew they existed, of course, but Borrego Springs, up north of there (the desert I've been to) doesn't have dunes like this. So another treat.

The Imperial sand dunes, in Imperial Valley, just past El Centro. It's amazing to think this was just a few hours later!


Now to Arizona. Savannah kept saying, "I can't believe I'm in a different state!" Funny how you expect everything to magically look different because you crossed a state line. In some cases you're hoping for some improvement. ;-)

Danny had been to the Yuma Territorial Prison before we got married. We went there, but unfortunately got there just after it closed. The cemetary was interesting, seeing graves that had been there for over 100 years. Why are they covered with stones? When in the desert, or digging in very hard ground (so the graves are shallow), animals could easily dig up the bodies. So covering them with big stones would help prevent that. (You weren't expecting this to be an educational trip, were you? It's all part of the service.)

Yuma State Prison
Historic Yuma Territorial Prison.
Yuma State Prison Guard Tower
The State Prison Tower
Yuma State Prison Caution Sign
What comforting words.....
Yuma Prison Cemetary
The prison cemetary. I like how long our shadows are.
AZ Prison Courtyard
The prison courtyard, with cells on the left.
Arizona Prison Flower
A little splash of color near the graveyard.

Click on the image for the full size to appear in a new window.

That night we stopped in Phoenix. Some friends of my brother and sister-in-law very generously opened their home to us.
We liked them immediately! It felt like we'd known them for years.