A day in the Sonoran Desert

After two rainy days and nights, this morning’s sun sure felt good. 

The view of our camp and Black Mountain from Rick's place

I face my camp chair toward Black Mountain as the sun peers over its shoulder.  Black Mountain isn’t really black.  It’s mostly covered in green vegetation.  Anyway.  I have three eggs over-easy on my plate because I know Bridget and Spike are going to pester me for some and I want to make sure I get my two-egg share..  My percolator makes very hot coffee and this morning it tastes especially good.

I hear the whirr of a tiny motor.

A hummingbird is poking at the feeder I hung in the mesquite bush in front of the Casita.  The sun lights up his head and neck an iridescent pink.  Along comes a finch who is immediately disappointed there are no seeds.  I’m surprised he bothers to look around here.  Maybe he’s weary of the crowds up at Rick’s feeder.  I’ll  pick up some bird seed today when I go into town.

I put Bridget and Spike in their pen.

I have been letting them roam around our campsite.  Rick told me the coyotes are far off, ever since he emptied a clip across the desert behind his camper.  “I was establishing my territory,” he explains.

“Yeah, well . . .  you don’t know what coyote magnets these two are,” I respond prophetically.  I tell him about our recent experiences with New Mexican coyotes.

Sure enough.  That night under a full moon a coyote lets out a scream that lifts me up off the bed about a foot.  Darn,  he sounds like he’s right under this window!  So the crew is on lock-down or on-leash.

The break in the weather gives me a chance to air out the Casita.

Once housekeeping is done, I settle in my chair to read my kindle.  I get the idea to wash my hair outside in the sun.  I put a few inches of warm water in a dishpan, wet my hair, and soap it up.  I dip a plastic cup and pour water over my head to rinse.  After a towel-dry and a comb-out, I’m back to my kindle while my hair dries.

The evil cholla

I get out my Petersen Field Guide to Rocky Mountain and Southwest Forests to identify some of the trees and plants around our campsite.

I already have been warned about the cholla and its terrible burrs.  I’m glad there are none closeby.

Our campsite has a palo verde tree, a mesquite, a creosote bush, and a saguaro, the latter very likely fifty years old or more.   I haven’t seen much wildlife around here, only one black-tailed jackrabbit, a covey of quail, and a few birds… hummingbirds, finches, and sparrows.  A flicker likes to cling near the top of the saguaro.

This afternoon the Perfect Tow Vehicle takes us into town.

Ajo is only about six miles from here, an easy drive.  I could go the shorter route of about four-and-a-half miles, but the road is winding and rough.

Ajo is not very big.  Its historical section is marked by a plaza and a pretty church.

The church at the center of Ajo

The people are mostly friendly, working-class, and, as you would expect, Native American, Mexican, or Anglo, or a mixture of these.  I go into the IGA store for a few things.  Man, somebody around here really loves meat!  It’s not a big store yet the meat section makes Walmart’s seem puny.  It looks like it even has a genuine, live butcher on duty.  I see big chunks of cheese and some Mexican stuff  I can’t identify.  I buy a piece of very appealing, apple pie since it’s been years since I’ve had any. . .  and I remember to get the birdseed.

I stop at the Family Dollar, for no apparent reason, and browse around.  The Christmas trash is everywhere . .. wrapping paper, gift bags, cheap toys, perfume sets,  the usual trappings, and the music, of course.  It makes me claustrophobic, so I put down my roll of paper towels and leave.  I find the less I do for Christmas, the better Christmas I have.

You can occasionally hear a bomb dropped over at the bombing range.

Military planes swoop down low sometimes and put on mini-airshows.   Every day we hear a few sonic booms.  Sunset seems to sneak up on me every day.  I think it’s about three o’clock and zip!. .. there goes the sun behind the mountains.

The crew and I hurry to take another walk before dark. 

There’s no noise at this time of day, only the crunch of my feet on the loose stones in the dirt road.

The recent rains made the green desert greener.

When our Casita comes into view on the way back, I always say, “We’re almost home.”  Bridget knows the word “home” and quickens our pace.

Our home comes into view from the road.

I get a good feeling when I see our home nestled in the greenery of the desert.  I don’t know how long we will stay here.  I don’t feel like going anywhere else for now.



