Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

After a great (but too short) 6 months in Yuma, we have hit the road again.

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Our first destination was the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, located in the Sonoran desert of southern Arizona on the U.S./Mexico border.

2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (36)The organ pipe cactus, abundant in Mexico, is found rarely in the U.S.  The vast majority of those present are located within the park boundaries.  Its cluster of columns grow tall, often exceeding 20 feet, making the organ pipe the second largest cactus in the U.S. (next to the mighty Saguaro).  It produces a red fruit that has provided a food source to the Native Americans for centuries, raw, made into a jelly or beverage.

After watching the orientation video at the Visitor Center, we took the scenic 10 mile North Puerto Blanco Drive.

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One of the highlights of the day was seeing the saguaro in bloom, a first for us.

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After the drive, we walked the Desert View Trail, a little more than a mile in length.

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An easy trail, it ascended to a viewpoint, looking down on the park campground in one direction, and to the other side, the tiny town of Lukeville, with it’s backdrop, the mountains of Mexico.  2011-04-21 -3- AZ, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (53)

We spent the night in the sleepy little town of Ajo. Wondering how the name originated, a little research turned up the following:

A similarity between the sound of the Papago word for this locality and the Spanish word ajo for many years led to misapprehension concerning the origin of the name of present day Ajo. The Papago Indians used au'auho ("paint") in connection with mines at Ajo because the ores were a source of red paint which the Papagos used to decorate themselves. This was so noted by one of the earliest American travelers in the region. Nevertheless, the fact that the Mexican miners pronounced the word without the double pronunciation of the au of the Papago resulted in a word that sounded much like ajo. This, added to the fact that the Ajo lily (the root of which looks and tastes much like a spring onion) grows abundantly in this area, led to the belief that the locality was named Ajo because of the wild lilies.

I would have liked to had more time to explore the architecture of Ajo, dating back to its heyday as a copper mining community.  Some of the buildings are quite striking:

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We stayed in the Shadow Ridge Campground, where the sites were bounded by multitudes of blooming oleander bushes. 

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For more photos of the park and Ajo,  click the photo below:

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Yuma to Ajo OUR TREK EASTWARD…. DAY 1 …..  208 MILES

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