Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge - Caught by refuge volunteers! Boosted in Tucson!

 Why night visitors, Gunsight wash.

Lots of Why coyotes down here, many of them quite vocal at night, and they often come into camp at night to see what they can find.


The next stop on our rather loosely planned agenda was in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, between Sasabe and Arivaca.  We pulled out of Why and headed east through the Tohono O'odham Nation Reservation.  Traffic was light, and the road mostly in good condition. Border Patrol had their check-point just west of Three Points, where we turned south on 286, after some fuel and propane replenishment. 

There must be a few houses around here somewhere!


Check out my mail box video!

About 12 miles north of the Mexican border we turned east again on the Sasabe-Arivaca road.  

When we were last down here a few years ago, this section of road was a mine-field of potholes, loose gravel doing it's best to shake your truck and rig apart, despite going very slow. What a pleasure this time to find brand new, perfect pavement; so new in fact that they were still paving some sections ahead.  The Wildlife Refuge only allows camping in designated camp sites, and it has well over 60 sites.  But unlike most such areas, there is no one campground. The sites are widely scattered across miles of different dirt roads all over the refuge!  The closest ones might be 100 yards or 2 miles apart!  Camping is free, with a limit of 14 days.  Check out all the camp sites on the refuge map above.

My preferred spot was vacant, and there was only one other unit in the area. The views are great, and there's enough trees around to hang up the hammock too!


 I soon had the bike out, in preparation for exploring the abundant trails in the area.

Hailey was soon out too, checking to see which trees she could climb.


And soon I was out with my trash picker collecting what little garbage was around - mostly just bottle caps and scraps of various material.  The site was really quite clean, but my intent was to make it even cleaner!
And then, with no warning, the official US Fish &Wildlife Service truck came quietly driving in; and caught me.  Picking trash!  I guess that was their job - as refuge volunteers.  We joked about it a bit, and I swapped my bag of goodies for an empty bag from them.
I visited the refuge headquarters a couple of times, and though the visitor center was officially closed due to covid, the volunteer there was glad to come outside and answer all my questions.

Apparently, the Fish & Wildlife Service purchased the huge ranch in 1985 to establish the reserve.


Located in southern Arizona, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge was established for the reintroduction of masked bobwhite quail and to restore the natural landscapes and native wildlife that depend upon it. 

There are some very old and very cool corrals around the headquarters facilities.

I toured around some the surrounding area and towns of Sasabe and Arivaca with a friend from back home.  And, when the weather was cooperative, it was nice to sit around a fire outside and enjoy the stars.

I took advantage and got my booster shot one day in Tucson.

On the way home, there was a large meeting of enforcement and rescue vehicles, around a vehicle that had apparently exited the road at high speed and rolled several times by the look of it.

As usual, the Border Patrol is active in the area, both on the ground and in the air.

I suspect we'll be here; till we decide to leave :-)

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Quartzsite to Why?

 We'd spent 10 days near Quartzsite, which included a lot of wind, and even some rain one night - So, it was time to move along. After discussing it with Hailey it was decided to head for Ajo, or Why.  We packed up, and caught the I-10, but not before topping up the propane supply in Quartzsite.

Some night time camp visitors ...

Needing some groceries, we detoured through Buckeye, then headed south to Gila Bend.  I planned to go out to the east end of town and top off the water, and maybe a dump at the Shell station there.  But much to my chagrin, that station, the dump site, and the RV park to the rear were all gone - replaced by a brand new Pilot Truck Stop, with a $10 dump station off to the side.  Not sure if there was water or not, but luckily I didn't drain my fresh water, and didn't really need a dump.

From there, we headed south down to Ajo.  We debated heading out on Darby Well road, but decided against it, as it is often very dusty and washboard, and I suspected that many of the good sites would be taken.  So, we continued on south to Why, and Gunsight Wash, arriving just as the sun was about to set.  There were only about15 rigs in the area, but someone was in our preferred spot off to the south, so we just parked for the night along the wash without unhooking or setting up, as there was a cold wind blowing.

