Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Southern Arizona:
first south, then east

Early on Monday morning, my friend Julie and I left our camp outside Ehrenberg to head south towards Yuma. 

The last sunset shared with friends at our camp outside of Ehrenberg. 1/26/14
Our intent was to go into Los Algodones, MX the next day -- Julie for dental and some gifts, and me for some prescriptions and a few trinkets ... and just to enjoy the goings-on.

We overnight'ed at the Quechan Casino Resort
prior to going into Los Algodones.  Taken sunrise 1/28/14.

My Prius, Julie's Van, a Class B and Truck Camper at sunrise
in the casino parking lot.  1/28/14

We shared the casino parking lot with many, many larger RVs. 1/28/14
Julie was pleased with the dental care and the good deals she got on her gifts.  The prescriptions I purchased were about 75% less expensive, on average, than purchasing them in the US (with insurance).  Only one of the medications proved more expensive in Mexico. 

After Los Algodones, Julie headed back north and I went east toward Tucson.

One of the aspects of traveling that I really enjoy is being spontaneous ... and such was the case while heading to Tucson.  I saw a brown park sign while zooming along on I-8 that said "Painted Rock Petroglyphs" and, most encouragingly, a tent symbol which means camping was available.  So, in a split-second decision I was off the freeway and heading north.

It is a primitive campground, no water, pit toilets, but the campsites had tables and fire rings ... desert camping with a few amenities.  A short hike took you around a mound of rocks with many hundreds of petroglyphs.

Looking up at the mound of rocks, many with petroglyphs.  1/28/14

So many rocks, so many petroglyphs.  1/28/14

A close up of one of the rocks.  1/28/14

Long shadows cast by the setting sun, a view from my campsite
toward the rock mound.  1/28/14

Yet another desert sunset.
This time from my camp site at Painted Rock Petroglyphs. 1/28/14

While being in the desert, I kept seeing these large greenish patches.
The color reminded me of the lime-colored seed/fertilizer they spray on
newly created freeway embankments to minimize erosion.  1/30/14
But, I soon realized it was little desert plants responding to a recent rain.
Little sprouting plants around my campsite.  1/30/14
Are these poppies that are ready to bloom?  1/30/14
After spending several nights at Painted Rock Petroglyphs, I again headed east.   While in Tucson, I couldn't resist checking out Saguaro National Park first thing.  I took a really wonderful drive through Tucson Mountain Park first.  Besides being amazed at the very tall and stately saguaro cactus all around me, I was so impressed with the density of all of the plant life; so unlike what I've been use to these last weeks of desert camping.
View to the west from Saguaro NP Visitor Center (west).  1/31/14
A path behind the visitor center rambles by a 30' saguaro cactus.  1/31/14

Looking past the same saguaro cactus by the path, past a creosote bush,
an unknown type of tree (mesquite?) to another saguaro cactus.  1/31/14
View on the south side of the Visitor Center. 
Due to soaking rains and warmer-than-usual weather,
desert plants are starting an early bloom.  1/31/14
Early, little yellow flowers on a creosote bush at the Visitor Center. 1/31/14
I don't know this plant, but it's flowering early too ...
cute little purple buds and fuzzy pink flowers.  1/31/14
I don't know this plant either, but it was starting to bloom.  1/31/14

These cholla? buds look like they are ready to pop (prickly pear below).  Visitor Center 1/31/14

The Sonoran desert is an amazing place.

Near Saguaro NP Visitor Center (west).  1/31/14

I will return to Saguaro NP ... so much more to explore!

I also had a chance to visit with some good family friends, Teresa and John, who have a winter condo in Tucson.  We first visited a bit, then went to the amazing Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, "a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place."  As if that wasn't enough, they treated me to a wonderful dinner and more good conversation.  Very nice!  So good to see you both!

And now, to the Super Bowl (almost half-time) ... the Seahawks are doing it (22-0)!

Go Hawks!


  1. So cool! Reps from that park were at the big tent show so I talked to them awhile. I'd like to get over there some time. :)

    1. Good to hear from you Linda! SAGU is a very cool park. Seems like they have a lot of volunteers because Tucson is right in the middle of it :)

  2. Love all your pics, thanks so much for sharing. But I worry about you camping remotely by yourself. Be careful!!!

    1. Thanks Mary. FYI -- I'm rarely by myself when camping remotely. And when I am, I make sure I have my SPOT GPS Messenger device handy, just in care. Love you and see you soon.


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