|Tessa's new favorite guy Donny|
At 38 degrees we waste no time packing up and heading out at 8 AM. The anticipated construction traffic on I-10 holds us up less than 20 minutes so we manage to beat the storm to our site back at Justin's Diamond J east of Tucson. The skies are dark and dumping lots of rain to the north, but we get set up with the heaters on before the wind and rain arrive. Not much rain after all, but we stay in, take a nap, and get the laundry done.
After sleeping in we set out on a new route for the first time since leaving Santa Clarita a couple weeks ago. Highway 86 is 110 miles of two-lanes through open desert, prairie, Ironwood, and the occasional Saquaro.
|Wonderful to be back on "new" roads|
Through the little town of Ajo ten miles later, we find our RV Park - Ajo Heights. It is extremely well maintained - more so than the businesses we passed to get here. Our site backs to the desert and is very large. Our hosts, Bob and Carol, are friendly and make us feel welcome immediately.
|For those who don't know where Ajo is......|
We're in Ajo to visit the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It is an area neither of us have ever seen, we don't know what to expect.
I'm hoping to find my first Crested Saquaro, and maybe the even more rare Crested Organ Pipe. It's 49 degrees when we leave Ajo after a very good breakfast at Marcela's Cafe. It is a 22 mile drive to the visitor center.
A few miles before the center I think I see a Crested Saquaro a short distance from the road! I'm so excited heading across the desert, I'm actually giggling - there might have been some "happy dance" steps thrown in there too :-)
Across a small wash and there it is!
|Even more incredible in person!|
|Keep looking up, even when you're down!|
|Simple, very nice center.|
|The story of the area told by the seasons.|
The rest of the day we spend on the Ajo Mountain Road Loop. 21 miles of one-way dirt road, and we're back to more "wow's" at every turn! The variety of cactus is unique to the area.
|A trio of supportive Saquaros|
|Prickly Pear and Ocotillo|
|Saquaro and Organ Pipe share this park in abundance|
We stop for lunch below the double arches. We've only seen one other vehicle at the very beginning of the drive, and one border patrol helicopter makes a few passes. Otherwise only bird calls break the complete silence here. Bill spots a bright red bird in a Palo Verde tree. Too quickly it flies away and I don't get his picture - he was SO red!
|Sweet spot for lunch|
|The top arch looks fragile from here|
|More hole than arch|
|Bill sees this giant sphinx on the side of a hill|
It dawns on me as we look out across the valley to Mexico that just a few months ago we were looking out across the water at Canada. What a life this is!
|Mexico in the distance|
|How to stand out in a crowd|