From busy truck stop to desert stillness . . .
After researching the web for the nearest Walmart , downing a cup of truck stop coffee, and filling up the gas tank, the crew and I backtrack a mile or so eastward to the previous exit off of Interstate 10. Before descending the ramp I can see the name Walmart above the roofs of surrounding buildings. Oh, good. This is going to be so easy.
I need to prepare for my first boondock.
I pick up a couple of LED night lights and a flashlight with batteries. Next I load six jugs of drinking water into my cart. Then I get some groceries to last me the next few days. Soon we’re back on the interstate zooming towards Tucson.
What a beautiful setting for a city!
The mountains are magnificent, of course. I take the exit for Interstate 19 south toward Nogales, and we stay on it for only a mile or so, turning west onto Ajo Highway. That is when I feel like I’ve been transported to a different planet. A hill rising up to the right of the roadway is covered with cacti. It’s a surreal introduction to the Sonoran landscape.
The road is two lanes through the mostly unpopulated desert.
Saguaro cacti make funny poses as we pass by. Several times the Border Police pass me or I meet them on the road. At one point we go through a checkpoint, but aren’t stopped. About eighty miles before the town of Why, I stop so we can stretch our legs. Bridget and Spike are happy to be on the ground again, although they are quite stunned by what they see and smell.
Around four o’clock we reach the outskirts of Why.
I see some propane tanks so I stop to get one of my tanks filled. It cost $15.80 to fill my 20 pound tank.
Following Al’s directions (Travel with the Bayfield Bunch), I drive about ten miles away from Why and then turn onto a dirt road. Al had said, “After about three miles look for the American and Canadian flags up on a hill on the right. You probably can’t drive up there so just park on the road.”
I park the PTV and unload the crew.
We walk up the lane to Al and Kelly’s fifth wheel. Kelly is sitting in a lounge chair out front, reading and listening to music. “Hi, Kelly!” She says hi and runs inside to get Al. The two of them and their dog, Pheebs, walk down to meet the crew and me on our way up. A little later, Rick and his dog, Lady, come down from their Scamp up on another knoll. We pick out a place for our camp and the three of them help me position the Casita.
Our front door faces the sunset.
It’s a beautiful spot with a view of the mountains. I turn the PTV so her nose is pointing at the tongue of the Casita. I want the solar panel to be in the right position for tilting tomorrow morning. I turn on the inverter and plug the power cords together. I run the remote meter out the door of the PTV and in the Casita door. I’m anxious to see what it reads after the panel has been under the Arizona sun all day, flat on the roof of the Casita.
One hundred-five amp hours! Wow!
Spike is absolutely beside himself with happiness at making two new, exciting friends. He plays off-leash with both of them, hopping around like a pup. Bridget, not so much. She clings to my pant legs and shows her teeth at both dogs, which is silly because they could beat her up without even trying.
The Sonoran Desert is a wondrous place. Tomorrow I’m going to get out my lounge chair and sit in the sun until all traces of winter leave my bones.