We’ve taken a couple of days to see the sights in Tucson and decided to stay in a motel instead of hauling the trailer down here. Tucson is a large area (much bigger than we thought) and there’s over 1 million people in the metro area. Like the area surrounding Phoenix, this is a retirement destination, with several communities dedicated to providing everything the baby-boomer retiree could ever want.
From Gold Canyon we drove through the growing area of Florence. This area is home to 9 different state and federal penitentiaries, and it looks like most of them are in the process of being expanded. Incarceration is a big business in this area of Arizona. The road between Florence and Tucson is the stretch of highway where Tom Mix had a fatal car accident in 1940. He was the John Wayne of the silent film era, and appeared in 336 movies and serials, all but 9 of which were silent films. There is a cairn at the site where the accident occurred and fittingly the bronze horse at the top of the cairn is plastered with bullet holes.
Our first stop was at the Arizona-Sedona Desert Museum. This site is 21 acres of beautiful desert which houses 300 animal species and 1200 different types of plants. We got a chance to see several native animals, but as is usual in a zoo setting, most of them were asleep. The only mammals that seemed to want to have their pictures taken were the prairie dogs, and the big horn sheep. We were standing next to a lady from Saskatchewan at the prairie dog enclosure, and she was flabbergasted that there would be a special area for them. After all, you just have to look out the back door most places in the prairies to get your fill of them.
They do have a couple of enclosures for birds on the grounds, and these were very special. It was kinda difficult to get the hummingbirds to sit still long enough to get a good picture, but they were fun to watch.
As we’re a fair bit higher here than we are in Gold Canyon, the desert has some different plants dominating the terrain. There are large numbers of Soaptree Yucca plants in the area, and if anything the Cholla and Saguaro Cactus are more populous than they are in Phoenix. And no the Javelina is not dead, just sleeping.
We met up with the Drivers (our Campbell River friends) for one last dinner before they went on their way to continue their travels, and made arrangements to meet up at a restaurant that had been recommended to them. The only problem was that it was not open weeknights, and here we were in the middle of nowhere searching our GPS systems for a restaurant in the area. The one we decided upon didn’t seem to exist once we arrived at the location, and we ended up partaking of the fine fare at Brat’s Bar and Grill. It actually wasn’t that bad, but there was a decided lack of atmosphere in the establishment, only two dinner specials and no dessert. Oh well, maybe tomorrow we can upgrade to a Denny’s or something.