Day 4 was a travel day, as we made our way from New Mexico to Arizona and our next destination: Saguaro National Park. After a relaxing morning, we finally left town and headed farther south and west via US Highway 70 toward Las Cruces, where we merged onto Interstate 10. As we drove within 30 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico, we noticed a distinct uptick in Border Patrol vehicles, as well as inspection points along the highway. Because the interstate traverses the Chihuahuan Desert, it offers spectacular views of several mountain ranges, including the Doña Ana Mountains and the Organ Mountains in New Mexico, and the Rincon Mountains, Santa Catalina Mountains, and Tucson Mountains in Arizona. Although the Chihuahuan Desert is a relatively dry ecosystem, it teems with life, including yucca, cacti, shrubs, and grasses.
We arrived at Tucson in time to set up and then enjoy an authentic Mexican dinner at El Molinito, a short drive from our site. Cliff had a combination platter of taco, enchilada and tamale, while Jon had beef tacos and beans. With four Tucson-area locations, El Molinito has a reputation for serving excellent house margaritas. We admit, it’s a well-earned reputation, as they almost as good as Cliff’s homemade version.
We ended the evening with a late-night walk around South Forty RV Ranch, our basecamp. The well-kept park has quite a few long-term residents nestled under tall palm trees, soaring saguaros, and other desert plants, which served as appetizers for the next day’s main course.
Next morning, we were up with the sunrise, preparing the dogs for a day inside Cloud 9, as temperatures were forecast to rise above 100 degrees. After a quick breakfast, a Bloody Mary, and some personal grooming, we left for our visit to Saguaro.