Tag Archives: Tucson

Christmas in Arizona: A tale of the Desert Museum and the hunt for a specific cactus.

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A southwestern Christmas – Vacation in Arizona

Sunday, 22-Dec-13 through Saturday, 28-Dec-13

 

Christmas in Arizona: A tale of the Desert Museum and the hunt for a specific cactus.

Friday, 27-Dec-13

  • Up and at ’em kinda early… but no way are we leaving early. Slow morning with a nice breakfast, hot coffee, and a lot being unrushed.
  • Leave the house around 11:00, and jump onto the highway pretty quick… though a quick detour to In & Out Burger was found the be in order. Animal style is delicious! Then, back on the road nice and quick, before 11:45.
  • The drive to the Desert Museum…. wow. I love it! Such a good twisty and turny drive, and I would definitely enjoy having the Mustang for it! Though in this situation, the huge Turbo-Diesel truck works pretty well too. As a note: Arizona doesn’t do guard rails. “If you can’t drive the route… don’t drive it!”
  • Desert Museum!
    • Get a year membership as a Christmas present for Dad – actually cheaper than just getting tickets, it turns out.
    • Head into the Exhibits, and they’re quite cool! See, I’d been here before, but didn’t really remember it. So it was a refresher course, and it’s amazing! Ton’s of wild animals, cool statues, and neat exhibits.
    • Go through the desert walk section, a nice half-mile or so walk through a semi-uncontrolled section of the Arizona desert. Lots of plants, and even a few sections with animal enclosures. Javalena and Coyote’s are seen and photographed, napping in the sun.
    • Lots of Saguaro Cactus, and tons of beautiful small flowers; even a few birds.
    • Speaking of birds, we caught a short portion of the “flying with raptors” exhibit. It was neat, and seeing the hawks flying directly above us was definitely amazing. I’d never seen a hawk that close before; they’re quite small, but very impressive to see in flight.
    • One of the many goals of this trip was to find a small plant tag, labeled “Stealth Cactus” that I remembered seeing at one of the Tucson attractions. I wasn’t sure if it was the Pima air and Space Museum, or the Desert Museum, so my Dad and I kept our eyes peeled searching for this one elusive plant. We must have looked a bit insane, to be honest… always kneeling down and looking around cactus, trying to catch that one sign.
    • Moving along, we checked out the rest of the exhibits; most of which were pretty “standard issue environmental exhibit” things. We saw otters and beavers in the riverways, and ocelots and grey foxes in the cat exhibit (right, foxes aren’t cats, we know)
    • Labyrinth – this was amazing. A small pattern of bricks on the ground, forming a path to follow. Turns out, labyrinths aren’t necessarily puzzles, simply long walks around a pre-determined path. Usually representing a spiritual or mental journey. I love things like this.
    • Move along, finish up, and head out.
  • We hadn’t found the stealth cactus in the desert museum, so Pima Air and Space museum it is! We drive over, and stop in quick. I remembered it being in the entry way, which was good because the museum proper had closed about 30min before we arrived.
  • IT’S THERE! See the pictures below, following the train from Barrel, to Saguaro, to Stealth.
  • Head back home, and then out to Texas Roadhouse for Denise’s birthday! It’s delicious, and the ribs are amazing (as per Arizona tradition). I loved it, and we even got them to do a nice little birthday thing for Denise.
  • Home, usual movie or two, then bed early, so’s we could get up on time for a breakfast in the morning.

Christmas in Arizona: A relaxing day prepping for Christmas and relaxing.

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A southwestern Christmas – Vacation in Arizona

Sunday, 22-Dec-13 through Saturday, 28-Dec-13

 

 

Monday, 23-Dec-13

  • Up and at em early! 10:00, nice! I’m actually getting used to waking up early! … ohh wait, time difference. 13:00 my time. Oops. Yeah… still in college mode, I guess. Darn.
  • But it’s ok, sleeping late is a good thing on vacation. So I hang out a bit, take a shower, and take a nice walk around the complex with my dad and the puppies. Breakfast and coffee finish out the relaxing and slow morning. A good start to vacation.
  • Dad and I chat and hang out a bit, then make a simple lunch of sandwiches and more coffee (note the trend here), then I set up a chair in the back yard and sit in the sun writing and playing flash games on the iPod… amazing! I needed the sunlight, I’d forgotten how excellent it is. Definitely makes me miss fall / summer.
  • After relaxing a bit more, I head out with Dad to mail my car payment, since it had been soaked in Gin on Friday. Thankfully I’d left it in a plastic baggie full of rice, so it’s nicely dried out by now… wonder how the rice tastes though. Guess I’ll find out someday.
  • We hit the post office roughly 20min before it closes, and get the mail in the box right on time. From there we head over to Home Depot to look at components for a project, then back home for dinner!
  • Dinner is made by Denise, and it’s a full-sized three-pound seared roast… I think I need to learn how to make this. It’s amazing – cooked fast on the grill, so the outside is lightly charred, and the inside is a perfect warm red. We eat while watching old Christmas movies; I finally get to watch Christmas in St. Louis & The Bells of Saint Marys! Denise and Marlon rave about these, so I’ve heard about them for years. They definitely live up to the hype though.
  • We all hang out and chat a bit more, then an early bedtime so’s we can get moving earlier in the morning.