Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ajo Again

Odometer 64542
Trip 158 miles

Always happy to be going to Ajo again.  We've been coming down from Oregon to Ajo for at least 18 years.  At first it was only for a week or so because we were still working full time.  Something about this place just holds on to us more than anywhere else we've been.

Today's route
Our route today is up I-10 and west on I-8 to Gila Bend, then straight south on AZ 85 to Ajo.  The weather is iffy and the rain and wind follow us almost from the minute we left Tucson til we get to within 20 miles of Ajo.  Approaching Ajo the sky's are blue and the sun is out- Yea ! It's a sign.
Well... No it's not.  As soon as we check in and get to our site- the weather we had been running from catches up with us. For the rest of the afternoon and all of the night it rains.  We did manage to get a 30 minute period of no rain to get set up in our space, but then it was non-stop until morning.

Home is where we park it
Next day was sunny but cool, high in the 40's with a cooling breeze.  The chill didn't keep us from getting out and walking to downtown and back, about 1 mile each way.  Stopped off at my favorite grocery outlet store in the plaza and got two boxes of granola bars (free) Saltines, Cheezeits, popcorn, and a bag of Starbucks house blend decaf all for $4.50.  Love it!

Wasted no time getting out into the surrounding desert to hike a little.  My friend Mark found a Kawasaki four wheeler abandoned on the public area of the bombing range. (no it wasn't a target)

Abandoned 4 wheel ATV on the Goldwater gunnery range 
The ATV appeared to have been here several years, and most of the exterior graphics had been covered with green paint, leading us to believe that it was stolen and driven here by a border crosser. 
Mark called it into the local Sheriffs office.

Dense growth threatens to obscure this desert track
This particular road on the BMGR  (gunnery range) shows what a little rain can do for a normally dry desert.  The vegetation is lush, and the waterholes actually have a bit of water in them.  Today Mark and I saw 3 deer, one was a very large buck.  Speaking of water holes...

Arizona Game an Fish Department Game Watering Station
We looked at this game watering setup today.  It was quite elaborate, with a large corrugated metal rain collector, piping to a holding tank, and piping to a water trough.  It looked as though they started by collecting water from a small dam across the seasonal stream channel to the left.  When we looked at the dam in the drainage the dam was completely silted in.  Apparently when the rains came the creek carried too much sand, which filled in the dam.

Game watering trough
This newer idea seems to work well.  The rail fence is probably to keep cattle and burros out, while allowing deer, antelope, and small critters in.
With the rain we have been getting it's no wonder that the trough is full.  There is a game camera on a post in front of the tank which allows the biologists to keep track of the visitors to the trough.

This water hole is located on BLM land, but is very close to the gunnery range (visible in the background).  We actually got here on a road that is on the gunnery range, but the road is so rough (boulders) we had to walk in the last 1/2 mile to get here.

Mark and I put a new carburetor on his Suzuki Samurai and the process went pretty smoothly.  The original carburetor had an elaborate choke that included heated water jacket from the radiator, and expanding wax plugs.  When the original choke quit working the car ran rich all the time.  This new Webber carb has an electric choke and we are hopeful that it will be more adjustable.  So far the new carb is working well.

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan