Back to the Ocean…Part 1

There is something magical about the smell of the sea, wet sand, kelp and seaweed. Like a dark forest floor has it’s wonderful aromas, so does the beach. We did finally get to Southern California and San Diego County. My blog went offline and I was quite perplexed but like the IT guys ask “Did turn it off and on again?” So, I logged out, and logged in, and once again it was fine. duh….Ha! Took me a week to figure that out and lots of google searches when the internet was even working. #Ihateyoutengointernet

After Tucson we spent two nights at Picacho Peak State Park. The park is located between Casa Grande and Tucson near Interstate 10 in Pinal County. Its centerpiece spire is visible from downtown Tucson, a distance of 45 miles. The summit rises to 3,374 feet above mean sea level. It is a beautiful spot, not exactly quiet with I 10 and the trains (OMG that is a busy road!) as I didn’t get into loop A but Loop C. Loop A has a small hill that helps with the traffic noise. But hey, no gunshots! yeah!

It was drizzling when we left Tucson and continued for a few days, it always smells so nice when it rains in the desert. We had a Gila family checking out the saguaro real estate behind the trailer and my first Anna’s hummingbird! Cactus Wrens sat on the truck and trailer and it rained steadily for the first 24 hours.

A Gila spent a great deal of time figuring out the hummingbird feeder, I’m just a big one!

The cats were not amused by the rain! It finally let up and I had a chance to wander around looking at raindrops on cactus spines and all those wonderful spiky plant things!

A Cactus Wren pair were very interested in a saguaro hole, prime real estate their agent said, needed cleaning the Mrs. thought! So funny to watch these amazing birds! “Like I told ya lady, it’s a two entrance nest hole in a nice neighbourhood! Ya couldn’t ask for anything better!” Real Estate Wrens🤣

The clouds and mists were a beautiful break from the sun, I got one excellent Saguaro silhouette and played around in photoshop while it rained, putting a many moons ago Milky Way capture in. I was hoping to get that chance here to do it for real but between the clouds and probably the light pollution it wasn’t going to happen! Maybe one day! But here is a composite of two shots.

While the night skies didn’t cooperate with me in Picacho I did get a wonderful silhouette of the saguaro cactus one afternoon. This is the result of two merged pictures, a Milky Way from a previous dark sky night many moons ago and this beautiful desert scene. A composite:) Hoping one day to capture it all in one shot!

I sat and watched a pair of Anna’s preening after the rain in the morning, swooping in on the Gilas, hey that’s OUR feeder and generally being the small flying menaces that they are!

Staying in Picacho broke up the trip to Yuma so it was only a bit more than three hours, we try to limit our driving to that, because we can. No night driving, no night arrivals means no stress! Near Casa Grande we said goodbye to the I10 and headed West on the I 8…much quieter, much more pleasant driving. Through Gila Bend and past Dateland. We both shed a few tears driving by Gila Bend and the road South to Ajo, we buried Fitzy, our first Burmese brother to pass there, not sure either of us can ever go back, still heart rending. Our go to place in Yuma no longer takes overnighters so we tried out a new park North of the highway in a farming area. Sans End RV Park is actually in California, but they go by Arizona time, cross the Rio Colorado and you are back in Arizona!

Not my favourite place! Ok, so if you’re really, really old, like golf and access to dozens of dentists right across the border in Mexico and are fans of huge buffets at casinos, maybe this is your place…not ours. It always feels a bit depressing to me. Hundreds of acres of RV “resorts” (must mean they have a pool) old trailers with window air conditioners stuck in messily with caulking. People coughing, we heard so many people coughing in the RV park. Dieseled up after we unhooked and stopped at what was advertised as a grocery store, sodas, so much coca cola and other crap, used clothes and a few grocery items, it reeked of despair, hard to describe. I saw a I♥Yuma bumper sticker in Perth once and gasped at the incredulity of it…l can’t imagine ever wanting this.

We did talk to a nice couple next to us with two cats, looking out their windows at our cats looking at them! Ha! They were headed to Painted Petroglyphs State Park, on my list for the way back!

After Yuma, well, it goes from being flat to up and down and up and down a bit, field after field of crops being grown in the desert, that shouldn’t be, factory dairy farms with thousands of animals, more casinos, sandhills, a few Jesus signs. Apparently there are not many souls out here worth saving judging by the lack of Jésus billboards, we always call him Jésus;) ha! Are you prepared to meet Jésus? Ha!

You get to drive by the Center of the World, I was expecting wacky religious people but no! I had to google it, thinking it would be some crazy religious sect but no, worth a read!…/everything-you-need-to…/

More flags on eighteen wheelers, dipping well down below sea level and then finally, like light at the end of the tunnel, you get to start going up, the beauty of the Anza Borrego desert starts to shine, those skies and rocks. This road brings back so many memories, good and bad, from childhood to present, approaching the last hurdle to San Diego:) We would, as a child, camp out at the bottom of these hills at a gas station that opened at 6am. We would have left Pinetop, Arizona the evening before, late, to miss the desert heat, the baby puke yellow Volvo had no air conditioning! These piles of rocks mezmorized me as a child, fields of boulders. We would be on our way to visit our grandparents in La Jolla, to the smell of the sea:)

The I 8 splits here, two lanes go up, tow lanes go down, you can occasionally see the other road, as well as the two lane old road I remembered as a kid, probably feeling carsick in the old Volvo. Traffic was backed up by an accident in the opposing lanes, glad we were not going down.

…and then you start the long 6% grade/descent down towards El Cajon, past Alpine and other small towns and we are back into very familiar territory, and we’ll go on with that tomorrow, internet is slowing down, time to stop! Ha! Saludos amigos. Get ready for all those Santee birds, sorry guys, actually birds;) Ha!

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