We headed to Tucson on March 8th. The drive from Alamogordo, NM to Tucson was very pretty. It wasn’t at all what I had expected. There is a lot more color, rolling hills, mountains and beautiful rock landscapes then what I had envisioned being in the desert.
We spent 5 nights at Justin Diamond J’s RV Park on the West side of Tucson. The resort resides on the border of the Tucson Mountain Park. There are many miles of park trails accessible right from the resort. We enjoyed sunset, and a moonrise, from these beautiful trails.
The Saguaro National Park is also very close to Justin’s. We took a drive through the park, and a couple of small hikes. The landscape was covered with cactus trees and rolling hills. It was very pretty.
One of our favorite activities in Tucson was hiking in the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. They have a trolley that tours up through the canyon. You have the opportunity to jump on and off the trolley at 9 different stops. We chose the last stop and then took a 5 mile hike. The canyon area is absolutely beautiful. However, it was over 90 degrees during our hike and we found it to be quite exhausting. Fortunately, halfway through the hike is a river. We filled an empty water bottle and poured the cold water over our heads. It was very refreshing. We found that the amount of drinking water we took for the hike was insufficient in the Arizona heat. At the end of the hike I immediately went to REI and bought a new backpack with a large water bladder. I wanted to make sure I was never low on water again!
We took a day trip to Tombstone. On the way there we stopped by the Titan Missile Museum for a tour. It was fascinating to learn about a time, not that long ago, when the US Government felt it important to have a large number of missiles distributed underground throughout Arizona, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice.
We also stopped along the way to take in the beautiful scenery of the Coronado National Forest.
Our final stop on the way to Tombstone was at the Fairbank Historic District, an old ghost town. The trees along the nearby river looked out of place, amongst the stark cactus covered landscape surrounding them.
We arrived in Tombstone late in the afternoon, just in time to browse the old cemetery and to catch a gunfight. Tombstone has done well in commercializing the old time Western town. It was fun to see though, as I love the movie Tombstone.
After 5 nights at Justin’s we moved to the Northeast side of Tucson, to Catalina State Park. We loved this area of town. Unlike Justin’s, Catalina has many restaurants and stores nearby, while being out in nature. We had a very large site with a great view of the mountains. The Park has miles of trails throughout the desert. We took a 4 mile hike along one of the trails. It was very nice.
During the night we could hear many coyotes out in the desert. I was glad to be safe in our RV, away from the coyotes and rattle snakes!
The Biosphere 2 is a short drive from Catalina. You may recall that the Biosphere 2 was meant to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life in outer space. Two experiments were conducted where humans remained in the biosphere and lived off of only what could be grown inside.
After visiting the Biosphere, we took a drive up to Mt. Lemmon. The rock formations along the road to Mt. Lemmon are quite interesting. They appear to be straddling vicariously on top of each other.
There are spectacular views all the way up the mountain. At one point we found a spot to climb out on the rocks and take in the view.
There is a ski resort at the top of Mt. Lemmon. It was strange being around snow while just an hour ago we were sweltering in 90+ degree weather.
We dined out a couple of times while in Tucson. A cashier at REI recommended a great restaurant, Guadalajara, to us. We would have driven right by it had it not been recommended, as it appears to be a small place on a road with few other restaurants or shops. The food was excellent and we enjoyed the table side salsa.
Our paramount awning broke again while in Tucson. I wish I could have gotten a picture of Charlie and I on the roof of the RV trying to get it pulled back in, using a rope and screwdriver. We were successful. However, we now have to schedule another stop at the service center in Red Bay, AL to get it fixed.
After a great week in Tucson we headed up to Phoenix. More on that later…..
By the way, if you would like to see high resolution photos of the beautiful Tucson landscape please visit my photography website, as this blog only shows low res photos. http://www.schobelphotography.com/p720828896