We ended up spending 5 nights at Tucson Mountain Park. We really liked the park and would love to go back when we are in the area. We feel that we barely scratched the surface of the things to see and do in the area. When we decided to go to the Tucson area, we were thinking that we would do domestic things, but we also did a few things that were interesting a fun.
My first order of business was to go to Tucson and buy the parts I thought I needed to work on my motorcycle. I also got propane and some parts to do some maintenance on the truck. It was time for a new air filter and a few other things.
The fastest way to drive to Tucson from the park is through Gates pass. You can not drive on this road if you are over 12,000 lbs. When I drove it, I could see why. There are some overlooks up there that provide some nice views of the valley we are camped in, which is actually an ancient volcanic caldera. The mountains are interesting because of the forest of Saguaro cactus that goes all the way to the top.
I was able to find all that I needed and enjoyed the day in the city.
I worked on my bike and was very concerned when I pulled the oil drain plug and 3 gallons of fluid came out when there should have been about a half gallon. I determined that there was a problem with my carburetor, which overflowed with fuel and filled the crankcase. This became a very long process to get sorted out. The good news is once again I was able to use on-line forums to gain excellent information and was able to order what I needed. I had it all shipped to a little store in Quartzsite that accepts packages. How did I know that? I will tell that story in my next entry.
We decided to take a drive over to Saguaro National Park and go to the visitor center. They have an excellent slide show. We then took the driving loop and did a few short hikes.
We learned about how the native Americans in this area saw the Saguaro as their dead ancestors and they thought of them as people. Many of the cactus do look like a human form with arms.
We took a short hike to see some petroglyphs at Signal hill. That was cool to see, but we wanted to hike some more. Kim decided to take the cactus wren trail. After about a mile we determined that we were going out into the desert and to our certain death. I made the executive decision to turn around and saved our lives. Yeah, that is how it went.
It was actually a nice cool day and it was a fun walk out through the desert.
On Sunday, we decided to go to church at the Mission San Xavier Del Bac. This is an old Spanish mission dating back to 1691. The present church was built in the early 1800's. The church was renovated in the late 1990's. The alter piece is all hand carved and amazing.
There is a large square in front of the church and they have booths set up to purchase some food after church. The church is located on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian reservation The church has a unique relationship with the local tribe. The booths are an opportunity for the tribal members to earn a few dollars and provide a lunch for the church goers. We tried the Indian taco and some Fry bread. They were both very tasty.
I love those very unique experiences.
On Monday, January 16 we left Tucson and made a long drive for us. We drove all the way to Quartzsite, Arizona. That was almost 250 miles. We did not know what to expect. I had read a great deal about the "Quartzsite experience", but we were a bit apprehensive. I will write all about this unique place and what we think in my next entry. It was much different than Kim or I expected.