Wednesday, March 29, 2017

More Tours: General Patton Memorial Museum/Desert Training Center, Los Algodones, and Celia’s Rainbow Gardens

We took advantage of recent cooler temperatures to return to Los Algodones.  Mom purchased some  wrinkle cream (she can’t have enough of that!) and a safari hat for Dad like the one he bought there last year.  Then we focused on replacing Dad’s broken knockoff Rolex watch that he bought on the streets of New York City before we hit the full-timing road.  Mom, ever the great negotiator, got the price down from $85 to $26.  She would have held out for $20, but Dad said that would be too insulting to the shopkeeper.  Our business completed in Algodones, we headed back to Yuma to do some shopping.  We needed some clothes to comply with our dress code at Grand Canyon, and Mom wanted to stock up on groceries, since we will be 1.5 hours away from “civilization” during our Grand Canyon work gig.   (We don’t like to waste time off from work running errands—we’d rather be exploring)!   We shopped in Yuma almost 5 hours, but accomplished all our goals.  For being so well behaved, I was rewarded with a hearty meal at Golden Corral, a feast fit for a king.

We also visited the General Patton Memorial Museum in Chiriaco Summit, CA.  The museum is located at what was Camp Young within the Desert Training Center (DTC), where General George S. Patton and other leaders trained over a half million soldiers for battle against the Germans in North Africa.  The Desert Training Center encompassed 18,000 square miles of rugged, desolate lands within the Mojave and Colorado deserts of California and Arizona.  The area of the DTC was larger than the states of Vermont and New Hampshire combined!  There were 12 divisional camps, including Camp Bouse, which we visited in 2015.  My maternal Grandpa served in the Pacific Theater of World War II, so I found this whole place very interesting.  We also learned there is boondocking right behind the Museum for a nominal fee (we think $1/night based on info on the Internet).  Pretty cool to have WW II tanks right in your “backyard”.

The remains of the Catholic chapel at Camp Young

"Trench Art" - Carvings/Sculptures on Artillery Shells

We went recently to Quartzsite’s Desert Tortoise Preserve.  Well, at least that’s what it is called on the Map of Quartzsite, (designed by Paul Winer) that we purchased.  The Preserve turned out to be a small caged area inside the Laze-E-Days RV Park.  Both the park and the preserve were in disrepair and obviously have seen some better days.  Long story short, I spotted only one tortoise, and his position behind a rock made it impossible to take a photo.  Another disappointing wildlife excursion.

Today we did our annual visit to Celia’s Rainbow Gardens.  Celia was the young daughter of Paul and Joanne Winer.  Born prematurely at only 23.5 weeks and weighing only 1.5 lbs., doctors had little hope for her survival.  But survive she did for 8 ½ years, until she succumbed to a viral infection that attacked her heart.  The Rainbow Gardens were borne out of her love for animals and the environment.  They are a testament to the dedication of her family to keep her memory alive and the true sense of community that support them in their mission.  Each time I visit, I walk away with a feeling of love and peace, and in my heart I know that’s exactly what Celia would have wanted.

Look at the size of this lizard who lives at Celia's Garden!

Well, the fun and games are over.  Our final days must be spent on chores.  Let the cleaning begin!

Talk to you soon.


  1. Can't wait to see pictures of you in the new hat! We are still cleaning dust after our time in Q! The fact that we go from one dusty place to another certainly doesn't help.

  2. Another awesome winter for you guys in Q! Can't wait to hear about Grand Canyon!

  3. Still have to visit the Patton Museum. Glad to know you can boondock there too.