Saturday, January 5, 2013

NYEve, Ron & friends,

Absolutely nothing gives me more pleasure than to have a few days with one of my kids.  Son, Ron came for New Year's and brought his fiance, Loretta, her niece, Vanessa and her nephew, Jonathan.

Ron (center) lives in San Diego while Loretta, Vanessa and Jonathan are from Perth, Australia.  These visitors are also Italian so I enjoyed several days of great Aussie accents and lots of enthusiastic hand-waving.

We did a whirlwind two days of sightseeing and definitely we had to stop along the road and get the iconic cactus photo in Saguaro National Park.
(Vanessa and Loretta)

  Saguaro cactus are accordion pleated so that they can expand and hold more water during rainy times, then they will contract as they use up the water in dry times.  By looking closely at a cactus you should be able to tell if we are in a wet or dry period.

(Loretta and Ron)
Did you Know that a Saguaro has to be about 75 years old before it grows its first arm?  The other arms will develop in less time but the specimen above could be well over 200 years old.

The Arizona Senoran Desert Museum is one of my favorite places.  It is a museum as well as a zoo and   a botanical garden and I know of no better place to learn about the flora and fauna of the desert.


   Should have taken another picture of this poor docent--she looks like she is about to cry.  Actually she was telling us all about this lovely little owl that was sitting so quietly on her arm and posing for pictures like a pro.

The snakes are fascinating--as long as that glass is between them and me.

But when I came upon this guy I was certain he had escaped.  A little boy had to come up and put his hand on the glass before I could be sure the snake was behind it.

Tarantulas are plentiful in the desert--and are very docile and harmless.

I still am not ready to name one 'Fido' and take it home on a leash.

The Museum has a small cave....

This reminded me that, in just a few weeks, Tucson will host the largest Gem and Mineral Show in the world.

I am hoping to be back on the road by then--it will certainly save me money if I don't see all those gems.

Look closely,  Can you see him?  

The day was cold but that sunny spot was obviously warm.
Sadly, just a day or two ago one of these beautiful wild pumas was hit by a car on the same road where we took the cactus picture.  Their natural habitat is threatened and they often will venture into populated areas--only to be hit by cars or shot by trigger happy residents.

This is the big guy's mate.  I was able to get close enough to see her beautiful eyes.  I think she might be a distant cousin to Sigh Me.

(Jonathan, Vanessa and Loretta. )
The day was getting windy and colder.  It is summer in Perth right now--and just about as hot as our summer is in Tucson.

We finally got so cold we had to leave after covering less than 1/2 this great park.

When we first arrived at the park and were approaching the ticket office a gentleman walked up to us and said, "This is your lucky day!  I have three tickets that I cannot use and they expire today so would you like to have them?"
We took the tickets and thanked the very generous man.  As he walked away Vanessa said, "I love this place. The people here are sooooo nice!"

Good going, Tucson!


  1. Great Pics....loved the mountain lion.....and that meal, or remnants of....looked great.... :)

    1. The restaurant was Cracker Barrel because Ron and I wanted to give the Aussies a real feel for American Country cooking. We also wanted (for New Years) to eat some greens for money and black eyed peas for luck. Only Cracker Barrel is likely to have that on their menu. BTW, they served the black-eyed peas all day for free on New Years day. I absolutely love Cracker Barrel--and if you follow my blog you know how much I usually avoid chain restaurants.

  2. I LOVE reading about your doings. Is that the museum that opened around 1970?

  3. The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum was started in 1953--it's now 60 years old. It also adds something new almost every year. I have been there at least 5 times in the last 12 years and It is always a new experience for me.