Home Is Where We Park It: Rancho Rialto RV Resort, Yuma
January 7, 2020
Temperature 71 Degrees
Ocean to Ocean Bridge
Now I Know Why – Dental Care in Mexico
Yup, a day late again. Last night I just couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open. Not to mention I just couldn’t seem to get my mind in gear nor my fingers. But today is another day so here we go.
First, the Ocean to Ocean Highway Bridge.
A more permanent and convenient way to cross the Colorado River than a rope ferry was necessary due to the amount of traffic at the Yuma Crossing. In addition town officials were anxious to find a way to access the plank road that was under construction. The plank road (more about this later) would provide a direct path across the sand dunes to San Diego.
It sounds simple enough. Build it and they will come.
Unfortunately, the engineers who designed the bridge were from the east and unfamiliar with the fluctuating waters of the Colorado River. After the foundation was washed away twice a better way was found and the bridge was completed.
On May 15, 1915 when the bridge was completed a young woman named Pauline was chosen to throw the switch for the electrical sign Ocean to Ocean Highway Yuma. In the ensuing days the town of Yuma celebrated the bridges completion with an automobile parade, horse races, dances, and of course any number of speeches.
In 1978 the bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge served the Yuma area until 1988 when due to structural issues it was restricted to foot traffic only.
In 2002 it was completely rebuilt and opened again to alternating traffic.
We decided we wanted to drive across a piece of history.
Our turn to go across. I thought it was really neat being able to drive across such an important piece of history. But that’s me.
Now for the plank road. Once you crossed the bridge back in the 1900’s heading west what awaited you? You had two choices: go to Los Angles via the Mammoth Wash Trail or go over Sahara-like dues to San Diego. Like most travelers you would bypass San Diego and choose the Mammoth Wash Trail because it runs along the railroad and was safer.
Business leaders in San Diego frustrated by this banded together to build
the Plank Road a road similar to the one in the picture above.
The first of 13,000 planks was laid in February 14,1915. For the next two months volunteers and inmates from California’s Imperial Prison worked together to create the Ocean to Ocean Highway. On April 14, 1915 work was completed and it was now possible to travel from Yuma directly to San Diego.
Traveling the Plank Road was an experience like no other. The road was built with turnouts every half mile for oncoming cars. In those days car springs weren’t designed to cope with washboard conditions, and the up-and-down motion of the vehicle over the highway would accelerate as it traveled. It was necessary, therefore, to stop periodically to let the car quiet down. Definitely not a road I would have wanted to take Graybeardover!
In 1916 a new and improved plank road was constructed. This road remained in use until 1926 when when a new two lane asphalt road replaced it. Today the plank road is now a Historical Landmark and pieces of it are preserved at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
So that is a little bit more of the history of this area. Yuma, when you stop to look and investigate is really a fascinating place.
What else did we do yesterday? The dentist – ugh. Now I know why so many people go to Mexico for dental work. Now I know why I will also, eventually, be going there as well. We’ll get the first part of what needs to be done here at a dentist in Yuma. But since it appears I will be needing dentures, we’ll go to Mexico for them. The cost of dentures here in Yuma, suffice to say I could buy a new compact car with what they want to charge me. No way am I spending that amount of money when in Mexico the cost would be a fraction of what it would cost here.
That was our day on The Road of Retirement. It was an easy day so I don’t know why I was so tired, but I was. I did some monthly maintenance. We both read our books for part of the day. Then there was the trip to the dentist for my initial consultation. We watched Jeopardy – this is a must. And that was about it. Today, will who knows what today will bring. Let you know later.
Thanks for coming along with us again. We always appreciate your company and your comments. Catch you later.
These are the voyages of Graybeard and it’s two intrepid travelers. Our continuing mission: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have never been before
See you on down the road!