Wednesday, November 18, 2009
California's Plank Road
Our last day in Yuma was spent sightseeing. We drove west on I-8 crossing into California and entered the area known as the Imperial Valley. It is here the Glamis Dunes sit in silent grandeur with ripples on the hills made by the winds whipping the delicate sand around. Here also is the site of a piece of history most people don't know about.
In early 1915, a road was built across seven miles of the dunes to allow automobile travelers quicker access to the west coast. From Yuma, the distance to San Diego was shorter than the distance to Los Angeles. The original road was made of planks which were laid end to end. Two parallel strips of wood 25 inches wide made travel across the shifting sand feasible and it quickly became very popular. However, it was not very durable and under heavy use it deteriorated. The solution was to built a second plank road, one in which the planks were laid across the roadbed and iron ties were used to hold it in place. These sections were preassembled and laid down with an elaborate contraption. The road was a single lane wide and there were many turnouts made to allow traffic to pass. The logistics of the road created to its downfall. Keeping the road clear of sand was a nightmare and the amount of traffic taking advantage of the road was indicative of the need for a better route. A new asphalt/concrete road was built and opened in 1926 and the Plank Road was history. Several sections were removed to museums and much of the wood planks disappeared as campers used it for firewood. A 1500 foot section remains near the Grays Well area in the recreation area. If you find yourself in Yuma, you should take a drive out here to see it.
Later in the day, Smokey and Pam came to visit and we sat out at our campfire with them and John and Doni. We decided to go to Da Boyz for pizza so we once again got to visit with our friends before we started our trek east. We had a nice campsite in Yuma and enjoyed our times with fellow members of our Graduating Class of 2005. We will see them all again, perhaps at Escapade next fall in Goshen.
Till next time. . .
Posted by Dale at 6:54 PM