The coolest thing about Winterhaven, besides being near Yuma, was it's proximity to California's largest dunes complex. Roughly 40 miles long by about 20 miles wide, the Imperial dunes are an amaazing phenomenon of nature. The early settlers on their way to California by the southern route had to traverse this incredible sea of sand, and, having traversed about 200 feet of it myself, I am absolutely astonished that they were able to get across it. In the early 20th century, a wooden road was built that floated on the sand and cars and wagons used that to get across. Incredibly tedious and dangerous it was, and often cars drove off the road to their peril. Today Interstate 8 crosses the dunes and cars traverse them in 20 minutes. Here is a picture of a small segment of this wooden road still preserved:
Another interesting aspect of the dunes is that they extend south into Mexico and Winterhaven is right on the border. The 12-foot-high border fence that has been constructed to control illegal immigration is quite close to the road that passes through the dunes. Here are a couple of shots of the dunes with the border fence running through.