Thursday, November 24, 2011
HEADING WEST THIS MORNING ON HIGHWAY 86 WITH KITT PEAK AHEAD
How nice to not only step outside Thursday night under starry skies but to step outside in a warmer desert sky was a real treat. The sky was alive with stars and constellations. Spotted winter’s dominant constellation Orion rising in the East just above the large rock face behind our rig. Orion will travel high across the southern sky for the entire winter.
KITT PEAK NATIONAL OBSERVATORY AS SEEN THROUGH MY CAMERA LENS EARLY THIS MORNING
Parked just across from us was a fellow and his dog camped in their Class A Motorhome. His name was Mike and his little dog was Corky. Corky and the Pheebs got along famously and ran, jumped and played together this morning while we talked to Mike. Boon docking sites and information were exchanged and we now have a few more ideas.
MIKE AND CORKY’S HOUSE
CORKY, MIKE AND PHEEBS….CORKY
Almost 10 a.m. before got the big wheels rolling west along a familiar stretch of road. The Ajo Way highway heading west out of southern Tucson is a scenic drive. It’s a quiet mainly straight road running across the floor of the Sonoran desert ending at a T intersection in Why Arizona nearly a hundred miles away. The KITT PEAK NATIONAL OBSERVATORY is accessed from this highway.
CORKY PLANTS A SMOOCH ON PHEEBE’S NOSE
The highway slowly picks it’s way through Saguaro Cactus, Mesquite and Palo Verde trees, Cholla, Sotol, Desert Spoons, Prickly and Beaver Tail Cactus to mention just a few of the abundant green growing desert plant life. I particularly enjoy the mountain scenery ringing the horizon all way round. Highway 86 is a fairly straight and flat road for about two thirds of it’s way and is a nice quiet alternative heading west if your not in a big hurry and want to avoid going through Tucson along busy I-10.
EVEN LITTLE CORA GOT INTO THE ACTION THIS MORNING
But, a few cautions about this highway. It is a narrow ‘no mistakes’ road with no shoulders as you travel further west. If you drop a wheel off the pavement you are in some very big serious trouble. But, the challenge and excitement are there and the scenery is great. The road is guaranteed to keep you on your toes. At the western end maybe 20 miles east of Why Arizona the road also has enough tricky curves, dips and hollows in it for you to keep both hands on the steering wheel:))
HIGHWAY 86 HEADING WEST
Nice memories as we rolled past the road leading up to Kitt Peak. We were driving a truck and fifth wheel the day we pulled of the road at the base of the mountain that time. Unhooked the fifth wheel and I drove the truck up to see the Observatories. Great scenic and winding drive up and down that mountain. Kelly stayed with the 5th wheel digging up some cactus and gathering some rocks.
Our continuing drive west to Why today under cloudy skies was uneventful and it was nice to relive some more old memories as we passed by the Hickiwan Trails RV Park. Kelly and I did their blogsite for them about 3 years ago. I will always remember Hickiwan Trails for the many great morning desert walks we used to take. It was our first Snow Bird year on the road and Hickiwan Trails was the first RV Park we really stopped at and spent any time. Max, Checkers and the Motormouse were a little younger then and the two big guys really liked fanning out on either side of us exploring the flat desert floor ahead. I miss those two big guys.
We will slip back to Hickiwan Trails in the next few days and visit with Hickiwan Ray who looks after the Park. Nice personable fellow and easy to get along with. He has made this Park what it is today.
Highway 86 will also land you just a few short miles from Organ Pipe National Monument where you can take a very scenic 25 mile loop drive through the Ajo Mountain range. We have done that loop 3 times.
Eleven miles past Hickiwan Trails on the highway leading from Gila Bend to Lukeville on the Mexican border is the once booming town of Ajo Arizona. Not too much booming there anymore but it’s a quiet little place and home to a fair few Snow Birders. West of Ajo is a loop road called Darby Wells. This is a great scenic boon docking area that we stayed at for about week back in February of 2008. We knew it would be quiet here and easy for us to find a good spot this time of year. Gets busier after Christmas when the boon docking Snow Birds land in this area.
The Sonoran desert is thought of as the ‘green desert’ because of it’s wide diversity of vegetation and plant life. It is the greenest of all desert types and for that reason it is our favorite. This whole area is just another great scenic part of big beautiful Arizona.
TURNING WEST ONTO THE SOUTHERN END OF DARBY WELLS ROAD…THE MOUNTAIN AT TOP LEFT WAS MADE BY NATURE AND THE ONE ON RIGHT WAS MADE BY MAN.
Parked the rig at the side of dusty Darby Wells road and unhooked the Jeep. With laptop on board we Jeeped ourselves around the area looking at different spots among the tall cactus. Some roads are not much different than a couple wide hard packed tire tacks and we had to keep in mind the size and ease with which we could get the big rig down some of these little tire track roads. Every time we found a possible site Kelly checked the laptop for a Verizon connection. Only saw 4 other rigs scattered about and I should add that we did later get an acceptable Verizon connection and half a dozen clear TV channels. No cell phone.
JEEPING AROUND LOOKING FOR A SUITABLE BOON DOCKING SITE
Finally picked a spot not far from where we had parked the rig. Managed to get me some fresh desert pin stripping on the coach as I wiggled and squiggled it in and around some scratchy Mesquite shrubs and prickly Cholla cactus. Leveled it up near some towering Saguaro Cactus and that was it. Ocotillo’s, Organ Pipe Cactus and a variety of other desert shrubs are now back dropped by yet another new set of surrounding mountains. Love it when we can just change our surroundings any time we want. Our weather is a bit on the cold side with a slight breeze under cloudy skies but I am sure the big Arizona sun will find us shortly once it knows we are here:))
THAT’S AN ORGAN PIPE CACTUS IN OUR SIDE YARD:))
A Shout out to Renee and Dave up there in that Datil place in New Mexico. We plan to be in your area on our return journey in late winter or early Spring. It has been on our list for the past 3 years. Interested in the lay of the land and property values in your neighborhood:))
RV TRAVELS IN SEARCH OF ADVENTURE joined our Blog Followers list a few days ago and we say welcome folks and thanks for climbing aboard.
HOPE THAT HEAVY OVERCAST BLOWS AWAY OVERNIGHT
GROANER’S CORNER:(( After spending nearly half a day enduring the long lines, surly clerks and insane regulations at the department of motor vehicles, a lady stops at a toy store to pick up a baseball bat as a gift for her son. Cash or charge, the clerk asks. Cash, she snaps. Then, apologizing for her rudeness, she explains I’ve spent the afternoon at the motor-vehicle bureau. I am way past sane. Shall I gift-wrap the bat the clerk asks sweetly, or are you going back there?
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