Saturday April 1, 2006, Tucson, Arizona
We spent Tuesday morning walking around San Angelo - it looked quite interesting on paper, but we weren't overly excited by the direct experience. There were some new buildings with interesting architecture, like the enormous visitors center and a large art gallery, which were signs of good intentions, and the downtown area also had some interesting older buildings like the Cactus Hotel - built in the 1920's as the 4th ever Hilton and, at that time, the most expensive. But once again, the streets seemed deserted. We drove on after lunch and once again travelled through the desolate countryside that is south-west Texas.
We overnighted in a small town called Van Horn, which largely exists because of its motels - we stayed there because it was too late to continue on to El Paso, which had been our aim that day.
Wednesday's story is one that needs to be told [seperate page] - it could've been too embarrassing, and had it turned out differently, I'm not sure if I wouldn't have kept it a secret between Juergen, me and the folks of 'the middle of nowhere, Tiger Town, Texas'!
We travelled on to El Paso and through there to New Mexico. We stopped for lunch in the small historical village of Mesilla, just south of Las Cruces/NM. Lots of adobe houses in the traditional style and very pretty.
On Wednesday night, after driving across New Mexico and into Arizona, we stayed in a smaller town called Benson, and on Thursday morning we drove the last 40 miles to Tucson. We had planned to stay here for a couple of days to get some work done on the truck. First stop a huge RV dealer to organise getting 'tie-downs' fitted. They are something that holds the camper to the truck - I can't tell you more. It's a busy time of year for this huge business, but they offered us a 7am appointment for Friday morning. We then went on to an auto care centre to get some mechanical work done on the car. Since this required leaving the truck the whole day, and then it would be at the RV centre the whole day Friday, we decided to hire a car to see something of Tucson, and we are very glad we did.
Tucson is a very attractive and apparently livable city. We spent the rest of Thursday walking and driving around the downtown area. There seems to be a lot of renovation going on of traditional adobe houses. They are brilliantly coloured and the neighbourhoods look very attractive - look at the photos, as words don't really do them justice. On Friday, we drove out of town to the Saguaro National Park and spent a couple of hours walking around the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This museum holds a living exhibition of plants and animals which are native to the Sonora Desert - I was rather relieved to have my first face-to-face with a rattlesnake, separated by a glass window!!!
We then drove back to the downtown area again to go to the Tuscon Museum of Art, where we had discovered that the annual Spring Artisans Market would be on. But first we went to the museum's coffee shop for lunch. I must add this to my list of places to eat - the food was great and the cakes looked amazing. Unfortunately after eating our salads, there was no room to partake of these sumptuous delights, although we were so hungry when we arrived we had something called an 'energy slice' while waiting for our lunch to come, and if that was any indication, the cakes must have been really good! We wandered around the market and also parts of the museum, but after the morning in the fresh air, tired quite quickly. I don't really find markets that interesting when I am in no mood to buy, and we have been spending so much money getting our truck ready, that somehow it seems frivolous to spend money on trinkets! But don't worry, I am sure that will change in the near future.
Today we will be on our way to pick up our camper. We plan to drive most of the way today, and arrive at Marilyn and Ron's sometime tomorrow. If everything goes smoothly, we may spend our first night in our camper tomorrow night, and our next installment might be written on the 'kitchen table'!