Friday January 13, 2012
Got up this morning in Alpine CA at a casino and going to bed tonight near Yuma AZ at another casino. Alpine is about 20 or so miles east of San Diego. The elevation at the RV park we stayed in at San Diego is 11′. The elevation at the casino in Alpine is 2000′. We woke up during the night with the wind blowing so hard it was shaking the van. It was still blowing pretty violently as we walked to the casino for breakfast. After a nice breakfast in the casino we took off for Yuma. As soon as we got onto I-8 we saw a sign that said, “Strong winds next 63 miles, high profile vehicles not advised”. With some trepidation we discussed the question of wether we qualified as a high profile vehicle. As we were contemplating, we were overtaken and passed by an RV in which we could have put our house and car and still had room for a guest suite. We decided that we were not a high profile vehicle. We still proceeded with caution and we could definitely feel the wind pushing us around a bit. We began to climb and the higher we went the stronger the wind became. At the summit, 4,181′, the wind became so violent that it was a struggle to keep it on the road. We stayed at that elevation for roughly 20 miles and the wind persisted the entire way. Finally we began to descend. It was seven miles at 6% grade and quite curvy. That was not too bad, but that combined with the wind made us a bit nervous. There was one consolation. As we descended the wind seems to have let up a bit. By the time we got to the desert floor the wind was nearly gone. The highway from there was flat and straight and I set the cruise for 65 mph and relaxed all the way into Arizona and Yuma.
I should mention that the landscape changed from mountains with an amazing number of boulders perched precariously on one another to flat barren desert, to fertile farm land and back to barren desert. There were a few miles of sand dunes which resembled the Sahara. I was having trouble enjoying the scenery up on the mountain, but Lucy took some photos so I will enjoy it later.
I had to do a little follow up work today from the work I did while in San Diego. Another client sent me an email of a form I needed to sign and email back. It is for a contract I got for a very nice job that will last 4 to 6 months. I forwarded the form to FedEx Office in Yuma. When I got there, they had it printed. I signed it, they scanned it onto a little jump drive for me and I sent it back to my client via email. What a world we live in!
All in all it has been a very good day. To top it off, this casino has adult beverages for $1 each and Lucy won $10, which is $5 more than they charged us to park overnight in their very nice parking lot.
The casino here is owned and operated by the Cocopah tribe. They have an interesting history. The site I found was too difficult to navigate so I just copied the history section and posted it here. The following is not my writing. It is quoted directly from the web site of the tribe.
The Cocopah Indian Tribe is one of seven descendant Tribes from the greater Yuman language-speaking people who occupied lands along the Colorado River. Cocopah Tribal ancestors also lived along the Lower Colorado River region near the river delta and the Gulf of California. The Cocopah people had no written language, however, historical records were passed on orally or interpreted in documents written by outside visitors.
Diaries and journals kept by travelers along the Colorado River and migrants into the West documented the Cocopah people. Spanish explorer Hernando de Alarcón, a member of Coronado’s marine expedition, traveled the river in 1540 and described members of the Cocopah Indian Tribe as tall, well-built people who carried wooden maces and bows and arrows. The men wore loincloths and the women wore willow bark skirts. The explorer and his crew were offered gifts of shells, beads, well-tanned leathers and food.
When Don Juan de Onate and Father Escobar sailed up the river, there were estimated to be about 6,000-7,000 Cocopah people living along the delta and the lower Colorado River. Fellow travelers, such as Father Kino, Father Garces, fur trapper James O’Patte, military men and ethnographers, kept colorful records from 1540-1917.
Westward expansion in the 1840s and the discovery of gold in California in 1849 brought many migrants through the area near the mouth of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon region. The strategic importance of the river crossing was recognized by the U.S. government, and the United States Army established Camp Independence in 1850 to protect the entry route through the tribe’s territories. The following year the camp was moved to the site of an old Spanish Mission later named Fort Yuma, which still stands today.
Throughout the mid 1800s and early 1900s, the Cocopah Indian Tribe effectively resisted assimilation to an established reservation and maintained its social, religious and cultural identities.
In the last half of the nineteenth century, the steamboat business became important to the Cocopah people. Cocopah men, known for their skillful river navigating, were valued pilots.
In 1964, the Cocopah Indian Tribe founded its first Constitution and formed a five-person Tribal Council. As recently as the 1960s, a number of tribal families lived in traditional arrow weed-thatched homes, and until 1968, there were few houses and gravel roads. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the Tribe began acquiring additional land, constructing homes, installing utilities, developing an infrastructure system and initiating economic development. The octagonal Tribal Administration Building was completed in 1976. Currently, there are about 1,000 enrolled Cocopah Tribal members who live and work on or near the three reservations.