Monday, March 26, 2012

Tucson, Arizona (March 19-26, 2012)

Tucson, Arizona is one of my favorite cities.  I have spent quite a bit of time here over the years and always looked forward to returning.  Besides it being a relatively small city, about 1 million for the metro area, its streets are not as clogged as most urban environments.  So much to see and do here.  A big plus is the inhabitants are so friendly.

We parked our four-wheeled 5th wheel home at the Agave Gulch Family Camp on Davis-Monthan Air Base.  Davis-Monthan is, probably, best know as the Air Force's aircraft bone yard and is located within Tucson's city limits.

Here is a short video on their "Bone Yard" mission. (Click here). 

The weather being quite mild the next day we familiarized ourselves with the local and downtown areas.  It had been almost 20 years since my last visit here and things have changed quite a bit. Downtown has had a major face lift and the town itself has expanded and grown immensely.  Unlike many cities, though, this expansion seems to have been well planned out.  There were several attractions we wanted to visit while we were here so we made our list and began to check them out on our third day. 

The first on our list was the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  Having been here many years ago I was eager to see if anything had changed and it had.  It was bigger, better and more interesting.  It is located west of the city near the Saguaro National Park.  If ever in this area, make it a point to come here.  It is one of the best fauna and flora museums in the country. Our favorite exhibit was the Raptor Free Flight.  Raptors of different types flew within inches of our heads and gave the entire crowd a thrill.  There is tons of stuff to do here for both the adults and children so pack a lunch and spend the day.  It is recommended when visiting to be there when it opens for most of the wildlife is most active then.  If you click on these pictures they expand.

Our next day trip was with the Boys and we had decided to all go up to Mount Lemmon.  The temperatures are much colder on top of the 9,000 foot mountain and snow can be seen there much of the year.  The temperature when we departed Davis-Monthan was about 60F/15.5C and by the time we reached the top it was right at 39F/3.8C with still a lot of snow on the ground.  We made sure the Boys had a chance to romp in it.  They loved it.

 Next on our list was the Old Tucson Movie Studios.  This set was built outside Tucson in 1939 and, with the local area of the Sonoran Desert, has been the film location of many movies, mostly westerns.  Unfortunately, much of the Old Tucson set burned down in a 1995 fire and much of the old charm was lost forever.  The town has been re-built, but it will never replicate what was lost.  This is another "must see" destination if you are ever in the Tucson area.  It is just a few miles from the Arizona-Sonora Museum and both can be seen in one day.

With our time in this old city nearing an end, we made the best of it before moving on to our next destination.  Ate some good Mexican food and relaxed in the warm sunny weather.  This was an enjoyable stay compared to the past few months.  Now, on to the Johnson Family RV Park.

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