Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fellow Canadians, mountain roads and warmer weather......

Our Location: Coyote Howls East, Why, Arizona

A cool night last night and it was a bit chilly this morning upon first touching my feet to the floor but we soon had the Mr. Buddy Heater going and before long it was pretty toasty in the Igloo. Awake shortly after 6:00 am I did my usual reading and stuff before putting my tender tootsies into my slippers and heading downstairs to turn on the heater. Riley rolled out around 9 am this morning, the lazy sluggard!

Heading south on AZ-85

After a quick breakfast we loaded up the Dogsled with some water, walking sticks, sweaters, etc and off we went. We gave the big fella his head and let him run us all the way to Organ Pipe National Monument on AZ 85 south toward the Mexican border. To reach the park is very quick, it's 4 miles/ 6 kilometers  from the little Why Not Travel spot but the park office/visitor centre is 15 miles/  24 km away. So we just enjoyed the ride. Passing through an Inspection Station the rumble strips were pretty big but we didn't have to stop. The fella was sitting in his truck but not looking at anything going on other than whatever was in his lap.

Interesting fella isn't he?

We found the Visitor Centre and proceeded inside. It's a nice little spot, lots of information and helpful folks. We were barely in the door and we were invited to watch a 15 minute narrative about the park, and the Sonoran Desert. (As per the narrator in the clips). As we were heading into the little theatre to watch the presentation the lady in front of us mentioned our Ontario Plates and of course the regular questions of where in Ontario, etc, etc. Turns out Lori and Brian are from Niagara Falls, Ontario  a very short hop from where we used to live in Hamilton, Ontario. 

So many arms....

The presentation was excellent, with a great deal of information and some pretty interesting details. It was informative, as well as educational, the narrator was well spoken and easy to understand. It was interspersed with natural sounds heard in the desert, as well as bit of native music. I enjoyed it. 

I just love the mountains...

Outside the theatre we proceeded into the display area where we once again chatted with Lori and Brian. They are staying in C.H. West, with full hookups and will be staying there for a month. They too will be heading to Quartzsite and surrounding area, so perhaps we'll run into them again. 

Look how that was almost cut off but still growing....

Riley and I took a walk around the outdoor display of various kinds of cacti and enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the cooling slight breeze. From the garden path we climbed into the Dogsled heading off on a 21 mile sight seeing drive through the park. We headed to the Ajo (pronounced Ah -ho) Mountains across AZ85 from the visitor centre.

Pretty isn't it?

The price for the park is very reasonable, $12 per vehicle, so the more you have in the vehicle the cheaper the rates. We were happy to pay $6 each. The drive was a bit rough but very scenic. We turned, twisted, climbed, descended and drove on the flats for the next couple of hours. At one point we were driving up the side of the mountain with no guardrails, and I wasn't looking down!!!  It's a one way road for most of the drive, with numerous little spots to pull off and enjoy the view. A few places are marked for hiking trails, including The Arch. In the pictures it looks very close but it's a mile away, most of it uphill. Only 1/2 the distance is on a maintained hiking path, the rest of the way you figure it out yourself, I guess. I would have liked to hike it but I don't think we're back to that kind of terrain just yet.

Almost all the washes had cement bottoms on the roadway, part of the mountain road was paved for a while, but mostly it was a washboard, rutted affair. The views were dynamic and awesome. A couple of canyons caught our eye as well. At least two or three picnic areas were available. The amount of cacti was amazing. You couldn't look anywhere without seeing a multitude of various kinds. Some living, some in the dying process, others already dead but still standing, and some having fallen over and started to decay. We even managed to see a couple of buds on a few cacti as well. 

Overall, an excellent tour, we enjoyed it and I would return again and this time go prepared to hike for a bit. I think it would be interesting to see more of the park than we did. Camping is available but only for tents and truck camper or car camping. The tour road we took would not be advisable for anything 25 feet or more. There were numerous signs indicating the footage. Truly the dips and a few of the turns would make it impossible for anything bigger. They also had a 5 hour  tour but it was only for higher clearance, 4 x 4 vehicles. We certainly could have done that one but truthfully we weren't interested. Perhaps another time.

We headed home shortly before 2 pm. As we hustled along AZ 85 north bound we were passed by numerous Border Patrol vehicles, they seemed to be travelling together. As we approached the Inspection Station I was expecting to see a little activity but nothing doing. The fella was in his truck, moved to the other side of the shelter into the shade and he wasn't inspecting any vehicles. 

We made it back home just before 2:30 pm. The sun was out, the  air was warm and we both sat outside while lunch was cooking. Lunch today was a salad for me, along with Turkey Burgers, Acorn Squash, and a potato for Riley. I must say it was pretty good and there were no left overs.  As we were eating lunch we noticed for the first time a coyote wandering not far from our little Igloo. First one we've seen in the park. 

We piled the dishes neatly in the sink, grabbed our walking sticks and head out for a walk before sunset. It was around 4 pm when we headed out, taking the outer road for a while before wandering around back and forth among the many roadways here in the park. We finally ended up back home just shortly after 5 pm. We heated some water and did up the dishes before settling down for the evening. 

A few gusts of wind has some dust blowing around earlier and I think it may continue for a while. We are home safe and sound and will not be venturing out anyway.

So there you have it, our tour day. We enjoyed it, it was fun, scenic and relaxing. We hope you had a fantastic day as well. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment. 

It's deceptive, over a mile away, all uphill.

Until next time....take care, be safe...



  1. That is a wonderful place to explore and so glad that you enjoyed it the weather pretty decent as well. We have seen about 4 coyote here, i goes maybe we are in their travel lanes. Looks like we will need to hang onto our hats today.

  2. We are enjoying the sights and MOST of the sounds in the area. The views are amazing. The coyote was trotting along the edge of the no swimming hole keeping an eye on the dog at the new motor home near us. Yes it's pretty gusty, I had to pick up my cap once on our walk last night. Thanks for suggesting the park, we are truly enjoying the area.

    Take care, be safe

  3. Sounds like a great tour day. It is so pretty. We've had strong winds, Gerry keeps losing his hat but won't give it up.

    1. We enjoyed it. Tell Gerry that a string helps!! Hopefully the windy day is behind us. We're looking forward to it warming up a bit too. That cold NE wind just cools everything off.

      Take care, be safe,