Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Google Map of My Posts

Since I've discovered so many cool places to see in and around Tucson, I thought I'd create a Google map to help you find them.

I'll be updating this map for each new place I discover. Future enhancements I have in mind are some less generic icons to mark the map locations.

You'll find the link to the map on the right side bar of this page, but here it is as well:

Monday, July 28, 2008

Indoor Drive-In

Ooooo, have I made a great Tucson discovery! While I was dining at GRILL (see my July 8th post), I picked up a copy of the monthly calendar for “The Loft”. As it turns out, The Loft is the local ‘art theater’. Now there’s another term that can have many different meanings. Coming from my previous Midwestern community, ‘art theater’ usually meant an under funded movie house that was either in dire need of repair, or movies being held in a multi-purpose room of another local non-profit organization.

The Loft
I could tell right away this wouldn’t be the case with The Loft. The calendar was a well designed, multi-page, event packed showcase of The Loft’s movies and activities.

Here’s a sample of upcoming films for the month of July:

Special Events
Arizona Yoga Association presents "LIVING YOGA"
Special Screening of CARAMELO
ATOMIK CIRCUS - Arizona Premiere!
EL VAMPIRO with Live Music!

Cult Classics

Mondo Monday Films

Essential Cinema

Local Film Events
Special Screening of CARAMELO

It’s like Christmas everyday for a film lover like myself. Check out the list of films they will be showing for The United Artists 90th Anniversary Celebration: Annie Hall (1977), A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Goldfinger (1964), The Magnificent Seven (1960).

My first real introduction to the Beatles was when I watched A Hard Day’s Night (Reporter to John: “What do you call that haircut?” John: “Arthur.”), and I can still remember when my uncle and my dad took me to see Goldfinger (Bond: “Do you expect me to talk?” Goldfinger: “No Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!”). I haven’t been able to see these films on the big screen since. What a treat this will be!
So it should be no surprise that: “The Loft has received many honors since its transition to a nonprofit arts organization. It has been named Best of Tucson by the readers of the Tucson Weekly every year since 2002. The Loft received a Lumie from the Tucson Pima Arts Council in 2005 for Emerging Arts Organization.
In 2007, the Arizona Commission on the Arts noted that The Loft is “one of the most important cinema organizations in the state."”[1]

Hot Rod Rumble!“Hot Rod Rumble!”
My first exposure (ha!) to The Loft was thanks to The Tucson Street Rod Association and their sponsorship of “Hot Rod Rumble!”

As I drove into the parking lot I was greeted with about two dozen pristine classic cars gleaming in the afternoon Arizona sun. It was a beautiful sight, and blended in perfectly with The Loft’s retro marquee announcing the day’s features.

I arrived about five minutes after the announced show time and heard the ticket seller tell the group in front of me that the theater was almost full, and they might not find seats together. True enough, and I found an open seat between what turned out to be two members of the Street Rod Association.

After some short announcements and prize give-a ways by the TSRA the theater darkened and the “previews” began. These were movie previews from the 50’s for other hot rod style movies. These were great fun to watch, but were for the most part extremely washed out. Almost to the point of being unwatchable. I hoped the feature film would be in better shape.

As the feature film started I was relieved to see that it was in fine shape. The movie starts on a dark and stormy night, and that’s just one of the clichés I was to be treated to that afternoon.

I had expected to see a campy piece of 50’s cinema with performances ranging from bad to tolerable. As it turned out the movie held up fairly well after all these years. The plot involves a hot rod club and the murder of one of it’s members after a swinging jamboree. (I never really knew what a “jamboree” was until this movie’s example.) A bonus for my ears was the excellent jazz music played throughout this flick. Sitting through the credits afterward I noticed Maynard Ferguson as one of the musicians. Nice ‘get’ for a B movie like this.

Tucson Hot Rod
Tucson Hot RodAfter the movie ended I had a chance to take a few photos of some of the classic cars owned by members of The Tucson Street Rod Association.
Tucson Hot RodThe day turned out to be a great introduction to The Loft for me. My Saturday afternoons will never be the same!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Busy in Bisbee

Ask around for fun things to do around Tucson and sooner or later you’re bound to hear “You should check out Bisbee!” Bisbee, as it turns out, is a small ‘artist’s community’ located about a two hour drive south of Tucson.

