November In Tucson
Thursday, November 1, I drive the 75 miles or so north to Tucson. Last year I was there only a short while. There is a lot to do in the area, and I’m looking forward to returning. Once again I camp at the Snyder Hill BLM area that is southwest of the city. Although not the most scenic place, it is conveniently located for exploring the area, and grocery stores, etc. are nearby.
With all the fall precipitation, the desert looks beautiful. Some flowers in bloom and the creosote bush and other shrubs are very green.
Misty actually sat still for a minute so I could snap this photo!
There were several nice sunsets.
On Friday I go to a nearby Goodyear Tire Store to see about getting the defective tires replaced. After checking the tires, the service manager agrees the three tires are defective. He contacts Goodyear for approval to replace them under warranty. After talking with the service manager, I decide to upgrade to a better tire in the Wrangler line. So I end up with four new tires paying the difference in cost between the two. I am hoping to get at least five years out of them, figuring I drive about 12,000 miles per year. The tires were ordered from the warehouse and came in Saturday morning. I went back and had them installed. I am glad to have that taken care of!
I have wanted to see the film Free Solo when I was in a location it was showing. In checking for it here, it is playing at the Loft Cinema. I went to the Friday afternoon showing. The film was great! If you aren’t familiar with it, it documents Alex Honold’s free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite. More than just a highlight reel, it follows Alex over about a year and half as he practices and prepares for the climb. It was very interesting. Even knowing that the climb was successful, the actual climbing footage was very intense.
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Wednesday, November 7, I visit this historic Spanish mission, founded in 1692. This is the only remaining intact mission in Arizona. It is a working church and school and is on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. Construction of the current structure began in 1783 and continued for 14 years, at which time funds ran out. The east tower was never completed.
Loft Film Fest
I was thrilled to learn of the Loft Cinema when I went to see the film Free Solo. The Loft is an art house cinema, screening a lot of independent and foreign films. This is a real gem! I love these types of films. I also discovered their annual film festival is taking place November 8-15. A festival pass is only $150! Some of the big festivals are $1,000 or more.
I purchased a pass and ended up seeing 23 films in the nine days. It was a blast and the films were excellent. There were Q&A sessions following several films, including one with the star and the director of Warrior Women.
The festival closed out with The Guardians, a film about an indigenous community in central Mexico and the migration of monarch butterflies. Both depend on the ancient oyamel fir forest for their survival. Loss of forest habitat has led to a collapse of the monarch population, declining from a billion just 20 years ago to about 33 million now. Realizing the environmental impact, the local community has become protectors of the the forest and the monarch butterflies. After the film there was a concert by the group Calexico, who composed and performed the film’s soundtrack. Following the concert, there was a little celebration with champagne, costumed dancers, etc. This is actually the first film fest I have ever attended. I loved it and have a feeling I’ll be back!
Phoenix for Nash service
Monday, November 19, I drive up to Phoenix metro area for an appointment to have some work done on the Nash. I arrive at the RV service center late afternoon and stay overnight on their lot so they could start the work first thing Tuesday morning.
I had two jobs I wanted done. When I had my inverter installed, instead of wiring it into the main electrical panel, it was wired to a dedicated outlet. Mostly I did this to save on installation costs. I now want to have it wired into the panel so all the 110 outlets and the microwave are powered by the inverter. The second item is running the cable for my cell booster from the outside antenna into the trailer to connect to the box. Since I purchased the weBoost in May, I have been running the cable through a window to bring it inside. This is a pain! While in the office, I noticed a poster for the ARP Fridge Defend product. This is something I have also wanted to have installed. The absorption type fridges used in RVs are very susceptible to overheating of the boiler, which can cause a fire. The shop had the product on hand, so I had them install this as well.
The work was finished mid afternoon. I had thought of camping out on the east side of the metro area around Apache Trail. However, after the shock of driving in a 5 million population city the day before, I decided there are just too many people and too much traffic. I really do not like large cities. So back to Tucson I go. By the time I left at 3:30pm, rush hour was already well under way. Instead of getting on I-10 to drive across the city, I took local roads south out of town and east to pick up I-10 outside of town. Traffic was still bad, then there was an accident on I-10 which led to further delay. So it is 8pm and dark when I get to Tucson. I park at Casino Del Sol planning to stay the night, but I end up staying there for several days.
Saguaro National Park East
Monday, November 26, I drive to the east unit of Saguaro NP which sits at the foot of the Rincon Mountains on the east side of Tucson. This is my first visit here and I stop at the visitors center for information. At the entrance there is a lovely mosaic of some of the plants and animals that live here. The dappled sunlight doesn’t make for the best photo.
There is a loop road to drive, with several hiking trails along the way. I decide to hike the 4 mile Loma Verde loop. This is a mostly level hike through the desert with just a small ridge to cross. It is a nice leisurely hike.
I hadn’t really expected to stay in Tucson this long, but there is so much to do here. I do love Tucson. It has a population of about 500,000. It is big enough to offer a lot in the way of cultural events and the arts, especially with the University of Arizona being here. The traffic isn’t bad though. Even the days I have been in town at rush hour, it wasn’t awful. If I were looking for a place to settle, Tucson would definitely be at the top of the list. I’m not quite ready to do that yet though. 🙂
There is still a lot that I want do in this area, so I will be here for at least part of December. I’ll just play it by ear!