Wednesday, January 16
Bridget wakes me up around six o’clock because she needs to go out. I’m glad because I want us to get an early start to Ajo, Arizona. By 7:45 the crew and I are on Interstate 8 going east toward Tucson. It’s a bright, clear, calm day with blue sky. “We’re on our way!” I feel free, like a horse let out of the barn in spring!
I pull off at Wellton, about thirty miles east of Yuma.
I park in a big lot that has a water vending station, an Olsen’s grocery store, and a Chevron station. Great! The first thing I do is walk Bridget and Spike all around the edge of the lot and across an unpaved area. They didn’t get to walk before we left Yuma this morning. A little exercise will make them happy to sleep as we go down the road.
That done, I make a quick trip into the grocery store.
I want to take advantage of a store that’s nearly empty this early in the day in order to avoid the flu virus. Next I fill up five jugs with drinking water . . . 5 gallons for fifty cents. I pump $74.40 worth of gas at $3.34 a gallon. On the pump it says the gas is oxygenated for emissions. Huh? What’s that all about? Carbonated gas?
It’s an easy, straight shot across the desert to Gila Bend.
I look for the Shell Station where I took advantage of a free dump station when I left Ajo last winter. By the time I realize it’s not there, I’ve passed the Love’s truck plaza that probably has a free dump station. My focus is on a mission to get to our next camp. I can’t turn around and go back! Now we’re on Highway 85 and the PTV keeps on keepin’ southward. It won’t be long now!
I see rooftops on the Ajo mountain glinting in the sun.
There’s the big A on the mountainside! And over there is Black Mountain! We’re back! The sign for Belly Acres RV Park comes into view. I dump tanks and fill up the fresh water tank for $10, paying the price for my earlier impatience.
Driving up Darby Well Road, I wonder if Rick is at his usual campsite.
It would be fun to see him again. The crew is awake and excited. I park at the end of the lane. Bridget and Spike yap and bounce around inside the PTV until I let them fly out. Our anticipation grows as we retrace steps from a year ago.
“Do you remember this place, guys? We walked this lane many times.”
Spike picks up the pace. Bridget and I hurry to keep up with him. We reach our old campsite from last year. Coming around a bend I scan the green desert for that telltale white speck. There it is! Rick’s Scamp!
I hope he’s home! I keep my eyes on Rick’s campsite as the crew and I walk further.
Soon I see him, sitting on the front bumper of his Jeep. Then a big wave. I wave back. Lady sprints down the lane. I let go of the leashes and Bridget and Spike run up to greet their pal. Rick meets me halfway with a big smile and a hug.
Gee, it’s good to be back.