Monday, February 5
“Well, boys, we’re off to a new camp!”
The Perfect Tow Vehicle and the Best Little Trailer rumble out of our boondock south of Why. We take Route 86 east and cross the land of the Tohono O’odham Nation (“Desert People”).
Route 86 connects Ajo and Why with Tucson and Green Valley.
The day is ideal for travel.
Anticipating a very long drive, my focus is on “making time,” although I’m not aware of it. My usual frame of mind when on the way to a new camp is happy anticipation.
At the tiny town of Sells we pull into a convenience store/gas station parking lot. I walk the crew and buy a cup of coffee.
Before resuming our travel, I open up my Arizona Benchmark atlas.
Gee . . . . Instead of pushing myself for a couple more hours, we could make a right turn onto Route 286 at Robles Junction, go south and make camp at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Area. It’s only 34 miles south of the junction.
Yeah . . . That was a great camp!
“That’s what we’ll do!” I announce cheerfully to the crew. “We’ll camp on that ridge overlooking the grasslands!”
The decision lightens my spirit.
That familiar “happy anticipation” returns as I recall pleasant scenes from the camp that Bridget, Reggie and I shared.
Briefly I park on the shoulder to photograph the saguaro (above) and the road towards Robles Junction.
A couple miles before the turn for Route 286, we’re stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint.
The uniformed man asks me the usual questions:
“Is it just you by yourself?”
“Yes, me and my two dogs.”
“Where are you coming from?”
“Ajo. Well, actually Why. I camped south of Why.”
“And where are you going?”
“I thought I’d go down to Buenos Aires, the wildlife refuge. I want to camp there.”
(Smile) “Yes, the turn is up the road a little way. Enjoy yourself.”
(Smile) “Thank you!”
I think the purpose of the question-answer exchange is to give the drug-sniffing dog a chance to perform his task.
At Robles Junction aka Three Points, I top off the PTV’s tank.
Then I go into the little grocery store.
Yay! They have flour tortillas!
The package says “Alejandro’s Tortilla & Bakery, Tucson — A Southern Arizona Tradition since 1980”.)
Funny that. 1980 seems only a short while ago. Well, now that we have tortillas we’re all set to boondock several days. I’m so excited! This is going to be fun.
I make the right turn onto Route 286.
Except for about ten Border Patrol vehicles heading north, we don’t come across anyone else during the 34 miles of road south through Altar Valley.
We turn onto Arivaca Road and head toward the Las Guijas Mountains.
The road I’m looking for is clearly marked.
What? I don’t remember seeing that last time we were here.
Over by the kiosk sits a Border Patrol truck.
Hooked behind it is a horse trailer with a few horses inside. I go up to the truck and ask the guy behind the wheel about the sign.
He smiles and says, “I don’t know about a permit. You could check at the headquarters. If I were you, I’d go ahead and camp and not worry about it. That sign may have to do with hunting, not camping.”
I love choosing a campsite!
There are loads of nice, level campsites on this road. Many of them are very large.
No one is camped here . . . .
Soon I know the one I want and we move in!
I make sure I position the Best Little Trailer’s door facing north in order that shade be on our outdoor room. (Photos in upcoming posts.)
The angle is just right for this view of Baboquivari Peak (elev. 7,734) from my lounger.
The air is comfortably warm with a gentle, cool breeze.
When I have everything just how I want it, inside the BLT and out, I fire up the griddle for lunch. After lunch I take the crew on a walk-around. The boys need to check the perimeter of our camp before they can feel at home.
Late in the afternoon, after the heat of the day, we explore our road.
Reggie and Roger are very excited to be in a new place with lots of new scents!
For me, I love the way the grass glows in the gold of late afternoon, the soft breezes that come up from the valley and waft over the ridge, the signs of wildlife all around, the soothing silence except for an occasional cactus wren or quail, and, oh yeah, over 100,000 beautiful, mostly untouched acres, and the place we’ve claimed within it.
There’s not an RV in sight!
I’m very glad I made the right turn and found home!
THANK YOU FOR VISITING MY BLOG!
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Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, southern Arizona” – March 2016
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