In our drive through Tucson we enjoyed the South Western architecture...
... and the views in every direction. No matter where we looked, we saw mountains in the distance...
Aaron has not been nearly as inspired by the South West as I have been. That's probably due to him being stationed in a desolate desert during his entire time in the Marine Corps. When he wasn't in the Mojave Desert, he was in the Iraqi desert. So, he doesn't have much love left for the desert.
However, when we took a day trip to the Saguaro National Park just outside of Tucson, it definitely exceeded his expectations and we were both in awe of all the gorgeous saguaros that climbed the mountains, all the way to the tippy top.
We don't normally buy stuff at gift shops, but Aaron spotted this book by Gary Larson (one of his favorites) and just had to buy it "for the kids". It actually has a pretty great message to it. Here Selah is trying to make the same face as the worm on the cover of the book:
We had a lot of fun exploring around the park and just taking in the majestic views all around us.
Selah carefully squeezing by the prickly pear cactus:
Selah was excited to find a heart shaped prickly pear:
Here the kids are casting their best saguaro shadows:
We saw a cute little lizard that let me get pretty close:
Do you see the dust devil in the background here?
Amongst all the beautiful saguaros were some odd ball funky ones:
I saw this picture perfect guy and had to capture him with the hot desert sun:
All in all, Saguaro National Park rocked! Although, I don't know if I'd say the same thing in July. ;)
Tucson is home to an Air Force base, and this big boy flew right over our heads on our way home:
And like New Mexico, Tucson had the beautiful South Western art along the underpasses that helps spruce up the beige desert landscape.
There was so much more art that I was just not quick enough to capture!
On another day, we headed down to Tombstone, Arizona. But first, I made Aaron watch the movie with me the night before. I enjoy the movie, but it wasn't really Aaron's jam. He humored me anyway, and we all went for a visit in cowboy history.
Here's the old Tombstone Courthouse (we didn't pay to go in):
Here's Allen street, where all the action happened:
Inside one of the buildings they were playing the Tombstone movie, of course, and the kids stopped right in their tracks:
Here's the historic Bird Cage Theatre:
Here's the Crystal Palace Saloon, which I remembered from the movie:
At the end of the day we were a little disappointed with our trip to Tombstone, as it was very touristy, gimmicky, and over crowded (we went on a Monday). I'm just glad parking was free!
While taking a swim break, I watched as Aaron pretended to be a shark and try and capture the kids. This immediately brought me back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 28 years ago, where I have a very clear picture in my head... the fondest memory of my own Dad doing this exact thing! He was pretending to be a shark, and the thrill it brought to my 4 year old self was imprinted in my mind forever. I got all warm and fuzzy and just had to capture Aaron playing with the kids...
At the resort, we came across this message from a fellow camper <3:
Our last night in Benson, we took the kids to the RV resorts observatory. It was so awesome, and the guy running it was very informative and fun. We all got to see some pretty neat stuff up close: Jupiter and 4 of its brightest moons, the stars Beetlejuice and Sirius, the Orion nebula, the binary star system in the handle of the Big Dipper, the Pleiades (aka Seven Sisters), an open star cluster in Casiopia, and last but not least, an up close of the super bright half moon. Aaron and I thoroughly enjoyed it, as we tried desperately to keep the kids awake and involved. :)
We booked a week in Benson because we also wanted to get some work done on our truck and trailer. We got our truck tuned up at a place down the street from our RV resort: an oil change, fuel filter, back brakes and an axel seal replaced, and few other things checked out.
We also planned on getting our trailer tires rotated the day of our departure. THANK GOD we did! As soon as Aaron pulled out of our parking spot, two tires blew out the side wall... POP! I just shuddered thinking about how bad it could have been for us if we had been traveling down the highway when that happened.
The car guy down the road recommended we replace all 4 trailer tires, and upgrade to 14 ply tires (which he said is what he would do if it was him). The guy seemed very trustworthy, and we'd rather be safe than sorry, so we went ahead and did that.
So we got a late start to our travel day (yesterday) and took off at noon. We made it to Phoenix for rush hour as we thought it would be an easy task to find a place to park at one of the 111 RV parks around. Unfortunately, most of the parks are 55+, and apparently it is baseball spring training and every single spot is filled for the night. We continued driving and finally found a place to stay the night in Cordes Lakes, AZ.
March 18, 2016