Friday, February 04, 2011


Friday the 4th:
We're at the Gilbert Ray Campground. It didn't get as cold last night as forecast. This morning it was "only" 26*. We ran both the small electric cube heater and the propane furnace last night. This morning went grocery shopping, and shopping for some new jeans. Both pairs of my jeans finally reached the point where they were ready for the rag bag. At lunch time, we went to a very Mexican part of town. This was clearly a working class sort of neighborhood but we were looking for a real Mexican food place, not a Taco Bell. Well, we found one. The parking lot and adjoining streets were packed with a wide assortment of vehicles; some of which could probably run. Most of the houses had fenced yards with Beware Of The Dog signs. There were three sad looking strays in the street, but they sure weren't the dogs the signs warned against.

I found a parking spot about a block away. The place is a combination of a crude sit down area under a tent and take out. Got takeout. I'm not sure exactly what I ordered but it was excellent. Carol's was a sandwich on a very soft roll with grilled chicken, avocado, lettuce, etc. Mine looked like a huge burrito but wasn't fried. It was a meat, pepper, cheese & sauce combination rolled in a huge tortilla. Looked like something out of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. I could only eat half. We then stopped at a Mexican Bakery down the street. Got some empanadas. They were OK but nothing special.
It turned out to be a warm & sunny day. Supposed to get down to freezing again tonight, but the trend if for warming. Tomorrow we go to the Desert Museum.

I was looking out the window earlier when a coyote came strolling through the campsite across from us. He allowed me one picture then moved on.

An old college friend of Carols lives in Tucson. Carol gave her a call and Pat McMorrow stopped by for a brief visit. She lives not far from here and has an RV Port attached to her house. It has water, electric & sewer hookups. We're going over there for dinner on Monday. Pat said we could stay for as long as we wanted.
Pat's quite the world traveler and has an RV as well. Her son is a Captain with one of the airlines. Pat gets free flights anywhere they fly. Next month she's flying from LA to Dubai. The last time Carol had visited with Pat was when Suzanne & Chris lived in Tucson. That must be at least 6 or 7 years ago.

Saturday. Today's bid event was the trip to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. It was as wonderful as we remembered from our last visit many years ago. Besides the hummingbird aviary, we especially enjoyed the pieces of animal sculpture here & there. If life ever brings you to Tucson, you really need to spend a day at the museum.

We decided to drive into town for dinner. The last few times we've been driving around, we've noticed this restaurant. A very "rustic" sort of place surrounded by a "parking lot" that's really a big cleared dirt area. It's Tiny's Family Restaurant. Every time we drove by Tiny's the parking lot was packed. Talk about a locals sort of place. Tiny's saw better days many years ago. By 5:00 the place was packed with guys wearing their dress boots & jeans, young people probably on a date, families, etc. It's mainly a steak house. Neither of us is big on steak so we had sandwiches. Just watching the parade of people was worth the price of admission.

Early this evening, a guy I met at Organ Pipe Cactus stopped by to chat. We were going to meet Bill and his wife Carolyn at the Snyder Hill BLM site. Unfortunately, access is temporarily closed because of pipeline construction. Bill continued to Gilbert Ray as we had done. After leaving Organ Pipe, they had stopped by another BLM site on the way to Tucson. There was not another RV in site. While scouting a possible spot to stay, Bill came across a stash of drinking water. Generally these are strategically placed in advance by people assisting illegal border crossers. They left and headed here.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Tohono O'odham Reservation

This morning we continued our trek east. First I needed to pick up some mail at the PO in Sells. Sells is the capital city of the Tohono O'odham tribe. Tohono O'ogham means Desert People. The official Post Office web site had the wrong street address for their own facility? Suzanne mailed our stuff to the address shown on the USPS website. After stopping a police officer to get directions to the PO, I was quite pleased to find the mail was there. It did have me worried.
After getting the mail, the plan was to attend the Tribal Rodeo that started today. The temperature never got above freezing today and the overnight temperature is forecast to be 16*. There is no campground anywhere near here so the plan was to just stop alongside the road someplace. After talking about it, we just didn't feel like seeing a rodeo and freeze at the same time so we continued East. The Kitt Peak National Observatory is just a few miles west of Sells. There is a 12 mile long, 8% grade road leading to the top. Kitt Peak is the world's largest collection of research telescopes. The top of the mountain is right at 7,000'. That combined with very low humidity and virtually no ambient lighting, makes for a perfect viewing location.

The road through the reservation was just littered with broken bottles. Alcohol consumption is a big problem among the Native American tribes. There were roadside memorials seemingly everywhere you looked. Some were simple crosses, some were quite elaborate. We saw one shrine as well. Some of the Native American tribes build shrines as a special offering for some special need. The one in the picture was decorated with dolls of children. A sick child perhaps?

After a nice visit to Kitt Peak, we continued to the Gilbert Ray, Pima County Park Campground just west of Tucson. A very nice park right near the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. $20/night with electricity. Electricity sounds real good to us; it means a nice warm night. The low tonight is supposed to be 15* !!!. Starting Saturday it's supposed to warm up some.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

This morning we headed south to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Saw a great movie about the park in the visitor center. The park is designated as an International Biosphere Preserve for its diversity, rare and endangered species, rich cultural history and ecosystem of international importance.
We enjoyed it so much, we decided to stay in the campground for the next three days. $6/night with water and a dump station. Plus, the desert environment here is so much more attractive then around the different areas we've been recently. Not so dusty. In addition, the interior roads are paved so the three of us can go walking together.
As you walk through the campground, you'll see most vehicles with the hood propped open to allow the light to shine in. This is to keep the White-throated Woodrats, aka Pack Rats, from trying to remove insulation, and other soft materials, from the dark engine compartment. They can really be destructive especially when they chew on the wiring harness.
It's getting cold down here. The low tomorrow is forecast to be 25* then 23* on Wednesday. Can't go much further south and still be in the US. We're about 6 miles north of Mexico. Lots of Border Patrol presence around here as you might imagine.
Tonight I went to a presentation on "Stories behind the names". It was all about how the names of the mountains, passes, etc., came to be. Interesting.
Tuesday: Cool, sunny & windy. Walked with Gopher here & there.Once it warmed up, the three of us walked around the park.
Met our neighbor, Bill from Colorado. He and his wife have been coming down here for years. He suggested against camping all by yourself in the BLM areas close to the Mexican border. Better to be around other RV's. We'll take that advice going forward.

Wednesday, Feb. 2nd. Woke up to 31* and windy. The Weather Channel says the winds are around 20mph. When I took Gopher for her early morning walk, the wind chill temperature was about 17*. Broke out the Wave 3 heater for first time in over a year. The high today is forecast to be about 50*. At home, the high today is forecast at 80* with a low of 59*. Hmmm. Why are we here? Not to get warm, that's for sure.
It's Thursday morning and 28*. While walking Gopher, I saw a group of birds getting a drink from a dripping faucet. Water is a precious commodity in the desert. Saw a group of quail foraging in the cactus. The water line at the dump station was frozen. I recalled seeing a water faucet in the group camping area during one of our walks. Fortunately, it too was dripping so had not frozen so I was able to take on water.
We headed east towards Sells, AZ.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ajo to Why

Yep, there is a town in AZ called Why. Don't know why but there is.
This morning we drove downtown to go to church. After church we drove to the Darby Road BLM Disbursed Camping Area. Darby Wells Road is a well maintained dirt road that starts just south of Ajo then takes about a five mile loop back to Ajo all around the old copper mine. A very scenic area. Hills, saguaro & other types of cactus & a good view of the old copper mine. I stopped to check out a campsite for the night when two guys came walking out of the brush. Gopher went right after them with her barking & growling. They walked away. I got back in the camper and we continued on. We don't mind camping in the boondocks within reason but common sense must prevail. Gopher earned her keep today.
We continued on to Why to the Gunsite Wash BLM Disbursed Camping Area. Not as pretty as Darby Wells but there are other campers here. Mostly creosote bushes and a few scattered cactus. There is actually a campground host here. The locals call this camping area Canada Wash because it's favored by the Canadians.
Another very nice day.
Now I know why Why is called Why and not Y. Here is why;
"The name of the town originates from the original Y intersection of State Highways Route 85 and 86. At the time of its naming, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town's founders named the town "Why" as opposed to simply calling it "Y." The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) later removed the old Y-intersection for traffic safety reasons and built the two highways in a conventional T-intersection south of the original intersection."