Sunday, February 8, 2015

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

From Katherine Landing, Jan and I headed south to Quartzsite again.  But this time we pulled off Route 95 north of town into Plomosa BLM land.  Since we did not need water or a dump station, this was a free stay for two days.  We found this section to be very quiet with only a few other boondockers.

This picture to the right is of the marina at Katherine Landing.

From Quartzsite, we headed east on Route 10 to Route 85 south to Gila Bend.

On the way east we were treated to a flyover by what I think was a F-35 fighter jet.  He turned right in front of us at what looked like a few hundred feet off the highway.  In banking his turn south we were able to see a clear view of the top of the jet with the right wing pointing straight down to the highway. Impressive!!  And fast!!!  And loud!!

In Gila Bend we stopped at Augie's Quail Run Rv Park. The picture above is a metal sculpture there of a Gambel's Quail.  This is an unexpected highlight.  It is right off Route 8.  But you might expect an average campground.  It is not. It is quite neat and clean with some tight rules--no old units--no excess belongings allowed outside. And a super clean laundry.  Augie has owned it since 2002.  The sites are also well spaced.  Augie indicated that he is running with a $230 per month cost for a full hookup site.

South out of Gila Bend, it is a straight shot to Organ Pipe with a stop at the pretty little town of Ajo.

This was once a mining town with a railroad stop.  Now it is a snowbird stop and retirement community with a beautiful town square, a good golf course, and a lot of activities. This is the Immaculate Conception Church.  

This is a look across the square from the old train station.

Jan and I had a great lunch from the Oasis Deli.  It was a quiet day , so we could grab a small table outside and enjoy the square.

The following link is to the Ajo Chamber of Commerce.  Ajo, Arizona Chamber of Commerce

This is Jan's view from our back window at Organ Pipe.

The sites are well spaced and quite long for a National Campground.  Sections are divided into RVs with generator useage(no hookups in this park), A few rows with "no generator", and a few rows of tenting only.  With our senior pass the cost is $6 per night.

I tried to stay out of the picture, but we needed someone there to show how tall some of these Saguaros are.

A ten year old Saguaro may only be one and a half inches tall. Looking at this one, realize that they do not produce arms until about 70 years old.

 A full grown one like this one can weigh between 3200 to 4800 pounds.  A lot of water!!!!!

The Organ Pipe cactus look similar to --------------
organ pipes!

As you can see from Jan, these can also grow rather tall.

No!!  Do not touch, Bruce.

This part of the Sonoran Desert is lush with many varieties of plants.  This is partly due to a good (desert)quantity of rain from the winter, slow and deep rains, to the gully washer downpours of the summer.

As you can see, not too far from the Mexican border.  Guests freely go on long hikes into the over 300,000 acres.  There are warnings to be safe and be aware of possible runners from the border.

There are a number of hikes and rides into the desert and all the views are wonderful.

Some cactus have a lot of character.

There are a lot of Teddy Bear Cholla here.

They are called Teddy Bear because they look so cuddly.

But, beware.

These are some of the sharpest thorns.  Some of the Chollas are called "jumping chollas", because they seem to jump at you with easily detached branches that are very painful.

Besides the giants, there are small cactus like these hedgehog and small ones.  Some have rocks placed around them so you won't accidentally step on them.

There are many birds here.

Amazingly, they are quite comfortable on and in and around the cactus.

This is a Cactus Wren.

Not sure who this one is.

If you know, let us know.

This guy that looks like a black cardinal is a Phainopepla.

Pronounced fay-noh-PEP-luh.

Same as above, female???

We are not sure on this one either, but they dart in and out of the Creosote bushes and Mesquite.

The Costa's Hummingbirds are all around the park.

The Gila Woodpecker is an important part of the community.

They make some large holes that are then used by a number of different birds.

By the way, I will say that all of these birds pictures were taken by me.  And I am stating that because I am so happy in situations like this to be able to use the new camera and the telephoto lens.

The old Saguaro begin to fall apart and you can see the strong ribs that have held up the heavy cactus.

These ribs are well used for fences and other building possibilities.

This example gives you a better idea of how strong these ribs can be.

There are some old trailers in here.  This one is well kept and has beautiful murals on both sides.

We did not see anyone here to ask about the painting.

You can see a solar panel installed on the roof.
Note the new wheels and tires.

Also in the campground was a pristine 1958 Airstream trailer.

Speaking of old cars, this truck we came across at the Ehrenburg, Arizona post office.

The owner indicated an early 1940's Ford.

He also indicated that underneath is pretty much all Chevrolet.
He said the parts fit????

I thought Cliff would appreciate this.

Even with no clouds, there can be some spectacular sunsets.

You can possibly understand why we met a number of people who keep coming back to Organ Pipe?

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