Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 37 - Picacho Peak, AZ to Rockhound State Park, NM

We had another driving day today and finally made it out of Arizona.  The scenery was enhanced a bit by the beautiful clouds in the sky today.  It rained overnight in the desert!  I woke up in the middle of the night and was sure that I heard rain but told myself it couldn’t be because of our location.  When I got up to check, sure enough, there were big old drops of water coming from the sky.  It didn’t do much in the way of making the ground wet but did move the dust around on the whale. 
The sky was so clear last night and the star gazing was just wonderful.  I found Vega, Neptune and Uranus and we saw one nice meteor as well.  I have this app on my iPhone called GoSkyWatch which we used to tell us what we were looking at.  It works rather well but we only have it on one phone so had a bit of struggling as to who got to use the app and when.  We did keep our ears open for rattlesnakes and fortunately none were spotted.  We’ve got outside stereo speakers so Brett found a nice classical CD which we piped outside and we sat there quietly looking at the sky.  Then it did seem like a good time to have a celebratory drink.  We wanted Margueritas but didn’t have quite the right ingredients.  Instead we made faux Margueritas from tequila, limoncello and orange juice!  We called them Picachos in honor of our location and they were mighty tasty.

Here is one interesting view of the sky with lots of crepuscular rays.  My mother called these Jacob’s Ladders.  

More art in the wild.  This was in front of a Welcome to Marada sign next to the Circle K where we got our fuel this morning.  Circle K had diesel for 4.09 this morning while the Chevron across the road was charging 4.39.  The Chevron didn’t have any customers whereas we had to wait in a line to get to the pump.  We wouldn’t have had to wait quite as long except the guy in the camper at the pump was sitting there eating a doughnut.  Brett asked him to move.

Tuscon also put a little bit of effort into making parts of the highway a little bit prettier.  Here is some artwork near a bridge.  

Arizona is celebrating their statehood centennial this year and these signs are all over the place.  Brett told somebody that they are just young pups as far as states go.  

I took this picture for Lowell to show him that Tucson also has an “A” mountain.  Looks like they are a little more artistic here as it has some color to it.  Wasn’t ASU’s A just white?  Lowell said he has a friend from Tucson who told him that the median age there is death.  We did see a lot of 55+ RV Resorts.  Apparently they don’t like kids in Tucson.  And apparently Phoenix doesn’t like Tucson either.

We saw a lot of land today.  To tell you the truth, if somebody lined up these photos and asked me to tell them what was where I don’t think that I could do it.  But today we are primarily in a valley (albeit one that is at considerably more than sea level) with mountains visible all around.  Because of this big valley it was possible to build incredibly straight highways.  We measured one 16 mile stretch of I10 that didn’t have as much as a curve in it.

One interesting change in the landscape happened near a spot that was marked Texas Canyon.  Suddenly we had piles of these big boulders that looked fairly smooth but tossed about.  We had seen a sign alerting us to a rest area and wanted to stop to take photos.  The rest area was closed.  Wouldn’t you think that when Arizona put up the sign that said there was a rest area in 60 miles they might have bothered to tell you at that time that it was closed?  

There does seem to be evidence of more water as we drove through the area.  Not that we actually saw any water but the land had considerably more plant life and looked more green from a distance.  There were also a lot of patches of these flowers.

And we can see that some kind of grass grows here.  We saw a few cattle today as well.  When we got off the interstate to come to the campground, the roads were marked with “open range” signs.

Here’s a surprise.  Arizona has places where they grow nuts.  We saw several mature nut tree orchards near Bowie, AZ.  This one looks fairly new.  We stopped at a little stand in Bowie so that Brett could buy another sampling of “Fresh Jerky”.  I’m not sure why it is billed as fresh jerky.  I thought jerky was dried and therefore could not be fresh.

With such an expanse of open land that has very little vegetation, there is a high incidence of dust storms.  We saw many large dust devils along the way but no full fledged brown out.  
 Highway signs alert you to those areas where there might be dusty trouble.  

New Mexico vegetation doesn’t say “hug me” either.  This is a prickly pear cactus that is living right outside our camper.  I must remember to look for it when I go out star gazing tonight.  

Our destination for today was Rockhound State Park.  We have water and electric and a nice site from which to see the sights.  The park is a favorite with rockhounds who are allowed to look for geodes and can remove up to 45 pounds of rocks a day.  Brett went for a walk up the mountain behind our site.  He called me while he was out and asked if I would take his picture.  First I had to locate the man which would seem easy to do because he was wearing an orange T-shirt but it was not.  When I finally found him he appeared to be about a mile away.  Honestly, I’ve got a medium length lens on my camera NOT a telescope.  But I took his picture anyway and we now have a shot of the scenery with an orange blob in it that is Brett.
The campground is landscaped very nicely for a desert and the views are stunning.  

No comments:

Post a Comment