Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Yuma, Arizona: Summertime and the livin' ain't easy!

Skies definitely are blue in Yuma.
To paraphrase that beautiful ballad from Porgy and Bess is almost  like ruining the song, but the words describe what a summer in Yuma is like for snowbirds who stay on after the season is over.

Sure, the lines at the Walmart prescription counters are a lot shorter. Instead of standing in line for an hour, at least, to drop off prescriptions and then another hour or more to pick them up, you can be in and out in mere minutes. I, however, would be willing to stand in these long lines if it meant lower temperatures outside. Temperatures have been in triple digits here since early April. I swear I’ll scream if I hear a permanent resident tell me one more time, “If you think it’s hot now, just wait until July.”

Keeping cool is paramount
Life in Yuma these days is a mad dash from an air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned building and back again. (Some Walmarts and the local mall have covered parking.)  I’m beginning to see why siestas are such an important part of Latin American culture, though I’m finding it too hot to sleep in the afternoon. Even running the air conditioning full time in our trailer, temperatures don’t get cool enough to sleep comfortably until about 4 a.m. By 6 a.m., the temperatures are moving from searing to scorching, and the day goes downhill from then, even though the temperatures are only going uphill.

We’ve taken to doing our laundry in the middle of the night because the laundry room isn’t air-conditioned. Plus, we used to do laundry every week, but now try to go at least two weeks between washing. A hose connects our trailer to the city water system. Cold showers have become the norm because water comes out of the cold tap warm enough that you don’t have to turn on the hot water tap.

Our awning would provide some shade if we could use it. High winds can come up at any time in Yuma and will bounce the awning around, damaging it. (There have been times I’ve put the awning down at 6 a.m., only to bring it in at 6:30 a.m.
Avoiding dehydration is important
Dehydration is always a risk in hot weather. Our bottled water bill has quadrupled since the temperatures started soaring. While we may leave our American Express card at home when we go out (well, we would if we had one), we never leave the trailer without cold bottled water, frequently in a small ice chest. A bottle of frozen water can go from ice to too hot to drink when left in my scooter's drink cup holder even for a few minutes.

There’s less to do in Yuma in the summer months. When we arrived here back in January, I was too sick to do many touristy things. Now that I’m better and can get around more, the attractions are closed until fall. That includes one of our favorite spots, Martha’s Gardens, an organic date farm that serves the most delicious date milk shakes.

So when will we be leaving Yuma? Who knows? Our intent was to be here only a few weeks, but my medical problems have kept us here longer. We’ve quit guesstimating when we might be able to leave; every time we think we might be out of here in a few weeks, I have a setback. Note to snowbirds: If you’re looking for excellent, senior-friendly health care, Yuma is the place to be. The main facility where I treat is considered one of the best in the country, and on the cutting edge of medicine.


  1. I like the idea of the cutting edge medicine... but not so wild about the snakes. Anyway, I'm pinning a few of your posts on Pinterest. I've been thinking about becoming an RV gypsy, so I know that a lot of other people my age want to know what it's like. Here's one of the pins: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/274790014739351865/ Let me know if I'm wrong and you are NOT full-time RVsters. Tina

  2. Now, I'll look around at more posts. I'm happy you are feeling better. Being sick is totally sucky.