Part 42:  Flagstaff, AZ to San Diego, CA


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The Trip

We arrived in Flagstaff quite late after a full day's travel in rain, overcast and later bright sun.  We spent the night in a standard RV campground since we had stayed there before and knew the condition of the place.  Plus, it was close and they had open spots.  Next morning, the sound of a noisy gasoline engine woke me up.

The photos below are what we saw.

The annoying motor noise was the gasoline powered water pump on this water delivery truck.  The campsite had to have all its water brought in by tanker.  3 trucks arrived and unloaded their cargo in just a few hours.  I do not know the circumstances that prevented the site from being on a well or city water, but it did reinforce that water is a scarce commodity in this part of the world.

On our way south on I-17 from Flagstaff, we passed a scenic overlook that gave us a reasonable view of the valley to the west of the freeway.

In the distance the cliffs around Sedona, AZ were visible.

We got into metro-Phoenix and stopped for diesel.  Within seconds I was panhandled by this gal.  The rear view was "remarkable" for a variety of reasons, exposure of crevice in her anatomy being one of them.  But as fate would have it she was not in the right place at the right time for such a photo.

Instead, viewers will have to be satisfied with a front view.  Her face looks like a male friend of ours.....

We had an odd smell in the cab so we tilted it to allow inspection of components.  We spotted what appears to be an exhaust leak from the turbocharger, perhaps an inner seal.

Closer to Tucson, we spotted this space-age add-on to existing trailers to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve fuel economy.

We arrived at the parent's place in Tucson and next morning I spotted this barrel cactus flower in bloom.  Note the ant at the right of the photo.

Before the monsoon clouds started to build, the visibility of the west end of the Santa Catalina Mountains was great.

While nosing around the backyard, I spotted a different species of barrel cactus that was sporting a nice blossom.

I have always been fascinated by ruggedness of the west end of the Catalinas.

The cliffs on the north side of Pusch Ridge are formidable indeed.

The house looked great and the photo above shows the nice job that was done on the kitchen remodel.

The color and pattern of the granite play well against one another.

The best part of the remodel, in my opinion, is the "officer's club" area (bar) done in a WW-II theme.  My father was a Spitfire/P-40 pilot during the war.

The fireplace in the living room was done in southwestern motif.

While we were in Divide, CO our friends gave us a sample of their sourdough starter that had survived the trip from Alaska many years earlier.  Katleen utilized the starter to cook some sourdough pancakes.  Above is the batter as it is fermenting from the starter.

After a couple of days, it was time to roll on to San Diego.  We passed Picacho Peak near Red Rock, AZ.  The peak is a volcanic plug that has been exposed from weathering and is one of the major landmarks in the region.

Past Gila Bend, AZ we encountered a solar farm under construction. 

Outside Yuma we passed these fields being burned.

To the west of Yuma, we crossed the new All-American Canal that diverts a major portion of the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley for irrigation of crops.  This portion of the route has to pass through the Buttercup Dunes.

Buttercup is a major sand play area and offers tall sand dunes and steep faces.  There is a camping area near the freeway as well as a Customs and Border Patrol facility.  It seems that the illegals find that crossing the fence just to the south of the visible ridge is quite convenient so agents are posted to intercede.

Just to the west of Ocotillo, CA at the base of "Mountain Springs Grade" on I-8 we encountered this big rig who had jack-knifed.  His ass end was nearly over the cliff.  When the CHP arrived, they provided guidance to him and he pulled himself free without a wrecker.  This was good because after suffering the boring freeway to get here I was in no mood to withstand an extended delay waiting for a wrecker from El Centro.

We crossed over the Tecate Divide near sunset and could see the Pacific Ocean in the distance.  The colors were nice, but not award-winning.

We were happy to return home.  After being gone for 5 months, the first walk through the door was a shock.    We had been gone sufficiently long that we forgot that we had completed an interior repainting action just before our departure.  My brain was pleasantly surprised to find new paint on the walls and the place clean and in good repair.

The last segment of this trip was both easy and boring.  We traveled only freeways for the duration of the trip from Flagstaff, AZ to Tucson to San Diego.  Freeways are good far getting miles behind you but not so good for entertainment.  I-8 from Casa Grande, AZ to Ocotillo, CA takes the prize for a boring road with nothing to see.  The worst part is that we have traveled it many times.  Sadly, it does not get better with repetition.

We are happy to be home.  Many thanks to those who offered us lodging at their homes and to those who showed us both kindness and hospitality.  Mi casa es su casa.

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