Saturday, February 28, 2009

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Sunday we drove 160 miles from Gilbert Ray Campground at Tucson to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. What a wonderful place! The campground has no hookups, but the sites are level concrete pads. It is so quiet and at night it is dark, except for the lights in the restrooms and the glow of the Lukeville/Sonoyta border crossing five miles to the south.

I think of a desert as dry and barren, but right now it is green here and anything but barren. We drove the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Loop road and were amazed at the carpet of green plants on the ground, larger concentrations of Saguaro cactus than we saw at Saguaro National Park, large numbers of Organ Pipe cactus, as well as Teddy Bear Cholla and Hanging Fruit (or Jumping) Cholla. All of these are growing on the slopes of volcanic hills (or mountains). It is beautiful.

Since I can't figure out how to put a slideshow in this blog, you can see some of the Ajo Mountain Drive by clicking on this link.

Since we are over the age of 62, we have National Park passes for seniors. That gives us free admission to the parks and monuments and half-price camping there and on National Forest and BLM land. That means we pay only $6 a night here. That is great. The campground has 208 spaces but it hasn't been near full any night so far. This is a place we can relax and it is warm enough we can be outside all day and into the evening. That is why we are in Arizona in February.

Twice a day we can run our generators for two hours—8 to 10 am and 4 to 6 pm—to charge our batteries. The majority of trailers (like us) have Honda 2000 watt generators, which are very quiet. So, though we can hear them, it is not annoying. And everyone seems to really honor the generator hours. The generator does not give us the power to use our air conditioning or microwave, but it does charge the batteries, as well as our computers and cell phones, and we can use fans during the afternoon charging time. We also have lights and heat overnight.

At Gilbert Ray, we spent five nights with electric but no water hookup. Here we have neither. We are getting really good at conserving water. We think we will be able to go eight days on our 66 gallon fresh water tank. We use the water in the tank only for showers and dishwashing—anything we need hot water for. We fill jugs of water to flush the toilet and fill the coffee pot, wash our hands, etc. At times I feel like an old-time farm woman, going to the well for water. But it really works well. And we don't have to pull in the slides and drive to the fresh water hook-up to refill the tank. We are becoming good boondockers.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, you're really getting into the fulltimer mode. Next you'll be getting solar panels.