October 7, 2008 outside Tucson, AZ — We HAD to do laundry today. Or else, I was going to have start handwashing. We found a cute and mostly empty laundromat in Catalina, just a little up the road from the hotel. It was painted with an underwater them, including little duck legs sticking out of the ceiling. During the wash cycle we went over the car wash. Whereas we never had any bugs stick to the car while driving around New England, here the car the is covered after a day of driving around. So we find ourselves washing the car far more frequently than filling her with gas.
I haven’t mentioned the weather here enough. We LOVE it. Temperature has been high 80s, low 90s but dry. It is so comfortable. But we do need to drink a lot of water.
So, after we finished the laundry — and repacking the car — we decided to seek out a Toyota dealer to get the oil changed. We had tried to do this in Phoenix, but since we were there over the weekend the timing was wrong, not to mention that the first two dealers that we looked for, weren’t in business.
Anyway, we had another super experience like the one in Albuquerque. These new Toyota service shops are run very efficiently and there is a record of everything we’ve done with the car no matter which state the work is done — so we are accumulating quite the service history. Still, we had to wait 2 hours for the car, so I took advantage of the high speed internet and the “quiet room” to work on MostlyFiction.com and got most of an update done.
By the time we were done with our errands, it was around 1 pm. We headed to the west side of the city, to the Tucson Mountains/Saguaro National Park. It is right outside of Tucson but feels like you are in the desert. There are several things to do in this area, including visiting the Old Tucson Studios where many westerns have been filmed and, the thing we chose to do: visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The goal of the museum is to teach about what lives in the Sonora Desert — including the animals. Because it basically off season (even though it feels like summer to us), many of the displays were not available.
But, there was enough to keep us there for several hours. For me it is, seeing the real animal is always interesting because I’ve looking at photos for years while developing plush toys for Wishpets. So it is fun to see the real thing — though they don’t sit as still for their photos. Also, for the record, there ARE black bears in Arizona. They live in the Arizona White Mountains.
I hate to admit, but I got lost walking around the Museum. Carl decided to save his foot and wait for me at the snack bar while I walked some more of the trails. I had a bit of a panic when I couldn’t find him, but at least I saw a bit more of the museum as I was looking for him! I finally decided to head to the park exit and assumed that Carl would eventually give up waiting for me and find me at the car. Turned out he had started to wonder where I was and was heading to the car to get his cell phone to call me. So we found each other!
By the time we left the museum and the Tucson Mountain Park, I was starved and we still didn’t have a room for the night. First things first, means we had to find a room. Not knowing a thing about Tucson, we turned on the “hotel” finder on the GPS. We found a newly built Best Western right downtown for only $99 a night. But, alas, it had no vacancy. So we headed out to the highway — which usually works out for us. But we didn’t know that South Tucson was all industrial. Being tired and over hungry makes it hard to have patience to find the best hotel. Instead, we stopped at a regular Holiday Inn, which was a good 25 years past its hey day. At least it had a new bed, though bad Internet.
So, is Tucson our town? Yes, we will consider this city further. Though we will go onto to explore more and then come back and finish visiting this city in a few weeks.