Once we got Mexico out of my blood we headed east to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and camped in a well-developed campground called Twin Peaks Campground. Hot showers! Well, they were hot 37% of the time depending on the solar water heater and what time of day you wanted to get clean. Running water! If you liked the taste of plastic cistern. Evening Programs! Which we failed to attend. It was starting to feel a little too much like resort camping with all those amenities.
There were fabulous hikes to be had — which we hiked.
One thing that is so endearing about southwest Arizona is the abundance of Saguaro cactus. It is so easy to anthropomorphize them. This one just shouted “Uh oh” to me.
The Border Patrol is extremely active in the southern part of Arizona. They have checkpoints set up regularly on all major and minor roads. We passed through them on the interstate and on roads running north and south from the border, or east and west connecting any road from the border. After the third or fourth border check point I started to feel a little bit like a nervous criminal. But then I lightened up and started joking around with the Border Agents. I even got to know one cute one named Ortiz as I passed through his checkpoint on my way to get more ice.
Illegal immigration is a hot topic in Arizona and people land on both sides of the fence (no pun intended). We spent one night on the Buenos Aries National Wildlife Refuge and learned that there are humanitarian water tanks set up for the immigrants to keep them from dying of thirst. And then two miles down the road you see the Border Patrol agents sitting on the side of the road with scopes looking for movement to take any illegals into custody. While we haven’t seen any illegals we have seen a number of flashlights on the horizon flickering and bouncing along. Although I don’t feel that they pose any danger, it is still quite a disconcerting situation. The Border Patrol agents tell us that we are in safe places and not to worry about running into any. Mostly they try to hide and not be seen as they make their way into the land of plenty.
Speaking of the land of plenty, I have some advice. We went into Lukeville which was south of our campground and right on the border. There was a restaurant there and we thought we would take a break from my camp cooking. The name of the restaurant was the same as the gas station: “GasTrak Restaurant/Cafe”. Note to everyone: It might be safest NOT to eat at a restaurant that has the name “Gas” in its name. Also, if you do decide to eat there–don’t order the Carne Asada Burro. I think it really was Burro meat. But only if Burro meat is green and slimey and chewy and gamey.
Say Goodnight, Gracey.