Friday, August 15, 2008

Cactus Candy

The field sites in Buenos Aires NWR proved futile. We gave it a go, but the border crossings and especially the mighty god Thor, were strongly against us.

Our first attempt at a site, a nice little pond with some cute little frogs, in a relatively 'safe' spot, had only 2 bats. We realized later that this site was rougly 200 yards from a heli-pad. Yes, a Border Patrol heli-pad. Hmm?

The second site that we tracked down was all covered with vegetation. The third had various old water bottles, some shoes and other clothing items, and several foot trails leading to the pond.

Also, I would strongly advise NOT doing afternoon-night field work in Southern Arizona during monsoon season. Severe thunderstorms were present every night, with some real aggressive lightening bolts all over the damn place.

Anyway, obviously we left. We're trying out sites near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (yess!) this next week. We'll get there tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it. It's not far from the North Rim entrance and Marble Canyon, and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Sweet goodness.

On a somber note, Zac's jeep is suffering. First it was the soy protein powder mixed with water, in an airtight container, that violently exploded in the back seat. You'd think that smell would be somewhat acceptable, right? You are wrong. It happened at night and we noticed in the morning, when we were in some middle of nowhere Western AZ motel, in 111 degree heat. The smell if produced was of vomit. Riding in the car like that for 10 hours was not a pleasant experience. It became too much and so Zac cut out some of the carpet in the backseat. It had to be done.

We left Buenos Aires this morning, making good time, stopping at Saguaro for a nice hike. We thought we were gonna make it though the hell hole death zone of Phoenix right before rush hour hit. We were doing so well. And then there was a weird smell, and we wondered what it was, cause surely it wasnt the car, right? And then the familiarity of the car fading fast and losing speed, and basically just stopping on the interstate and smoking happened. That sucked. And it was in a real bad spot, right next to a merge lane. Screw that.

AAA reacted in record time however. Which is good because the heat was too much too handle and sweat was beading up in places it shouldn't. We started a game of Yahtzee, thinking it would pass the time (last time this happened we had to wait 6 hours for AAA, on the Texas side of the Mexico border). A dice was lost in the car, somehow, somewhere, in the first roll, and tempers rose. But then AAA came - after 7 minutes of calling them!

Beat that. And, the guy fixed the car for free - beat that! Yup.

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