Today March 1st We are still in Tucson the city of nearly 1 million, nestled beneath five mountains. A city of great contrasts, to the south; poor, shabby, litter strewn mobile homes, dry, dusty and unattractive. To the north beyond the cosmopolitan Arizona State University campus there are the more affluent, neatly presented, suburbs. Crisscrossing all, the grid of busy fast moving streets, filled with shiny new cars and trucks along with wrecks that don’t look as though they should even be on the road. We have moved on – gypsy fashion – a very short distance, just a couple of miles down the road. This site is free, yes FREE! Some states allow campers on their Government land at no charge; so tonight we’re dry camping or boon docking, as it’s known. We are completely self sufficient as there are no hook ups for water, electricity, or sewer, so we must rely on our tanks and generator. One wonderful plus is that we were able to watch the sun go down from Bree, with no obstacles to spoil our view. We have also been able to choose how close we are to our neighbours as there are no “sites” as such, we have joined about 20 or so other vehicles here some of which have very obviously been here for some time despite a time limit of 14 days. You don’t set up a wind generator and spread Steptoe’s yard around you if you are just passing through. The main drawback is no Internet access, so it’s back to cruising tomorrow.
If yesterday was Malc’s kind of day then today was mine… though I know he enjoyed it very much too. We spent a fascinating afternoon meandering around the Arizona Desert Museum www.desertmuseum.org. It’s a zoo, botanical garden and a natural history museum all in one. Unlike El Paso Zoo, the enclosures are part of the desert, well designed, well maintained “Cranking” cacti wrens in the background (they’re the ones that make the holes in the saguaro and they sound just like an engine trying to start) we gazed at sleepy black bears, majestic mountain lions and gracious ocelots in the mountain enclosure along with bobcats and coyote (live ones this time). The only thing that would entice me to live in this area is the plethora of cacti & agaves such striking plants, each coping with this hostile environment in their own way. So many shades of colour from cool, grey green to the hints of brilliant crimsons, yellows and fiery oranges, the promise of blooms to come. All around those tall saguaros, silent sentinels that have struggled so hard to survive, benevolent enough to house even the most fragile yet persistent bird!