Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Las Cienegas National Conservation Area - and beyond.

 After about a week in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge south west of Tucson, we headed east and soon found ourselves at another favourite camp spot in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.

We cut through the southern edge of Tucson on the way to pick up an Amazon package at one of their convenient lockers at the Circle-K.

The weather was not the best, and there was rain, and even some lightning and thunder as we got to our hilltop spot with the great view.  Luckily, the roads were not that greasy and it was not a problem.  Soon after, a bit of a rainbow showed up.

There was another camper about a 1/2 mile away, but they soon pulled out, so we were able to maintain adequate separation!

Both Buenos Aires (managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service), and Las Cienegas (managed by BLM) have cattle roaming freely, but they don't bother anyone.

You gotta watch this video!!!

You can see snow on Mt Wrightson in the background, after the recent lower level rain.

Mr Bailey is getting bigger by the day, and fitting right in with the lifestyle.  His level of stress is evident!

As well as cattle, there are antelope roaming.


Night time critter action!


Look carefully, and you can see Orion in this night shot of the sky

Much of the time here, which is about 4000' elevation, the weather was not conducive to a lot of hiking and biking.  But I did get out one day and visited the great site in the trees that I used last year.  As I biked by, I thought I recognized the rig in there , and sure enough, it was Brian from the Adventure Van Man, whose videos I have come across frequently on Youtube.  I wasn't positive, till I pulled up his latest video online, and saw that he was just pulling into this spot!  So, I stopped in and had a nice chat with him.

Check out his video here!

Or, a direct link to the spot where he pulls into 'my old' camp spot >  
He just recently passed the 100k subscriber mark for his Youtube channel!

Well, another week passed, and it was time to move on again.  Before leaving the historic ranch headquarters, I topped off the water supply, and it was a good thing I did.  When I stopped in Gila Bend to use the free RV dump there, the water taps were dry - even though I had used them a few weeks prior.  But I emptied the tanks that needed emptying, and used a jug of non-potable water I carry to rinse out the hose!

The loose plan had been to maybe make it to Bouse or Quartzsite for the night, but it was getting late, and I had to watch a hockey game online.  So, we ended up stopping at Saddle Mtn BLM for the night.  It's been a few years since I stayed there, so picked the wrong entrance road.  The only decent spot was covered in trash - looked like a homeless person had been there (?), but I picked up a bag full of it in the morning before we left.  I don't think I even took a photo for that quick overnight.

The next day, after perusing the maps and Google, we avoided the I-10 and took the shortcut Salome Rd, then Eagle Eye Rd up to Aguila.  Looks like there may be some decent boondocking options along the north end of Eagle Eye road, though I was getting very little cell service (more on that later).  From there it was up highway 93 (the future 111 interstate), which is very busy and quite rough.  At Burro Ck we roughed our way into our usual spot on the cliffs across the creek from the BLM campground!

I knew from the past that cell service was spotty there, but I was still a bit surprised when my AT&T hotspot with a MIMO antenna picked up nothing.  Then, I discovered that my phone had been locked onto AT&T while near the Mexico border, to prevent it locking onto a Mexican cell tower.  When I released it, I had 4 bars of 5G on both T-Mobile and Verizon, both of which my Canadian Rogers phone seems happy to use!  I guess my AT&T hotspot only uses 4G towers from AT&T, so it was handicapped?  And then I noticed that I could actually see two cell towers to the north of camp!

One of the my main reasons for going to Burro Ck, is the nearby Kaiser Hot (warm) Springs!

Art work under the bridge ...

You park under the highway bridges, and hike about a mile down the wash to get there.  On a previous visit, there were some 'no trespassing' signs before the springs because of some mining exploration in the area, but those are long gone now, and someone had made a few minor improvements to the springs themselves!

Spotted these exploratory mine works, just past the springs.

I took this photo of my truck parked under the overpasses, from over a mile away at the hot spring, using the incredible magnification on my latest drone.  Below, is where that photo above was taken from, under normal magnification!  You can just make out the bridges in the distance.

Don & Donna, who were staying in Lake Havasu area, met up with me in Kingman for lunch one day, then Anders & Dianne talked me into joining them on Lake Mohave, at Nevada Telephone Cove for a few days.

We day-tripped up to Six Mile Cove further up the lake one day, and I was surprised to find no campers or kite boarders there, despite the substantial winds!  I spent a week here back in November.
We met up with Don & Donna again for Happy Hour in Laughlin one day.

Sadly, we got the news that John, of  John & Brenda's Incredible Journey suffered a fatal heart attack, likely while he was out enjoying his usual morning stroll with his camera, in the mountains east of Apache Junction.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to Brenda, and John's family :-(

I was glad I got to visit with them both and share a meal back in December while they were camped nearby.

This blog post is getting long enough, so I won't even tell you where we've moved to now.  You'll just have to wait and watch for the next post - whenever I get around to it!  Cheers!

Friday, March 01, 2024

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

After a fun-filled week in the desert just south of Ajo, Az, it was time to move on, and move on we did!

Why?  Yes.  We took the road down to Why, then headed east towards Tucson.  Unfortunately, the empty propane bottle had just been filled at the Shell in Ajo, where they see fit to charge $3.99/gallon for propane - do they think they're in California or something?  I guess they have the 'monopoly' thing figured out.  It was a pleasant surprise to find propane for $2.29 just down the road at Three Point (Robles Jct).

I also spotted a nice 100W solar panel at the 3 Nations Market on the way out of Ajo, and managed to pick it up for under $60, to add to my mixed bag of panels.

There were only a couple of spots occupied in the area of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge where we usually camp, so it was easy to find a nice level, scenic, private spot well off the road.

There must be about 60 designated camp spots in the Refuge, but unlike a campground, they are spread out over miles and miles of primitive roads, so you can easily be as far as a mile from your neighbours, or just a few hundred yards. There are no services, of course, but they do provide a nice fire pit, and a numbered sign at the entrance!  And - the price is right!

I took advantage of trees in the area to put up my hammock, so I could relax once in a while!

No wild burros were seen, but there were lots of tracks around, and some droppings, right in my camp site. 

I haven't had complaints about the roads in the past - usually just some very minor washboard, but crews were hard at work making them even better.  They were in the process of hand-trimming and chipping all the brush along the roadside, and had graders, packers, and water trucks making the roads very smooth and nice.

Of course, that made the roads even more pleasant to bike on, so I spent quite a bit of time checking out various routes, and went down to the Refuge HQ one day via the back trails.  

I saw almost no Border Patrol action in the area, but there are always signs of past nefarious activities.  I have often found abandoned camo backpacks left in the bush, and I found these crude boot covers with carpet on the bottoms to help disguise tracks of the undocumented and illegal foot traffic.

My old camo Crocs have all the tread worn off, so I would fit right in!

As usual, there are a few night time four-legged visitors that come by at night to check things out.
I had my hummingbird feeder up the whole time we were there, but never saw any signs of them.
Don and Donna did stop by one day, as they were killing time in Tucson, waiting on some trailer repairs.

And, it wouldn't be a blog post - if I didn't post some night time photos taken with only moonlight, using the iPhone 14 pro - it's truly amazing!

And no blog post would be complete without mentioning the new star of the show, mr Bailey!


He's getting bigger by the day, and more of a personality.  He seems to be right at home (literally) with this mobile lifestyle.  He doesn't care where it's parked, it's still home.

Next - off to Las Cienegas National Conservation Area