Published: July 31st 2012July 31st 2012
Good evening from Ajo, Arizona! A sleepy and VERY small town 135 miles from Tuscon and 43 from the Mexican boarder. We arrived yesterday following a very long drive from Palm Springs.
The trip wouldn't have been nearly as draining had we not run smack into a highway closure of the 10 and were diverted well into agricultural land with miles and miles of alfalfa fields, probably adding 45 minutes to an already long drive.
We checked in to a tiny road-side motel La Siesta and unloaded all our wares into a shoebox size cabin - our home for two nights. Easily the tiniest room imaginable, the cabin has a quaint feel to it and is comfortable in spite of not having a lot of excess room to move about. But we are really not supposed to be hanging in the room anyway!
We immediately went out to explore the environs - took all of about twenty minutes! This is small town! But friendly people. We ordered some take out chinese and waiting in the adjacent bowling alley to have a quick beer. Icy cold beer and great conversation with the bartender
who was born and raised in the area. Fairly early night for us both.
This morning, we work a bit earlier and showered up - ready to see the sights. We grabbed a quick breakfast and stopped at the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge
welcome center. Welcomed in the parking by the park ranger, it was clear we were going to receive star treatment. It was a welcoming center with a book shop and plenty of interactive exhibits all focused on this amazing site. Adjacent to the Barry Goldwater Air Force Range, the refuge covers 860, 010 acres along the Mexican border. We enjoyed a long walk along the nature trail and enjoyed Ocatillo, Saguaro, barrel cactus, rainbow hedgehog cactus and jumping cholla - a very prickly white cactus that can attach itself to your clothes (and your skin, more importantly). The amazingly friendly park ranger then recommended the scenic loop through the Ajo mountains. A perfect sample of the Senoran desert terrain and brimming with cactus life, the drive totally captured our hearts and spirit. Very early in the drive, we happened upon a desert tortoise walking along the side of the road and without even thinking,
we both jumped out of the truck and Jim picked him up and I took photos. We studied him closely until he suddently started to PEE! and we quickly set him back down and he marched away.
Next, we headed out to Organ Pipe National Monument, five miles from the Mexican border. Heavily guarded by border patrol, law enforcement, national park service and local sherrif's, this area seemed a military fortress! We enjoyed a quick walk along the nature trail and decided not to drive the 25 mile dirt road loop. Jim's very clean truck is far more dusty at this point, no need to blow the shocks as well.
We headed back into Ajo and stopped by the market for provisions for dinner. The motel has not only a beautiful pool but also gas barbeques for guests to use. We decided to grill for dinner but not before we dove in for a swim and a soke in the hot tub! Dinner was gourmet sausage sandwiches followed up with a late night second swim. Perfect day and so relaxing!
On to Tuscon tomorrow. I can't wait to visit this town
again having had such a terrific time there two years ago.
There are more photos below