October, 2021 - Tucson, Arizona
with a side trip to Crater Lake, Oregon
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The first night we stopped in Medford, OR, and spent two nights with a visit to Crater Lake National Park. I believe Crater Lake to be one of the most beautiful of all of the national parks. From there we went to Tucson, Arizona, via Red Bluff, CA, Bakersfield, CA, Indio, CA, and on to Tucson. In Tucson we visited a wide array of attractions.
- Crater Lake National Park is one of the most beautiful of the park system. The incredible blue of the lake was emphasized by the skiff of fresh snow. But first, on our way up Hwy 62 from Medford we stopped at the Natural Bridge and Gorge on the Rogue River. The Gorge is always exciting, but, in the 30-some-odd years since I've been to the Natural Bridge a lot of work has been done to revert it back to a more natural state. The trail and view points are very nice. OK, back to the Crater. Take the time to drive all the way around. Every vista offers a new perspective on the monumental cataclysm that produced this gem.
- Tucson Botanical Gardens are a perennial favorite. This was our first visit in the late summer / post monsoon season. The butterfly exhibit was fun.
- Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens - this was our first visit. A little slice of Sonoran Desert wilds in the midst of the city, along with gardens of desert plants from around the world. I think we may be back!
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is part zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, and natural history museum spread out over 98 acres of Sonoran Desert. It's really easy to spend an entire day exploring the grounds and galleries. It is very impressive.
- Chiricahua National Monument - I struggle to find a way to capture the grandeur of this place every time I visit, and it escapes me each time. It really is amazing, and is practically devoid of people every time I go. I'll be back...
- Tombstone brings the mystique of the old west to life. Gun fights, stage coach rides, the OK corral. It's all there!
- The Franklin Auto Museum - OK, long story short. We like cars and car museums. We found this on a list of fun things to do in Tucson. Plugged the address into the GPS and we're off. Into a rustic looking neighborhood, paved roads turn to dirt, and a narrow driveway with a small sign says we're there. OK. Two guys sitting in the sun relaxing, one says to the other 'You up for another tour?' 'Yeah, I can do one more' and with that we took a two hour personalized tour of this fantastic collection of Franklin automobiles. Two thumbs up, 5/5 stars. Highly recommended!
- Saguaro National Park, East Unit, is my favorite for some reason. The Cactus Forest Loop has lots of interesting things to see, and Javalina Rocks are always good for a picture or two. Lots more wildflowers than I expected, and the weather was a comfortable 87 degrees.
- Tucson Mountain Park consists of about 20,000 acres west of Tucson. Gates Pass provides fabulous views of the desert, and Kinney Rd. traverses the desert from north to south. The park has many miles of trails with great access to the desert. We chose parking area K11 for sunset shots.
- Shields Date Garden, Indio, CA is a nostalgia stop for anyone that remembers Indio 'back in the day' before it became the sprawling metropolis it is today. Good food, learn all about the sex life of the date palm, stroll the grounds and enjoy!
- Miscellaneous Campsites - it's hard to call what we do 'camping' compared to those that drive stakes into the ground and sleep in sleeping bags, etc. We are glampers in the truest sense, and roughing it means we emptied one propane tank and are living on the edge with one tank until we get the empty one re-filled.