Monday, February 21, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011- Tucson, Arizona

Wednesday, the 16th, we spent our last day in Benson catching up on housekeeping chores. 

Thursday morning we prepared to get on the road to move to Tucson.  Before leaving we had planned to go out to breakfast with friends, Marti and Drew.  So we picked them up and went into Benson and had a nice breakfast together before getting on the road.  The trip to Tucson was a short trip of less than 1 1/2 hours from Benson to the campground we had made reservations at north of Tucson, “Valley of the Sun” in Marana.  After setting up camp we drove over to my cousin, Patty’s, and her husband, Braxton’s home.

Braxton, Tom and Patty- Aqua Caliente Park

After warm greetings, we took off for nice lunch at a local steakhouse.  We were then taken to a beautiful park, Aqua Caliente Park,  that had once been a stop for cattle drives because of the water.

Aqua Caliente Park, Tucson, Az.

It was a real oasis in this desert region with ponds and palm trees.  Returning to their home Patty fixed barbeque sandwiches, chips and fruit for a evening meal as we all sat around talking and catching up.

Today, Friday, Tom and I were on our own as we drove to the ASARCO Mineral Discovery Center.  We wanted to take the 11am tour of the open-pit copper mine but we were told that we would not be able to take a tour until 2pm since prearranged school tours had filled the 11am and 12:30pm tours.  Not caring to hang around for 3 hours we left and went to the Kitt Peak National Observatory which has the world’s largest collection of research telescopes.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

We paid to take a tour to the solar telescope with a docent.

Solar Telescope

The telescope was not in operation today as it was an unusually cloudy day.  I was not impressed with the tour that the docent gave.  We toured on our own to a stellar telescope.

2.1 Meter Telescope

It is quite an impressive area about 7000 feet in altitude on Kitt Peak with numerous telescopes and dormitories that provided housing for the astronomers that come to this area.   We had not planned to visit this area today so we were inadequately prepared for the windy cold conditions on this mountain which resulted in the purchase of some warm jackets before walking around the grounds.