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It’s with mixed feelings that we approach San Diego – we’re now only some 200 miles away and plan to do the last stretch tomorrow via the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Today we left Tucson in good time for the longish (197 mile) drive to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The Motel was one without breakfast facilities, but we were sure that we could pick up breakfast along the way. Our friend, Michael Newberry, had suggested that we take the old Ajo Way (AZ 89) to a village called Why (so we had to play the silly Have / Havant game that Angie & I fall into every time we drive past it). I wanted to take a picture of me and the town sign but forgot. Why? etc….

Only problem that this old road has: no eating facilities along its full length. Never mind, we said, we’ll combine breakfast with lunch at the Park. Wrong! No eating facilities at the Park!

Never mind, we did the 21 mile Ajo loop, took some terrific pictures of cacti – the light has been very kind to us of late. The Echinocerei (E. engelmannii and E. nicholii) were in bud and Mam. grahamii in flower, so if the kind weather continues, things should be great for March.

The Desert Golden Poppy (Eschscholzia glyptosperma) – or it could be the Mexican Golden Poppy (E. californica ssp. mexicana) were in full flower, providing some shots to complement my Chilean Desert in Flower pictures – the spring flowers have been a real treat after heavier than usual rains up to 3 days before we arrived on 1 Feb.

The loop should only have taken an hour, but with all the photo stops took 3, so that we had another long drive, reaching Yuma at 5:30 as the sun was getting low. We had still not had breakfast or lunch – just a few oatmeal biscuits. Must do better.

Ian & Cliff: I suggest we keep our options open for a US leg to the March Baja trip. Do bring some maps of California and Arizona so that we can plan as we get back towards the border and decide what it is you want to see and haven’t seen already. By the time you arrive, I should also have some experience of the nurseries in California.

The list of cactus species seen this trip is looking quite impressive and is still being worked on.

Two phrases between Alain and I seem to dominate this trip. In Mexico, after one of us tried our best in Spanish, it was ‘I didn’t know you were fluent!’ ‘Oh, I’m fluent alright, but not in Spanish!’

The other is ‘Where are the car keys?’ This because although we have two keys – meant as one for each of us – they are both on a thick metal wire that so far we have not been able to break apart. So who ever misplaces his key does so for ALL the keys.

Today, as we were very tired after our long drive without food, when we eventually left the diner after the only meal of the day, and found the keys, we cursed the remote opening function – only to find that we were trying to get into the wrong car – ours was parked around the corner!Never mind.

Back at the Motel, Alain went to get some bottles of water for tomorrow and left the shop accidentally by the emergency fire exit, setting off all the alarms. ‘Never mind’ the lady said ‘the full eclipse of the moon will soon be over.’ There was indeed an impressive eclipse in progress, which we blame for anything that happens for the rest of the day.

Perhaps we should call this the ‘Never Mind’ Tour.

Must look at today’s 210 pictures (each). Some more impressive clouds, Chris!

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