Thursday, January 21, 2010

Don't Take Shortcuts

1/16 - Just before leaving for Kitt Peak Friday evening we received word that Dennis’ mom had been hospitalized. Nothing serious at this point, he talked to her and her doctor before we went on the observatory tour. He did have to spend some time on Saturday dealing with things and talking to relatives.

Nancy was bummed out today finding out that the mailbox project her team had been working on was cancelled. We don’t quite know why. Our library shelf project is a bit slow in getting going as well.

Took our desert hike right at sunset this afternoon. We continue to be amazed at how different the desert looks under different lighting conditions. We have always heard people say how they “love the desert”. Could never quite understand that sentiment, what is there to love about the desert? Well, we are becoming believers! The desert is truly a fascinating place with something new and different to see every time we venture into it. Just a 10 or 15 minute walk from our trailer and we are where we can only see signs of civilization in the far distance and the only sounds we hear are distant airplanes, wind and birds. Truly an enchanting place. Walking back in the gathering twilight was truly different. The entire experience of hiking in the desert is something completely different from anything we have ever done before. We find ourselves looking forward to new sights and sounds every time we go out there. Guess we are becoming “desert lovers”!

1/17 - Lazy morning again, watched the Sunday AM news shows. Took a walk in the desert. Did some exploring of the small stores that are in the immediate vicinity of our campground. We are starting to get our bearing as to where things are. Had lunch at a small restaurant near the entrance to Tucson Mountain Park, Coyote Pause. Food was good, but it was really a “geezers are us” experience!

1/18 - Weekly campground meeting this AM, then we took a brief ride into downtown Tucson, planning to stop at the Tucson Visitors Center, but they were closed for Martin Luther King Day. Took a brief walk around the deserted government buildings in downtown.

We then spent a fair amount of time looking for a liquor store! We had noted several on the web, but they turned out to be just drive-in beer places with a little bit of spirits, but no scotch or Irish whiskey. Obviously we did not bring enough with us! We finally found a bottle of Jamison’s in a grocery store! Later our neighbors told us of a large liquor store up on the NE side of the city (naturally!). We will have to check it out next time we head up that way.

1/19 - Light rain early this AM, but than it turned into a beautiful sunny day. Took our desert walk just after dawn, desert was really pretty. A lot more birds than usual, they might have come down from the mountains as it snowed in the higher elevations last night. The cactus seem to be looking a bit brighter this morning.The cholla in particular seem to glow in the early morning light.

A bit cooler, in the lower sixties today. We went to Old Tucson Studios, which is only a few miles from here, in fact we could walk there as there are hiking trails through Tucson Mountain Park. We did not do that.

The studios are only partially open on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is why we went on Tuesday. The only thing available is the movie history tour, none of the “shows”, so it was not crowded and we got to hear the real history of the studios without the distractions of the manufactured “old west” shows. A very interesting place with an amazing history of big name movies film in part or entirely there. The one reference in the museum that puzzled us was to “The Bells of St Mary’s”, neither of us could think of anything in that movie that could possibly have been filmed here. So Dennis asked the guide about it - “There is a point in the movie where Bing Crosby goes on vacation. They filmed a scene of him here in front of the old adobe church, but it got cut from the final version of the movie” !!!

Very interesting strolling around the sets and seeing familiar sights, especially the mountain backdrops which have been in a lot of movies. When they built it as a movie set for the movie “Arizona” they hired a large group of Tohono O'odham indians to make adobe brick in the old fashion. The town was built as a faithful replica of the City of Tucson in 1860’s, So when you see the movie “Arizona” you are seeing what Tucson looked like in the 1860’s. Most of the adobe buildings are still there and they have a little brickyard where they demonstrate the making of adobe bricks.

Had lunch at Coyote Pause again and then back home for a stroll around the campground and a relaxing afternoon. Dennis has been spending a fair amount of time on the phone and e-mails dealing with his mother’s illness.

1/20 - It rained during the night, basically what we in the midwest would call a sprinkle, with an hour or so of normal rainfall. By dawn the sky was once more perfectly clear. It did start to cloud up a bit by late afternoon, but another beautiful sunny day, temp in the 60’s.

We went into Tucson late in the AM, stopped at the Tucson visitors center and picked up a handful of brochures. The we stopped at El Charro - our new favorite restaurant (thanking my lucky stars for spell check, I never could spell that word!).

After lunch we took another stroll through Old Town Artisans and then drove up to the north side to Total Wine and Liquors. At last - a real liquor store! Stocked up on scotch and whiskey, should have enough now to last us through the next couple of months.

On the way home we decided to take the road that goes into Saguaro National Forest. Last time we went that way we missed the turn into the park and ended up going across the north side on Picture Rocks Road. This time we found the turn onto Golden Gate Rd. - turns out that was about 8 miles of dirt and gravel (read rock) road, 10 to 15 MPH all the way across! We won’t be using that shortcut again!

1/21 - Wind blew hard all night long with just a sprinkle of rain. First thing this morning we were off to Tucson Yoga for our weekly yoga class. Then we stopped at the Food Conspiracy and caught up on the grocery shopping. Lunch at an In N' Out Burger (does that conflict with the yoga and natural food grocery?).

Lots of dark clouds over Tucson and the Santa Catalina Mountains to the north and east (there is snow on the mountains this morning). Drove back home and relaxed this afternoon - still very windy, but bright blue sky and puffy clouds out here west of the city. Supposed to be windy and storms tonight.

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