Week 4 - El Paso to Phoenix; Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Friday 15 July 1994: Left Marana at 1 pm after several hours
sunbathing by the pool, to the alarm of one woman who insisted that
'You guys are gonna get burned up!' A long straight road south took
us back through the Saguaro Park until AZ 86 where we turned west,
and back into Indian territory. Stopped at Quijotoa
for gas at an small grocery store which had headstone decorations
for sale. We continued through the strangely named Tracy and Why,
and arrived at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
just as the visitor center was closing. The ranger in charge recommended
the two scenic loop drives; the shorter, eastern route took two hours
apparently, although it was less than 20 miles. We soon found out why,
as the road which began being bumpy, hilly and rutted soon deteriorated.
Luckily the drive was a one-way road, and we didn't see any other traffic.
Occasionally the surface was tarmaced across particularly steep parts of
the road, but not very often.
About half way round we decided that it was
really too rough for our vehicle, but then it was too late. The scenery
however was really spectacular and well worth the trip, especially in the
early evening as the sun was setting. The organ pipe cacti are quite rare,
and different to saguaros, although most tended to look rather old and
dry. We did not break an axle, although many things in the back of the RV
were strewn over the floor (not for the first time), reached the safety of
the main road and made the short trip to Lukeville
(also known as Gringo Pass) on the Mexican border. Here we found an
RV site with no RVs in it, and no management, only a written instruction to
pay at the general store down the road. A woman in the store took our money,
seeming rather surprised that we had chosen to pay. We cooked the remnants
of our food cupboard, tried to finish a bottle of Tequila and failed, but as
a direct result saw 'coyotes' in the RV park, and had difficulty locating
our vehicle again, even though there were no others in the park.