Willys Wagon in Cabeza Preita NWR

Lynnrb

Observer
My wife and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Cabeza Preita NWR west of Ajo Az. This is the first trip in the Willys since I installed the platform and other gear for camping. (http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/149528-1960-Willys-Wagon-build)
We first had to stop in at the refuge headquarters for passes to enter the wilderness section of the refuge. The headquarters is located in Ajo. These are hold harmless boiler plate agreements. One is made to understand that you will be be on your own and must be prepared for all contingencies.
Over the years we have made many trips to various sections of Cabeza Preita, this time we would be staying in and around Charlie Bell pass. This is a dead end road that leads to a mountain saddle.
We took our time driving to Ajo, refueled then headed to the pass. All the roads are primitive dirt roads. The one to Charlie Bell pass is probably the best in the refuge. Only the last 3-4 miles is rough. It is the only road rated high clearance in Cabeza. All the rest require 4WD. Although I have traveled the other roads not engaging the 4wd and made it through fine.
We got to the pass in time for dinner and a sunset. The night cooled off quickly so soon we were in the Willys listening to audio books. The full moon rose soon and we had almost daylight views of the cactus and mountains. Beautiful!
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Lynnrb

Observer
The next morning we made coffee and breakfast and sat in the sun until the day warmed up a bit. Then we hiked the around the saddle scouted for indian artifacts and flora.
Cabeza Preita has some interesting native plants The Ajo Lily and the Elephant Tree are a couple plants only found in the lower Sonoran Desert.
We found pottery shards, petroglyphs and a large (6'x60') geoglyph mound with a very good N/S alignment. Made literally of tons of volcanic rock. This is most certainly made by archaic people.
Also found artifacts left by much more modern people. The black water bottles used by the border crossers and the flimsiest pair of sandals I have ever seen. And to think some one crossed the Sonoran Desert wearing these is beyond belief.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Lynnrb

Observer
Another dinner and sunset ended the day. A second cool night in the Willys and it was time pack up and head home. The Willys proved its stuff, as this was the first outing of this distance and remoteness.
The wife is already talking about our next trip! Success.
 

Attachments

Stumpalump

Expedition Leader
That moon was great. We were in Searchlight Nevada and it seemed really bright but we also enjoyed the sunlight warming us up in the morning. Nice job keeping the Mrs. Happy. That can be the hardest part on some trips.
 

Lynnrb

Observer
Awesome Willys in its natural habitat. Love the rear bumper accessory.
Yea, that is our lifeboat, I have been able to go for help on it on one our past trips. Stuck in a creek! Combined ages of the two vehicles is 100 years. Still not as old as the combined ages of the driver and passenger.
 
Last edited:

Lynnrb

Observer
I'll add that to the list, thanks for the great pics. No security concerns?
You mean the guys that walked into our camp with machine guns! Yea that was scary, but I guess you just have to trust the Border Patrol guys with the machine guns. But really Phoenix is a million times more dangerous than the desert. Let's see, Phoenix, 4 million scared people with guns in 400 sq mi area , or 4 people scared of people with guns in the 1350 sq mi of Cabeza Preita. I would rather take my chances in the desert.
 
Last edited:

Lynnrb

Observer
That moon was great. We were in Searchlight Nevada and it seemed really bright but we also enjoyed the sunlight warming us up in the morning. Nice job keeping the Mrs. Happy. That can be the hardest part on some trips.
She is diffidently a keeper
 
Nice rig you have there and great trip report! Good on you for not letting fear keep you from exploring the area. Thanks for sharing.
 

dar395

Adventurer
You mean the guys that walked into our camp with machine guns! Yea that was scary, but I guess you just have to trust the Border Patrol. But really Phoenix is a million times more dangerous than the desert. Let's see, Phoenix, 4 million scared people with guns in 400 sq mi area , or 4 people scared of people with guns in the 1350 sq mi of Cabeza Preita. I would rather take my chances in the desert.
Amen!
 

unkamonkey

Explorer
Nice ride and good eport. I almost bought one several years ago but the guy wanted too much money for just a frame and body. We were down there in 1999 and they were warning us about the trafficers then. We had no problems.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
I haven't been down that way in a while....looks like a great trip and a good reason to return.
Love the old iron
 
Top