2017 Travel Map

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Desert Trails, the rain, the music and shopping

December 15 - 21, 2014:

We are living life large here, first shopping at Trader Joe's, then to Bookman's book store followed by lunch at Beyond Bread.  In the evening a section of the campground called that Circle hosts a Lumineria light social event with a huge spread of cookies, brownies, crackers and other goodies with bonfires, hot chocolate and cider. Virtually everyone in the campground turns out for it.  As usual, I eat way too many cookies and other rich sugary things, they are near impossible to resist !

I'm still trying to adjust to this stationary snow bird lifestyle.  Tucson is a very cool town with much to do and I haven't done it all, but I have seen a lot and I have to struggle a bit to avoid using that "been there, done that" phrase that I hate. I'm one of those types who never exactly fits in or feels at home anywhere so constant travel is easy for me. All you working people out there must wish you had this problem ? 

Tuesday evening was a concert by BAT Bennet at Desert Trails.  He is an amazing touring (full time RV'er) performer with a great act, perfect for the nostalgia craving senior boomers.  His wife goes around the room just prior to the show taking song requests for him to play.  He is a  amazing guitar player with a good voice for impersonating other artists.  He also has great stage presence, is funny and encourages the audience to clap and sing along.  He was a huge hit here, very entertaining, but I am not a big fan of these nostalgic audience participation acts.  

Wednesday was a mostly rainy day, the weather has been weird this year, I believe we have had more rain in the last two weeks than we had in the past two winters here combined.  I went out for a walk in the desert behind the campground between showers and ended up getting drenched, which was something that doesn't happen often here. It was actually fun and I managed to get a few decent photos.


Nice to see gray clouds once in a while

This old Saguaro fell during the year

The Palo Verde were looking so green

I returned to LaCocina to see Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield perform.  They played inside the bar area due to the rain with much background noise from a birthday party.  They play many interesting old songs and originals, but there are usually only a few people actually listening.  It kind of sucks being an artistic, creative musician these days !  No one seems much interested in original music anymore, unless it's the crap like I just heard on a TV Christmas special from NYC called Jingle Ball. The current generational trend seems to be all about trash talking and shaking your booty. I am wondering if 40 years from now people will be listening to cover tunes from the media idols of 2014. Is that a sobering thought ? I bought a bumper sticker to suit this mood the other day.


Feeling old

After Thursday mornings rain we were left with big puffy white cumulous clouds and great photographic opportunities.  I took off with the camera to explore on a hike off Gates Pass Road near Saguaro National Park.


A view from the campground

View from a roadside pull off


It is bow hunting season, watch out !


View from the trail

Lots of boulders out here

Thick stands of Saguaros

The Teddy Bear Chollas were sparkling

On Friday I finally made it to a nearby hiking trail that leads out past Cat Mountain.  I had been wanting to get into this area for a long time.  Cat Mountain is a prominent nearby peak with a unique shape, but not sure why the name as it doesn't look like a cat to me.  It was a really scenic trail, interesting rocks, great views and thick cactus covered hillsides.


A Cat Mountain view from the trail

So many Saguaros

A view of downtown Tucson in the distance

Tucson has this annual music series called the Great Cover-up over two nights in downtown.  I caught the second night show at the Rialto Theater on Saturday.  The show included eight local bands who each did a twenty minute set covering about 4 songs of a known band's hits.  I left after seeing Interpol, the Temptations, Erykah Badu, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding and Talking Heads.  A few of these bands were doing stuff totally different from their usual material and were quite amazing.

Christmas shopping was thankfully finished at the Mall followed by a nice lunch lunch.


Tucson Mall tree

Sir Veza's cool old chevy panel truck

My kind of place where the napkin is a shop rag

A few other desert hiking photos taken along the way.

Close up of a Saguaro

Prickly Pear Cactus

Returning to the campground at dusk

We are heading to Phoenix to spend Christmas with my mother and sisters family.

Our tree


Merry Christmas to all,
Twinkles and Slick 

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