Sunday, March 15, 2015

First Trip To Tucson

Despite getting back home late and into bed at 11:30 pm I am still up early today.  We took our first of several trips to Tucson today.  My grandson mailed a package to my wife's ex-boss who has a really nice house in the desert boarding the Coronado National Forest.  We planned to visit him, have dinner and pick up the package in the evening hours but first we had things to see and do.

We started out with a map in hand (on my phone) of four of the five or six quilt shops listed by Google.  A couple of the possibilities sounded more like mattress stores or sewing and vacuum outlets so I left them off the list and decided on four that sounded like they might really be quilting stores.  We started with the Cactus Quilt Shop.  Mia left Honey and I in the truck, in the warm but breezy sunshine, while she went in the store to investigate.  She thought it was nice and purchased the Quilters Travel Companion book that contains listings for lots of quilt shops in every state in the union plus it has a schedule of quilting events planned for 2015.

The next stop was the Quilt Basket.  Advertised as a "friendly place for all your quilting needs", Mia found it to be just that, very friendly.  In fact, she felt this store might be a little better than the first stop and she found some ladies who had followed us from the first stop.  The final stop was at the Quilters Market advertising fun, friends and fabric.  It was in a stand alone building along the edge of a strip mall.  It was given the 2011 Arizona Quilters Hall of Fame quilt shop of the year award.  Mia thought they might be more expensive than the other stores and once again she ran into the people she had seen at the other two stores.  She found out they were from Minnesota and spent their winters in the Southwest away from the cold and snow.

I need a couple of items for the trailer so we decided to stop by Lazydays RV because they have such a web presence and seem to be a large RV dealer.  While they are certainly large with multiple service bays and tons of new and used vehicles on the ground, I was surprised at how small their parts department was.  I browsed through the shelves looking for the items I needed only to come up with nothing.  As I worked my way across the room I listened carefully to the counter people as they helped several customers.  In ever instance their first remarks had to do with not stocking the item the customer was looking for and having to place an order to get it.  I thought that to be unusual considering the huge mechanical and collision center they have.  Their retail area wasn't much bigger than my front counter/service reception area at Chaplin's and there didn't seem to be a parts storage room unless it was in the service facility across the street.  Needless to say I wasn't too impressed.

We went out on the lot and looked at several RV's that were for sale.  We went in a few Airstreams and a couple of other travel trailers as well as several fifth wheelers.  Very impress equipment and it is surprising the number of  upgrades and changes that have come about over the past five years when we compare some of the new units with our 2011 Nash.  RV manufacturers have finally realized that everyone wants to be connect and now provide charge stations that can be used to phones, pads and laptops.
While we were impressed with all the innovations and space that many of these units have with several slides.  Airstream would never be a possibility for us because my 6'4" frame just wouldn't fit in any of the showers that we looked at but the way they utilize the space in their units with no slides gives the feeling of more space than is actually there.  Inherit problems with the slides kept us from purchasing a trailer that had them but sometimes we think it may have been worth it to get a trailer with a slide.  Then we look at the cost of purchasing a new trailer or fifth wheeler and another truck if needed and we realize that if we wanted to visited sunny southern California for a few months in the winter we could do it for less by just renting a park model in one of the resorts.  I mean, how many more years could we possibly travel back and forth between Seattle and the southwest.

As we drove out to our next stop we passed the bone yard for decommission military aircraft.  It was huge many different aircraft from every branch of the military sitting in the desert sand.  Some were missing parts as though the military had taken items to use on aircraft still in service.  I took some quick pictures as we passed but they don't do justice to the scope of this graveyard so once again I looked to Google and came up with the aerial shot taken below to add to some that I took.

We had lunch and took the rest of the afternoon visiting one of two Saguaro National Parks located outside the west and east sides of Tucson.  We chose to go to the eastern one which was closer to our finally destination and dinner at Mia's bosses house.  We were very impressed with the desert landscape.  It almost appears that someone actually drew up a landscape plan and planted every plant until you begin to understand how the ecology in the desert works.  Turns out it is much like the communes of the 1960's with each plant having a specific duty to perform that helps mother, care for, provide food and nutrients to the ground so other plants and animal life can survive.  It is an amazing place with some beautiful views and we took a hike with Honey on a trail that they allow dogs to walk.  Most National Parks won't allow her on trails even on a leash.  I had thought that I might not be too impressed with the desert but the more I see and experience the more I really like it and it as a much different environment than our home state.  

We had dinner with Mia's boss and didn't leave his place until nearly 9:30 pm for the drive back to the KOA roughly 60 miles from his place.  We had a great time and he and his wife have a beautifully landscaped home complete with coyotes, cougars and rattlesnakes.  In fact, we nearly hit a coyote leaving his place in the dark on the Catalina Highway.

I have a few little things to do and then it is off to Phoenix to find the Peoria Sports Complex to watch this afternoons Mariner game.  I am looking forward to my $8.00 seat in the grass in the out field.  

Hope all is well and thanks for visiting.

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