We celebrated Christmas in St Paul and took off for warmth and sunshine the next dayWe flew into Tucson and drove to little Ajo, AZ, near Organ Pipe Monument.Some lifestyle differences in southern Arizona were immediately obviousAjo is a hardscrabble ex-mining town. Recently, a local non-profit has retrofitted this magnificent school building into artist housing.The Spanish colonial town square features a repurposed rail depot.There are no longer enough stores to fill up the square but the buildings are greatA few miles and one Border Patrol checkpoint down the road is Organ PipeThe presence of the nearby border was always with usMining ruins in Organ Pipe. How did miners survive in this environment?We drove to Ajo through a hard rain! The green leaves on the ocotillo bush will disappear in days. The Sonoran desert gets rain in summer and winter, unlike the Chihuahuan and MojaveThe flower stalk of the agave takes decades to mature, hence the name The saguaro (sa-WAH-ro) grows only in the Sonoran desert and dominates the landscapeThe cause of the somewhat rare Cactus wrens and others build nests amongst the spines. Woodpeckers, flickers, etc., drill holes.Jean walks by the namesake organ pipe cactusA saguaro forest at sunsetOur favorite Arizona placename. In this case, it's a good questionThe newest buildings and SUV fleet in the area belong to the well-endowed Border PatrolInside a Border Patrol highway checkpoint. We were stopped once or twice a day when outside of Tucson. The facilities are extensive and the personnel heavily armed. We were briefly questioned about citizenship and waved on.As the Border Patrol uses their overwhelming resources to block common routes through cities and the countryside, more migrants attempt crossings over the driest desert. Humanitarians leaving water and supplies for them are subject to arrest and jail time.
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