December 26th – Martinez Lake, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Yuma Proving Grounds, and Clouds Museum

The 26th was a busy day of adventure.

We started out by driving to Martinez Lake and the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge (INWR).  INWR actually has an interesting visitor’s center considering its out in the middle of nowhere.  We were the only visitors there and maybe their only visitors all day.  We saw some very cute hummingbirds and one confused woodpecker who thought he was a hummingbird and was drinking away at their feeders.  INWR protects the wildlife along 30 miles of the Colorado River on both the Arizona and California sides.

While we were there, we stopped by a bar where my parents knew the son of the owner, but the owner wasn’t there so we had a drink and headed on our way.

We also ventured through the Yuma Proving Grounds, which is one of the largest military installations in the world although you’d never know it.  Other than seeing some equipment on display at the entrances there really isn’t much to see except signs and desert.

Our next adventure took us to Senator’s Wash.  Its public land that people can stay on for about $75 per year.  There are no utilities out there, but a lot of people use generators or only stay there for a couple of weeks at a time.  We were looking for Lois’ sister, but we never tracked her down.  We did however run across a couple of wild burros just hanging out.

When we left there we just kept driving around; not quite sure where we were at times.  Eventually we ended up in Bard, CA where we found Cloud Museum.  What an amazing place.  They had old cars, farm equipment, and so much more.  The owner told us that everyone of the old cars were driven on to the property and with a bit of work he was sure that he could get all of them running.  There was one building that had a bunch of cars that had been completely restored.  Honestly, I think this guy is sitting on a goldmine and most people don’t even know about it.

The day ended with a very late lunch at Famous Dave’s and a trip to Wal-mart followed up with a late visit from Wilf and Joyce.

It was fun to see some of the local sites around Yuma.

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