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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52 Responses to A day in the Sonoran Desert

  1. Your blog is always soooo peaceful sounding and relaxing (except for the solar and fridge booboo) I love reading your words, and can imagine looking out at the same scenes we had seen last year when we were there. We stayed at a lot of Al and Kelly’s favorite places and sure enjoyed the area!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House… BIG Backyard

  2. Sandie says:

    Had to laugh about the eggs. We always have to fix an extra one for our girls to have or they just have their noses stuck in our plates. Such a beautiful place and the sun is shining. What more could you want.

  3. Jerryc says:

    Great that things are improving for you. Looks to be a beautiful setting. I’m envious.
    What’s the latest on your solar problem of a few days ago? Did you get the problem figured out and corrected?

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      The main problem was the refrigerator sucking the power. Since then it’s been hard to keep the batteries charged up due to dark, cloudy days. Today was much better . ..up to 13 volts.

  4. ed says:

    We travel with a dog as well. Park rangers refer to a tied out dog as a Twinkie on a string.
    Enjoy Ajo. One of our favorite spots.

  5. cathieok says:

    That last picture just shows that the years of planning has paid off! You are doing just what you wanted. How nice!

  6. JoJo says:

    Yes everything has greened up nicely. We had fog up until 1pm when the sun finally burned through. It was nice to go walking with Fred. Fred loved it.
    Should be nice for few more days. Enjoy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, JoJo,

      Yes, I heard through the boondocker’s grapevine (people told Rick and Rick told me) that more rain is coming soon, and I confirmed it online. Fred needs to enjoy the sunshine while he can!

  7. bearwise2010 says:

    I to am envious, what beautiful pictures. It looks like an amazing place, no wonder you are not ready to leave I won’t be either. Enjoy! and up north canada enjoying every bit of your blog. thanks for sharing. Patsy

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Patsy!

      I’m sure I’m not the first to say this . .. The saguaro look like they are praising the heavens for such a beautiful earth. They are an uplifting sight against the mountain backdrop. I bet you have wondrous sights of nature up your way.

      I’m happy you are enjoying my blog.

  8. Mike Leonard says:

    Sue, I love the pictures and especially the picture of your campsite. There is a lady with a Casita that must be very close to where you are. You may know of her blog: http://www.imperfectdestiny.com/ . I’m still hoping to be there in a couple of weeks and it would be great if you are still there. I think our four little dogs would get along great with Spike and Brenda.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mike!

      I never did meet the lady camped in the Casita near here. She left soon after we arrived.

      I’m sure the crew would have fun with your four little ones. Like I said, I’m not sure where I’ll be in a couple weeks. I’m not making any plans.

  9. Reine says:

    Glad you’re ok and enjoying your world. We’re doing a bit less for Christmas ourselves both in presents and decorations. But I don’t like all the junky stuff you see at the Dollar Stores either.
    It’s been really drizzly here in Plano the last day or two but as dry as Texas is, nobody is complaining. Enjoy the sun and the Sonoran Desert. It’s a beautiful area.

  10. longdog2 says:

    I am so glad that you aren’t letting the dogs run loose. Coyotes aren’t that predictable and it isn’t worth taking a chance. The rangers comment was right on, I know I would be worried about my 3 dachshunds.

  11. Emjay says:

    Take care with the furry kids. I was in AZ desert the first part of November, and the coyotes are really on the prowl…even in the daytime. IN fact, we were off of Saguarito Road in a rancher’s pasture (though this pasture looked just like the terrain where you are now)! Being near houses and ranches is no guarantee the coyotes aren’t near.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Emjay!

      Thanks for the reminder. Rick’s dog, Lady, successfully battled two coyotes at once (She’s a real, native-born desert dog). The crew is definitely not in her league!

