Friday, March 21, 2008

Camped among the Saguaros

We are at the Buckeye Hills Recreation Area
along Arizona 85, west of Phoenix (map).

We were out of fresh dinner fixings when we left our roadside BLM digs yesterday (which, I later learned, is what is left of the town of Mohawk), and we thought we might spend the night in Gila Bend and perhaps eat out.

No dice -- the place is dying. There were two restaurants in town (not counting fast food), neither of which appealed to us, and the urban boondocking opportunities were equally unappealing. Instead, we stopped in to the lone operating grocery store, its shelves perhaps a third bare, and picked up some veggies and an acceptable-looking steak, then pressed on.

AZ 85 is a major route, heavily trafficked, as it bypasses the entire Phoenix/Scottsdale/Tempe/Mesa metroplex for drivers heading between points west on I-10 and Tucson and points east. There are even signs on I-10 at either end of the bypass suggesting that through traffic take the alternate route.

Our guide listed this park, as well as an abadoned roadside business south of here, as two possible overnight options. The abandoned business was a bit too close to the road for our taste, as well as less scenic, and so we moved on to this spot, which has been just lovely. We are parked on a turnout on the dirt park road, and we have not see a single other vehicle come by here since we parked around 4pm yesterday. It was mostly dark and quiet last night, although we are close enough to 85 to hear the traffic a bit (and how dark can it be when the moon is full?).

We're glad the directory pointed this place out, because there is no mention of camping or overnight policy posted at the "entrance" consisting of a single brown sign on the dirt road. But there we no signs prohibiting it, either, and clearly many have stayed before us. It is a lovely spot, surrounded by low hills and sprinkled with saguaros. The very south end of the park has a public target shooting range, as well as some kind of training facility for the Maricopa County Sherrif's Department. We've been hearing occasional muffled gunshots since we woke this morning.

Today we will head east into downtown Phoenix, where we own part of a restaurant, to see how business is coming along. If we can't find an urban stealth location, we'll probably end up at one of the several Native American casinos that surround the city.


  1. A couple from Texas were taking a cross country drive, taking in sites they couldn't get back home.

    While driving through Wisconsin, they were often boggled by the place names, which peaked as they were approaching Oconomowoc.

    The couple started arguing about the pronunciation of the town's name. They argued back and forth until they stopped for lunch, where they knew they could settle their bet as to how it was pronounced by asking a local.

    When it was their turn the man asked the cute young thing behind the counter, "Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are -- very slowly?"

    "Sure," said the blonde girl. She leaned over the counter and said, "Burrrrrrgerrrrrr Kiiiinnnnng."

  2. Great to see you two are still light-footin' it around the world! :)

    Every time I see a big, fancy bus, I think of you two!

    I am finishing up a Masters in Teaching, and my goal is to be a math and physics teacher in a private HS in Seattle.

    Julia and I would love to see you when you are in town next!


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