Sunday, December 6, 2015

Taking A Sunday Drive #5

I would have to do some thinking and searching to tell you how many times we've been to Arizona. All but two of those trips were by car. The last time we flew down was work related on behalf of the company we worked for.

The first time we flew down was in October, 1997. Our dear friends, Gene and Kristina, had purchased a condo in Tucson where they escaped Iowa's winter months. They weren't going down until November so they generously offered us a week at their condo during October.

Here are just a few memories of that trip: First was landing in Phoenix and going to the counter of the car rental business where I had reserved a mid-size automobile. They got the paper work out and said we would be driving a Kia for the week. A what? A Kia. What's that? We had never heard of Kia and were told it was an automobile manufactured in South Korea. Bud was looking askance. The rental clerk said, "You may upgrade your reservation if you want." And that is why we drove this Nissan Maxima that week. (It was a very nice car.)

This photo was taken at an overlook of Bisbee, AZ during one of the day trips we made from our condo base. It was founded as a mining town in the 1880's located southeast of Tucson near the border with Mexico.
Visiting the Lavender Pit, a huge open pit copper mine outside Bisbee resulted in one of Bud's favorite quips. As we pulled into the parking lot overlooking the 900 foot deep pit, a woman was just exiting her car. Our arrival startled her and she sort of jumped back. Her husband, who was already out of the car and near the fence said, "Oh, go ahead and run over her then I won't have to feed her tonight." Bud still uses that line once in awhile.

The main reason I remember the date of this trip is because one morning when we were eating breakfast and watching the news before setting out for that day's adventuring, we learned that the eyes of the world were on a hospital room back in Iowa. That was the first we heard about the impending birth of septuplets to Kenny and Bobbi McCaughey. The pictures of Bobbi in her hospital bed were beyond belief. All I could think was how uncomfortable she had to be. The seven babies were born on our 12th anniversary the following month, November 19. They are now 18 years old. But I digress.

Kristina had recommended we visit Sabino Canyon in Tucson's Coronado National Forest not far from their condo. Here I am reflected in one of the pools formed in the rocky outcroppings along a trail we hiked. This was a beautiful spot. Whenever I see photos like this I am grateful we did as much traveling and hiking when we did. (Before my knees got so bad!)

The White Dove of the Desert is the sobriquet for Mission San Xavier del Bac on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation south of Tucson. I had been there twenty some years earlier and wanted to see the renowned Spanish Colonial architecture of the mission again as well as have Bud see it.

Another day trip included the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum located within Saguaro National Park. I recall seeing javelinas roaming through the desert landscape as we walked along one of the trails.

A visit to the Old Tucson movie studio and theme park was also made that day as they are in the same area at the base of the Tucson Mountains. I recall taking a scenic drive on Gates Pass Road and through Gates Pass to get to Old Tucson. The views from the overlooks along the way were spectacular. This photo of the old water wheel is just one of the many locations used as settings in westerns filmed here.

The Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon was one of the main street buildings we went into and stayed for.....

.....a musical revue. Wish I could remember what song this performer was singing - "A Girl on a Swing"?

I started with a photo taken near Bisbee and I'll end with another one taken that same day.

Tombstone, Arizona was a place Bud had wanted to visit for a long time - "The Town Too Tough To Die". We visited the requisite historical spots including the O.K. Corral, the Bird Cage Theatre and Boothill Graveyard where the victims of the 1881 shootout with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday are buried. (Tom and Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton.)
And we, well, I, did a lot of shopping. It was a lovely warm day as you can tell from Bud's short sleeves. We were enjoying the 75° temperature. We went into one shop where the proprietor was wearing a sweater and had a fire going. She said she "just couldn't stand the cold weather"!

If this winter is too long or too cold it is very likely we will be making another trip to Arizona. If we do, I want to go back to Tombstone. I don't think I'll have any trouble getting Bud talked into it.

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