I wasn’t expecting much. A few RVers had told me there was “nothing out there except illegals” and there were plenty of better places in Arizona to boondock. But, Ajo was only 2 hours from Tucson and I’d never been there before, so I decided to make it my weekend destination. Perhaps those RVers were discouraging me because they didn’t want me to know the secret….that sleepy little Ajo, that seems to be miles from anything, is actually a wonderful place to spend a weekend or an entire season.
I got delayed leaving Tucson and didn’t make it to Darby Wells Road until just past sunset, so I had to pick a spot fast before total darkness set in. Luckily, there was a nice spot about a mile and a half from the highway that was relatively level, and still got pretty good Verizon reception. The next morning I awoke to discover an old faded “No Trespassing” sign right behind my rig….oops!
But I decided to stay put and no one ever kicked me out. The BLM land area here is fairly good sized but much less populated than other BLM areas around Quartzsite or Yuma. You still can have the comfort of a distant neighbor in sight range, but don’t need to park so close that you hear them. This was my only neighbor for the weekend:
It was about a 6-mile drive into town, and Ajo was a bit bigger and more interesting than I thought it would be. There were all the basic conveniences for a boondocker—water, fuel, food, laundry, dump facilities at a couple of in-town RV parks, as well as a really pretty little town square surrounded by palm trees, a couple of scenic churches, and an arched plaza with an old railroad station. Remnants of bygone mining opulence, but the town still seems to fight hard to keep it maintained. The rest of the town is not nearly as pretty—mainly a number of tiny homes on dusty dirt lots (many, with their fair share of old appliances and old vehicles cluttered about). But still, I really liked this town’s low-key, “accept you for what you are” vibe!
I really loved this mural covering the town newpaper’s building—it made a musical staff out of the utility lines running alongside. So creative!
I discovered some very scenic dirt roads and 4WD trails in the area. Took one of them 20 miles down into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to visit the old Bates Well ranch. Not too many visitors make it out there (as there’s no access to it from the main part of the park except to hike a few dozen miles)!
But I enjoyed the 4WD trails and desert at the BLM area the best. Every bit as pretty as the National Monument in my opinion (and Millie seemed to approve as well)!
It was just amazing how quiet and still it was to camp there. Absolutely zero sound except for an occasional bird chirping or bee buzzing. The skies, of course, were most amazing at sunrise and sunset: