Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Casa Grande, AZ (February 16-22)

Casa Grande has been the site of the WINs dance rally for the past 15 years.  It is held at the Casa Grande Fairgrounds just outside of town.  I attended last year and and wasn't going to participate but friends convinced me  to attend one more time and brush up my Two-Step and Country Waltz.

The week was packed full of dance lessons.  The schedule went something like this:
8:00 coffee and hugs
9:00-10:00 Line dancing
10:30-12:30 Two Step lessons and turns or some other dance.  It changed daily
1:30-3:30    Review of the above and more new stuff
4:00 Circle
5:00 Happy hour
7:00-10:00  Dancing...I never made it past 9:30.

I think you get the picture.  It was BUSY!!!  I fact, so busy I didn't take any pictures. Here is a link to another WIN member who will eventually have some pictures up on her blog.  You should be able to copy and paste it to your browser: .  Her blog also makes interesting reading.   Some of the dance nights had a theme and one night was hippy night which everyone had fun with.

We had part of Friday off and a few of the guys took  their Harleys for a spin.  I had the previlege of being "fender fluff" on the back of one of the Harleys.   I'd never heard that expression before and I don't consider myself "fender fluff".  My driver said I was a pretty good passenger.  Anyway, we did a loop up through Globe with an elevations change from about 1500 to almost 5000'.  Just a little cool. Our leader only stopped  twice so pictures are limited.  I guess he was either very cold or had a hot date he had to get to. Dennis ( a new PM  i.e. prospective member) was my driver (below).

The week's festivities were topped off with a "Senior" Prom.  The theme was the 50s,60s, and 70s, which most of us remembered.  Some of the ladies actually dressed up in prom dresses and everyone looked very handsome.

When I last posted I mentioned my cell phone had broken.  Well, Verizon was very good in promptly shipping a new phone to me...after spending well over an hour in their store in Casa Grande explaining what the problem was.  Because the USB port was broken I had no way of transferring contact data from my phone to my new phone.  Verizon told me to download a sync program which would allow me to sync my computer with the new phone.  I downloaded the program which promptly knocked out my internet access program.  Well, several phone calls later I was told I had to resolve the issue via land line.  So another hour plus visit to the Verizon store (this time in Chandler) restored the internet access program but the sync issues is still not resolved.  IPhone here I come when my contract is up!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Back to Why

I arrived back to Hickiwan Trails RV park after retrieving my mail in Ajo.  Ray, the park manager said he could squeeze me but I might have to leave by Monday. It seems there was a big group coming in.  I guess the secret is out and this little RV park is getting more popular.  Actually, I think what is happening is that people are a little more cautious about camping on BLM land in the area due to the numerous signs warning of smuggling and illegals.  Anyway, I had planned to leave Monday or Tuesday to go to Casa Grande so leaving by Monday was not a problem.  As it turned out, I'm staying through Monday.

 I met up with Casey and Kim and we did two really nice  bike rides.  One was almost 13 miles long on old Jeep roads through sandy washes .  We saw two really nice crested cactus.

The cactus on the left  was the smaller of the two crested suguaro.  The one belowewas huge.  I call it the tree suguaro.  It also reminds me of a butterfly.

For the last several years Casey and I have ridden our bikes out to a unusal rock formation out on Darby -Wells road just south of Ajo.  Its a short ride on an old Jeep trail that now is best ridden by bike or ATV.  It's full of short steep climbs and some technical stuff and really fun.   The panoramic views of the desert from the rock are beautiful.

I'm off in the morning to head for Casa Grande. and the WINs dance Rally.   My cell phone is giving me grief and the Verizon man said that it can't be repaired. I can't charge it or upload my contact svia the USB cable.  So, I will be going to a Verizon store and confirm his statement.  I just hate having to get a new phone even though the insurance will cover it. My phone is my modem to the internet so its behavior of not working is a double whammy.  Fortunately, Hickiwan Trails has internet so I haven't been totally out of the loop.  Anyway, if I don't return calls, it just means my phone is still not working.   

Friday, February 12, 2010

Puerto Penasco, Mexico

Sandy Beach, Puerto Penesca, Mexico

Monday morning, right after our WIN hugs and mugs meeting, we hooked up our tow vehicles and seventeen eager WIN RVs lined up to caravan down to Mexico. We decided to divide the group into three separate caravans to make getting through the border patrol a little easier. We had packed all the rigs in the group campsite the day before and I had a feeling it would take a long time to get everyone out and lined up. To my surprise things went pretty smoothly. I don't think Carolyn our host imagined there would be so many WINs wanting to go to Puerto Penasco.

We all made it through the check point except one of the smaller RVs, a small van. The border patrol poked around the Van while we waited a few minutes. We had been warned that the border patrol had stepped up inspections and it had been taking several hours to get through. We felt pretty good that we all sailed through without much delay except the van.

Rest stop along the way. There were three more rigs in front of my Born Free.

