Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wandering Around Tucson, Arizona

(Our southwest trip started May 1. All of my posts were written as the trip went along but were not posted live until we returned. If you want to read all the posts related to the trip, click on "southwest" in the label section below).

During the few days we spent in Tucson, I can understand why people move here. It is beautiful. It is dry. While one day was cloudy, we had a cloudless sky and brilliant sunshine the rest of the time.

Tops on our list during our visit to Tucson Arizona was a visit to Saguaro National Park. While doing my research, I discovered that there is an eastern section and a western section. Our first visit took us to the eastern section. The eastern section is at the foothills of the Rincon Mountains. The scenery was beautiful but I have to admit I was disappointed because I envisioned a much denser growth of saguaros. Still, we enjoyed the drive, stopping for some short walks within the park.

It was on our drive to the western section that the park looked like I envisioned. Dense stands of saguaros, all of different shapes and sizes. And when driving out to the park from Tucson, be sure to take the Gates Pass route for an extremely scenic approach to the west side of Tucson.

We got to see a lot Tucson as we drove to our various sightseeing destinations. Just about every major store is here and then some. I saw supermarket chains that I thought were only in the east like Albertson's and Whole Foods. Some top notch restaurants. We ate in two, Old Pueblo Grill, where the food was excellent and the prices were reasonable and Lodge on the Desert (at our hotel) which was pricier but the food was spectacular. Based upon the local literature, there is a lot going on for residents such as festivals, sports and the arts.

I found a couple of things interesting about Tucson and I'll know later in our trip if this is typical of Arizona. This is the only city I have traveled in, and I have traveled in plenty, where the turn arrow at a traffic light comes on AFTER the straight through traffic light. (And we found out later this is not typical of the rest of Arizona.) And the drivers here are nuts, turning into a lane, or cutting across traffic, with just the barest minimum of space.

But we learned to adjust. And the birdwatching is very good and the landscape is spectacular. I loved the cacti and their blossoms and could picture them filling a home garden. I suspect if there was just one stream here where my husband could throw in a line, it could be a winter home for us. Since there isn't, even when there isn't the current drought, I guess Tucson is not an option for us. But I can certainly see why it works for others.

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