Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010 Post

What’s New With Us: Tripping through Southern Arizona

Check Out: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument


Tripping Through Southern Arizona

After bringing in the New Year with friends in Yuma we continued on to Tucson. There we met with videographers John Holod and Jodie Ginter. John and Jodie taped and produced our “RVing Alaska: What To Expect, How To Prepare” DVD and its companion, “Alaska, An Adventure of A Lifetime”. These DVDs are our most popular products. After taking delivery of more DVDs from John and Jodie we headed west... destination Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The visitor center and campground for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located about 75 miles south of Gila Bend, Arizona on Highway 85. Highway 85 is a nicely paved, two-lane road that crosses almost level desert terrain. The town of Ajo, Arizona is at milepost 42 on the highway. Here you will find fuel stations, restaurants, and an IGA store. There are also a few RV parks with full hookups that will accommodate large RVs. We spent a night at the Shadow Ridge RV Resort. It is a nice park with gravel pull-thru sites, cement patios and 50-amp-electric, water, sewer and cable hookups. Free Wi-Fi is also available. We would stay there again.

Entrance fee to the monument is $8.00 per vehicle for a seven day period. Our Golden Age Pass (now called the Senior Pass) gave us free admittance. The Interagency Pass and Access Pass also provide free admittance to the monument.

The campground at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has paved roads and 200-plus paved, pull-thru campsites with paved patios. The campground will accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet in length. There are no hookups but restrooms (without showers), water and a dump station are available. Generators are permitted to operate for a couple hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. The nicely-spaced campsites are separated by stands of cactus and other desert vegetation. We thought it was a super campground. (click on photo for enlarged view)

Here is the best part… camping is only $12 per night; half price ($6.00) if you have the Senior or Access Pass.

Desert vegetation and scenery are the main attraction at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. There are two scenic drives, The most popular is the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Drive.It is a one-way gravel loop. In addition to heavy stands of Organ Pipe, Saguaro and Cholla cactus there is a view of an arch at the Arch Canyon view stop. For those who prefer to spend less time on gravel roads there is the other scenic drive, the 5-mile Puerto Blanco Drive. There are also a number of scenic hiking trails.

Late October to early April would be the optimum time to visit the monument. Temperatures are typically below 95 degrees during this time (lower in December, January and February; higher in October, late March and April ). It is not unusual for summer temps to exceed 100 degrees.

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