Organ Pipe National Monument is like Big Bend National Park in one respect. You really have to want to go there. It’s on the Mexican border and only two roads access it. One is paved and goes to a small border crossing. The other is gravel and connected the ranches that used to operate in the area with the border to the south and the town of Ajo, near our campsite, to the north. We chose to return to camp on the gravel road.
Quartzsite, AZ is a small town of about 3,500 people on Interstate 10 near the Arizona California border. It’s what I call a truck stop town having three truck stops, three fast food joints and seven gas stations along its 2 mile long Main Street. That’s in keeping with the town’s history. It’s been a desert way stop on the way to California since the days of the stagecoach.
If you’re not in a hurry to fuel up and grab a burger you might notice the camels. Not live camels but camel statues and camels on signs. Even the sign announcing that you’re entering Quartzsite has 3 camels on it. It’s at that sign the story begins.
This is a brief video showing our camp site in the desert. To put it in context it is about 4 miles outside of the town of Quartzsite, a town of about 3,500 people. The nearest towns are Blythe, CA and Parker, AZ about 25 miles away. The nearest city is Yuma, AZ at about 75 miles. In between are mountains and desert. Much of that land is owned by an arm of the federal government called the Bureau of Land Management or BLM. The BLM manages the land for the benefit of the people of the U. S. That means we can use it for minerals and mining, cattle grazing and recreation which includes camping. It also means the BLM does not provide any services except occasional road grading. Turn off the paved road onto a dirt road and then turn off the dirt road onto a track through the desert and pick your place. So this what we’ve done to get to our camp site.