  12. What a great feeling it is for Kelly and I to know how much you are enjoying yourself in an area we love so much as well. I am sometimes a bit leery when I suggest a great spot because everyone’s likes and dislikes are different. From reading your blog and especially after seeing what you went through with the weather over at Truth or Consequences I felt confident you would take a liking to the green Sonoran Desert at Darby Wells. Through the few conversations we had and especially the one leaning on the Van’s engine hood I could tell we think very much alike. Just sooooo glad things are working out. You have seen, and are working your way through the solar problems and are now understanding and experiencing the great outdoors boon docking experience. Oh, by the way, Kelly and I are both right there with you regarding your thoughts about Christmas……….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Al,

      You know I will be eternally grateful to you and Kelly for sharing this special place with me. You’re right. It’s just what I needed after the snowstorm in New Mexico.

      You sum up exactly the feeling I had while talking with you that day. I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to people after such a short acquaintance than I feel toward you. Surely our paths will cross again.

      The crew and I walked up to your campsite this morning to view a magnificent sunrise next to Black Mountain. I thought to myself, as I clicked a point-and-shoot, “If Al were here he would capture this sunrise in a gorgeous photo.”

      Oh, thanks for the two books. Rick finished them and passed them on to me . . .

      I’m so sorry about the kidney stone. I’m glad you were in Tucson when it struck!

      Regards to Kelly, Pheebs, and Cora.

  13. Mick & Casey --soon to be "Travels with Casey" says:

    I admire your independence and resilience, and I love how serene your new digs look. After a week in crazy corporate land, it looks a little like heaven. Coyotes, snakes, spiders and unidentifiable bugs and reptiles are top on the list of my biggest fears. I nodded in recognition when you wrote, “The Christmas trash is everywhere” — well said, and so very accurate. I’ve been following your blog since you set out, and although there are some very good ones out there to learn from, yours is really unique. Can’t wait to have my “Travels with Casey.” I’m satisfying my sense of wanderlust and restlessness, which seems to grow deeper day by day, with hunting forays into RV showrooms, reading blogs like yours, and learning as much as I can. Here’s wishing you happy travels with the crew — Mick & Casey

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Mick & Casey!

      I really like the name you have chosen for your blog. Soon you will be posting your amazing adventures!

      Except for the coyotes, all those other creepy crawlies seem to be taking a long winter’s sleep. We haven’t encountered any “snakes, spiders and unidentifiable bugs and reptiles” since we arrived at this camp. I did see an industrious ant (a Harvester Ant, maybe?) toting off a huge (to him) piece of my cracker the other day.

      You’re doing the things I did to keep from going crazy with anticipation . . . Thanks for your kind wish . . . the same to you!

  14. Page says:

    I appreciate your Christmas comment. Less is always more in my world. I’m also envious of your hummer. They never come to our feeder.

    Love & Light!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Page!

      When a fellow teacher asked me what I wanted for a retirement gift, I immediately said, “a hummingbird feeder!” It was something that symbolized the quieter, gentler way of life I pined for. Don’t give up hope . .. hummingbirds are migratory!

  15. Hi Sue,
    Home is where the heart is. You’re happy where you are so … enjoy. It’s important to reflect occasionally on why you’re doing what you’re doing. I am one of many who appreciate your willingness to share your experiences.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Barrie,

      I’m happy here. I’ve come to realize that a love for simple things and a simple life is a blessed gift. It says a lot about faithful readers such as yourself who continue to enjoy reading about my simple days and uncomplicated thoughts.

  16. Judy says:

    Your words and pictures conjure up a Serenity that oozes off the page. You are so awesome to share!
    Every fall when each day pulls dreary winter closer, I battle an internal whine “I wanna run away!” Your blog soothes my soul…and is encouragment to plot and plan my way to freedom on the road.

    I’m in south central Ohio btw.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Judy!

      I appreciate you telling me where you are. I often wonder where a commenter is located, even though I may have been told previously. I wish a person’s location would automatically appear alongside their name. I like to picture where a person is.

      You have “a way with words.” Keep plotting and planning . . . It’s worth the wait!

      • Judy says:

        Hi Sue,
        I have to share something w/ you!
        My husband and I had been planning to attend our first RTR in Quartsite until an unexpected medical procedure gave out budget a set-back in Oct….
        A couple days ago I had hubby look at the wonderful pics you posted of the AZ dessert we’ll be missing…
        Well, today hubby says he’s figured a way to make the trip happen after all….!! Hubby also gets a yearning for sun and warmer places when these gray days of winter arrive. “ya know what put me over the edge?” he asked….” it was ‘I hear the whirr of a tiny motor….a hummingbird at the feeder’ ”
        Yipee! Your writing skills are getting us to AZ in Jan after all…Hope to see you there!

