Desperately Seeking Saguaro

We started the day off yesterday by eating breakfast at the resort (expensive, just as Trip Advisor promised) with two guys that work with Jim, and their wives. After that, we took off—us in our Luxury Vehicle and the four of them in their SUV—so that they could finish registration for the Tour de Tucson and we could take a drive through Saguaro National Park. We planned to meet in Tubac, an artists’ community about 45 miles south of here.




I was fascinated by the Saguaros; they dotted the mountains like little soldiers standing guard. We are so used to seeing the Smoky Mountains when we visit Knoxville, Tennessee; the Smokies have a smooth edge to them and are completely covered with trees and kudzu. The mountains here are very jagged, brown, and sparsely vegetated. Jim noted that these mountains are a couple million years younger than the Smokies, and I said, “Oh, right…”, like I knew that and just needed a reminder. (our fifteen year old does that all the time and it’s annoying, but it just felt right for me at that moment…)

We found the gang in Tubac, and walked through what seemed like hundreds of galleries and shops. In some of them, it was hard to distinguish the junk from the treasure. Whenever we take a trip (which isn’t often), we try to find one nice souvenir to put in our house to remind us of the vacation…this time—though I have a day and a half left—I may just have to stick with my adage that my photos are the best kind of souvenir. Everything so far that we’ve found that we really, really like is very, very expensive! Here are some Tubac photos:






Also in Tubac, we stopped for ice cream. While everyone else went with the soft-serve chocolate and vanilla twist, I dared to be different and I chose the Prickly Pear ice cream!


You can’t get cactus ice cream in the Chicago suburbs, that’s for sure! Look at me, Mom and Dad: your one-time picky eater is now eating “exotic” food! (ha ha)

This morning is the Tour; the reason we’re here. Jim left at 4:30 a.m., after we both had a terrible night’s sleep. Someone’s car alarm kept on going off, and I’m sure he was nervous about the ride. I am going to take some pictures in a while as the race/ride is going right by our resort, but with almost 10000 riders, I probably won’t see Jim ride by and will have to depend on the official ride photographers to capture it for me! More tomorrow!


  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe my picky daughter who won’t let her food touch each other on a plate actually eat cactus. So what is this world coming too.

  • Linda Seid Frembes

    I’ve always wanted to visit Arizona. I am lovin’ your photos, especially the second one from your Tubac list (metal art against a blue sky). Love it!

  • k a t i e

    Wow…wow…and more wow! That trip looks amazing, and kinda like how I imagine the American ‘outback’ to look!
    Cactus ice cream? Slightly disturbing adorable tin men? That view from your balcony…just wow!

  • Jen and an N

    I had fun traveling along side you (in photos) this past week!

    Prickly Pear Ice cream…well…how was it?!

  • Melisa

    Yes, prickly pear ice cream! Jen/Soosh pointed out that I forgot to say how it was. It was pretty good! It sort of tasted like a no-sugar-added strawberry ice cream. I can’t say there was anything too distinctively “cactus-y” about the taste, which is a good thing, right?

    Linda: yes, the metal art with chunks of blue glass was GORGEOUS. It was actually taller than a door from the ground to the top of it, but there were lots of other things clustered around it so I decided to shoot just the top. The photo doesn’t even do it justice. I wish I could have brought it home with me.

    Katie: Yes, the American Outback is very BROWN! 🙂 Although I thought I expected it, it was still surprising to me.

    Kat: Sun and ice cream was delightful! (especially since we’re gearing up for winter here!) The sleet we had briefly this morning was a rude wake-up call from vacation, I’ll say that much!