"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Ajo, Why, Surprise & Pirates

Ajo, AZ
Boondocking - Darby Wells

After all the hustle and bustle of Quartzite and Yuma we were looking forward to some quiet boondocking outside of Ajo where we'd be visiting Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near the border of Mexico.

There are many border patrol crossings and the area is very well patrolled.  We know of several others that boondock out here and its very safe.  Still, you need to be careful and vigilant.  Sadly, there is a lot of garbage around the desert.  Mostly water bottles and clothes that are left behind from illegal immigrants trying to sneak in.  Lots of broken glass too.

Darby Wells Rd. is well know amongst RVers for boondocking.  It's just outside the tiny town of Ajo.  While the main dirt road is fine, the one we ended up taking to where we parked was a bit risky.  It kept getting more narrow with no where to turn around.  We walked the rest of the way to scout it out and found the perfect spot.

I did a little hiking around the area to the mountains in the background with Hurley.


 View from the top.
The huge copper mine in the background.

A little unnerving to find a lone, fairly new tennis shoe at the top.  Wonder why?  Border Patrol rides around this area on quads so I didn't worry.  They say it is rare to see an illegal immigrant, and if you do they'll probably ask you for water.  But you aren't supposed to give them any.  Just tell the BP and they will pick them up.  Happens all the time I guess.

That little white dot in the middle is us!

I love the old remnant parts of the dead saguaros.  Interesting shapes.  Also (pic on R) reminded me of a couple dancing while dipping his partner.

The tiny town of Ajo was very cute.  Pretty churches and a well kept town park.  We did more geocaching and had a nice dinner out.

Town Park

There was a cache hidden here.  Perfect spot.

Colorful streaks from all the chemicals used in the copper mine.

Found another cache here under the twisted saguaro and a tree.

We didn't have a lot of time for hiking, but we did take the loop drive.

Finally, after scouring the desert for weeks and weeks, I came upon some Crested Saguaros!
From the National Park:
Even when saguaro cacti grow in their normal form, they rarely grow symmetrically. Saguaros sometimes grow in odd or misshapen forms. The growing tip occasionally produces a fan-like form which is referred to as crested or cristate. Though these crested saguaros are somewhat rare, over 25 have been found within the boundaries of the park. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of a lightning strike or freeze damage.


And even more rare, the Crested Organ Pipe Cactus.
Here's a close up of it (below)  A much better example of the unusual growth.
My blog friend, Pam of  Oh The Places They Go, has a special Crested Radar for finding these babies.  You can jump over to her blog to see many other nice specimens.

I loved the contrast between the new growth and the old dead wood.  Interesting
what the skeleton of the cactus looks like.


Not much out this way.  We stopped to get some gas and drinks at the Why Not Travel store in the town of Why.  Well it's really un unincorporated rural community of not much over 100 residents.

    Arizona has some very interesting town names.          Nice mural of the AZ flag.

Time to move more north back to Surprise for a visit with Steve's Dad.  I'm happy to be back near one of my favorite bike trails.  We arrived just in time for a great sunset.

Hurley loves to play at the dog park when we're here visiting.

The flowers were out in full force.  While I loved the beautiful flowers, my allergies did not.
My favorite.  I don't know what it's called, but it's gorgeous!

Flowers all along the bike trail.

Better remember to duck!
Steve also decided it was time to get his first tattoo.  He loved the pirate flag he picked up in Quartzite (thanks again Trace, I think ;-)
and the idea was born.  He loves all things pirate. The large diamond is for me and the kids birthdates are on the four coins.

Almost done with the outline.  And 4 hours later...



  1. That's a big tattoo. Did it hurt?

    1. Steve says no, but he was drunk. No really, he said it didn't hurt as much as he thought, but yes, it did hurt.

  2. We so wanted to go to Organ Pipe, but never made it. Thanks for the pics!!

  3. I miss the desert. I had a good time looking for crested saguaro. Great Pictures!

    1. You also found some great ones! I'm liking being back in the pines here in southern CO, but sure wish it would warm up some!


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