We were especially excited about our visit to Tucson. Rob spent almost 6 years living in Tucson in the 1990s, and it still holds a special place in his heart. With its stunning scenery, cultural progressivism, and plethora of outdoor activities, Tucson has grown on Carley as well.
This photo was taken without permission from this University of Arizona webpage.
Tucson is also home to Rob's brother Chris and his 9-year-old daughter Adrianna. Big thanks to Chris for letting us all crash not 1, not 2, but 3 nights! (This was the only place we stayed more than one night.)
We had a great time here, and each morning we awoke to a nice swimming pool. There was also a hot tub (left in the photo above), but with temperatures over 100 degrees, that just didn't seem too appealing.
Rowan made lots of progress in learning to swim here, and he loved getting to spend time with his sweet cousin Adrianna.
Wherever Adrianna went, so went Rowan. It was nice having him follow someone else around for a change!
Surrounded by vibrant desert and stunning mountain ranges, Tucson is a mecca of outdoor activities like hiking, camping, mountain biking and climbing. It's also a mecca of photo opportunities. The photo above was actually taken 45 minutes east of Tucson, just off Interstate Highway 10 in Texas Canyon.
This eclectic yard full of art made from scrap-metal is notorious around town, and it's located just a few blocks from a house where Rob lived 10 years ago.
Despite the 100+ degree summer heat, we made it out for a few excursions, including a stroll through the spectacular Sabino Canyon.
At the base of the canyon, this little paved trolley road follows Sabino Creek a couple of miles through rugged terrain into the heart of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It's really nice in the spring when winter runoff fills the creek with little waterfalls, swimming holes, and all kinds of wildlife. However, by July the creek was almost completely dry, so we could have left our swimsuits at home. (And yes, if you click on the photo to zoom in, you'll see that the yellow road sign depicts a person crashing a bicycle and flying over the handlebars!)
We also made a drive up the winding Mount Lemmon Highway to Windy Point, an incredible vista of the city below, surrounded by craggy outcroppings and cliffs. Up here at more than 7000 feet elevation, it was nice and breezy, and the temperature was down in the 80s.
We continued the drive up to the summit of Mt. Bigelow, at around 9000 feet, where swarms of ladybugs can be found on the ground, plants and trees. A couple of miles further up the road is Mount Lemmon, home to the southernmost ski slope in the United States, at 9157 feet elevation.
In addition to the excursions, it was a treat to meet up with several of Rob's long-time friends, including:
Peter, who recently returned from a multi-city stint managing REI stores and is probably headed back to school for another degree.
Marybeth, who's back in Tucson after stints in Seattle and Tampa, and is now a manager at the renowned fabulous restaurant Janos.
Kate and Andy, who recently returned from a year in South Africa, where Kate taught middle-schoolers on a Fulbright exchange scholarship. (The photo above was taken from Kate and Andy's excellent South Africa blog, since Rob forgot the camera when visiting with them.)
Aly and her friend Stephen. Aly's back in town after 2 years in Western Africa (The Gambia) with the Peace Corps and a few years in Portland, Oregon, getting licensed as a massage therapist.
After a very satisfying couple of days relaxing and catching up with old friends, it was time to hit the road again. Next stop: California!
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