Sunday, March 12, 2006

Road Trip: Tucson 2


Friday February 24 to Thursday March 2, 2006:

MK, a mutual friend in the Bronx made us swear not to tell Paul and Michael that we were about to show up at their house in Tucson. Springing such surprises would ordinarily not be considered polite or considerate, but MK insisted that it would be great fun and so we deferred to his judgment.

After parking (squeezing) our fifth wheel camper in our friends’ driveway, we settled in for a week’s visit in Tucson: spending time in the Saguaro National Park West and East; tooling around Tucso; buying eats at the local Farmers’ Market; making a quick tour of the Tucson Botanical Garden while Leon and Paul went to the junkyard; getting a haircut from an old-fashioned barber; stocking up on groceries; making a day-trip to Bisbee without stopping in Tombstone’s tourist trap; and generally having a pleasant, laid-back time with friends, Paul and Michael. Their friend Tom invited us, sight unseen, to his place Thursday evening for dinner. It was brave of him to invite strangers for dinner…

My impression of Tucson was very dry. The city is small with a variety of charming amenities: music and theater, a University with a vibrant student district, a quasi-gay, bohemian village, spectacular scenery, interesting architecture and nice layout. But very, very dry. One could see it and/or feel it everywhere: the fine, gritty dessert dust and the moisture starved air. The barber said that water would definitely become an issue before long. Despite current efforts to reclaim water for irrigation, water reclamation alone will not be adequate as the city grows. One has to question the wisdom of building and expanding cities in the desert and how the presence of millions of people with their unquenchable need for water is impacting the balance of life in the dessert and in the rivers.

Certainly for us, the warmth in the middle of winter was not hard to take. Tucsonians were urged by the morning weather forecaster to “keep their fingers crossed” when a chance of rain was predicted. The actual precipitation merely dampened the dessert dust overnight. It was hard to imagine that New England recently received 2 feet of snow and our gardens have sometimes suffered from too much rain in May and June.

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