We've started to call Tucson, Arizona the black hole of the southwest. Not that we see the city in a negative light. We LOVE Tucson! Circumstances just always seem to keep us here much longer than planned. This year was no exception.
We knew we'd be here at least eight days - six days at Escapade, a day in preparation for the rally, and another visiting friends who live here. But we hadn't allowed for the black hole effect. We finally left town today, sixteen days since our arrival.
We had to wait for parts for my laptop. This was partially my own fault. I missed a phone message from the computer shop while we were at Escapade. They wanted consent to order a $20.00 piece. By this time, it was nearly the weekend, the delivery was a day later than anticipated, and the repair shop was busy so that held things up by another day.
I had chosen to have the computer fixed because I didn't relish the idea of shopping for a replacement in the middle of our trip. We tend to take weeks considering this type of purchase. I've also been debating whether to switch to a Mac so more thought has to go into that but, frankly, I just wasn't in the mood.
In the course of diagnosing what could have caused the computer to fail, we started to question whether the 15- year-old inverter we use iin the camper might be to blame. Randy ran some electrical tests and discovered a few issues so we replaced it and are hoping to avert future problems.
But I'm sure that's all very boring to you, dear reader. Where are the pictures? Surely we managed to have a bit of fun while filling in those days in Tucson? Yup. We sure did!
It was Randy's birthday. We celebrated it downtown, in the oldest part of the city, The Presidio Disctrict's historic buildings are now home to art galleries, shops, museums and restaurants. We had a walking map and followed the turquoise lines on the sidewalk to points of interest.
We browsed the art shops, always searching for ideas we might be able to duplicate ourselves - some day. We've taken lots of photos over the years but, so far, we have no "creation" to show for it.(Most galleries frown on tourists taking pictures of the art. Cell phones have made it much easier to sneak a few :-)
We chose El Charro Restaurant (highly recommended Mexican food) for the birthday dinner. It was fantastic!
We spent a full day at Biosphere2. This engineering marvel was a science experiment in the 1990's and now part of the University of Arizona Science lab. A series of huge glass domes enclose an environment meant to duplicate that of biosphere1 (the earth). It was built to determine whether and how man might some day be able to live on another planet.
Two groups of seven and eight scientists and engineers (the biospherians) lived here, sealed off from the world. The first group were inside for two years. The experiment was deemed a failure because oxygen levels gradually depleted and had to be supplemented. The biospherians were totally self-reliant in every other way.
Biosphere2 now belongs to the University of Arizona as an important center for scientific research on climate change and water studies.
Various climates and habitats were reproduced:
Walking around after the tour, we recognized this woman showing her friends around. She was in the movie they had shown before the tour. I couldn't resist a photo op with one of the original 8 biospherians.
Camped in a popular boondocking spot on the edge of town, we recognized and spent some time with two new-generation full-time RVers (Xscapers) who we'd met at Escapade. Chris and Lynn had each purchased multi-meters and Randy offered a few tips on how to use them. He also gave Chris some suggestions for his first attempt at winterizing his Roadtrek. (He's heading to a high elevation workamping job in New Mexico.)
Before leaving town, we went out with our Tucson friends. Herman met us at one of the Casinos for a great buffet lunch and a lesson in signing up for a Casino player’s card so we could each get $10.00 in free play. We're not gamblers (at all) but we do camp at Casinos once in a while and have heard about this “benefit” from other RVers. We enjoyed the ups and downs (wins and losses) on penny machines for nearly 3 hours and walked out only $4.00 poorer . I guess that was good value. But the real fun, for us, was seeing how it pleased Herman to show us “the ropes” .
Other friends, Rick and Terry, took us to one of their favorite restaurants, Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse. It’s surrounded by old-west-town themed streets. The food was great. So was the fun atmosphere. No ties are allowed - the wait staff will actually cut off a guy’s tie if they see one. Hundreds of tie bottoms decorate the rafters hanging over the tables.
After dinner there was an outdoor gunfight show. We didn't expect much (for the $4.00 price tag) but it was, surprisingly, very entertaining.
Fellow RVers will get a kick out of this sign on one of the covered wagons.
We finally did leave Tucson behind. After so much eating out and socializing, I think we need some excercise (hiking) and a quiet campsite in nature! Luckily, we know just where to go to find that. See ya there in the next edition!
Days on the road on current trip: 67
Total camping costs to date: $92.00
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