Monday, December 10, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 13: Organ Pipe Cactus Nat'l Monument's North and South Puerto Blanco Drives, and a peek into Mexico

Solid overcast today, not much in terms of lighting but temperatures were in the mid to high 60s Fahrenheit so no complaints here.

Woke to a pretty glorious sunrise:

After finishing with work for the day, I rode down to the Visitor Center of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, got another map and then rode the loop comprised of the North Puerto Blanco and South Puesto Blanco drives.

This loop is much longer than the Ajo Mountain Drive and I recommend the Ajo Mountain Drive over this one if you've only got time and inclination for one loop.

The Puerto Blanco loop basically goes around the range of hills crowned by Pinkley Peak:

 Pinkley Peak

 This Saguaro Cactus reminded of 
"El Tenedor del Diablo" from the
movie: "Romancing the Stone"

I did park Scarlett at the trailhead to Dripping Springs, thinking it'd be cool to see water in the desert.  It was just over a mile in and some light rock climbing, not bad at all.

Trouble is, while plenty of evidence of water's presence, didn't see any free flowing or collected water.

 Lots of cave like openings that I imagine were carved 
out by water flow over the centuries.
 A view back towards the road from Dripping Springs

 Lots of cave like openings that didn't go very far in.

I continued on after returning to Scarlett, the overcast skies and temperate weather keeping things nice and cool.  The road from Dripping Springs Trailhead could get very rocky and twisty at times but nothing insurmountable by Scarlett.  

I would stop Scarlett at the few stops along the way, to let the engine cool down and me to take pictures.

 Lucky #13, it's a signal station where you can
push a button and summon help.  Nice thing
for the Park Service to set up eh?

Next stop was Bonita Springs where there was a pit toilet for use.  I think it's been a while since the windmill pictured below pumped up any water for use here.

The rest of the riding was just packed dirt road with mostly loose rocks laying in patches that urged one to slow down at times.  Then I got to the turnoff to South Puerto Blanco Drive and that was sandy at times!

I think at one point they used an old river bed as part of the road because it was some pretty deep and loose sand; even thought about engaging 2WD at times but made it through just fine.

This road borders the international border with Mexico.  There was of course miles of fence lines.  Brown for the USA side and White for the Mexican side.  Mexico's Highway 2 runs right parallel to the border here.

 Yep, that mountain range is in Mexico
Disappointingly, my Peakfinder app didnt show names

 Mexican Highway sign visible from the US side

 If you dare to cross the border here, you can get a
coffee in Mexico!

 The trail alongside the fencing is for Border Patrol
vehicles as they patrol the fence line.

 Finally made it to AZ 85 and back onto pavement!

I rode south the one remaining mile to the border and gassed Scarlett up there in the small town of Lukeville.  There's even an RV park there, called Gringo Pass.

 The Lukeville Port of Entry into Mexico

From the border it was less than 30 miles back to the BLM campsite.  I took a slight detour to check out a primitive campground but there was no signal there for my phone, so not usable to me.  It's right at the base of Mount Ajo though, so not bad of a location.

As I neared the northern edge of the monument
I could see a nice view of the Ajo Peaks so I stopped
a bit short of the US Border Patrol checkpoint
for this shot.

I think my time here at the Gunsite Wash BLM area has come to and end, time to move on and see what's around Gila Bend I think.


RichardM said...

You never hear about these out of the way places like Lukeville or Organ Pipe Cactus NM. Thanks for exploring. Not going into Mexico?

redlegsrides said...

Don’t have my passport RichardM, Martha is bringing it to Las Vegas....perhaps next month though no real strong urge to go there for now.

RichardM said...

I've been there a half dozen times and have no complaints though I've never spent much time in any of the border towns.

redlegsrides said...

Yeah, I’ve read it’s best get clear of the border towns and head inward. I’ve been to Cozumel and a day trip to Agua Prieta near Ft Huachuca back in 80s

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

I enjoyed today's travels. The sunrise was beautiful. I just found out last week that Richard really disliked last winter. He kept it to himself. It's ok, now that I know. I'm getting my winter fix now, it is beautiful in Fairbanks. Then I will be anxious to get out on Jan 9, down to hopefully 60's and 70's where you are! Keep warm!

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redlegsrides said...

Thanks Bridget, looking forward to you both being outside again! Supposed to get above 70 today I think!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Anonymous, glad to be of help