Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yuma Territorial Prison and bugs!

So, for three nights in Yuma the outside temperature dipped to just above freezing while the inside-the-van temperature registered exactly one degree warmer.


Sigh Me kept me somewhat warm at night, then she sought out every warm spot during the day.
On Monday morning I found a mechanic who worked on the lines (he said I had lost pressure somehow in the propane gas line) but he got it working.  Then at 2:00 am on Tuesday morning the heater stopped working again.  By this time I am wearing two pairs of sox and multiple layers of shirts. 

I decided to wait until I got back to Tucson to deal with repairs on the heater--if I was going to have to leave the RV in a shop somewhere then Sigh Me and I would have a place to sleep in Tucson.

  So, to cheer myself up, I decided to visit the Territorial Prison.  Immediately upon stepping out of the RV in the parking lot, I discovered that my key pad that locks the vehicle had stopped working.  Could it freeze too?  So I played around with it for a minute then stepped back into the RV to find my spare.  Hmm.... would it work? So I put down my camera and purse and stepped outside again to try it.  Well, it locked--but it did not unlock the vehicle!  So I would manually use the key.  OOPS!  I only had the gas key!  Somehow the ignition key had become separated from the ring and was in my purse--inside the vehicle! Along with my phone, highway assistance card, money, and acid indigestion pills!  For the first time in almost two years I had locked myself out of the van.  Okay you big baby..stop blubbering!

Inside the prison I found the nice manager who came out and helped me get the vehicle open.  And within a few hours the key pad started working again.  I could blame pixies, or bad luck, or stupidity--but I really think,  it was just too damn cold!

The Territorial Prison is what you would expect it to be....

stark and ugly and barren--except it was called the 'The Country Club' by the townspeople because it had the only library...

The only hospital and doctor...

and the only dentist.

The rooms were about as spacious as my RV. But shared by six prisoners....


And 6000 bed bugs!

And if you were naughty you got to spend a night--or many, many nights,  in this lovely room.

The Dark Cell was carved out of the side of the caliche rock mountain...

 and so solid that no one was ever able to dig their way out of it.

When the prison was closed soon after the turn of the century,  it became a school for Yuma kids for about 5 years. Then, during the depression,  it was used as a 'stop-over' for the homeless who were passing through on their way to California for work in the fields.

Whew!  Now I am really cheered up.

In the last few years it has been the scene of movies.

So, what do you suppose that object is in the photo above?  It is a dirt dauber's nest!

(The definition in Wikipedia:  Any of various wasps that build nests of mud with cellular compartments for eggs and paralyzed prey.  Also called regionally dirt dauber or mud wasp.)

When I returned to Tucson I went, immediately, to the RV repair place where they completely dismantled my heater and gas lines and this is what they found--a dirt dauber's nest plugging my intake vent that feeds oxygen to the heater so it will burn.

 I have a new screen for the intake that will be arriving tomorrow by mail.  And my heater is working just great, though I hardly need it now.  The temperature is well above freezing at night and the days are a balmy 75 degrees.  And my key pad has not failed to work for over a week now.  Life is good again.


  1. Wow!I hope there weren't any wasps in there. Must have driven Sigh Me nuts to hear them when they were active. :-0

  2. I suspect that Dirt/mud Dauber nests are full of spiders. The daubers store the spiders for food for their offspring.To capture a spider, the dauber grabs it and stings it into submission. The venom from the sting does not kill the spider, but paralyzes and preserves it so it can be transported and stored in the nest cell until consumed by the larva. They are the top predator for many spiders, including the black widow.


    1. Oh my... Still, ain't nature grand? Can't help but suppress a shiver though.

    2. Nancy...Sigh Me is so lazy she won't chase anything--I've seen flies sit on her head.

      Dean...I thought you might make some comment about the prison--but Bugs?

    3. Actually Toni, the prison was very interesting, but I didn't want to put that nest under your seat in the van and forget about it and have spiders running everywhere. But the prison is really neat, just imagine how many great stories it houses that we will never know. Anyway, be safe on your journeys, and keep us informed.....dean

  3. Wow! You are such an adventurous spirit, just like your sister. It has to be genetic. I can hardly wait to meet you.