The term ‘artist’s community’ is bandied about so frequently that it’s come to mean just about any community that doesn’t fit neatly into any other category. Sedona is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of ‘artist’s community’ even though it has long been too expensive to live for any artist I’ve ever known.

Bisbee Strip Mining
But while Sedona probably attracted artists mainly because of its natural beauty, Bisbee had another draw: cheap housing. Incorporated in 1902, Bisbee was initially a copper rich boom town with its population reaching a high of over 9,000 by 1910. In 1917, open pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the heavy copper demand due to World War I. [1] In the photo above I circled and enlarged an earth mover to give you an idea of the size of this pit.

There is only so much copper you can strip from any mine and by 1975 the copper industry left Bisbee. What was bad news for copper miners turned out to be good news for starving artists and they grabbed up housing as the home prices of the fleeing miners plummeted.

Bisbee Houses
Drive into Bisbee and one of the first things you’ll notice is how the houses are stuck into the side of the mountains. Almost as if a huge canon loaded with cute little chateaus was haphazardly fired against the picturesque rocks. Once safely parked and outside of your car, the narrow, hilly streets are unlike almost any other town in the U.S. This is one of Bisbee’s most attractive qualities in my opinion. Many beautiful photo opportunities can be found, so be sure to bring your camera.

I was fortunate enough to be traveling with a friend from the area that was kind enough to take me on a tour of Bisbee. As we walked up and down main street I noticed a familiar pattern: antique shop, diner, jewelry shop. Every so often an art gallery would show up. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit. But I’m willing to bet the antique shops outnumber the art galleries two to one. This is fine if you’ve come to town to shop for antiques. Not so much if you’re expecting a town full of beatniks and hippies, as I was. Bummer, dude.

Bisbee street
Ah, well. The weather was beautiful and my friend and I enjoyed exploring the local shops. She discovered some valuable jewelry information regarding items in her collection, and I came away with some killer honey. Literally. Killer Bee Honey to be exact. Tasty stuff. Another one of my discoveries was Old Bisbee Roasters coffee. This was worth the trip alone, for me. And who’s to say a perfectly brewed cup of joe doesn’t qualify as a work of art. Hey, you won’t get any argument from me.

Bisbee Angels
I'm sure there is a fascinating story to go along with the photo above. I was too scared to ask.

Bisbee is a fun day trip if you’re looking for a beautiful setting with unique architecture, and a fun day of food, jewelry, and antique shopping. They even have some art there.

Source: [1],_Arizona

Friday, July 18, 2008

All They Wanna Do Is Talk, Talk

Have you ever just wanted to just sit down and have an intelligent conversation with friends? You know, just hash out the problems of the world over lunch?

Thanks to one member of the Tucson Single Professionals you can do just that. Robert Bulechek organizes this event, held every Wednesday at various restaurants around Tucson.

This function offers not only a chance for good conversation, but is also an excellent way to discover new restaurants in Tucson. The venue changes each month, and this month it is being held at Sabra’s Restaurant. Sabra’s is a small, unassuming restaurant that can be easy to miss as you go zipping by on Speedway Boulevard. Thankfully, I decided to make plans to attend a “Luncheon & Conversation” held here.

Sabra's Restaurant
Sabra’s Restaurant serves Mediterranean style food. That’s the generic term for what, in this case, turns out to be Kosher Jewish meals. Sabra’s is a certified kosher restaurant, which means the food is prepared and served under strict Jewish dietary laws. The food is certified Kosher under the supervision of Rabbi Israel Becker of Congregation Chofetz Chayim and Rabbi Joseph Shemtov of Congregation Young Israel Chabad-Lubavitch.

I grew up in West Michigan, which is a very conservative community, and dining variety was somewhat lacking. Unless your idea of variety is deciding whether to go to Fridays, Applebee’s, or Olive Garden. So this was a very special treat for me. I’ll admit, some of the choices were hard for me to visualize. Baba Ganoush, Tabouli, Sabich, Shakshuka, Malawach were all words I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard of before. The good news is the staff is very friendly and more than willing to help de-code the menu for any newbie gentiles.

Of course there were also words on the menu I did recognize and I was able to find several tasty sounding choices. You can order pizza, spaghetti, and salads if you really have no sense of adventure. On my first visit there I tried the mushroom soup, and on my second visit I had the tuna pita. While these choices may not be that far out of my comfort zone I’d have to rate them as one of the best bowls of mushroom soup I’ve ever had and THE best tuna pita. I think on my next visit I may be ready to try some Shakshuka.

