It's pretty inside the park, but not that much better than Ajo. From what I understand that 20 mile long one-way road that I didn't get to see is the prettiest area of the park.
Today looked okay when I peeped out the window this morning, it was a little cloudy but that was ok since it would make for better pictures, so I hopped in the truck and in about half an hour I arrived at the visitor center in The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Even though I was only about 30 miles from my boondocking spot the weather had changed drastically and now it was very cloudy and lightly raining off and on. Undeterred but disappointed I went into the visitor center and asked the nice Ranger lady a question that she's been answering a thousand times a day lately... where can I see some flowers? And her answer was not the one I was looking for.
It seems most of the wild flowers are located up the road from the visitor center on a 20 mile long, one-way loop, dirt road. Now if I could've driven just part of the road I would've done it, but once you start your committed to the full 20 miles, since it's one way, and the weather looked even worse in the direction of the loop road than it was where I was standing, so I wimped out.
If the weather had been better, if the drive had been shorter, if the description of the flowers had sounded more spectacular, if if if, I would've done it. But I just couldn't bring myself, even after driving all that way, to driving 20 miles on a muddy one lane dirt road, and maybe not even getting a picture because of the rain.
But I drove around to a couple places and took some pictures of mountains and cactus but not the wild flowers that I'd come to see.
On my last picture taking stop I noticed that my rear tire looked a little low, I checked it and sure enough I had a nail in my tire. Now don't that just burn your biscuits.
I couldn't find my trusty can of Flat Fix in the truck and since it was raining I certainly didn't want to jack the thing up and put on my spare. Since I was losing air my only choice was to get out of there and drive as fast as the speed limit would allow.... As far as you know.... Back to what passes for civilization out here, and bought a can of Flat Fix at the Why Not gas station which got me back home in one piece.
First chance I got I took the truck into Ajo and let the one man tire repair place fix the tire. Fortunately the guy wasn't busy so he took the tire off the truck, removed the tire from the wheel, patched it from the inside, put it all back together and charged me 15 bucks which I felt was very reasonable for the time involved.
Oh well, it wasn't the greatest day of my life but looking at the bright side, I got to take a picture of an Organ Pipe Cactus. I know I need to pick up some Flat Fix next time I'm at a Walmart. I now know that no one in Why repairs tires. Ajo has one man that repairs tires. All the rain cleaned off my solar panels. The mud on the truck covers up some of the scratches. And best of all none of those things about getting rained out in the park, or rushing around trying to get my tire fixed affected my mood at all, because they're all just part of life and I'm happy to be living it.
The weather in Ajo looked great. But the deeper I got into the park the worse it became.
This is what all the fuss is about. This is an Organ Pipe Cactus and apparently this park has a lot of them, but I'll have to take their word for it because I didn't see all that many.
The fruit of the Barrel Cactus. Their well protected by the cactus and look like little pineapples.
This was the largest bunch of wild flowers I saw on the trip.
The rain was closing in on me so I was taking pictures of anything that didn't move. Unfortunately Organ Pipe National Monument didn't seem all that interesting to me so I probably won't go back there again.
Here's another picture of an Organ Pipe Cactus and all of its neighbors.
The weather got worse and worse in the Park so I got out of there, but the rain followed me most of the way home.