After spending almost a week boondocking without hookups we decided to head back to Why, AZ to Coyote Howls West RV Park and stay for a week on full hookups. As Thanksgiving was right around the corner we thought it would be nice just to stay put for a little while. It’s a small park with just 37 sites, but super friendly people. We had a nice large site and it had a nice “homey” feel to the area. The name of the park suits it, “coyote howls” because you hear them every night. In fact, we saw several at dusk very close to us almost every night. You want to keep an eye on your small pets!!
Speaking of pets, we are actually travelling with our cat we call “Kitty Girl”. Trying to train her to walk on a harness and leash, let’s just say she has a ways to go!!!
In addition to coyotes there were lots of birds right around our camp site. Every day we saw humming birds, road runners, doves, and the Gambel’s quail. The quail is really a neat looking bird, if you’ve never seen one click here.
Our Two Steps Into Mexico
On Tuesday November 24th we decided to take a 27 mile drive south to Lukeville, AZ (also known as Gringo Pass) and check out the duty free store at the border crossing into Mexico. We parked right by the store, made our purchase and then before we could take our goods to the car and leave we had to take “the walk”. See, in order for the “duty free” part to be legit you have to cross into Mexico and back. Down the corridor we went, you must make sure you walk around the palm trees at the end of the tunnel, and then you can head right over to customs on the US side. This was not a busy time of day at all and we were in and out of there in no time.
Just a couple side notes if you’re thinking of driving into Mexico. Although we didn’t actually drive into Mexico (yet) however you must purchase Mexican insurance. You’ll see a lot of places to do this in Ajo. However, we were told by a local to wait and get your insurance just on the other side of the border. It’s cheaper and you can get insurance on your license so you’re covered on any vehicle. The other thing is to keep an eye on your cell phone. We were 8 miles on the US side of the border when our cell phones connected up to a Mexican cell tower. As you can see our T-Mobile carried over just fine, but not our AT&T. At the time of writing this AT&T is now offering calls and texts in Mexico and 1GB of data free but you must apply it to your account and to each line. It doesn’t happen automatically.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
On the return trip from barely border crossing we decided to take in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We stopped into the Kris Eggle Visitor Center to purchase our pass. You can see from the photos below how the visitor center sadly got its name.
There are several scenic drives you can take in this park. However, there is only 1 that is passable without a 4 wheel drive high clearance vehicle. And let me tell you, it’s barely doable with just your average joe car. The Ajo Mountain drive is a 21 mile, one-way dirt road. The Ranger told us it takes about an hour and a half. In our little Saturn it took over two and a half hours. Once you head down the road you are committed. While at the Visitor Center be sure to grab a free guide book. It corresponds with numbered signs along the drive to explain the route and help you understand the scenery and the Sonoran Desert in general.
We are very glad we took the time to take this in. However, if we had known just how rough this road was we might have changed our minds. It starts out pretty good, and then it changes!!! Just a few paved sections on some winding climbs otherwise it’s not just dirt, it’s very rocky! In fact a couple times Rod had to move some very large rocks to not have the belly or our car ripped out from under us!! Some of the scenery though is absolutely breath taking. However, it would have been easier to see it if we weren’t having to so heavily concentrate on the road conditions.
The sun was just starting to set by the time we made it through the big Border Patrol check point just south of Why, AZ and back to our home on wheels. We ended the day sipping on a new cocktail we invented with our duty free purchase, the “Mango Tango”.
We spent a couple days of just doing our work stuff and chillin’ out a bit. Enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving dinner at the Community Center where we met a very interesting and well-traveled couple from Canada. They told us about coming over to the east side of town at Coyote Howls East. Since our one week was shortly coming to an end and we still had a week to kill before heading up to Gold Canyon we thought why not. Our final night at Coyote Howls West was met with a fun night around the camp fire and Rod busted out the guitar and we played and sang for hours!! The next morning was a little rough but while we were still on hookups I managed to do up the squash and potatoes my Dad had sent with us.
Coyote Howls East
We drove a whole six blocks or so and checked in for 3 nights. This is a kind of a different kind of camping its 200 acres of open desert and no hookups. Also known as dry camping however there is a club house, laundry, water spouts randomly all over the place, showers, free wifi and several dump stations. You just have to be able to generate your own electricity or have a generator. They do restrict the hours you can run your generator though. It’s very inexpensive to stay here. Only 40.00 for a week, or if you want to stay longer it’s $500.00 for a whole year.
Once again at dusk we could see coyotes roaming though the area, even had foot prints right up by our motorhome!! I got caught up on a little laundry here and had been in and out of there a couple times before I noticed the watch out for snakes sign on the door. Never saw any though. Then Rod sees an interesting bug, kicks it out of the bush for a better picture and never really gave it any thought. Then he looked up what he was playing with, a tarantula hawk spider wasp. The sting is among the most painful of any insect, second only to that of the bullet ant. Needless to say, he won’t be doing that again!!!
Staying warm on chilling mornings without running the generator for the furnace and no hookups requires using the Mr. Heater. The cat seems to enjoy it!
Around Ajo, AZ
We took a little time to just explore the little town of Ajo, once a vibrant bustling mining community. They have a lovely town square and we really liked the Spanish colonial architecture. Not much for restaurants in the town that are open on a Saturday so we found a little vendor/flea market going on and enjoyed some live music and a hot dog. The grocery store there is kind of interesting too. It’s a combination grocery store and hardware store. You can get your screws, bolts, cabinet handles then head right into the freezer section!! I will say though they had an awesome deli and meat counter. In fact we came back several times to get their carne and pollo asada. They also hand roasted fresh green chilies you can buy by the pound and they were delicious!!!!
Heading North East
Our time in this area finally came to an end. We hadn’t intended on staying in this area for that long. We heard the same thing from many other people too. They were just passing through and just ended up staying. We started looking for a place to stay somewhere between Ajo and Gold Canyon. We had 3 nights to kill before our 1 month reservation starts in Gold Canyon.
This time we turned to our Xscapers membership. The Xscapers group is geared more towards younger still working RV’ers. It’s a division of the Escapers club. They have a lot of resources and discounted camping. We ended up at Rover’s Roost in Casa Grande. This is also what’s known as an SKP Coop and members only can camp here. Once again we went the dry camping route and for that it’s only 5.00 per night and your second night is free. So for a whopping $10.00 we camped here for 3 nights. Another thing to note about this place it is a 55+ park so one of you must be over the age of 55. They also had propane fill on site here so we topped off our internal propane tank. We hadn’t refilled the tank since we bought the motorhome in May and we were both surprised it only took 4.7 gallons.
We really got a laugh when we heard a knock on our door and were greeted by the park welcome wagon lady. Seriously, she even had a little welcome packet complete with an anti-depression kit. It was also clear that all new arrivals were “encouraged” to attend the daily meet and greet or be booed when your name was called to introduce yourselves. We obliged and attended. (only once though, not daily!!)
This park sits out in the country among the cotton fields. Never realized how much cotton they grow down here. Just a few miles into town and back to civilization!! Time for a little shopping and restaurants, yippee!!
Where To Next
Saturday December 5th we check in to our reservation at the Arizonian Resort in Gold Canyon. This is right off Highway 60 just east of Apache Junction, Mesa and Phoenix where we will be for 1 month. Here we will meet up with our friend Gene from Milbank who tragically lost his wife last spring in an ATV accident in Utah. I’m sure we’ll find plenty to do and see in the area and we’ll keep you all posted!!