The conversation part of the “Luncheon & Conversation” was provided by the members of Tucson Single Professionals that arrived at Sabra’s. On my first visit I was a stranger to everyone there but was quickly made to feel welcome. In addition to Robert our host, and myself, there were two other guys and two women named Pam and Corrina. (I’m sure there’s a Freudian reason why I remember only the women’s names, but that’s a topic for another post.) On my second visit, there was a slightly larger group of five women and three men. Again, everyone was made to feel like old friends gathering to chat over a good meal.

Robert does a great job of researching interesting topics of possible discussion, and sends them out with the email invitation for each event. In the two events I attended all that research went for naught however, as the group discussion took off on its own with topics such as skydiving, piloting a plane, moon phases, best places for brunch, best local Mexican food restaurants, and stories about the places you’re from.

In the end, we didn’t even come close to solving the world’s problems. We did enjoy each others company, good conversation, and great food. What better way is there to spend a lunch hour?

Tucson Singles Professionals is an excellent way to meet other single people in Tucson. Don’t worry if conversation is not your thing, TSP schedules regular activities such as wine tasting, AAA baseball games, dance lessons, concerts, etc. The events are as diverse as its members. TSP is free to join. You don’t have to live in Tucson, and you don’t even have to be professional, but you do need to be single. More information is at:

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Classic Cars, Classic Rock, Classic Diner

One of the benefits of having beautiful sunshine and warm weather most of the year is how well automobile bodies hold up. Coming from Michigan I am constantly amazed at the beautiful condition of the cars rolling down the road alongside Petey and me.

The combination of great weather and proud owners of pristine older cars means that sooner or later the owners of these cars will want to show them off to anyone that may be interested. A quick search on Google revealed two classic car events that are regularly held in Tucson.

Little Anthonys Drive In
Of course Michigan is no stranger to automotive events! The Motor City is host to one of the largest classic car events each year called the Woodward Dream Cruise. My home town of Grand Rapids has started a very successful event in the same vein, called the 28th Street Cruise. Both of these events boast thousands of participants every year.

32 Ford
But while the Tucson events can’t match the number of classic cars that are on display, they make up for this by holding events a couple of times each month. As I write this article, there are bi-weekly events scheduled for the following three months. That means there are plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy some of this family friendly fun.

Under the neon
Friendly is an apt description all the way around here. The owners of the cars are happy to talk about their passion for their hobby, Little Anthony’s is a friendly place to grab a bite to eat, and the people that show up are here to appreciate these lovingly restored classics.

Army Jeep
Variety is everywhere in the parking lot this night as you can see by the photos. The lineup included a 1968 Mustang, a 1932 Ford coupe, a 40’s era army Jeep, and my personal favorite, a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T sporting the awesome 440 Six Pack. There were Chevelles, GTOs, and circa 1940’s Oldsmobiles.

Red Rod
Adding to the nostalgia is the sound of classic rock music playing from a local DJ. His portable studio is set up in the midst of all this American iron and helps resurrect the ghosts of a Saturday night long ago when cool cars, rock and roll, and the local drive-in were what you spent the rest of the week waiting for.

Little Anthony’s is located at 7010 East Broadway Boulevard. Be there or be square.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Just a Walk in the Park

Not every activity in Tucson has to cost you money to participate in of course. Why not just get out of the house and get some exercise? I don’t have any hard facts in front of me to back me up, but if I had to guess I’d say that Tucson has one of the healthiest populations in the U.S. Hiking, walking, biking, jogging, are all well represented here.

One of the favorite local places to go is Reid Park, located at 1100 South Randolph Way. Yesterday I grabbed my camera and headed out for some fresh air and exercise.

Reid Park photo 1
Sandwiched between Broadway Boulevard to the north and 22nd street to the south, Reid Park (officially named Gene C. Reid Park) is easy to find in central Tucson. There is plenty of free parking around the area on a weekday. Weekends however are likely to offer fewer available parking spots.

In addition to a great place for a walk, Reid Park is also the home of DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, which provides a venue for various events throughout the year. The last two weeks in June it hosted evening performances of “Shakespeare in the Park”.

