Friday, March 21
We three outbackers need to go to town!
Early in the morning the crew and I pull out of our campsite on Sore Finger Road.
I’m not in a hurry. In fact, I’d be happy to stay here another week or so. However, we need to go to a grocery store.
I drive about 15 mph with the windows down, savoring the experience, imprinting this beautiful environment on my memory.
The wide, dirt road hasn’t had a vehicle on it — other than ours — in over three days.
We’re on our way to Wickenburg which is about 60 miles east.
Heading north on Salome Road, we come to a tiny church.
I take Centennial Road, bypassing Salome.
Soon we’re on Highway 60, heading due east.
On the way I see a green sign, “Transfer Station.” That’s where we’re going!
I’ve been carrying around two large kitchen trash bags of garbage and several items to be recycled. It’s about two miles down a side road. White Prickly Poppy grows along the roadside.
That task completed, we return to Highway 60.
At the town of Aquila, I turn southward onto Eagle Eye Road to look for a camp for tonight. I’d rather not backtrack, but I’m not sure I want to camp around bustling Wickenburg, and Eagle Eye Road is an intriguing name.
A long stretch of Highway 60 goes through state land as it approaches Wickenburg. Eagle Eye Road, on the other hand, crosses BLM land on the east side of the Harquahala Mountains.
I drive about twelve miles.
Twice I stop, leaving the crew in the Perfect Tow Vehicle, in order to walk a spur road without having to keep Bridget and Spike from sticking their noses in possible snake hiding places.
Uh-oh. Not good. This ground looks like Wellton Quicksand. I’ll never forget what that looks like! (The PTV got stuck at Coyote Wash in Wellton, Arizona, recently). Oh well, it’s a beautiful day for driving around and walking the desert.
Guess who I bump into at the Safeway in Wickenburg!
It’s Kelly of Travel with the Bayfield Bunch!
“I was going to ignore you, Kelly, but I figured if we talk now we won’t have to visit each other!”
She laughs. We hug and chat next to our grocery carts.
“Gee, you guys have had a lot of visitors lately,” I remark. “Didn’t I tell you your home would turn into a tourist stop?”
Al and Kelly will leave their home in Congress soon to return to their home in Ontario for six months, as Canadians do.
Kelly asks me where I plan to camp.
“Actually, I haven’t figured that out yet,” I reply. Kelly suggests Vulture Mine Road. I tell her I don’t want to be visible from the road where I might be recognized, and Vulture Mine is a popular boondocking area.
Kelly — bless her heart — explains where I can find a road that will suit me fine.
And, boy, does it ever!
The desert around here is like a garden!
Bridget, Spike, and I have been exploring and I’ve collected quite a few photos of desert flowers and plants.
Our site overlooks a wide, curving wash where birds chortle and sing. A pair of purple finches, male and female, alight delicately on a chain cholla in bud.
The cactus wrens survey the scene from, where else, the top of saguaros. A phainopepla, recognized by his crest, sways in the breeze, clinging to the stalk of the ocotillo that’s in bloom right in front of our door.
At dusk Mr. and Mrs. Gambrel Quail take a stroll in front of my chair and the crew’s beds. A curious curved bill thrasher sits on the fire ring and eyes me before flying off to a palo verde someone has adorned with halves of grapefruit and oranges.
Several cottontail rabbits scamper around in frenetic chases in the wash below our camp. It’s a lover’s playground down there!
And the flowers! Oh, my!
I’ll save those photos for the next post.
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