Sunday, February 14, 2016

From Yuma, Arizona to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

From Quartzsite we head south on Route 95 to Yuma, Arizona.  It is an interesting ride through the desert and past the U.S. Army proving grounds.  Once we are near to Yuma and its irrigation canals there are suddenly many green fields of produce.  Though a moving picture, you might be able see that this field is ready to pick cauliflower.
Usually a number of white school buses indicate the pickers are at work on a field.  This machine allows a number of pickers to sit or lay down above each row. Then they pick their row and fill the boxes as the machine moves slowly. Not the easiest work.

This appeared to be a broccoli field.  The very nice house in the background could be an owner's house.  There are many, many campgrounds in Yuma.  We chose to stop at the Cocopah Casino.  They offered a pleasant place to stay with a nice Mexican Cafe for 3 nights for $10.  No, we did not gamble

From Yuma, we travel east on Route 8 to Gila Bend and then south on Route 85.
The scenery becomes a very green and more dense desert landscape.  This is as we pass Ajo on the way to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
 Organ Pipe is one of our favorite campgrounds. This is our third stay , and it is even more enjoyable than the last two.  We have our own saguaro cactus right outside our window.
Lady Blue is quite happy in a roomy spot.  We use our awning
to get some shade from the high eighties sun. It seems the storm that is bringing very cold weather to the Northeast is bringing up warm air for us.  Oh well, we will just deal with it!
  No, there is no problem with the motor.  There are some industrious pack rats in the park that enjoy making homes under the cactus.  They love soft materials from engine compartments. The open hood discourages them a little.
We are a few short miles from Lukeville, Arizona, a town on the Mexican border. So, here it is already starting to be Spring.  This is a Gila woodpecker remodeling a nest inside the saguaro.

Also visiting in the campground is a Phainopepla.  Kind of like an all black cardinal.
The first settlers thought these small groups of cactus reminded them of organ pipes.  The organ pipe cactus does not grow very far north of the Mexican border----does not like the cold.
These are some organ pipe that are just beginning, along with a small saguaro.  At about 1700 feet elevation, this part of the Sonoran Desert is very healthy.  When we approached the area, it looked very green.
Often, the saguaros get started under a nurse bush until it can grow on its own.
No question about messing with these plants.  

The Teddy Bear Cholla looks very cuddly, right?
Wrong!  A close look says stay very far away!
What we believe is a cactus wren is perched on an ocotillo bush.  This bush looks like a bundle of sticks most of the time.  But every so often, sometimes right after rain, it sprouts small green leaves and blossoms.
Again, look closely and you will see some very sharp needles amongst the leaves.
The flower is a bright orange to red.  Some of the desert areas are looking forward to a very colorful Spring with some of the rain from El Nino.
Close by is a dead cholla cactus.  
A closer look at the skeleton.  Nature can be very efficient.
A number of Airstream in the park.  This one is from Idaho and the owner lists it as a 1953 model.
Note the vent that would be above the camping stove used inside.  He also said this one came with a fresh water tank which I thought was surprising.  Most units of this era had very few amenities.
Some of the other bushes are beginning to blossom.
Which attracts a number of bees.


  1. Are you still at Organ Pipe? Well, I happen to be just outside of Why!

  2. Darn, it is Melinda that responded above