Golfers will find a municipal course there, and tennis bums will discover at 25 lighted tennis courts [1] for you to practice your crosscourt backhand. If that isn’t enough activity for you, the Reid Park Zoo is also located here. [2]

I know I’ll hear from the baseball fans out there if I don’t also mention that Reid Park is also the home of Hi Corbett field, the pre-season home of the Colorado Rockies. The stadium is a beautiful art deco style design that was built in 1937 and has been renovated throughout the years. [3]

Reid Park photo 2
Okay, back to the walking trail. The official name is the David Bell Bike/Walking path and as the name implies, it’s not just for walkers and joggers. While I was there I saw cyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and a very unique adult tricycle apparatus. Dogs are also welcome as long as they’re kept on a leash.

I was told that one lap around the 131 acre park is a three mile trek. Funny, it sure felt more like four miles to me. But then I arrived just a little later in the day than I would have liked. As with any outdoor activity in Tucson, you should plan on either being finished by 10:00 a.m. or not starting until about 6:00 p.m. during the summer months. I hit the path at about 9:00 a.m. when the outside temperature was at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. I was finished (both figuratively and literally!) at 10:00 a.m.

Reid Park photo 3
Of course when I got back home, I felt good about getting out and doing something positive for my health and well being. The next time you’re in the mood for a little fresh air and sunshine, take a walk in the park. Reid Park that is.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I’m a big fan of serendipity. You know, those “happy accidents” that can turn an expected experience into something else altogether.

That’s exactly what happened to me yesterday in downtown Tucson. I had planned on checking out an evening of performance art at the Arts Incubator Gallery. The first Monday of every month is supposed to be “7Up” night. This is where the gallery gives seven local performers 10 minutes each on stage for their art.

I had even called the gallery earlier in the week to confirm the time and was told 7:00 p.m. Seven at seven. That should be easy enough to remember. On the appointed Monday I arrived downtown and found a street side parking space near the gallery. But as I approached the galley’s address I was surprised to find a big iron gate guarding the entrance to the front door. Locked, dark and foreboding, there was obviously not going to be any art here tonight, performance or otherwise.

Bummer. Now what? Well, I hadn’t had my dinner yet. Maybe I could cruise back to central Tucson and grab a bite to eat at a restaurant I hadn’t tried yet. Just then a window full of 8x10 flyers caught my eye. I looked up and saw a huge lighted sign. GRILL was all it said.

As I wandered inside it was immediately apparent that this wasn’t going to be your typical homogeneous Applebee’s or Olive Garden dining experience. I was reminded of the diners my father took me to when I was a kid. Chrome rimmed, red vinyl stools lined the central seating area. Booths were available against both side walls.

It wasn’t like I was suddenly transported back in time to when the restaurant was new. No, this place has seen thousands of diners meeting up with friends, reading a newspaper, chatting, getting some relief from the summer heat, and maybe even grabbing a bite to eat. The place has character, like an old friend.

As I sat down at one of the booths I was handed a glass of water and a menu by a very busy but friendly person. The cover of the menu announced I was at GRILL, offering fine dining, full bar, live music, catering, world domination. 100 East Congress Street. Located next to Wig-O-Rama.

I won’t bother listing the types of meals offered. If you’ve ever eaten in a real diner you’ll know the kind of down home, tasty food available at GRILL. Instead, I’ll provide an abridged version of page five of the menu:

