Monday, February 19, 2007

Tucson, Arizona

Feb. 17 – 20, 2007

On the road again! My route took me through Texas Canyon, and I was reminded what William Least Heat Moon had to say about this geologically interesting location:

“The highway rose slowly for miles then dropped into wacky Texas Canyon, an abrupt and peculiar piling of boulders, which looked as if hoisted into strange angles and points of balance. Nature in a zany mood had stacked up the rounded rocks in whimsical and impossible ways, trying out new principles of design, experimenting with old laws of gravity, putting theorems of the physicists to the test. But beyond Texas Canyon, the terrain was once more logical and mundane right angles, everything flat or straight up.”

It was only about 90 miles between Willcox and south Tucson, so I arrived at Desert Trails RV Park about noon on Saturday. Here I met up with friends Gwen and Jim Young, two very interesting people I met at Pancho Villa State Park. They have spent the past several winters at this snow-bird park. The park’s activity schedule is packed with a variety of things to keep visitors quite busy.

Jeremiah was crowded in with all the RVs, but he didn’t complain a bit – neither did I.

Saturday night’s entertainment was a “Spring Fashion Show” which Gwen MC’d. She’s a natural at the microphone and never lacked for something clever to say. Among the “fashions” were a “fashionable box coat for chilly Tucson nights” and “a lovely crepe dress for a night on the town.” The evening was hilarious!

Saturday was such a nice, warm day – suitable for short sleeves – I contemplated packing away my turtleneck sweaters and scarves. But when I woke the next morning to temperatures in the high 30’s, I was glad to have warm things to put on!

Other thoughts I had as I tucked in to sleep were about snow-bird RV parks. For those escaping to warm weather for several months and want to just stay put, these parks with a myriad of activities are a great place even if the parking sites are close together.

Sunday was a fairly cool, overcast day for an outing to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This is a zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden – all in one place. The animals and plants are those native to the Sonoran Desert, an area encompassing parts of Arizona and California as well as the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. Gwen, Jim and I spent several hours there. I especially enjoyed the two walk-in aviaries.

Gwen and Jim knew the artist in residence – Jessa Huebing-Retinger. This talented woman paints larger-than-life insects with amazing detail and color. You can see some of her work at Her husband James paints insects on the arms of children who watch the process with awe.

We also went to a Rock Shop to browse and also met the brother of the man who maintains the website about Sonoran Desert natural history. Some of the writing is his, some is by others who “have really given the subject matter a lot of thought, often lifetimes of thought, and pursuit of answers.”

While out and about, Gwen spotted this unusual saguaro.

Here’s what a sign at the desert museum had to say about this phenomenon:
“This unusual young saguaro is just beginning to form a crest, which may eventually grow to more than six feet wide. A crest can develop when the growing point, or meristem (which produces new stems and spies or leaves), elongates into a line. In time the growing line may become greatly convoluted, like a brain. This phenomenon has been observed in nearly all plant species; its cause is generally not known.”

The park’s Sunday program was a hymn sing-a-long. It was a good end to a good week.

Monday morning started out windy. I packed up and headed a few miles to meet up with friend Carol Rayburn and her mother. They were camping at Gilbert-Ray County Park. My plan was to spend the night there and hope for a less-windy drive on Tuesday. I’m back in spacious parking sites.

I leave the Tucson area in the morning, driving north to the Coolidge/Florence area. I’ll end this blog with a quote by Mary Ann Radmacher that I found on a greeting card:

Live with intention
Walk to the edge
Listen hard
Practice wellness
Play with abandon
Choose with no regret
Continue to learn
Appreciate your friends
Do what you love
Live as if this is all there is