Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Sonoma County was inundated by torrential downpour for days. Santa Rosa received the most rainfall in a single day going back all the way to the earliest records kept in the 1800s. Rivers, creeks, and waterways overflowed. Streets, roads, and highways flooded. Residents along the Russian River received mandatory evacuation orders. Hundreds of miles away in Arizona, I pedaled through the desert, dry and warm.

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They call me Old Grumble-Face. I have no idea why they do that....

6 response to "Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: March 1, 2019

    Nice to hear somewhere on Earth was having nice weather since most of our riders on here are experiencing weather extremes. Still near 100F in my neck of the woods, but definitely not too wet to ride.

  2. By: gregblood Posted: March 1, 2019

    Organ Pipe was an excellent choice and I can’t wait to read the rest of your story. It’s such a beautiful place. In 2002, a friend and I spent a few days and nights in Organ Pipe and the adjacent Cabeza Prieta Wilderness. We hiked and camped and climbed Mt. Ajo, and we were spellbound by the incredible beauty of the desert mountains and the huge variety of plant life. But as much as we appreciated those things, we were almost equally fascinated by the activities of the U.S. Air Force. A couple times a day the desert silence was broken by fighter jets screaming across the sky, and sometimes they were shooting colorful tracer bullets at each other. (I assume they were PRACTICE tracer bullets.)

  3. By: gregblood Posted: March 1, 2019

    It seems my FULL comment was too long. I sent it three times and it was rejected three times, so I guess I will divide it up a little bit. Continuing:

    On our first night we were camped several miles from any civilization and it was dark and the sky was full of stars. All of a sudden we saw a flare shoot up into the sky not far away from us and the flare burst into a ball of intensely bright light. That ball of light just sat there for over an hour like some kind of miniature sun. I don’t mind saying we were scared shitless. (The only rational explanation we could think of was that it was an alien space ship.) When we got back to the town of Ajo, we told some locals about the amazing thing we had seen and their reaction was like, “Yeah . . . that’s what the military DOES . . . and you guys are a couple of hicks.”

  4. By: gregblood Posted: March 1, 2019

    Continuing:

    The Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range covers a VAST area of the empty southern Arizona desert, but apparently it’s not vast enough for the Air Force. The pilots seemed to have no problem extending their maneuvers out over what are supposed to be the WILDERNESS areas of the Cabeza Prieta and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The intrusion into our outdoor experience was a little irritating but, man, what a show!

    I’m anxious to see if you experienced anything similar.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: March 2, 2019

      Hi Greg. Organ Pipe is a hidden gem, way off the beaten path, with excellent hiking and biking opportunities, so I should have known you’ve been here. Thanks for great stories. I had a few interesting encounters, but nothing quite as dramatic as yours. I’m still on the move and falling far behind with posting Arizona rides, but will eventually catch up. I did, by the way, spend some time talking with a couple from Minnesota, from whom I learned it is possible to escape from the Gopher State to the sunny southern border even when snow is accumulating in Hastings. 😉

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