December 2, 2012
Sunday started off right with a great breakfast at the Coyote Pause Cafe, some of the best hash browns I've had in a long time. The main event however, was a park ranger lead Sunset hike in Saguaro National Park. It was a 3 1/2 mile roundtrip hike up the Esperanza Trail to the ridge line, or saddle as they say out here, to view the sunset and then a return down under the light of the full moon. It was perfect weather, a nice easy hike with lots of stops to identify native plants and some of the geology along the way. The retired geology professor who lead the hike had previously taught at State University of New York (SUNY) in Brockport, NY, Twinkles hometown. We then had to drive out of the park on the very dark and rough dirt road, almost more of an adventure than the hike.
Lots of hiking this week, we went to Sabino Canyon on Tuesday. We took the Tram ride into the canyon for 3 1/2 miles, then hiked an additional 5 miles on the Sabino Canyon Trail. It's a beautiful trail, lots of switchbacks in the early going, nothing but mountain views in all directions, very wild. We came upon other hikers who told us there was a rattlesnake ahead, so we carefully went forward, not really expecting it to still be there. We came around a corner and I saw it off to the side partially hidden behind a rock. As we moved closer to it, it gave us a warning rattle, but we were able to quickly slip past it.
Meanwhile back at the campground in the evening, it was a music concert by the "Rondstadt Trio", a father and two sons group who performs in various configurations all over Tucson. They were kind of folksy but very good.
Twinkles went to a campground quilting group activity on Wednesday, while I went with the hiking group for a 7 mile trek in Saguaro Park. In the evening, I went to the nearby Casino, "The Casino del Sol", operated by the local "Pascua Yaqui" indian tribe to see a local performer, Angel Perez. The casino is one year old and quite impressive. They have a huge domed ceiling that is painted to look like the sky and the side walls are painted to look like the sides of buildings. It is very realistic looking and gives the impression that you are outside in a courtyard, that is until you see hundreds of slot machines.
Thursday was a cultural day into downtown Tucson to check out the City Hall, The Presidio and the Old Town Artisans shops. The Presidio was built by the Spanish as a fort in 1775, it was the entire settlement of Tucson at the time, for protection from the Apache indians. It was torn down in last half of the 1800's and then reconstructed in the early 2000's based on old records and archaeology of the site. Archaeologic excavations of the site located the original fort wall foundations and even found the foundation of a 2,400 year old Pithouse dwelling inside the fort. I always get a spooky feeling walking around places like this, so much history took place there, if only those walls could talk, what stories they could tell.
Back to practical RV matters on Friday, I had the tires rotated on the truck as the front tires are wearing twice as fast as the rears. I am hopeful that I can extend the life of the tires doing this and keep the best tires on the front wheels. It is no easy task to rotate the tires on the dually, took them about an hour and they did it for free, much to my surprise. It's about time I caught a break ! After that we take our cat Marley to the vet since he needs a refill of his thyroid medication. The vet will not renew the prescription without doing an examination which cost $140 plus another $60 to fill the prescription. It's kind of ironic that the tire shop will spend 45 minutes rotating my tires for free, while the vet's charge $140 for a 10 minute unnecessary examination to refill a simple prescription. We have done this exercise 3 times in the last year, I'd rather deal with the sleazy car guys any time, they have more ethics.
On Saturday, we went to Casino del Sol for the Tamale and Heritage festival, there must have been 40 vendors selling Tamales and other assorted Mexican / Indian foods. They must have sold a million Tamales, most of the vendors were sold out by 3 PM. Our favorite food was the red chili popovers made with fry bread by the Indian council elders. Also steady musical and dancing entertainment and many craft vendors were there.
As if that wasn't enough, on Sunday we traveled about 40 miles south for La Fiesta de Tumacacori. It was a held on the grounds of the old Spanish Mission, "San Jose de Tumacacori". Lots of traditional Indian, Mexican and Spanish music and dancing, food and crafts. More Chili popovers !
|Tram shuttle into Sabino Canyon|
|View from Sabino Canyon Trail|
|Rattlesnake on the trail|
|View up the canyon|
|Quartz vein in rock that appears to be a cross, someone left a flower|
|Agave along the trail|
|This rock in the canyon was kind of special|
|Twinkles pulling a cactus spine out of her finger|
|Mural in downtown Tucson|
|Statue in downtown Tucson|
|Tucson City Hall|
|A mural inside the Presidio in Tucson|
|Interior of the Presidio with 2,400 year old Pit house in the center|
|Mexican dancers at Tumacacori Festival|
|Mexican dancers at Tumacacori|
|Notice that their feet are off the floor|
|They certainly could twirl those dresses|
|And more dancers|
|Rear view of the Tumacacori Mission|
|Interior of the Mission|
|Front view of the Mission|
|Music group at Tamale and Heritage Festival at Casino Del Sol|
|Dancers at Tamale and Heritage Festival|