Monday, January 30, 2017

Picacho Park

As we are discovering solar showers at Picacho, we are greeted by a park volunteer, Vickie.  She tells us that the park will be wonderfully quiet and we are likely to be the only campers....unless the Marines decide to come out and party.  She eyes Q, and suggests that we have the perfect vehicle to drive to one of the remote campsites that will be quiet even if those rowdy Marines arrive.

One of the rules in the park is illustrated with a photo of big teeth: Don't feed the wild burros!

We enjoy our first showers in 8 days.  Shocking?  And then drive along 4WD-only roads to the 4S beach camp.  It is stunningly beautiful.

It is a no moon night and we are far from city lights.  Brilliant star show. We hear coyotes barking and singing in the night.  We hope for wild burro sighting.  In the morning just as we're finishing a big breakfast and basking in the sun, Ranger Alex arrives.  He answers many of the questions we have about the roads into Picacho, but hasn't heard of Barney Road or the big W route that we took across the desert.  He recommends a stop at the Yuma BLM Field Office for maps that will make sense of the dirt roads with "designated route" and 3 digit numbers.  Ranger Alex tells us that he is here on temporary duty - and delighted because he came to this park early - at about age 1, and often after.  He hands us a map of the many dirt roads that looks a lot like the linguini in our dinner pot.  The maps from the BLM office must be better than this.

As we drive out of the park, we pause to say "goodbye" to Vicki, who wishes us well and then passes on more info than we can possibly digest, recommending a journey into Baja for the Q and crew.  Vicki says we could launch that journey from Organ Pipe National Monument where campers often meet up to travel together into Baja, driving south into Baja and then catching the car ferry across the Sea of Cortez and driving north along the coast of the mainland.  She assures us that Q would love that sort of journey.  She asks us to keep an eye out for her friend, Alison, who left San Diego with a kayak on top of her car to come out to play at Picacho Park.

Our desert meandering into Picacho Park spared us the less naturally beautiful views of the more direct route - which includes both the official town dump and the unofficial dump where the disappointed junk haulers leave their stuff when the dump is closed.

We drive Business 8 through Yuma, past the airport and along a couple of giant RV resorts where the units are parked so close together that it surprising that the campers are able to enter and exit without banging doors against each other.  I think i feel Q shudder at the sight.  Not even the pretty palm trees can make a peaceful campsite out of a giant parking lot.

The BLM office is open and the maps are free.  The official BLM maps look a whole lot like al dente linguini also.  At least the noodles are labeled with 3 digit numbers that could be useful the next time we are meandering across the dessert towards Picacho Park.  And the park is just that beautiful.  We will return.

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