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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Camping on an immigrant travel corridor

Mar 14, 2023 (Sat)

7:30 am Carefree Manor Trailer Resort, Apache Junction

Oof! We’re up early (for us) so that we can get everything ship shape before we ship out! Our next stop will be a boondock, so that means we want Harvey to be clean (empty tanks) and full (of clean water) and we want us clean (showered) before we head off to the dusty desert.

Gini thinks this is cutest picture of Robert and insists it be included in today’s blog, and we should call it, “Your Blogger.” Yes, dear.

11:00 am

And we just make it! With Gini still walking back from the shower, Harvey picks her up and heads for the backroads.

Fortunately, we have an app to use to find the backroads, and this time we’re careful about reading the reviews before we go charging in. Sure enough, the first two places that look likely have comments like “gunshot noise” and “we hear lots of firearms.”

We finally find one, but one review said not to trust the directions. Just give Google the GPS coordinates and follow that…

Gini says the mountains are still weirdly shaped

1:30 pm Near Marana, AZ

We’ve driven on Highway and Freeway and now we’re on less-traveled (and less-maintained) back roads. The bridge ahead says “6000 lbs GVW.” Now a rational person would have stopped and perhaps consulted some of our extensive documentation (or even gone on the internet) to find the Gross Vehicle Weight of Harvey.

Robert and “rational” are rarely used in the same sentence, so he just guns it (“If we’re moving, we’ll weigh less!”) and tears across the bridge, while all the rational people in the cabin (Gini) are holding their breath and trying to be lighter.

Either we weigh less than 6,000 GVW or the bridge can take more than it says it can, because we come out the other side and the bridge is still standing.

We also pass an airplane “graveyard,” where old airplanes are stashed because it’s so dry here that they don’t rust. It’s weird seeing a bunch of planes and we pass a 747 with no wings dreaming of the days when it flew across the world.

A 747 in the airplane graveyard

2:00 pm Ironwood Forest National Monument

We arrive at our taxpayer funded stop for the night. The name seems to be a bit ironic, because we don’t see any kind of a forest, Ironwood or otherwise. There are a few big bushes that might be considered trees if we squint hard enough, but even they are scattered apart and hardly a “forest.”

But the dirt road is lovely and there are a number of pull-outs that are designed for camping (although there’s no rule that says you have to use them, most folks seem to). We find one of the few remaining and pull into it, and we’re still a good 100 yards from the nearest neighbor.

Later on (the next day), we find out more about where we are from the BLM website:

“The monument is a travel corridor for illegal immigrants traveling from Mexico. … Stay safe by avoiding contact with persons exhibiting suspicious behavior or engaged in dangerous activities. Drive with caution and look for fast-moving vehicles and pedestrians on back roads.”

If it’s not gunfire, it’s illegal immigrants. Unlike the gunfire, we see nary a sign of anybody on foot (other than us lazy bums trying to get some exercise) and no fast traveling vehicles.

Harvey in his natural environment

6:30 pm

The sun is setting and we’re relaxing after an afternoon of practicing music. The wind is stiff, but we have a stock of clothespins to make sure our music doesn’t take flight.

While we’re practicing, a cute puppy comes strolling through our campsite—is this a Mexican immigrant? But he’s soon followed by his owner, who introduces herself and it turns out she’s from Whitehorse, Canada. We’ve spent time in Whitehorse (on our Alaska Highway trip last summer) so we chat a bit before she heads back.

Then it’s time to unpack this propane fireplace that we’ve been hauling all around two countries without using (yup, it made the entire 5,000 mile Yukon Trip snuggled in the back storage compartment of Harvey).

It connects to Harvey’s propane tanks and after some experimentation, it fires right up and here we are warming ourselves around the campfire in the desert, reading our books and watching the sunset. How cool is this?!

Relaxing around the propane campfire

The map

We went about 100 miles to get here

Gini & Robert

Harvey Staff

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