Welcome to the Grill! A few things you should know:
THIS IS NOT YOUR HOUSE This is our house. We like it; Grill is a nice place to go, and we are determined to keep it that way. We’re fanatical about it, plum crazy. Please do not move our furniture around, stand on our chairs, mess with our lights, or plug your laptops into our outlets without discussing it with us first. We’ll work with you. Just let us know what you need... well, we might work with you. You can’t sleep here; there are all these motels and hotels nearby, and those nice bus stops we’ve got all over downtown, they’re there for you. We’re more than happy to help you out the door and point you in the right direction if that’s what you need. THE GOLDEN RULE This should be first, or have its own page or something, but it isn’t and it doesn’t. We have so many people here, all the time, lots of different people that are nothing like you, nothing like us. We are really into that. We do not tolerate racism, sexism, ageism… there are so many bad –isms that piss everyone off, but there are lots of good ones too. If you subscribe to a good –ism, that’s great, and we support you in your efforts, but we will frown heavily upon preaching or proselytizing in our restaurant, or even right out front of it. Just treat everyone here with the respect we say they deserve. CHEESE TOTS This doesn’t make sense, but we’re serious about this. We don’t put cheese on potatoes. Not on your tots, nor your fries or mashed potatoes (knishes are a special exception, but don’t ask us to explain why). The rule’s been in place so long that no one here remembers how it started. But tradition is tradition, and we are slaves to tradition. Well, we do adhere to that one thing. AND FURTHERMORE: MIRACLE DIETS, SELF-INFLICTED EATING DISORDERS, ETC. (Atkins, Vegan/Vegetarian, et al) So, you want no carbs, you want only non-stolen, non-animal product, that’s fine. But remember, this is Grill; the grill is the part of the car that killed Bambi, as in Fresh from the, and Hot off the… You do what you want to yourself, we don’t care, but it’s your decision. We serve meat, lots of meat. Here’s how you make plain white rice at home: One part rice, two parts water. Cook for 20 minutes. If you have food allergies, or religious reasons (pigs feet make you think of Satan?), then we’re sympathetic, we’ll do what we can. But hey, we’re not always sure if the soup is vegetarian or not. If there’s the word “VEGETARIAN” in the name, then it’s probably vegetarian. Maybe not. Bacon adds flavor. TATER TOT OR FRENCH FRY IN NOSE MAY COMPLICATE BREATHING (and other food warnings) Grill serves eggs and meat any way you want, but if you order your meat rare or your eggs undercooked, you must recognize you’re taking a risk. You are hereby warned and we are absolved of responsibility. Shellfish is also problematic. But you know that already. Be aware that any food may contain harmful bacteria, and the way to get rid of it is to cook it to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. And forks are dangerous. Don’t put them in or near you eyes. Hot coffee can burn you. Chew your food before swallowing. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t talk to a big man’s girlfriend. Don’t eat off the floor. Put the lid down and lavese las manos. People on cell phones will be assiduously ignored. Do it outside.

As I sat there waiting for my order, I thought of how grateful I am for the Grills out there. Individualistic. Creative. Honest and unpretentious.

Oh, the food’s good too.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

One thing you can count on in Tucson is the natural beauty of the desert surroundings. But if your idea of a desert is hot, dry, barren sand you owe it to yourself to check out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Vista like viewMuseum hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. October through February, and 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. March through September. The price for admittance for adults was $9.50 as of July, 2008.

Adobe viewThe museum is located just west of Tucson on a twisty, hilly, paved two lane road with a speed limit of 35 mph. The slower pace of the road is a perfect reminder to slow down once you get inside the museum. There is a lot of ground to cover and most of it is outside so dress appropriately and bring sunscreen and pick up a bottle of water at the entrance to the museum if you didn’t bring one with you.

Cactus flowerDuring the summer months try to get there when they open at 7:30 a.m. to beat the summer afternoon heat. My friend and I got there at 10:00 a.m. and stayed until about 2:00 p.m. The temperature was just over 100 degrees towards the end of our visit, which was getting a little warm after trudging around the desert trails for three hours.

Underground CaveNot all of the sights are outside however. There underground sections cut out to get a better view of some of the natural habitat of the wildlife there, as well as a small aquarium and even a cave to explore! In addition to their unique visual perspective, they offer a welcome respite from the heat of the day.

This would be a good time to point out the wide variety of exhibits at the museum. While my friend and I spent three hours walking the area we didn’t see every exhibit there. I recommend picking up the free self guiding tour map at the entrance. Take a few minutes to look it over and plan your day from there.

Here is a partial list of the current exhibits:
Reptiles & Invertebrates
Overlook (over the Avra Valley and six mountain ranges.)
Earth Sciences
Mountain Woodland
Desert Grassland
Cat Canyon
Desert Loop Trail
Life on the Rocks
Riparian (stream-side) Corridor
Walk-in Aviary
Desert Garden
Life Underground
Pollination Gardens
Hummingbird Aviary
Cactus Garden
Fishes & Amphibians

Cactus GardenIn addition to all of the exhibits, there are plenty of shaded rest stops, drinking fountains, restrooms, a gift shop and two restaurants that offer places to take a break from the day’s activities. There is even an ice cream shop to discover along the way!

Sparrow Hawk
Here are a few example of the wildlife you'll see during your visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Prairie DogI left the museum a little hot, a little tired, and a little more amazed at the beauty of the desert and knowing a little bit more about my new home here in Tucson.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Take Me Out To the Ballpark

America’s favorite pastime is well represented here in Tucson with the Tucson Sidewinders. This is the triple-A ball club affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I decided to attend a recent game against the Fresno Grizzlies. The Sidewinders play in Tucson Electric Park, located on the southwest side of Tucson.

