The Road Less Travelled, or To Boldly Go Where No Tourist Has Gone Before
Yesterday (the 17th), we went over to the theatre to see “12 Years A Slave”. Powerful movie, but we each felt a bit differently about it. Vive la difference. We then headed for Ajo, arriving mid-afternoon, and spent the rest of the day relaxing.
This morning, we took the highway south to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We stopped in at the Visitor Centre for a look around, then decided to drive the 21-mile Loop Road through the park. We had been advised at the Visitor Centre that the road was gravel and rough; they can only grade it when it rains, and since there has been no rain for two years…
It took us 3 hours, including stops, to finish the loop, so that gives you some idea. In that 3 hours, we saw 3 vehicles (all parked while their occupants were hiking), and one actual human being, a runner we came across in the last mile or so of road. It is certainly a unique place, as I hope the pictures show:
A telephoto view (did you spot the second smaller arch in the previous picture?)
Mount Ajo in the background.
Saguaro cactus behind; Organ Pipe cactus in foreground. Saguaros live to be 200 years old, but do not produce an “arm” until they are 60 years old.
Prickly Pear Cactus.
We headed back to Ajo, but had to stop along the way at a Border Patrol Inspection Station (we are very close to the Mexican border here). They checked our passports, but didn’t ask to search Lucy. They told us that at least 100 illegral migrants/drug mules are spotted by surveillance cameras every day, crossing through the 325,000 acres of the park, but with only an average of one ranger per 55,000 acres, it’s pretty hard to make a dent in the traffic. On the other hand, one of the guys told us that they had already apprehended 5 vehicles at the checkpoint containg illegals, drugs or both. The vehicles were impounded and the occupants sent off to jail.
We continued on to Ajo, passing this along the way;
We had a couple of excellent burgers at a local watering hole, then went over to the high school to watch 3 one-act plays put on by the local theatre company. They starred both adults and students, and were…interesting. The first two were quite entertaining; the third turned into a “God, please make it stop” about 2/3 of the way through. However, this is a small community and they are doing a creditable job of keeping the arts alive, and bless them for that. We are planning to attend Mass at 10:00 tomorrow in the beautiful little church they have here, then hit the road to Yuma, a little over 2 hours from here.