Monday, March 4, 2013

Ajo AZ BLM boondocking

Leaving Yuma, we traveled east on I-8 & needed to stop for gas — at Dateland. Hmmm, it was near lunch so I tried my first (& probably my last) date shake. It didn’t taste bad. . .just too sweet for me & had the date skins included. I do particularly like the date palm groves tho.


We arrived in Ajo on a Thursday afternoon & scouted out the BLM camping south of town. The dirt road was being graded, but once we got past the grader, it was very washboardy & slow going. Since I call my parents every day now, I needed a spot with a cell fon signal., so we had to backtrack & turn NW onto another road looking for a better signal. And what do I see up on the hill above this new road — it’s Sue of RVSue & her canine crew! I thought we might come across her, & was thrilled to finally get a chance to meet her. We introduced ourselves while Kira got acquainted with Spike & Bridget. We also found a great camping spot with a good view just down the hill from her. It’s great knowing my neighbors!

Amazingly, it rained most of our first evening & night there, & the next morning was fascinatingly foggy. We’re surrounded by lots of saguaros but most of too young to have any arms yet.


Thankfully the sun burned off the fog quickly & our solar panels started charging (gotta have juice to watch TV, you know.) Thankfully no snow.

We didn’t do a whole lot all week other than visit with Sue a little, watch TV and/or nap, a little cleaning, . . . & hand-washed some laundry. Now I know — there’s a handy Laundromat in Ajo, & I’ve got plenty of quarters. But, yuk, I just hate making the trip & the effort. I actually get a kick out of doing my own laundry although it does take some effort (my only exercise). I want Jeff to drill some holes around the base of an empty cat litter bucket (currently housing some electric cords) so that washed or rinsed clothes can be placed in the bottom & the other bucket inserted on top of the wet clothes in the bottom bucket. Then all I will have to do is just SIT on the lid on the top bucket to press out all the excess water. The ringing water out is the hardest part of this hand washing thing. And I love the smell of clothes dried outside. Besides a few articles of clothing, we also washed a set of sheets. The wind was blowing so hard that the sheets & pillow cases dried in about 10 minutes. Whew!! That’s so efficient that when we actually washed a load of clothes in town, we brought them back & hung them up to dry. Thirty minutes tops. . .even for a pair of jeans!

Water is free from a spigot at the Shell station in Ajo (along with a trash dumpster), & twice we’ve filled up the 45-gal water bladder which rides above the cab of the pickup when needed. We’ve used a lot of water parked here just trying to get everything clean again although I suspect the wind we’ve had plenty of is blowing more dust inside the trailer. In fact Sunday was so windy we barely stepped outside. We have realized that keeping the solar panels cleaned off makes a surprisingly BIG different in the amount of solar gain.


I tried taking some full moon photos Saturday night but this “morning after” of the setting moon was the best I got.

We think of our little front bathroom as the other room, & the other day I opened the door & was surprised to see Boots (our 20 pound Maine Coon tomcat) just laying on the closed toilet lid like he owned the place. Apparently, he likes to have some alone time away from us, Kira, & our other kitty (TK). It was a funny moment. He really must be related to Garfield by some of the looks he gives me!

We made a visit to Organ Pipe National Monument too. The Ajo Mountain driving tour was fantastic. Besides big rock formations (in general), we particularly like seeing arches, and have added a fascination with crested cacti. Organ Pipe has both arches & crested cacti (both saguaro AND organ pipe).



Not crested cacti nor an arch — just some pretty blooms.




This is the largest organ pipe cactus in the Park — and happens to have a crested portion in the middle.





I did some serious desert hiking trying to find some of these cresated cacti, only failing to find one of them.

Then on a morning walk across the desert with Kira, I nearly jumped up & down when I got close enough to one of the 8 or so organ pipe cacti within sight of our trailer because it has it’s very own crested formation, complete with a “normal” arm growing from one side & a palo verde growing thru the arms.


OMG — it actually had a smaller one on the back side too. I told RVSue about it & she called it a toofer! She also looked up the likelihood of a cacti forming a crest. Very rare.


So Miss Kira has figured out that if she nags me hard enough, I’ll take her exploring around the desert again. She’s hard to ignore, so on another morning scouting trip, I found yet another organ pipe cactus with a baby crest. Wow!!


This is a side view of the crest showing the seam along the sides where it grows together [they all have this type of seam.]. Sort of looks like a belly button on the lower lobe.         DSC09353

I’ve managed to photograph a few pretty sunrises, sunsets, & moonsets.





We’ve enjoyed this peaceful desert location so totally that we’re really reluctant to leave. Unfortunately we’ll be heading to Tuscan soon to slowly work our way back to MO in the Spring.


Such a HAPPY puppy!


  1. Loved the picture of the moon as a hat!! Perfect!

  2. Sure glad you're enjoying the desert. Loved your pictures!

  3. Glad to see you guys have a good spot and the weather isn't to bad. Tell Sue Hi from Sam & Donna,we read her blog all the time, Looks like Kira is enjoying her stay too. tell her hi from Rigg's. Great pictures, Be safe out there, Sam & Donna...

    1. Hi, Sam and Donna!


  4. Gorgeous pictures! Sorry you have to leave, but so glad you discovered that area.

  5. Love the desert pictures! Hoping to be traveling by this fall. Presently, sorting and figuring out how and what to tow. I hope you don't mind if I ask a question about your pickup. I am considering a used Toyota as a TV with a small trailer. I thought about a topper with lumber rack and solar on top plus a full bed of fulltime travel storage items(I'm a master packer),plus in cab items a dogs of course. Q. Would all this weight be more than the pickup should carry? I can't quite figure out how to calculate the weights I read about.
    Wishing you a great week.

    1. We highly recommend Toyota. Our Tundra has an excellent turning radius too which is real handy pulling a trailer. (As explained to me) the GVWR [gross vehicle weight rating] refers to the TOTAL weight that a vehicle's axles & brakes can safety carry & pull. So besides the empty weight of the truck & then everything loaded into & on it, this max weight also includes the weight from the trailer tongue (which should be appx 10% of the trailer's gross weight). Hope this helps but it's still confusing to me too.

    2. Thank you for your info. Every bit helps:)

  6. Like the pictures and location. Glad you got to meet Sue. safe travels...Jerry an Wanda

  7. Good post. Your cactus pictures are beautiful. Ajo is one of our favorite places.

  8. Hey! Where have I seen that sunset and that crested cactus before? Great photos, Glenda. A few look exactly like mine. Ha! I wonder how you got the moon to rest on top of a saguaro . . .

    Thanks for showing me where to find crested organ pipes.

    Spike is going to miss Kira! I'm sure our paths will cross again... Stay safe and happy! Sue

  9. Pretty neat that you got to meet up with Sue and her crew. Small world!! Enjoyed seeing your pictures.

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  11. Ugh, Lynn. Deleted your comment by mistake on this small cell fon screen - no way to 'undo'. Glad you liked the crested cacti info. YES, gotta look at some photo's datestamp to know if it was a sunrise or sunset.

  12. Great pictures, we have not been in that area for several years, gotta go back next year.


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