A lot of people I know prefer triple-A games to the big league games because the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed. While there are hard core fans there, people show up mostly to have a good time. It’s a place you can take the kids, get some fresh air, and maybe even run into some old friends. While I was there I saw couples and families share “How’ve you been’s” and a couple of high school aged girls share a shy wave with two high school aged boys.

There were the usual fun activities you’ll only see at a triple-A game like the cheese shooter that shoots what looks like a sock full of cheese at the crowd from a moving golf cart. There was a race down the third base line while hoola hooping by two otherwise apparently grown men, and someone in the audience won a round trip airplane ticket because of a pop fly caught by one of the outfielders.

The temperature was hovering around 100 degrees when the game started and I was amazed at the fortitude of the person inside a huge furry Sandy Sidewinder (the team mascot) costume and another costumed character in a furry cow outfit promoting a chicken franchise (“Eat mor chikin”). I’m not sure what they get paid, but it can’t be nearly enough.

Tucson Electric Park
The opening ceremony took on special significance at this particular game as the American flag that was raised was donated from the USS Arizona submarine specifically for this game. As you can imagine, loud cheers and applause followed this announcement.

There was a pretty good crowd there as it was the night before the fourth of July. The official figure is 10,545 tickets sold.

Base hit
The Sidewinders lost to the Grizzlies 6-3 but that’s not entirely the point. Most people were there to just have a good time out at the old ballpark. By that measure the evening was a great success.

I really like this shot showing the bright sun shining on the right outfield while the night lights are burning, both contrasting with the very dark skies that warn of a monsoon rolling in. The game was delayed for about a half hour due to rain but was able to continue.

While doing research on the Sidewinders I discovered that if you’d like to see the Sidewinders play here in Tucson you’d better do it in 2008. Tucson Baseball LLC sold the Tucson Sidewinders to SK Baseball LLC for $15 M in June 2007. SK Baseball is planning to relocate the team to Reno, NV for the 2009 season. [1]

[1] Source:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Welcome to Tucson Living

In this blog I will share with you the various sights, activities and events Tucson, Arizona has to offer to anyone that decides to live or visit this beautiful city.

Tucson Living blogger
Not that I am an expert, by any means. I am a Midwestern transplant, and very new to the area. The one thing I realized immediately however, is the variety of activities Tucson has to offer. In the span of two weeks I’ve gone hiking, visited historic downtown buildings, listened to some excellent live music, and walked the path of a beautiful city park. This week I am attending a Freethinker Discussion Group, attending a triple-A ball game and visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

If you have a favorite social activities you’d like to recommend to me please let me know, and I’ll report on them here. As my work involves various freelance projects, I will have opportunities to venture out at random hours of the day.

So I invite you to discover along with my new home town, “The Old Pueblo.”

First, a brief description of the city of Tucson.

The English name Tucson derives from the Spanish name of the city, Tucsón, which was borrowed from the O'odham name Cuk Ṣon, (pronounced roughly "chook shown"), meaning "at the base of the black [hill]", a reference to an adjacent volcanic mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo." [1]

Tucson is surrounded by five minor ranges of mountains: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west. The high point of the Santa Catalina Mountains is 9,157-foot Mount Lemmon, the southernmost ski destination in the continental U.S., while the Tucson Mountains include 4,687-foot Wasson Peak. [2]

In other words, no matter where you look, you’ll always have a spectacular mountain backdrop.

You’ll almost always have a clear view too. The annual average percentage of sunshine is one of the highest in the United States, at 85%. [3] Compare that to the 46% [3] of my old home town. I am SO looking forward to living here!

That doesn’t mean it never rains in Tucson. As I write this it is monsoon season in Tucson. Storm clouds come up very quickly and I’ve already seen some fantastic lightning displays. The cloud formations are spectacular too, as you may have blue sky off to the west, bright white cumulus clouds overhead and dark gray storm clouds moving in from the east.

But just as quickly as they appear, the rain clouds dissipate leaving fresh air and cooler temperatures in their wake.

Rainy Tucson day
Since you’ll be seeing plenty of sunshine in future posts, I’ll end this one on a slightly different note. See you on the sunny side of the street!

1, 2,_Arizona