We left Gaviota on the 1st of March heading south and east. Our first stop was at the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. A very nice campground in a great location. Just minutes from I-405 and I-605 so it was easy to run around to see friends and family.
After a week in Seal Beach we started moving east. Our first stop in Arizona was in Bullhead City for a week. Why Bullhead City? Because the campground there belongs to the group that we are members of so we stayed there for $1 a night.
This is the clubhouse and pool and here is our rig in it's spot .
These evening views (I know-tripod needed) were taken from the hill behind our rig. The bright lights are from the Laughlin, Nevada casinos across the Colorado River.
Road Runners are common in the park
We talked Brent into coming to visit us for a few days.
He and I went out for an "explore" one day and wandered into Oatman which is a wide spot on what used to be the famous Route 66. In spite of being a lot of miles off of the Interstate, Oatman, and it's donkeys have survived as a tourist attraction. Guess it wasn't his day to get lucky!
Several stores sell carrots (at tourist prices) for the tourists to feed the donkeys.
After Bullhead City we spent a few days in Casa Grande, AZ
We visited Casa Grande National Monument, the first of two National Monuments and one National Park that we would visit in Arizona. These adobe structures were built by Native Americans around 1200 AD. They were abandoned around 1450.
This building was 4 stories tall once upon a time and still has several stories.
This panoramic view shows the area that was inside a wall. You can see the remains of several smaller buildings as well as the larger one.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was our second National Monument.
We camped here for a night. The dogs were not thrilled as the cactus was thick which made finding places to walk safely a trial.
This is one of the Organ Pipe Cacti the park is named for. As you might imagine, Organ Pipe Cactus are plentiful here but rare in other places. An Ocotillo cactus and it's distinctive bloom.
While in the gift shop here I found a book titled, Roadside Geology of Arizona. It is a nifty book that lists various highways in the state and give you an as you drive description of the geological forces and history of the stuff outside your window. A great find.
Benson was our fourth stop in Arizona and the drive there was made even nicer by our new book. Very educational.
Benson was chosen in part because it had an inexpensive campground to stay in and in part because it was reasonably close to Tucson, which we didn't visit. We did go to Tombstone though where we visited a church which was Gail's father's first church and it was also a church her grandfather was pastor of .
We had a nice visit with the current Pastor, looked at some old church records, and confirmed the family legend that says Fred was paid whatever was in the collection plate!
While in Benson, we also visited Saguaro National Park. There is an old, much used saying that goes something like, "If you have lemons, make lemonade". Well, I think the government sort of used that idea when they looked at Arizona making Nation Parks/Monuments out of what was available. In this case cactus. How many varieties of cactus can you find in this picture. How many can you name?
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