Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ride on the Riverfront - 01/20/15 - Yuma, AZ

Tuesday – January 20, 2015
Ride on the Riverfront
Yuma, Arizona

It was the Colorado River that put Yuma, Arizona on the map. Linking the riverfront together is a paved, lighted, multipurpose pathway that’s perfect for walking or biking. The riverfront trail runs from Joe Henry Memorial Park (23rd Ave. & First St.) to Pacific Avenue/Avenue 2E. Highlights along this path are:

West Wetlands Park

A statue commemorating the Mormon Battalion’s crossing of the Colorado River. In 1846, the Mormon Battalion was tasked with finding a southern route to California. Its record-setting, 2,000-mile march passed through Yuma because this was the best place to cross the Colorado River.

The U.S. Army of the West Mormon Battalion erected Foundation erected a bronze statue in 2007 to commemorate the historic journey.

Pivot Point Interpretative Plaza
Located on Madison Ave. at the river, a stop here offers a capsule lesson in Yuma history at the spot where the first railroad train entered Arizona in 1877.

The public park incorporates the original concrete pivot that allowed Yuma’s railroad bridge to to swing open for passing steamboats, and features an authentic 1907 Baldwin locomotive.

Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge
The bridge was a critical link in joining the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans with a highway. The bridge was built across the Colorado River between Yuma, Arizona and Fort Yuma, California in 1914 for $76,000 and dedicated during a citywide celebration May 22-23, 1915.At the time of its opening, the bridge provided the first safe, economical crossing of the river at Yuma and it was the only vehicle bridge across the Colorado River for 1,200 miles.

The 336-foot bridge was closed in 1988 due to structural problems. A renovation begun in 2001 and was completed in 2002. It received the Arizona Preservation award in 2003. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

On Monday we rode the trail from the Visitor Center to the West Wetlands Park. This is a beautiful park with a walk-through hummingbird garden and a small, stocked, fishing pond. The pond is also popular with model boat enthusiasts. There were two model sailboats, sailing the waters of the pond on the day we were there. We had a picnic lunch in a ramada by the pond. We biked about 6 miles on this portion of the trail.

On Tuesday we became more adventuresome and biked the portion of the trail that follows the East Mall Canal from the West Wetlands Park to 40th Street. This was about a 13 mile roundtrip ride. This paved trail takes the visitor by moderately priced real estate, the Yuma Medical Center, high priced real estate and ends at 40th Street by a golf course. The entire trail runs parallel to the canal that contains diverted water from the Colorado River. There are concrete benches spaced out along the trail, providing rest areas for those visitors who prefer to linger for a while. We had a picnic lunch at one of them.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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