Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tucson, AZ

Although I'm not a fan of big cities, there were a few things we wanted to see in Tucson.  All were on the south end of the city so we stayed out by the airport boon docking at the Desert Diamond Casino for a couple of nights and then spent a night at the Mission View RV Park in the same area.  The RV park catered mostly to seasonal snowbirds and full time residents.  It is a nice park with lots of activities for the snow birds.  For us, it was a good place for a nights stay, do the laundry, to shower up, and dump the tanks.

Mission View RV Park
We spent the first day at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum west of town.  This is quite the place to see desert plant life. They also have quite a collection of wildlife.  Its pricey at $19.50 per person but was well worth it. In addition to a nature walk and exhibits, they give demonstration talks on the wildlife.  The reptile discussion and raptor flight were great.  Here are some pictures.

Western Diamond Back Rattlesnake
Coopers Hawk
Mountain Lion

Day two, we visited the Mission San Xavier del Bac church.  This church was built in 1752 by the Spanish Franciscan priests as part of the Spain's colonization of the area.  Its the oldest active church in the US and today serves as a parish for the Tohono O'Odam tribe.  It a real special place.  I'm not that religious, but I could tell that this place has some big medicine.  We visited on a Sunday while church services were underway and saw many of the local tribe members deep in prayer.  Several of the church icons were considered sacred objects.  I was able to go inside after the services were over.  It was awe inspiring and a very moving experience.  Footnote - outside the church several tribal members had food stalls.  All prepared right there over open fires.  I had the best carne seca burro I've ever had.

Ceiling in the Chapel

Inside the Church looking at the Alter Nave

We also visited the Pima Air & Space Museum.  This is a large collection of military aircraft. It rivals the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.  There are over 200 planes on display.  Most of the planes are outside and of WWII vintage and later.  Here are some pictures of the planes.

P-51D Mustang Fighter

Old Air Force One used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson

B-52 Stratofortress

The weather during our visit was intense - it was very warm during the day (mid 80's), very dry (17% humidity),cool at night (temps in the 40's), and the sun was intense.  Not sure if I could live in this desert area.  I can only take so much dry air and intense sun.

Now moving on to check out Quartzsite and then to Las Vegas Baby!!!

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