During September and October Susan and I embarked on a tour of several midwestern and western states, driving in our 2000 Toyota Siena van(215,000 miles before our trip)a total of 7,279 miles through 13 states. We were gone 33 days and spent the night in 21 different places. When we got home it dawned on us that we had been together virtually 24/7 for the entire trip with no major disagreements and without growing tired of each other. I think our marriage of 41 years will last.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thursday October 6: South to Tucson and Saguaro National Park AZ

The forecast for the Grand Canyon area for today was cold and rain or snow, so we headed south toward our next stop, Tucson.  We had been to Phoenix a couple of times previously, so we just drove through the area on our way south.  We did have a good lunch at Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert, a suburb of Phoenix.  They grow their own produce, the ingredients are fresh, and you can eat outdoors on shared picnic tables.  Good place for lunch if you’re ever in the area, but it’s sort of out in the middle of nowhere.

As we reached the Tucson area we decided to visit Saguaro National Park.  It wasn’t in our original thinking about places to visit, but we’re so glad we decided to go.  We arrived in late afternoon and we saw only two other cars in the park—we basically had the place to ourselves.  There are actually two sections to the park, one west of Tucson, where we visited, and the other east.   The park is located in the northern edge of the Sonoran desert, and is home to the iconic saguaro (pronounced sah-WAH-row) cactus with its usually upright arms.  The saguaro is a very slow growing plant, taking 50 years or so to reach 6 feet.  If the saguaro lives long enough, it can grow to a height of 50 feet.  That’s very unusual as most of the cacti in the park are 30 feet high or less.  In addition to the saguaro, the park contains a significant variety of other cacti.

Saguaros dominate the landscape.


Many are not developed enough to begin to grow arms.

After we were in the desert for awhile, the cacti seemed to take on almost human qualities.

A “baby” saguaro, about a foot tall and probably 10 years old or so.

A praying saguaro (I said they seemed to be almost human).

Interesting arm formation

We weren’t expecting the variation in plants and colors.


Close up of the cactus spines.  You can look but you’d better not touch.

We were fortunate enough on our trip to experience many beautiful sunsets, and this day in the desert was no exception.




And a couple of night shots before we left the park.




Oops, I almost forgot.  Our lifetime pass saved us $10 entering Saguaro.  Tonight we stay in Tucson and then we start heading back east.

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