The not-so-big city

JJ and I love to get out in the middle of nowhere, but now and then, we also really enjoy the offerings of a big city, for shopping, eating, and entertainment.  Forests and mountains are great, but a girl needs Trader Joes, too! And when we choose a city, we particularly like the ones that feel a little smaller, rather than the giant megalapolises like Los Angeles or Phoenix.  So, as a central meeting point with our RVing friends, Dave and Max, Tucson was the perfect spot.

We had a pretty epic week of eating, jeeping, and adventures, all under cloudless skies and an unseasonable warm spell of upper 80s every day. Here’s the photo evidence!

Dave and Max on “A” Mountain:

Taqueria Aqui Con el Nene, the best rated taco stand in the city!:

Bull riding at the Tucson Rodeo:

Jeeping in the Patagonia Mountains:

It’s not fun if you’re not getting dirty!:

Old cemetery near an abandoned townsite:

Hiking in Tucson Mountain Park:

Tucson Rodeo Parade, Forest Service representing with pack mules:

My award for sexiest horse in the parade:

Miss LatinoAmerica queen and court:

Low on the sundry goods that Amazon.com so easily supplies to those blessed with an address, we spent a day running all about, provisioning for the month ahead.  I always notice the driving culture in different areas we visit, and Tucson probably wins the awards for the most chill.  Traffic moves slowly, cars merge languidly, and there’s rarely honking.  We are probably going to die when we hit California again, the land where traffic doesn’t slow down for anything, and getting onto the freeway requires socialpathical tendencies.

It was wonderful to live next to Dave and Max for a  week, to enjoy their company as neighbors, getting together to hang out in the shade in the afternoon, and for movies and cards at night.  They have been on the road longer than us, and have a delightful Hakuna Matata attitude towards full-timing.  Since JJ and I have a tendency to worry over everything, it’s great to be around folks who provide a counterbalance!

Alas, our week at beautiful Gilbert Ray Campground came to an end, and we moved on, back to a few nights of blacktop camping at a nearby casino.  We took the opportunity to do laundry, grocery shop, and cook, and still did not go into the casino to blow our nest egg.

An expired passport meant that our friend, Jen, could not go on a Mexican adventure this weekend, but we were glad that that meant she would be in town for a visit. Jen has such a joie de vivre towards her life, and we love to get together with her and soak up her boundless spirit. She made us a delicious dinner, including greens from her garden, and gave us soul-warming hugs.

Now we begin a circle through far southeast Arizona, which is just high enough in elevation to get us out of the city heat, but avoid below freezing temperature at night. This is the part of our year that I truly love, enjoying wide open spaces and quiet, dark nights.  It’s more difficult to get to the remote places, but they make me happy.

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