We left Yuma and headed to Ajo AZ, ( pronounced ah-ho) and stopped along the way for a date shake in Dateland.. This was the furthest west we’d been in 13 months and we were still west of Phoenix.
Dateland is a small community on I-8 that was bought recently by a couple from Alberta, Canada. It consists of date palm groves, a school with a post office inside, a travel center, RV park and a scattering of homes. This couple is responsible for all the billboards, and have been busy promoting their date shakes. They were delicious, but so sweet.
We drove about 2 hours southeast to our chosen campground at the Ajo Golf Course. $5 per night, but free if you play golf or eat in the cafe. Golf was $1 per hole.
Ajo ( Spanish for garlic ) is a small town just west of Tucson and close to the Organ Pipe National Monument.
The campground was a small enclave with travelers mostly from Colorado, a colorful bunch who spent their day playing nine holes and looking forward to “happy hour”
The town has been a copper mining town for almost two centuries. For several decades more than 1,000 employees worked for Phelps Dodge in the open pit which ceased production in 1985.
The town was originally segregated with neighborhoods called Indian Village and Mexican Town for non-white residents. Today you can see a real blend of races and the town has a very artistic vibe.
We stopped for coffee in the Plaza, surrounded by beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.
On Saturday we visited the farmers market, there’s a large community of snowbirds staying around town, so it was quite a lively affair, not really captured in the photos below
We spent one day visiting the Organ Pipe National Monument which sits directly on the border with Mexico.
We later learned that the day following our visit, the area closest to the border was blown up to make room for Trumps wall. This is an area sacred to indigenous groups where hundreds of burial sites are located and was destroyed without consultation with these people.
We were told that a visit to Puerto Penasco, Mexico was a “must” while we were in the area. It’s the closest coastal town for Arizonans and probably a nice break from the heat of the summer.
It was about an hours drive south once we crossed the border, through a town where everything was for sale, even puppies. We only took the Jeep, but it gave us an idea of driving conditions in Mexico, well northern Baja anyway.
Puerto Penasco is known for it’s fabulous seafood particularly shrimp, so was a big draw for us
Lunch at El Buzo was an excellent restaurant, really good reviews and the food exceeded expectation, shrimp, scallops, tuna and octopus were all very fresh
Followed by dessert
The town of Puerto Penesco is certainly trying its best to follow in the footsteps of Cancun, and much of Rocky Point as it’s known locally, is under construction.
We we’re glad we drove down to explore, even though we had to buy additional liability insurance for the car it was worth it.
We’d planned to drive to Tucson next, but lack of places to park around there made it difficult, so we decided to go to Phoenix instead as we had plans there the following week, so off we went.