I originally thought I'd spend a week in Benson trying out the Escapees Saguaro Co-op RV park, but I arrived an hour after their last spot had been rented out. So, on to "Jello Plan B"-- head to Tucson to stock up on all the big city conveniences I'd been missing.
Pima Fairgrounds RV Park was more crowded than I'd ever seen it. I didn't realize until the next day that it was Gem Show Week in Tucson--- oops!
Even though RVs were packed tighter than sardines in a can, there was still plenty of open space around the complex to do some power walking and enjoy the sunsets.
After hitting the local Sprout's Grocery Store for some bulk-food and fruit/veggies, and the yummy Tucson Tamales to stock up the freezer, I headed over to Best Buy to get myself an early birthday gift-- this great-sounding, little Fugoo Style bluetooth speaker (with an incredible 40-hour battery life). I like to stream music, TV, and movies to my iPad Mini when stretched out on the Winnie's rear bed, and this little speaker now gives me great surround sound back there. It's also been fun to use outside for happy hour parties.
One afternoon as I walked the fairgrounds perimeter, I noticed that the RV show was back (it was here during my 2012 fairgrounds visit too). I didn't have my wallet with me, but decided to take a look at the new Winnebagos and other RVs on display anyway. Lots of sparkle and sizzle, but I honestly didn't see anything that appealed more than my 9-year-old View! That's sure given me more confidence to proceed with Winnie's pricey new exterior makeover later this Spring (more details coming soon)!
With Tucson errands done, I pointed the Winnie 180 miles west towards the glorious BLM boondocking area south of Ajo, Arizona. I arrived to find far fewer RVs here than my last visit in 2012. The old strip mine on the west side of Darby Well Road has now been fenced off, reducing the number of easily accessible spots along that road, but taking the first right turn (onto Scenic Loop Road) and heading west to where it meets up with Alley Rd, revealed a dozen even better boondocking sites, and plenty of space for everyone to spread out and enjoy some solitude. No sardine cans here!
My spot was simply magnificent. Quiet, no other RVs within a 1/4 mile in any direction, lots of hiking trails through lush Sonoran desert, and fantastic sunsets and starry skies. Best of all-- perfect weather! (low 80's during the day, and around 60 at night).
|Organ pipe, saguaro, and cholla cactus with palo verde and brittlebrush.|
|Ocotillo in bloom|
|Sunset skies over the Winnie|
While it was a fun drive, I have to admit that the main Ajo Mountain Drive on the east side seems a bit more scenic. Still, there was plenty of cactus to see...and even drive thru!
|Saguaro cactus "drive-thru"|
Of course, the park's namesake cactus, the organ pipe, was in abundance as well--
It was kinda funny to be driving a simple, gravel road on the U.S. side, while the Mexican vehicles were zooming smoothly along their modern, paved 4-lane highway on the other side of the border!
Not as funny was seeing a tall, solid fence the U.S. has installed over about a mile or two of hills on the park's southern boundary near the Lukeville border crossing. When the short fence exists just a mile further west (which prevents vehicles from crossing but still allows wildlife, and apparently pedestrians, to travel freely), what's the point of building this massive ugly fence and disrupting wildlife? Dumb.
But I digress...
Quitobaquito is a small pond and natural spring-- a literal oasis in this vast, dry section of Sonoran desert.
This curious pair of female ducks were enjoying the pond when I visited:
|Female Hooded Merganser and Female Ring-necked Duck|
Just love the female Hoodie's hairdo!
|Female Hooded Merganser|
|Quitobaquito Desert Pupfish|
|Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument|