It was after 10:30 when we finally departed Caliente. The warning centre in the truck told me I had a problem with the trailer brakes so it took a little time to figure out the main connection was a little corroded; after wiggling it some it worked fine. We drove to Casa Grande then took #15 south west through the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation. We saw over a dozen border patrol vehicles and actually saw them apprehending a couple of guys along side the road. We found the Why BLM free parking area mid afternoon and got set up after registering. Half of the dozen units in here are from BC including one from Sunnybrae near Tappen. It’s warmer here than Florence area. No internet, electric or swimming pool so off to bed shortly after 8 PM.
Stayed abed til nearly 8 AM! Cooked bacon and pancakes outside this morning then mid morning we gassed up in Why ($1.759). Why was named for the Y the road makes with one road leading to Tucson and the other to Mexico. We spent most of the day puttering our way around the 21 mile single lane, one way loop road in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Stopped lots for pictures and walked around extensively. I was wise enough to throw Aileen’s suduko book in so she could keep occupied and not miss me. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with the temperature getting up to 24C but the wind kept it from getting too hot. It was certainly different from last February 15 when we were here with Wendy and Randy and the high was about 4C and it rained lots. We found a nice windy spot to have lunch so we didn’t get too warm. Only two vehicles went by in the 1 ½ hour we were stopped. Only about 8 the whole day, in fact. Where is everyone? Our camp area is almost empty, the road is very quiet. In fact, about half the vehicles I did see on the highway have Mexican plates on them.
I’ve noticed quite a number of Saguaro cacti in the area missing their main stem with usually side stems growing up to replace it. I haven’t found the missing piece laying on the ground either. Tonight I think I solved the mystery when I came upon one that was short enough to look into. The centre of the trunk is all charred so I believe they’ve been struck by lightning. I guess it stands to reason when they are about the highest thing around.
Both nights I’ve walked across quite away to find a foreground for the sunsets. Aileen came later last night with me guiding her by walkie talkie. She didn’t join me tonight so I stayed out later. I could barely see my way and for awhile I wasn’t sure which trailer to head for. I could see a couple gleaming whitely. It’s so flat here you have trouble seeing very far because there’s also lots of shrubs that are 5-6 feet tall. I used different foreground cactus tonight which were quite a bit further than last night’s.
This morning we went to Alamo Canyon. Since pets weren’t allowed on the trail, I walked up and checked it out. There had been a ranch of sorts in the old days. The brick house walls are still standing in good condition. Further on was quite a surprise – a cold, clear flowing creek! One pool was at least 4 feet deep. Within half a mile the creek disappears in the open desert. There were Indian grinding holes in the rocks alongside the corral, well and water tank. I read the Indians had been here at least 11,000 years ago and the Sonoran Desert has only been a desert for 10,000! We saw more border patrol agents at work again. Four of their vehicles were parked and I presume they were on the trail of some illegals. We had parked in a side road for lunch but hadn’t gotten our food out yet when an agent moved us along.
We checked out the road behind the visitors centre which only goes 5 miles to a locked gate. It used to be a 50 plus mile loop but for some reason is no longer available. Aliens, lack of manpower or turning it into wilderness are all excuses I’ve heard. No idea if one is accurate. We also drove down to the Mexican border at Lukeville where we had an ice cream cone. We got back to the trailer before 3 PM where Aileen had a short nap. I sat in the sun for awhile then Mitzy and I went for a walk across the desert. We have to make sure we carry water for Mitzy as she needs to drink often when it’s warm. With her short nose, she has no built in air conditioning. I made one last try at a sunset but it fizzled on me. Aileen turned on the porch light for me to find my way back which made it easier. Aileen chatted with friend Bev in Victoria tonight and friend Wendy in Salmon Arm this morning. Mitzy’s groomer in Florence called to confirm her appointment when we return in a couple weeks. Tomorrow we move on to Yuma and hopefully will have internet so I can post another installment.
Here we are in Yuma. Didn’t bother getting internet hooked up yesterday as we were busy and they charge US$5 per day!!! We found Cactus Gardens RV Resort easily with Edna’s directions and they met us at the office. They’d arranged for us to park right across from their trailer so that was handy. We went a few trailers down from them to their RV friends from home, jam session. Awesome music and such a wide variety. I could listen to that forever. Ray barbequed a chicken for supper then later we played chicken foot – a variety of Mexican Train. That was fun.
This morning, Ray and Edna took us off to a large flea market. We bought some veggies but left everything else. We four went to the Daybreaker Café and had a really nice lunch. Aileen had sweet potato pecan pancakes and reports they were excellent. Aileen is napping this afternoon as she and Edna are going out with the girls tonight to a Johnny Cash tribute at another RV park. I thought about going but decided it would be better to leave the girls on their own. I’ll catch up on the computer and go to the pool and hot tub.