Whatever Jen wants, Jen gets!
I am sure most of you married men out there would agree. When your wife wants something, it is best you try and get it for her. It drives Jen crazy that I say this and she wasn't really happy (at first) with the post title. What she doesn't realize is that I think she does an amazing job raising our daughter and taking care of me. So, if she wants something I am going to do my best to get it for her.
On to the story...
One of the things Jen really wanted to do on this trip was boondocking. She had seen so many pictures on Instagram of people RV'ing in these beautiful remote places. I had always joked that if they turned around and took a picture there were probably lots of other RV's behind them. Even with that said, she still really wanted to boondock. I had been skeptical because I didn't want to leave our trailer out by itself when we were out and about. Although, Jen made it pretty clear to me the other day that she WANTS to boondock before we get to the East Coast where there isn't really any option for it (that I can find yet). So from here until at least Texas, I am going to try my best to plant our roots out in BLM areas and/or parks that have lots of room around us.
Boondocking location #1 - Kofa National Wildlife Refuge - Palm Canyon Road
Kofa is short for "King of Arizona" mine which was the most profitable mine in these hills back in the early 1900's. Now it is a wildlife refuge for protection of the desert big horn sheep. They primarily live up in the hills past the trailer in the above picture. We never ventured into the hills though and so the opportunity to see them was lost. What we found though was a road leading up to Queen Canyon with a lot of pull out areas for RV camping. All the spots were very large and pretty level with great hard pack rock. We only had to drive 2 miles up the road to get away from the infrequent road noise of Highway 95.
We would have stayed here through Thanksgiving, but there was a big storm heading through on Thanksgiving day and I didn't want to deal with any flash flood possibilities or having the road in get too sloppy to get out. (We haven't seen a flash flood yet, but didn't want our first to be here)
Location #2 - Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Technically not boondocking, but Jen really wanted to come here. Whoever designed this campground should get an award! This is the best design we have seen the entire trip. Every site is a pull through site with a rather level concrete pad full length and there are cacti's and other plants between each site. There is a dump station with potable water and a section of the campground that allowed generators. If we didn't have a timeline, I think we would have stayed here longer as well.
This monument is home to the only place in the USA that has Organ Pipe cactus and is a very green desert area. We hiked back and forth to the visitor center many times for our books, then our badges, and we got a pin for their program called "I hike for health" which requires 5 miles of hiking.
We spent Thanksgiving here and Jen did a great job with cornish game hens (only bird that would fit in the oven), and I made mashed potatoes (only thing Lila requested). Per Lila, we all had to decorate our own placemats and write our thankfuls on them.
Location #3 - Bog Springs Campground
Originally, we were going to stay on a boondocking road just down from this campground but the road in was only a single lane road and the spots were not level at all for longer trailers. I was also worried that we might run into another vehicle on the way out and I had no idea how that would work since there weren't any pull outs. So we went up the road a mile or so to this US Forest Service Campground and found a great double site that fit us perfect. At $10/night, it worked out great. There weren't any hook-ups for the trailer, but they had a fresh water spigot near by and vault toilets up the hill about 100 yards.
It was a small campground with about 20 sites on a single loop. Out of the 4 nights, we stayed there, it only got about half filled each night with mostly tent campers. We walked the loop many times each night for exercise and hiked a nature trail below on our last day. There were also tons of wild turkeys and deer every morning in the campground.
While we were here, we visited the Titan II Missile Museum, Tumacacori Mission, and the Asarco open pit Copper mine that is still in operation.
We would definitely recommend the Missile Museum to anyone visiting the Tuscon area. It is the last of the original 54 Titan missiles the USA used as a deterrent during the Cold War era (active from 1962-1984). They take you through most of the facility including the launch control room, the cableway (tunnel) to the silo, and the silo itself. They have a full-size (inactive) missile in the silo that has a hole cut in the top to show there is no warhead (thankfully). The tour included a walk through of a simulated launch with all the sounds (buzzer and bells) included. Don't miss this Cold War era history.
The Tumacácori National Historic Park was another great visit if you are in the area. It is the site of the 2nd oldest (missed it by 1 day) mission in Arizona. It was founded in 1691 by Spanish Jesuit padre Eusibio Kino. This church you see here was built later after the first church was destroyed. They had a great self-guided tour there and we got another ranger badge. Also, another recommended tour.
The Copper mine was probably our least favorite tour, but it was cool to see how vast the pit was and how large the equipment was to make it. They took you on a bus through the active plant site up to a viewing area above the pit, then you were taken through a viewing area in the middle of the copper mill where you could see the large grinding mills used to crush the rock down to sand size. You then saw the flotation separators they used to get the copper to float out from the rest of the minerals and rock. Overall, it was a decent tour, but I wouldn't put it ahead of the other two.
As we were sitting in the trailer one night having dinner, Jen and I heard a weird noise coming from the storage area under Lila's bed. After trying to get Lila to stop talking long enough for us to hear it, we realized we might have picked up a hitchhiker (mouse or packrat???) We pulled out the storage dolly I built for under there and found one of our food bags had a hole eaten through it and there was mouse droppings, no good.
Thankfully in all my research as to what we should bring on this trip, I had read that mouse traps are a good idea. So I went out to the truck and found my stash of good ol' Victor mouse traps. I set all 4 traps with peanut butter, screwed the door shut, and waited until morning.
Morning came and Jen was afraid to look in there, so I unscrewed the door and found our hitchhiker took the bait. After removing the mouse (without Jen having to see it), we cleaned the area with bleach and water and were back to normal or so I thought....
The following night we came home from the missile museum and I was really tired so I took a long nap and that night, of course, I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned for quite a while and finally fell asleep at 1:30am. Before I fell asleep, I had heard the wind pick up quite a bit and it started raining as well. I was sleeping really well until....
4:30am came around and Jen shakes me from my deep slumber to tell me she thinks there's something else in the trailer. I slowly came to and heard the howl of the strong winds and rain outside and told her that it is probably the wind, go back to sleep. But she was persistent that there was something there and said the cats heard it too. So I listen again and I hear the cats wrestling around a bit, but, honestly, these cats are worthless when it comes to mice or any bugs as well.
I did hear a screeching noise but I told her it was probably the trees in the wind. Still no go. So I had to get out of bed to check it out and what did I find...nothing, just 2 cats staring at me. Back in bed and she is still saying there is something out there.
Second time out of bed and this time I hit my knee on the bench. 😡 This time I sit out at the table in the dark with flashlight in hand ready to get this monster mouse. There it goes again! But again, I hear the sound OUTSIDE along with the wind!
Back in bed, I try again to explain it is the branches and she says "Fine!"
Well guys, you know what that means...
I try rolling over to go back to sleep, but I could feel her laser-eyes shooting into the back of my head so I get out of bed (again) put my clothes on and went out into the howling wind and rain to kill this monster once and for all.
Sadly, I broke my Jr. Ranger pledge tonight, but I got that monster mouse once and for all.
Finally, I was able to go back to bed.
Lila slept through the whole thing. I wish I could have.
What ever Jen wants, she gets! 😉 (She's worth it)