Friday, December 16, 2011

The Desert Is Cool

A beautiful vista from the 21-mile scenic loop at Organ Pipe National Monument

The Sonoran Desert is cool--in fact, quite a bit cooler than I'd anticipated. Recently we've had afternoon highs in the 50s and night-time temps hovering above freezing, with lots of clouds and frequent rain. This is the kind of weather I thought I'd left behind in the Pacific Northwest. I've had to break out the fleece clothing and my rain jacket that I hadn't worn since February.

I'm given to understand, though, that December is the coldest month here and that things are bound to improve later in the winter. Maybe that's why a lot of snowbirds don't head south until after the first of the year.

We've had to conserve electricity, since we rely on the sun for ours. Some days the choice has been between my selling on eBay or our watching a DVD in the evening.

One night recently, we were going to drive over to the Why Not Store for an after-dinner treat, but the rain was so intense, we weren't sure we'd be able to drive through the washes (the streams that are dry most of the time, but are like fast-moving flood waters when it rains in the desert).

The next morning, we decided to head to Tucson for a break from the gray weather. There was no guarantee that Tucson would be warmer or sunnier, but we have free use of Steve's sister's apartment while she's out of state, visiting her kids. So we've been here a couple of days, using all the electricity we want. I've done a lot of eBay selling and we've watched a bunch of cable and On-Demand TV. Yesterday, we went out for Greek food and saw "Tower Heist" at the movie theater. And a couple of nights ago, I took my 22-year chip at an AA meeting. It's been a nice break.

Sonja sleeping under a blanket near the propane heater in Steve's 5th wheel

We're heading back today, because two nights is the limit of how long I can leave Sonja by herself. By then, she's emptied the food dishes and filled up the box. She is always extremely affectionate when we get back home from these short hops to Tucson.

Last weekend, we took a chance on the weather and headed to Organ Pipe National Monument for their holiday open house. This treasure is just a few miles south of where we live in Why, Arizona. It's an attraction I'd always wanted to see when I've traveled through Arizona in the past, but coming this far south always seemed just so out of the way. Now, having seen it, I can't recommend it strongly enough to travelers. Make the jaunt south to Organ Pipe! It's beautiful! And it's on the way to Rocky Point, a Sea of Cortez beach town in Mexico--I haven't been there yet, but that trip is probably the next one for Steve and me.

Steve in front of prickly pear and organ pipe cacti

The day we went to Organ Pipe was the one day recently that the sun burst out and the temps soared to the high 70s. It was glorious. We walked the nature trail outside of the visitors center and enjoyed the informative displays and Christmas cookies inside, then we drove the 21-mile scenic loop of mostly gravel road. Fortunately we were traveling in Steve's truck rather than the Guppy--the road was so rough in places, I think it would probably shake things loose in my little old motorhome.

My son Sly is coming to visit me for a couple of weeks in January, so I scoped out the possibility of coming back down to Organ Pipe with him. The National Monument's campground is very nice, and in January they'll start running guided van tours of the scenic loop that Steve and I drove, so coming back to Organ Pipe with the Guppy is a distinct possibility.

I've also been checking out other camping venues and attractions for when Sly comes. On our way into Tucson this time, Steve and I drove through the Saguaro National Park's campground, another beauty. I'm thinking of taking Sly on a trip that would include Tucson and some interesting places nearby such as Biosphere 2 and Kartchner Caverns.

He Da Man

I've been very blessed to have Steve's help in getting the Guppy ready for Sly's visit. Sly will be using the Guppy as a guest bedroom, and now there's solar power to keep the house battery charged so Sly can play hours and hours of Skyrim on his laptop (assuming the weather improves!). Also, Steve got up on the roof and sealed the leaking cabover vent that has plagued my travels since the first day I left Oregon. So far, no more leaks!

My eBay sales have been very good lately. I'm working my way through the inventory I purchased on my recent buying trip to Phoenix and on my Thanksgiving weekend visit to Tucson. I've also been purchasing box lots of vintage scarves on eBay, then cherry-picking the best ones for individual resale. I'm not quite to the point where eBay covers my expenses, but closer all the time. Success requires constant fine-tuning of the techniques I've learned over the many years I've been selling online. I'm always learning new ways to acquire good inventory in a part of the country that's not exactly dripping with couture.

The well-paid prevaricators that do the TV weather reports say Christmas will be sunny and warm. I hope so! Have a safe, happy and warm holiday season!


  1. Hurray for Organ Pipe and for the sunshine, too! I am glad you have a pied a terre (is that how you say it?) for when you need a break from camping.

    I'm glad Handy Steve is on the job and that your business is moving along nicely. Now, if you could get some more sun....

  2. Hey, cool that Sly can come visit! Did he find a new job after those bastards let him go?

    We're still on the bayou.

  3. Sly moved back to his dad's house in Seattle after losing his job, but has a new part-time job there. He's the guy who stands on the corner and dances with a Great Clips sign.

  4. Wow, Organ Pipe looks fabulous. Do the cacti (is that the singular) bloom in the spring? It would be awesome to see.

  5. Most of the cacti (that's plural) bloom in the early spring and I can't wait to see 'em! Some don't bloom until summer, when it's too hot to stick around here.