Until now, we had been dealing with cool days and freezing temperatures at night, which was using a lot of propane to heat our trailer. We had not encountered this much cold weather in the past two years except for the ride down from the frozen tundra that we call home. This year was mostly cold, however, until we made it to Arizona.
We arrived at my cousin’s house in Tucson and were enveloped in the warmth and beauty at the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. He and his wife have generously allowed us to stay in their backyard. They’ve even hooked us up to water and electric. They have the most beautifully landscaped backyard with fantastic views of the mountains. I feel like this could be heaven.
Tucson is a big city with lots of diversity and plentiful dining options and tons of activities. After being there now for the second time, we still haven’t explored all that it has to offer.
Our first night, we enjoyed Vietnamese cuisine. Excellent food and a very enjoyable evening. The following day, we had lunch at Abuela’s Cocina Mexican Restaurant. Fabulous place and fabulous food with great ambiance. We followed that up with a visit to the Tucson Botanical Gardens which was having a special display of Origami Sculpture amidst its many beautiful garden settings. They also have an amazing butterfly and orchid pavilion. It was hard to leave that place. It’s a good thing they had a closing time or I might not have. It certainly was a happy place for me!
The next day Opa wanted to go look at some rv’s. Tucson seems to have a huge selection for the snowbirds and they had a few that Opa was particularly interested in seeing. We had no intention of buying. Just checking the market for ideas and having fun. We also made it very clear to the sales people that we were just looking with no intent to buy. However, there were a couple of rv’s that peaked my interest.
The Gem and Mineral Show was opening up all over Tucson. I love rocks and really wanted to go. Talk about overstimulation! There were so many rocks! I think the location we went was more geared to wholesale by the box but many dealers also sold to individuals. There were some unbelievably rare and expensive rocks on display. There was fine jewelry, and even tables made from petrified wood. I guess that I was in a heart mood because I ended up purchasing some lovely heart rocks that afternoon. We ended our exhausting day by going to get some serial killer sandwiches at the Serial Griller restaurant. They make up some very creative and tasty sandwiches named after serial killers.
On another day, Opa and I went back to the Saguaro National Park in the Rincon Mountain District. I needed to get my National Park Passport book stamped and I always love a good scenic loop. We had Coda along and the ranger even suggested a great spot for letting him out to walk since dogs aren’t allowed on the trails. It was a dirt road that led back to a picnic area and trails. So we enjoyed as long a walk as Coda could handle (his hips are no longer cooperating) and found many beautiful photo opportunities along the way. Those saguaro sure do pose beautifully! We then continued our loop drive, admired the saguaro forest, and took a few more pics. It was a beautiful afternoon. My cousin’s daughter came for dinner that evening and his wife cooked a wonderful curry dish. I normally don’t enjoy curry, but I’d eat that dish again anytime.
We were still curious about some of the motorhomes we had looked at previously, so the next day, we went to check out more models and do a test drive. Would something like this work out for us in the future? No worries, just dreaming.
On the last day of our visit, we took a drive on the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway which takes you into the high reaches of Mt. Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Range. The road starts in the Lower Sonoran vegetative life zone and climbs to the high forests of the Canadian zone. It offers the biological equivalent of driving from the deserts of Mexico to the forests of Canada in a short stretch of 27 miles. It is about 60 miles round trip and not recommended for large trucks, large motorhomes or large trailers. It is quite a twisty turny road.
There are many pull outs and picnic areas to enjoy the scenery along the way. We spent a lot of time at Windy Point, a large scenic point/pullout, walking amidst the large boulders and taking photographs. The scenery is simply stunning! We meandered on the drive to the top of the mountain where there are a couple of eateries and a ski hill. We had a wonderful lunch at one of the restaurants that created a hamburger for me that was far too large and had to be eaten with a fork and knife. But delicious it was! This is an exhilarating drive not to be missed!
After a week in my cousin’s back yard, our tanks were getting full and there was lots of laundry to be done. My cousin and his wife have been extremely gracious hosts. But it is time to move on. We have some friends staying in an rv park about an hour’s drive north in Eloy. It will be great to visit with them again, get recombobulated and then plan to go to Organ Pipe National Monument.
But before we pulled out of their driveway, we’ve gone and done something crazy ….