February 11 & 12, 2017
Ajo, Arizona calls itself “a small town with a huge backyard” and I’d have to agree. It offers the basic amenities in an artists’ community surrounded by 12 million acres of public and tribal land protecting the Sonoran Desert.
After three weeks on the road camping in the desert with delightfully warm to hot, depending on your opinion, days it was time to dump, fill, take a shower and do laundry, like a civilized person. It was cheaper to stay at Belly Acres RV Park in Ajo at $22.50/night than the Casino Arizona in Mesa. Their coin op laundry and showers are open to the public and for $1 fo a 10 minute shower in a huge, clean, private shower room I’d return just for that.
Plus it was a treat to have electricity to charge everything and run the fridge which saves on propane. OK, so not the prettiest view I’ve ever had, but I’ve certainly had worse. After the chores were done I really enjoyed sequestering for a couple days with the luxuries. NAPA Auto parts is next door and Olsen’s IGA across the street which is a pretty adequate grocery store, not Trader Jo’s of course.
Ajo (pronounced AH-ho) is a former copper mining town and although the New Cornelia mine land is still owned by Phelps Dodge it hasn’t been in operation since 1985. However the charming Spanish Colonial Revival architecture of the historic plaza and railway depot was constructed during the mining era which began in 1847. There is a self-guided art tour including wall murals and installations but I only saw a couple of the murals.
On the way through town I stopped at the Saturday market located at the plaza and bought some fresh greens. A “box” store, for lack of a better name, offered an eclectic assortment of can and dry goods often with a Mexican flare (labels printed in Spanish) for reduced prices. Bought a box of cereal, jar of caramel, and dark chocolate syrup, all with no high fructose corn syrup. They use cane sugar south of the border.
It’s a little disconcerting that there are more churches than taverns
My pattern tends to be play days followed by down days so a weekend stay at Belly Acres felt just right. Partly rainy, a gentle soft female rain, allowing the hard desert floor to soak in the waters. Saw a rainbow and believe it or not wasn’t carrying a camera. There’s a lot more to see in Ajo like the Curley School which is now an artists’ residence with studios, a visitor center at the mine, and gardens. Plus I heard walking the alleys reveals many more wall murals. An excuse to return.
But after two days of listening to neighbors I’d had enough luxury so filled a propane tank at the park, stopped for staples at Olsen’s and headed south back to Darby Well Road. Plus a detour to meet fellow RV blogger Ed on his last day at the Casino RV Park in Why. And took no photos. But did learn something, as you might notice I’ve been spelling Wells where as Ed pointed out the name is correctly Well as there is only one well. And sure enough, even the sign at the turn off reads “Darby Well Road”.
Geogypsy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com