TayloredRVTraveling

Musings and Info about life on the road

The Elegant Trogon……YES!

Having left Organ Pipe National Monument last Friday to do some birding in Southeast Arizona, we are now staying outside of Huachuca City near Sierra Vista, Arizona and Fort Huachuca. We are living it up at an R/V Park called Quail Ridge with full hookups. Nice.

Early yesterday morning we drove about 40 miles west from here to Patagonia Lake for our first birding adventure. The trail we took was at the head of the lake where Sonoita Creek makes it’s entrance into Patagonia Lake. The trail we were on was quite near the water and well shaded by low trees. As we were walking along the trail something caught my eye about 20 feet or so ahead. From the shape of the bird I said to Kay, “Trogon!” And it was indeed a young Elegant Trogon:

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Both of us and the juvenile trogon made our ways down the trail. He would let us come to within about 10 feet of him then fly ahead 20 feet and stop and watch us. He was a sight to behold.

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For you non- birders out there, seeing an Elegant Trogon is a very big deal. They are quite rare and his is the only part of the U.S. where you really stand a chance of seeing one. The are a Mexican bird. The other birdie highlights from yesterday were the Broad-billed Hummingbird, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird, the Rock Wren, and Vermilion Flycatchers.

All of that happened before 10 in the morning. From Patagonia we headed back east across the San Pedro River , stopping for a picnic  in the ghost town of Fairbank, and then pressed on to Tombstone, Arizona.

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Tombstone,  you think ….. Probably a tourist trap…..  You are correct. No surprise there. Anyway the place was fairly quiet this being a Tuesday in April. We went to Boot Hill Cemetery:

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Someone is still putting flowers on the Clanton’s graves…kind of weird. But then take a gander at a few of the locals:

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Scary. The man with the tambourine should be arrested for frightening you children (note the girl sitting on the bench). Anyway, yesterday was a rather eclectic day . YeeHaa. 

TROGONS RULE!

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Panzergruppe Ost…..

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Yesterday morning while the pooches and I were on our regular constitutional we spotted this:
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Meine Gott! I thought we were being invaded. It was a Mercedes Snortenbanginspitzenpanzer! The Afrika Korps Model, to be exact, driven by a young German couple. It was huge. About 50,00 Euros worth used. The roof on the beast was as high as the roof on our 5th wheel, and the tires came up to my armpits. They could stand up inside the thing. What are those two thinking?

All it need was a gun turret on the top. With a machine like that you could, no doubt, probably invade Russia and have them surrender on the spot. I’d be willing to bet when that leviathan rumbled up toward to our local Border Patrol checkpoint the Federal Agents on duty had their panties in a bind. Those boys probably had to call for close air support and then ran for their lives. After all, they drive Expeditions and 4-Wheelers.

We are not talking about your typical R/V here folks.. Forget the Good Sam’s Club with that baby. It’s more like the Gut Rommel Klub for that Kampf Wagen.

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Home Alone…..

Once again I offer a post posted from the library on the beautiful plaza in downtown Ajo, Arizona.

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I drove Kay to the Phoenix Airport last Thursday morning. We left Organ Pipe at 12:30 a.m. so she could catch a flight at 5:30 a.m. to her daughter’s farm near Ferrum, Virginia for a week’s visit. It was a new experience for us making a midnight run across the Barry Goldwater Bombing Range listening to old disco music on the only radio station we could pick up in the car. 200 mile road trips don’t get much better than that, now do they? At the Border Patrol checkpoint the Federal Agent asked if everyone in the car was a U.S. Citizen. “Yes sir,” I replied. “Except for the dogs….they’re Scottish.” He told us to have a nice day (?), and never even cracked a smile. Those Federal Agents sure are tons o’ fun. Kay was delivered safely to her plane, and the dogs and I drove 200 miles back home. No disco was allowed. Instead we listened to:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyCEexG9xjw?hl=en"><img src="http://www.tayloredrvtraveling.com/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" /></a>

So. Now the dogs and I are home alone…..

P * A * R * T * Y!!!

Not really. We all miss the Mistress of the R/V. It surely is quiet around here now. There are a few other sites occupied in the campground, but the only sounds we hear are the wind, the birdsong, an occasional generator and, oh yeah, f ‘ ing Border Patrol helicopters; while Harry, Fiona, and I sit or walk around waiting for the Saguaro to bloom and watching birds. Such as this raven. He or she is one of a nesting pair that frequents our site because we have a small pool of water for the birdies. Picture by Kay.