The great desert

We arrived around 11:30, the trip taking just over 2 hours for the first group. A white uncrowded sanded beach greeted us. The weather was perfect to begin a fun filled week. Once everyone arrived and parked, Paul took over as host and presented a full schedule of activities. So much for stetting on the beach soaking up the sun with margaritas. Just kidding

Tuesday I arranged to have my Born Free washed and waxed. The people are so poor here that they are very willing to work for very little. I negotiated a good price and later felt so bad I gave them a large tip. They did a pretty good job. They washed the coach using buckets of water which they brought in their beat up old car and mops.

In the afternoon we headed out to see the local aquarium. The aquariums were lined up with various native species and there were large pools for the sea turtles; there were tide pools full of star fish; and there was even a seal. I felt like I was in a large pet store with aquarium. We could pet or touch all we wanted. However, I don't think I would mess with the eels or sharks. The custodian was very nice and accommodated all of our questions.

The giant sea turtle came looking for food and a pat on the head.

This is actually a star fish from one of the mini tide pools.

This guys was the star of the show, popping up to get treats.

After the aquarium we went to the the museum (CEDO...I'm not sure what the Spanish acronym is) and listened to a talk about the forming of the Sea of Cortez and its uniqueness. Puerto Penasco is located at the shallow end of the Sea or Cortex and has many one of a kind species living there and some are endangered, including the sea cow shown in the picture of Alan below.

Alan, an intern at the center gave great talk.

The visitor center is built partly from recycled materials including tires and cans. There is no air conditioning or heating in the building.

Cans are encased in concrete to create insulation.

Wednesday Paul wanted to show us a real "fruitaria" and a great beach that had "zillions" of shells so we all piled in four cars and headed out. We never made it to the fruitaria. Paul swears it was on Sonora Street but it was no where to be found so we headed over towards the beach. The rain the night before created big mud puddles and we had to make several detours. After asking one of the security guards for directions we were satisfied we were heading in the right direction only to encounter a very muddy road with mud so thick our cars came to a stop.

I mean really, really, mucky!

Is this Paul showing us a new dance step? No, he's trying to get the muck off.

We spent a good hour or more digging and pushing cars to get out of the mud and back on solid ground. The muck jambed up in the wheel wells making the wheels unable to turn. I don't have too many pictures showing our hard work because I was too busy pushing and digging muck out of the wells along with Joanne, Carolyn and Sue. We never did make it to the shell beach.

The economy has hit this region hard. There are numerous high rise buildings that stand unfinished and empty It's eerie; as if the workers had to leave in a hurry. Equipment is still in place and materials lay ready to be installed.

The building stand empty and unfinished.

Thursday brought a shopping day. After all, we needed some retail therapy to reward us for our hard work from the day before. We had to time our shopping with daylight because many of the shops do not have electricity. Electrical power is very expensive in Mexico. We headed over to Rodeo Drive. This is a small strip with some "upscale" shops. The streets looked deserted and the shop owners tell us it has been that way for a while do to the poor economy. There are some great bargains to be found. But alas, I have no room in my small RV for "stuff" and my house is rented. I had a great time window shopping but I didn't contribute to their economy this time.

I did make a donation to an organization that is working to spay and neuter dogs and rescue puppies. I found it interesting that the Mexicans have no issues with spaying female dogs (which is costly) yet are reluctant to neuter the males which is not as costly. It costs 200 pesos to spay a female dog (about $25.00) and a faction of that to neuter the male dogs.

One of the shops on Rodeo Drive.

After a hard day of shopping we stopped at Playa Bonita for a little libation and snacks.

Pitchers of margaritas and nachos for all. I think the poor waiter was a little flustered by the size of our group. He finally asked us if he could separate our checks by carpool group because he was having a hard time keeping track of the pitchers.

A few of us decided we would like to walk back to our home on wheels along the beach and this is what we saw:

What a great ending to the day.

Friday came all too soon for me. I had to leave a few days early to catch up with my mail since the Ajo post office closes on Saturday and will be closed on Monday for the holiday. I was determined not to waist a beautiful morning so I jumped in my kayak for a quick paddle. Bill and Sue joined me as there were no other souls willing to brave the morning chill.

Sunrise over Rocky Point

Sue with her little dog on the bow.

Heading back to Sandy Beach. Our homes sitting, waiting our return.

Returning to the States on Friday, probably wasn't such a bad idea. I had no trouble crossing the border. There were a few cars and trucks a head of me which were being searched but I was asked a few routine questions; showed them my passport and was on my way. Much to my surprise they didn't even ask for Sadie's papers even though she barked at the stray dogs mulling around waiting for handouts. I had been told generally the border patrol doesn't ask for your dog's papers unless they bark. Well, for those of you that know Sadie, she barks at anything with four legs. I think I counted over 12 border patrol vehicles along the highway as I returned to Ajo.

I plan to spend a few more days at Hickiwan Trails getting some hiking and biking in and make use of the laundry facilities and then head over to the WIN dance rally at Casa Grande which begins on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ajo Old Time Fiddlers Contest

The Ajo Old Time Fiddlers Contest is an down homestye Ajo tradition. Every year fiddlers meet at the Ajo Country Club...yes Ajo has a golf course, small airstrip, and country club tucked discreetly off the highway. Folks from as far away as Minnisoto come here to compete. I was here last year with the WINS and enjoyed it so much I returned this year. We all drycamp on the driving range which is closed for the event. Camping fees are a whopping $3.00. The is a $5.00 admission fee to see the contestants perform and there is also a dance with music provided by various fiddeling bands.

