About 6:45 (we are back in Pacific Time Zone) we get up and at 7:30 we leave. Once more we drive through Saguaro Park on our way to Hwy 86. As soon as we are on the highway the Seguaros are gone. We see some more later on along the road, but they seem to need very specific condition to grow. All of them we see are on these reddish probably volcanic hills.
We stay on Hwy86 through the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation to “Why” there we turn south into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We get a map at the Visitor Center and start the 21 miles gravel road loop. At first we see very view Organ Pipes but again Saguaros in abundance. The further we advance the more frequently we spot them. Most of them are huge. The variety of cactuses here is amazing – the guide states some 26. It takes us nearly 3 hours to complete the loop. Unfortunately, we don’t see any animals at all (well they are probably more intelligent then we and stay in the cool shade).
Early afternoon we take Hwy 85 north trough Ajo (we see the first car crash – with Helicopter Rescue team) to Gila Bend. There we search for Hwy238 and eventually find it. It is lined with cattle bodies – somehow ‘macabre’ to see all these remains lying along the street, most of them are only bones and skin though. In Maricopa, a small but booming town, we turn north on Hwy 347 to Chandler where we spend the night. The Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites has a coupon rate of USD 38 incl. breakfast which we are happy to get. We cruise around a while to find a steakhouse, but finally we find one with reasonable prices and excellent prime rib with crispy vegetables. For desert we indulge a real Starbucks Frappucino!
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