Monday, November 26, 2012

Odometer 25736.

Tripmeter zero.

Ajo, AZ.

Monday, November 26, 2012.

Okay, we know we've been talking a lot about the desert and if that bores you we understand and you should skip ahead 'cause we're really fascinated by the majesty of this dry wilderness. Joan and I drove the 10.5 mile loop road around the Ajo mine and it is impressive to see the tailing piles 100 feet tall and miles around. The area is mostly Mine owned property on the mine side of the loop road and BLM on the other. We really like the look of this little desert home tucked into the slope of the hill

The hills are peppered with these beautiful, prickly, Cholla cactus. There are about 6 varieties of this cactus that grow in Arizona. This particular one is called Club Cholla
The Ocotillo cactus shown below, looks like a sprig of thorny stems most of the year, turns green and leafy with beautiful red flowers after a heavy rain.
After scaling the peak above the mine for a photo opportunity to see down into the mine- Jeff found a much easier photo op from the mine overlook. As a small extension of the museum, the mine overlook has a small one-room building filled with all manner of photos, and diagrams of how the mill looked as the years progressed. One exhibit that floored us was a panoramic photo of the Ajo valley taken from a high ridge in 1916! This incredible photo is a full 36" long and as crisp and clear as a digital image.
We asked Bob Hightower, a 30 year employee of the Phelps Dodge Mining Company why the company would build such an elaborate town center and high school. He explained it this way. To keep the best miners the company had to keep the wives and children happy while the miner slaved away 10 hours a day 6 days a week.
Jeff has been having some fun building some lightweight dividers for some of the cupboards in the coach to keep things from falling out on us after bumping down the road for several hours. He started out using thin paneling and a glue gun, but has since moved on to using 1/8 hardboard. We'll have to let you know how this works out.
Tomorrow we hit the trail again. We plan to take 86 East towards Tucson stopping at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and then Biosphere2 if we still have time.

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