Oct 172008
 

 

Looking over Tucson valley from first stop -- note abundance of Saguaro Cactii -- we are still lower altitude in Sonora Desert

Looking over Tucson valley from first stop on drive -- note abundance of Saguaro Cactii -- we are still in lower altitude in Sonora Desert

October 17, 2008 — We are still in Tucson, Arizona.  Today, we ventured to the east of the city and took the 26 mile Sky Island Scenic Byway to the top of Mount Lemmon.  This is another slow drive with plenty of switchbacks that started at about 2600 feet above sea level and reaches about 9,100 feet at the top.  Breathless.  

 

Looking up a the road not yet travelled. You can see how this road is built into the mountain.

Looking up a the road not yet travelled. You can see how this road is built into the mountain.

 

I never tire looking at these rock structures.  I think this one looks like a man riding a horse.

I never tire of looking at these rock structures. I think this one looks like a man riding a horse.

However, this was a far more civilized drive than the day we drove Highway 550.  This road is managed by the National Park’s Service (with a $20 entrance fee — thanks again to our annual card we did not have to pay) and thus the road is very well made all the way up (and down).  For example, this one has guard rails and a lot of lookouts. And it wasn’t unreasonable to go 45 miles per hour on the way down.

Looking down at the road where we once were

Looking down at the road that was once travelled.

 

Some have described this 26 mile ride as like starting in Mexico and ending in Canada.  There is a ski resort at the top, so I can see why one might say this!  Can you imagine in the winter you wake up to a nice 80 degree day and then decide to go skiing less than 50 miles away? That’s what altitude will do for you!

Today, the temperature at the top was 61 degrees — and 90ish at the bottom.  (We are loving this weather!)

 

View from Windy Point Vista -- note road below

View from Windy Point Vista (about 6000 Ft) -- can you see the road below?

This is a popular summer destination.  There are SO MANY trails to hike that I think this one mountain range  alone could keep a hiker happy for years.  (Fred, Mom — you would love this place!)  They also have many trails that allow bikes or horses as well as hikers.  If we stay in this area, I promise to check this out further.  I am assuming those trails would be good for a beginner like me.

 

About 7500 feet -- lookout facing east

About 7500 feet -- lookout facing east

Looks like our week here has worked out.  Yesterday, we received mail from our forwarder – though I messed up and didn’t request everything so I am still missing some books (yes, some publishers are still sending books to MostlyFiction) and most my Netflix movies.  So now I have to wait until the next time we are some place long enough… Today I received my new eye glasses that weren’t ready when we left and call got the RV book that he ordered.  We are still wondering if this isn’t the perfect answer to our wonderlust and need to find a home soon.  I catch up my Quicken account with all our trip expenses and balanced my checkbook.  Anyone want to guess how much they think we have spent up to this point?

 

Village of Summerhaven at 7,840 feet -- notice burnt trees from 2003 fire

Village of Summerhaven at 7,840 feet -- notice burnt trees from 2003 fire

I’m not shocked or upset over how much money we have spent so far — but we do have to start trying a little harder to save money.  

 

Put it this way, if we could stay in this place for a week — and make it comfortable enough — then we are ready to step down our hotel requirements a notch or two.

Ski Lift at Mt. Lemmon

Ski Lift at Mt. Lemmon

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