Last year the driving range was packed. RVs resembled sardines in a can...which are pretty close quarters. Even though I was looking forward to the event I was not looking forward to parking in such close quarters. Well, the economy fixed my fears and the driving range was only have full this year. There was plenty of parking. Unfortuately, that meant there weren't as many contestants either. This year there were only 5 young people completing vs three times that many last year. The young people are what make the show and I was really dissapointed so few showed up.

This was the oldest fiddler..94 years young!

Two youngest fiddlers..Angie and Justin 13 & 12. They were really good!

I was planning to stay and watch the finals, but decided to head down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument instead and catch up with the rest of the WINs.

We will be leaving in the morning (Monday Feb. 8) for Puerto Penasco,(Rocky Point) Mexico . The town is about 70 miles from the border . So far, there about 17 coaches that will be caravanning down to Puerto Penasco and we plan on boondocking on the beach. We've all purchased the mandatory liability insurance, filled up with water and made sure our holding tanks are empty and stocked up on $1.00 bills.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Painted Rock Petroglyph Site

Its official. I'm an Elk member! No not the four legged mammal. I joined several other WINs in becoming part of the BPOE Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks. It's a great organization and does a lot of work promoting family and charity. My father and grandfather were both Elks during a time when women were only "behind the scenes" members...i.e spouses. I can remember a a young child attending family functions at the Monterey Elks Club.

While in Gila Bend I took a side trip to the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. It's not too far from Gila Bend and the road to the site is all paved. I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice campground there. Its dry camping, but it's quiet and didn't seem too crowed.

The site has many dozens of rocks with petroglyphs on them. There is also and nice interpretive walking trail (very short) which is very interesting.

From Gila Bend I headed up to Glendale to have D & R make some repairs on my motor home. I have rain water coming in one of the bays. They were able to determine the cause and repair were the water was coming in. I probably won't know until it rains again or I wash the motor home if it's truly fixed. D & R installed my AGM batteries last year and I needed/wanted two more and they were able to install two more batteries in the coach. Now I have more storage for the energy my Solar panels make and should be able to last a couple of days if I don't have sun. D & R had everything completed and I was on my way back to Ajo by 2:00 to join up with the WINS for the Old Time Fiddlers Contest.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Sunset over the Tohono O'odham Nation

Ok, if you read my last post you know I was undecided where I was going and actually I didn't know myself until I got out of the Casino del Sol parking lot. I headed for Why to catch up with my friends Casey and Kim who winter for several months every year at Hickiwan RV park. I really like this little park because it is small and I can walk out on the desert from my Born Free. There are hookups and laundry facilities and for those that need a gambling fix there is a small Indian Casino. Its only 12 miles south of Ajo but feels like you out in the middle of know where. Organ Pipe National Park is only about 30 miles south.

This is the view out my window in the morning.

Casey and Kim love to hike and bike and Casey loves to mountain bike as do I. So my few days spent at Hickiwan were busily filled with hiking and a riding.

One of Casey's favorite things to do is to hike out into the desert a look for crested cactus. A crested cactus has a weird growth on it, often at the top, which may or may not look like a crest. However, these growths can be found on different types of cactus..both saguaro and organ pipe, and can be found anywhere on the cactus. You might say they could be a cactus beauty mark as each is unique.

I'm only 5'2 so this saguaro must be at least 20 feet tall! Note the crest on top.

This is an organ pipe cactus.

This crest was inside of it.

As you can see the "beauty mark" was pretty big.

Often the park has four legged visitors in the evening. They usually come looking for water and their thievery got so bad at one time that the park had to take all the handles off the faucets. This year, so far, due to an abundance of rain,the 4 legged visitors have not been sneaking in to steal water. I did see them out in the desert during one of my hikes.

Casey, Kim and I headed out for a nice leisurely bike ride on the dirt roads through the Tohono O'odham Nation which is part of the Hickiwan campground. The dirt roads provided some challenge negotiating through the sandy washes. Some of the washes were pretty rutted due to the recent rain. During our ride we were stopped by a undercover border patrol. We thought it was one of the nation members barreling down the road in a pickup until he stopped and introduced himself.(I didn't even think twice about asking him if I could take his picture! Anyway he was probably checking US out!) He informed us that the US government has the right to patrol the Indian nations, although the nation members really don't like them to. Because they are so close to the Mexican border they patrol the nation land for illegals. Our tax dollars at work.

I headed out for Gila Bend yesterday so I could be "indoctrinated and initiated" in the Elks Club. Afterwards I'll head up to Glendale to get some water leaks in the Born Free fixed at D & R. I sure hope Ron can get the problem taken care of. I also want to get two more batteries. I have plenty of solar power but not enough storage for all of the power they generate. I'll then head back to the Ajo/Why area and maybe join up with the WINs again before going to Rocky Point, Mexico.