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Monday, March 9, 2015

Day 53 - Pipe Organ Cactus National Monument / Last Cookie / 9000 Miles

This is today's destination (Pipe Organ National Monument), but before I get there I need to drive 114 miles.

First my stop for unsweetened ice tea & downloads at McDonalds then my long drive.  

I started my drive before 7:00 am.  AZ 86 is a long straight road, I'm just glad I was headed with the sun to my back.

Although there are a few mountains to the south this road is very flat and through the Tohono O'Odham Nation Reservation.

About 30 so miles outside of Tucson is the Kitt Peak National Observertory in the picture above.  I have been to it before as I have the Pipe Organ Cactus National Monument.

This road reminded me of the Holly's song with the words "The road is long" without the "many a winding turn" from their song "He ain't heavy he's my brother"

I finally turn south towards Mexico in Why, AZ.  This town isn't a cross road it is actually a "T" in the road with a couple stores.

On AZ 86 there is a Boarder Patrol checkpoint then another just south of Why on AZ 85.

My trip today I saw more Boarder Patrol vehicles and Sheriff vehicles stationary and moving that it is the most patrolled road I have been on.

I arrived at Pipe Organ Cactus Mational Monument visitor center mid morning and checked in (no cost as I have my Senior Pass) and got some information.  I them watched the 15 minute movie about the area.

There are many types of cactus in the park.

I first tried driving the black circle loop road from the top right counter clockwise and got to a sign a few miles out that said only high clearance vehicles only.  I know that excludes my Prius so I went back to AZ 85 (red road to right) and drove to boarder town Lukeville, AZ.

Lukeville is smaller than Why as there is no T in the road.  There is a gas station only and the boarder crossing to Mexico after it.

I was looking for the other end of that loop road I was on. 

I found it and started driving it clockwise but it was rough and wash boarded.  There in the background is The Great Wall Of America separating the US from Mexico.  

I drove a bit further before turning around but this closer view of the Great Wall.  With a big screen you can see the Boarder Patrol vehicles on this side on the hill.

Not finding this road a good spot for taking my Prius I went for option 2 that is the lollipop road in the picture above that is directly across from the visitors center and I had more luck.

This road started off boring but it will change!

The verity and quantity gets much better.

You start to drive up into the mountains.

The variety of colors are not picked up well in my photos but you can see the stripe in the rock formation above.

I met these two bikers touring the route.

Here is a natural arch.

This is a 21 mile drive at about 15 mph due to the road being mostly dirt.  I did bottom out once in the Prius.

I thought about staying at the the Pipe Organ Campground but before I got there driving on AZ 85 I got this AT&T text message.

AT&T Free Msg: Welcome abroad! To call the U.S., dial: +1 followed by 10-digit number. Please note intl rates apply. Data pkgs of $30/120MB, $60/300MB, $120/800MB available at or free call to +1.214.547.2300. You may turn off data in device Settings; otherwise, pay-per-use rate of $19.97/MB applies.

I have gotten these before and basically I put my phone into airplane mode to not incur charges, so I couldn't post my blog from there if I stayed.

I then remember that there was BLM land in Why that some folks were boondocking on so I thought I would stay there.  I checked my phone in Why and it says off network.

I have also seen this before and badicially this means you are on Indian Nation Land and it is their cell system.  My communication with AT&T last year is that they only have agreements with them for phone calls & text and just a few megabits of data.  It does not support me posting my blog tonight.  Therefore I decided to drive back to Tucson for the night.  The round trip drive and side trips there was about a 380 mile daily drive.

Today I ate the last of the lemon cookies that Joyce at my home town made for me during my trip.  She did the same thing last year.  Thanks Joyce! They were good.

I did pass the 9000 mile 2015 Travels milestone today too.  That's an average of driving 169 miles per day on the trip.

Have s good night.


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