Saturday, January 17
As Bridget and I approach the Border Patrol checkpoint, I slow the Perfect Tow Vehicle in accordance with the speed limit signs. A Border Patrol agent stands on the left side of my lane, talking with another agent on the far side of the opposite lane.
As the PTV slows on approach, he glances over his shoulder at me.
“You don’t have to stop, ma’am. Drive carefully.”
We continue on the straight shot southward toward Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
I put down the visor against the glare of sunshine through the windshield.
The Ajo Mountains appear to the east, each mountain distinctly different from its neighbor. From my viewpoint across the desert plain of cacti, palo verde, ironwood trees, and creosote bushes, the distant crags and canyons seem lightly covered with green confetti.
I pull over and pick up my camera.
I left it back at camp, still in the laptop! Oh well, we’ll drive for a while and then return to Organ Pipe another day.
We arrive at a rest stop which is a big parking lot with informational boards. The lot is empty.
I park and let a squirmy, excited Bridget out the side door.
“There you go. Isn’t this fun? A new place to sniff!”
The campground and visitor center is 15 miles ahead. Using the map as a reference I identify the dome of Montezuma’s Hat in the Ajo Mountains to the east.
I turn and face northward. I pick out familiar Black Mountain, next to Darby Well Road and the town of Ajo.
The late afternoon sun plays shadows on the mountains.
I call Bridget over to her water dish which I have placed on the pavement. Of course, she doesn’t drink anything. I don’t think Bridget has ever taken a suggestion from me to have a drink in her entire life.
Why I go through the motions, I don’t know. Does she think I’m going to poison her?
I place her and the dish in the PTV and head north to return to camp.
“Well, Bridge, that was our big excursion for the day!”
We zip across the desert until we approach the speed limit signs… 55 mph, 45 mph, 35 mph, 15 mph, stop. I bring my window down. The same agent as before steps up to the window. Oh boy, here we go . . . .
“Yep, it’s me again.” I roll my eyes. “I forgot the memory card for my camera.”
“Oh, I see. You’re going for the card and then you’ll come back.”
“No, not today. I’ll do the Monument another day.”
The agent’s eyes scan the length of the PTV.
“Are you the owner of this vehicle?” he asks seriously.
“Yes, I am.”
“Does everything inside belong to you?”
“Yes, it does.”
“You can go then. Drive safely.”
Border Patrol checkpoint conversations are weird.
Usually the agent asks, “Are you a citizen of the United States?” As if I’m going to say, “No, actually I’m an illegal alien on my way to make an important drug drop in Casa Grande and then we’ll be on our way to Yuma to pick leaf lettuce.”
I guess the agents are looking for signs of nervousness.
Lord knows, I could transport a large family of Central Americans along with several of their friends behind the tinted windows of the PTV.
Sunday, January 18
I alternate reading my Paperwhite with wiping down the BLT’s exterior with a damp cloth. I’m pleased to find there’s still some shine under all the dirt!
I’m reading The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. So far it’s holding my interest and I’m learning a lot about Native American tribes of the West as the story of the Sioux War and Red Cloud is told. I have much to learn. My education skipped over that part of American history.
Anyway. . . . I found the book among the cheap deals offered by Amazon. My frugality introduces me to books I never would think to read otherwise.
I run up and down the lane looking for angles from which to capture the quickly-changing sky. I have fun with my camera.
THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!