Luckily, as I reconnoitered the area on the bike in the morning, 'my' site became vacant and we moved in fast!

I was envious of all the solar on this rig parked nearby!
We settled in to enjoy the sun.
I think you could say that we both enjoyed the warmth and sunshine!

Put the bike to some good use and did a nice long desert circuit despite some loose sand.

Found this grave in the desert.  It doesn't look really old, but I couldn't read the inscription on the cross.

Took a tour down into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument one day.  Really beautiful desert down there along the border.

Debated going on one of the 20 mile scenic loops in the park, but the thought of all that washboard and dust and loose sand changed our mind.  Instead we just took the short spur road out to Alamo Canyon.
Lots and lots of Saguaros, and of course Organ Pipe cactus.

The Border Patrol check point on the highway was not in operation.
One of the Border Patrol's rescue beacons was parked along the Alamo Canyon road.  Anyone in need of a rescue can push a button on one of these beacons to summon assistance .

There were a few of A-10 Warthogs training in the area as usual, but there were only a couple of low passes that we saw.

Where are we off to next?

How about Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Six Mile Cove to Quartzsite

Six Mile Cove, on Lake Mohave was a great place to hang out for a few days, but it was starting to get a bit crowded (for us).  There were only 5 rigs in a huge area along the beach, but that's about 4 rigs more than I'm used to!  They were all very nice people, but there were several dogs - which makes it more difficult for Hailey to wander, and the cell service was present, but fairly slow or intermittent at times.  The only generators were at the far end of the beach, and not usually audible, but when the water heater in a nearby class A kicked in at 0400, I thought perhaps the space shuttle was taking off!

And any time I have to close my curtains for privacy indicates that I could perhaps find a better spot!

 Picking garbage at Six Mile ...

Night time camp visitors ...

So, we packed up and headed south to Laughlin and Bullhead City. A quick detour out to Katherines Landing provided a dump and a water fill, and the cheapest diesel was going for $3.25 in Fort Mohave.

We made another stop at a huge laundromat that we used a lot three years ago, and luckily there was no need for Hailey to stop at the vet where we spent so much time (and money) in 2019.  It was getting late by the time the laundry was done, so we headed just out of town to a spot where we camped out when we had to make almost daily vet visits 3 years earlier, but there were other rigs too close for comfort, so we continued up towards Oatman.

We got on route 66 and turned away from Oatman, but that did not stop the burro welcoming committee from making a roadside appearance!
It was dusk when we just pulled off the side of the road, and spent the night in a pull-off unfortunately typical of this area, filled with broken glass, car parts, junk and rusted metal.  When the sun went down and hid the trash, there was a great view of the lights of the valley below- all the way to Needles, Ca.

In the morning, route 66 took us down through Golden Shores, a brief jog east on I-40, then down to Lake Havasu. Grocery supplies were updated, but otherwise it was non-stop southbound through  LHC, Parker, and Quartzsite.  We had a spot in mind south of Quartzsite, and found it just as we left it two years ago.   

So nice to find these areas completely trash-free, as usual.  Won't need to be picking up bags full here!

It wasn't long before a couple of hummingbirds found the feeder.

One preferred to perch while feeding, while the other, hovering!

It was also a great spot to get out the e-bike and start exploring the trails in the area.  Neighbours in the background are at a more appropriate distance!

One of the bike trips took me to this wildlife watering facility way out in the desert.  It's likely within the boundaries of the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
They have installed large areas of roofing materials to catch and save any rain in underground reservoirs, and make it available to wildlife.  I think desert Bighorns are the intended species, but lots of other wildlife and birds take advantage of the rare water source, judging by the tracks
Cameras are monitoring the site.
There is water at the bottom of those 'stairs'.
Pretty decent weather, most of the time, but we did get a brief sprinkle of rain - to make the desert smell so good.