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Or looking for cacti in bloom like as this lovely prickly pear

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Or last night’s sublime sunset

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Or just resting

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In Fiona’s case it could be just pouting.

As I am sure I have said before, I really do love the desert with its unique flora and fauna, the light and warmth, and the sweeping vistas. All I would need to truly adapt to the desert life would be some flowing robes, an old Enfield rifle, a well-used Webley revolver, a beautiful and trusty camel with two West Highland Terriers by her side, and I could go full Lawrence. El An-di. A desert daydream I know.

AQABA!”

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As-salamu alaykum”

Better come home soon Dear! :)

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Puerto Penasco…..

Last Sunday we drove down to Puerto Penasco, on the Sea of Cortez, by way of Sonoyta, Mexico. We had an uneventful border crossing going both ways…thankfully. Puerto Penasco is about 70 miles or so south of where we are staying at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

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We had gone tent camping there quite a few years ago and really enjoyed the area. So we were curious as to how the place was faring these days. Unfortunately it seems to be doing not well at all. We saw very few Anglos in town. Probably as a result of the drug wars of the past years. The place used to be full of vacationers and spring-breakers. Not anymore. There are huge condominium complexes that were standing in various stages of construction that are now seemingly abandoned. On the outskirts of the Puerto Penasco things are much the same with abandoned RV parks, restaurants, and motels. It’s really too bad that it is always the good people that suffer the most in these kinds of situations. I hope things are going to get better for the people of this town.

We took the dogs to the beach to let them experience the sea. Fiona and Harry were not very fond of the waves and the taste of salt water, but they did go into the briney deep up to their bellies. Which on them is about six inches.

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They did however enjoy making contact with some local children who happened to be there.

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We also saw some sea and shorebirds which are quite a novelty for us to say the least. Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Black Skimmers, and these beauties:

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I think that they are Marbled Godwits but, not being an expert by any means, let me know if you can I.D. them. I won’t be insulted. Honest. Kay and I did not see any Frigate Birds or Blue-footed Boobies either. Booooo.

 On our way home to Organ Pipe we stopped at the visitor center at El Pinacate y Gran Desiertio de Altar, Sonora, Mexico which is southwest of Sonoyta. It is a Mexican park in the Sonoran desert, and a sister park to Organ Pipe. It has huge volcanic craters and cinder cones. The park has received special recognition from the United Nations for its unique environment. We arrived too late in the day to tour the place and see the craters and cones….. some other time perhaps. If you are ever in the area it really sounds as if it’s worth checking the place out.

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Oh The Horror……

The prey: a ground squirrel
IMG_6956The predator: a large Gopher Snake
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IMG_6809 The end:
IMG_6837 You never know what you will see on the way to the campground bathroom. A hat tip to Kay for spotting this instance of “nature red in tooth and claw”

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Life On The Mexican Marches…….

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If you are reading this posting you’ll know we found a conduit to the Internet out here in the middle of nowhere. Woo Hooo! Of course we have to drive 37 miles to connect but its not so bad…its 100 miles to the nearest Walmart. We have been at Organ Pipe N.M. for about three weeks now and plan on staying another two. It is such a great place to get over the winter blahs, and we are taking full advantage of the situation. The sky is always blue with the daytime temperatures in the 80′s.

The cactus are beginning to bloom, along with some flowers, and here are some pictures to prove it:

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If we would ever get some rain here the cactus and flowers would bust out all over, but we haven’t had any precip yet. In fact the last measurable amount of rain we have experienced were the flash-floods we experienced in Utah last October. Dry. Dry. Bone Dry. Last week Kay and I took a hike to a place called Dripping Springs here on the Monument. This shot I took from the top of the ridge above the spring (yes it had water in it) that gives a good feel of the area:

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While on that ridge we were visited by this common desert dweller….The Border Patrol:
IMG_6629They are everywhere, and it seems as if there are millions of them. Down in Lukeville, which is the Port of Entry from Mexico about 4 miles south of where we are, you can see the fence that now runs like a scar along the border and has made the place a no-man’s land. If we drive to Ajo, the nearest town north of Organ Pipe, and you cross the Monument’s boundary you have to stop at a checkpoint before you can continue on to the north. A bit further on there is a huge Border Patrol Compound where it seems they sally out from to keep us safe from the evil Mexicans. Last week I was wandering in an arroyo near the campground and came upon the not very uncommon site:

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The black bottles are water bottles with fragments handwoven rope on them. Further back, the whitish object on the ground behind the bottles is a shirt that belonged to some poor guy who was crossing this blistering desert probably trying to make a better life for himself and his family in this country. According to the rules when you find such a site you are supposed to report it to the Border Patrol. I do not. I’ve found more such sites in my wanderings here, but thankfully no bodies…yet. The whole border/ immigration business is a disgrace. On Sunday last I was out walking a trail and was checked out by a helicopter. I thought about jumping into a bush as it approached just to mess with these clowns but I was in an area with nothing but cactus. I declined to do the manoeuvre for obvious reasons. Perhaps I should buy a sombrero and serape to wear when I go a’wandering. But enough. I could go on for hours. Oh yeah, one last thing….If you meet an “illegal” in the desert and he, or she, or they have no water or food, it is against the law to give him any. Be it man, woman, or child…Nothing. Speaking for myself – that is not going to happen. Welcome to Amerika mi amigos.

Meanwhile, back at the ranchero. The bird watching has been fairly decent here at Organ Pipe. We have even nailed a few life birds such as the Costa’s Hummingbird, the Common Poorwill, the White-throated Swift, the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, and the Crested Caracara. Also flitting or soaring around are Ravens, Turkey Vultures, Gila Woodpeckers, Verdins, Cactus Wrens, Curved-billed Thrashers, Phainopelas, Black-throated, White-crowned, and House Sparrows, House Finches, and Harris’ Hawks. Here are a few examples beginning with a peeved Costa’s Hummingbird:

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Next we have a Phainopepla:

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And lastly a just fledged Curved-billed Thrasher in a cholla cactus waiting for his Ma to show up with some eats:

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This Friday we are planning to cross the border and do a day trip to Puerto Penasco in Mexico and splash in the Sea of Cortez. Kay and I are really curious to find out how the dogs will react to the Ocean. Adios and stay tuned!

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My First Selfie……

Nothing else to say but AWESOME !

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Organ Pipe…..

IMG_6455We arrived here at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument yesterday afternoon after a 500 mile, give or take a few miles, journey from the Bosque del Apache. The trip went smoothly for the first trailered journey since mid- October. We overnighted at the Willcox, Arizona Information Center parking lot on Wednesday night. Not very picturesque, but convenient and free. The picture above is of our new and greatly improved camp sight at Organ Pipe. During the day the temps are in the 80′s, and the nighttime is in the low 50′s. Lovely. And, we are only about 4 miles from the Mexican Border and 68 miles from the Sea of Cortez! IMG_6449We are now in the Sonoran Desert as opposed to the Chihuahuan Desert in which the Bosque was located.   It has a greater variety of plant life, and actually seems lush, if that is even possible. If you want to see a comparison between the two desert types – take a glance at the picture in the previous post.  I’ll close this short post with a picture of an Organ Pipe Cactus. It is the many columned cactus in between the Saguaro Cactus: IMG_6453

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Adios Bosque Del Apache….

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Sunday past was our last day of work here at this Oasis in the desert: the Bosque Del Apache. The over-wintering birds started leaving in early February, and they are mostly all gone now. It is also our turn to head out.

Tomorrow we will travel south and then west towards Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the Arizona-Mexico border. The trip will take a few days, maybe longer, if we dawdle here and there along the way as we tend to do. If the Capricious Lords of the Internet give us a signal we will be back in touch soon.

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ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE !!!

Brains…..

optional soundtrack:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjMiDZIY1bM?hl=en"><img src="http://www.tayloredrvtraveling.com/wp-content/plugins/images/play-tub.png" alt="Play" style="border:0px;" /></a>

Have the Seven Seals been opened? Are Gog and Magog afoot in the land? Has Apollyon, the Angel of the Bottomless Pit, taken wing? Fear thee not America. For a hero has arisen in Albuquerque, New Mexico: IMG_6175 IMG_6177

WTF !!!

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