OK~~~~ Corra~~~ l (Feb 20 2014)

DSC02430.JPGTime to push north to Tucson, Arizona. (I can’t help but start singing Take It Easy every time anyone says “Tucson, Arizona.”) Big Dog wants to go through Tombstone, historic frontier town and site of the famous 1881 gunfight at the OK Corral. Wyatt Earp and all of that.

The road to Tombstone goes through the high desert. There are quite a few RV parks in this area, I guess for the snowbirds who don’t want Mexico, but none of them are terribly attractive – they are just hot, dusty parking lots in the middle of a desert.

DSC02431.JPGTombstone is a bit like old Knotts Berry Farm, when it was a Western-themed country park. The old buildings have been preserved or re-created and the main drag is a wild west theme park, with locals in costume (and character.) Gun fight shows abound. It’s all quite touristy.

Boot Hill, the famous cemetery, is just outside of Tombstone. Most “residents” of the cemetery came here in 1881 or 1882. Killed, drowned, stampeded, suicide and, of course, naturally. At one edge, there a small Chinese section. Man, those Chinese got around! Tombstone’s a loooong way from China!

In present day southern Arizona, law enforcers are less concerned about gunslingers than illegal immigrants and there are more than a few border patrol vehicles, along with checkpoints. There might be more here than Texas.

Skirting Tucson, we enter Saguaro National Park at the end of the day. The Park is divided into two sections, one on either side of Tucson, but this east side does not take our breath away.

DSC02478.JPG“I don’t know. It’s kind of strange to have this right in the middle of the ‘burbs.”

DSC02485.JPGDSC02486.JPGA paved, hilly loop drive takes you by the giant saguaro cacti that look like corduroy poles from afar. Up close, you are dwarfed by the sometimes 50-foot high cacti. These are the redwoods of the desert. In between them are wooly chollas, looking like Rastafarians. There are also short, stubby, barrel-shaped fishhook cacti, with curved spines that resemble fishhooks.

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DSC02503.JPGDSC02504.JPGSaguaro cacti need to get to a certain height (and age) before they start producing “arms.” Some of them never do, but when they do, they make the most fascinating shapes.

DSC02499.JPGIt’s near dark by the time we cross the northern edge of bland, boring Tucson (strip malls and traffic) and dive into a Motel 6. Yes, there will be showers tonight! And a chance to wash undies! But first, a real meal in a Mexican place where I get a cheese overload – chile relleno and cheese enchilada with rice and gooey cheesy beans. The frosty Negro Modelo is fab!

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Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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