  17. Geri says:

    Wonderful photographs! You have become a very good photographer! You sound happy and relaxed and that is a good thing! Thank you for sharing your blog and your life with us all!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri!

      I miss you guys! It would have been nice to spend Christmas with you, but I had to get moving again. I’m sure you understand!

      Thanks for the compliment on the photos. About the only thing I can see good about them is they usually have good composition and an excellent subject, like the crew or the Sonoran Desert. Other than that, bllggghh!!

  18. janine says:

    Its such a beautiful place you’re at- spacially, physically, and mentally! Great life and journies to you rwsue!!!!!1

  19. Sherry says:

    What a gorgeous spot you have Sue. Your pictures make me want to toss Florida as a winter spot and hurry right out there to be with you. Not the bombers so much but hummers, you bet!

    Totally agree about Christmas When did it become all about buying and decorating??


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, Sherry!

      There are so many outstanding places of natural beauty in this country . . . and pretty places to get warm in the winter. Oh the bombs aren’t a distraction . . . a boom now and again keeps me alert!

      Christmas started to deteriorate the first time anyone tried to make it more special than it is.

  20. Old Texan says:

    Read your blog a couple times and the “town ” name kept clicking a bell. So I looked it up!! Different town. I was thinking of Abo NM. it’s even smaller than where you are. Ghost Town classification now I think. Have fun and carry a Big ole Gun for the coyotes!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Old Texan!

      Now you’ve got me wondering where the name Abo came from. Spanish maybe? I’ve got to look that up. I do know Ajo means garlic.

      What a difference one letter makes, eh?

  21. Old Texan says:

    Here’s a link that should answer that question for you Sue. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/pueblo/pirosindianhist.htm

  22. Chuck says:

    Assuming frig problem solved? Great pix and as always, your blog is so well written. Hopefully, we’ll see you at Dome Rock, Quartzsite with the Mothership in her namesake role with a lot of little Casitas!!! Give the furkids an extra egg for me!! Chuck

  23. Gayle M. Cooper says:

    Loved this post! It’s like poetry ! Answered my rhetorical question: Is there peace on earth anywhere these days? Yeah, with rvsue & and crew! Here is my helpful hint offered in gratitude for your enjoyable posts: My son’s brother-in-law, a firefighter/paramedic in CA, seen lots brush fires, floods, etc. He said to always park one’s PTV facing out to the road, no obstructions in front of it, with your PTV keys always in your pocket or lanyard around your neck, so that, if emergency with self, dogs, neighbors, natural disaster, you can jump in and bolt straight outta there! It ‘s funny to drive by his house, and he’s the only one on the block with all 4 vehicles and RV pointing outwards! 10-4! Happy Holidays to you and crew, Gayle

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Gayle!

      Poetry! High praise for my lowly blog . . . . I’ve already got the lanyard, given to me by a dear friend in Georgia. Thanks for the advice . .. .. So your son’s brother-in-law is one of those guys who always backs into a parking spot . . . .

  24. hobopals says:

    Don’t know how, but I didn’t find you until today, Sue. I’ve caught up on your blogs and will enjoy following you, in the future.

  25. BeckyIO says:

    You’re living my dream! The desert looks so pretty all greened up like that.

    Once I’m on the road I plan on adopting a cat to come with me in my Casita. I won’t have to worry about coyotes getting him or her since I plan on keeping ’em indoors – but I wonder if a cat would get upset at seeing a coyote outside the window? I might have to accept that I’ll have some sleepless nights on account of a yowling cat since I won’t be able to just shut it outside of my bedroom. 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The other alternative would be to train your cat to walk on a leash. Then your cat can go with you on walks or sit outside with you. I know people do have cats that they keep inside their houses all the time. It’s not something I would want to do, being a big proponent of the benefits of fresh air for people and animals.

      Camping is an outdoor activity. Don’t you want to share the outdoors with your kitty? It’s a personal decision, of course. Think over the leash idea though.

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