They came over at the prearranged time of 8:30am, and we one last get together.
Here's the obligatory blog photo...
Kevin, Ruth, Janie, and John.
After getting everything cleaned up and stowed for travel, we still managed to get on the road by 9:45am. Not bad. We weren't really planning on going very far, but we had lots of places to go along the way.
First need was gasoline! Sherman's tank was running low again, and gas prices have started to creep higher. Still, I planned to stop along our route to take advantage of the cheapest gas which was still at $1.859 USD per gallon (about 63 cents per litre CAD) here in Tucson. One of the last stations at that price because most of them are now around $2.059 USD per gallon (about 69 cents per litre CAD). When you're buying 50 gallons, 20 cents per gallon makes it worthwhile to plan.
With Sherman filled to the brim, we wanted to wander around downtown Tucson. The city doesn't have a busy downtown area, and we managed to find a free parking spot where Sherman would be okay for an hour or two.
Ruth in Tucson.
We wanted to get a bit of a view of the city, so we went into downtown Tucson's tallest building. At only 22 stories, it' not a skyscraper, that's for sure! When we arrived at the 22nd floor, it was the offices of the New York Life Insurance company. I went up to the receptionist and explained that we're tourists looking for a view!
She laughed and pointed us to their conference room with windows over looking the city.
City of Tucson from the top floor of the tallest building.
The old courthouse, built in 1929.
Tucson's downtown "skyline"!
We're planning on being up in Tonto National Forest for a week or so, and so we needed to make sure groceries and wine were fully stocked up as well! We had been told about Food City as a grocery store that carries a lot of Mexican items, so we stopped in at one along the way to check it out. They had some good sales...a pineapple for $1, avocados at 4 for a dollar, and potatoes at 33 cents a pound! And, some really good chorizo (Mexican sausage).
From there, we needed to buy a couple of new inner tubes for Ruth's bicycle tires. Got them at a bike shop for $6 a piece, and there was a Whole Foods Market store right across the street, so Ruth ran in a grabbed some gluten free items there. She also bought a couple of 4% fat yogurts that looked good, and it was not bad. But with a mixture of honey, sugar, and maple syrup, I found it a little too sweet.
We had planned on going to a Trader Joe's along the way to check out their yogurt selection, but time was wasting. We were trying to get to the Biosphere, which was still quite a ways out of town. Plus, this highway 77 leading north out of Tucson is a busy stretch of road, with a lot of businesses and traffic lights and it's slow going. A lot slower than it looks like it should be on the map!
We continued out of town towards the "Biosphere". We had read mixed reviews about this attraction, and we were pretty much convinced that it wasn't worth the $19.95 that they're charging. But, we had that two for one ticket book and so at half that price it might be interesting. And, if they let us park in their lot overnight, then we would be more willing to visit.
We got there, and the lot would have been perfect to overnight at. But the girl at the desk said there's no camping allowed.
"Oh, but I wouldn't be camping", I said, as I explained the difference between camping and simply parking overnight.
"No, it's private property" she said, as if that should make a difference. (By the way, it's owned by the University of Arizona)
I argued a little more, but they wouldn't budge.
We could have done the 4:00pm tour, and then carried on, but I don't like trying to find somewhere to overnight that late in the day. And by now, I was not very impressed with their decision to not let us overnight and we decided that we really didn't want to give them any of our money.
So we drove off.
On highway 77 near Mammoth, Arizona.
Made it to the little town of Mammoth, Arizona. From the highway, I spotted their recreation park. I figured there was a baseball diamond or something there and we've sometimes taken advantage of the empty parking lots to overnight. We turned up the road, and sure enough there was a perfect quiet looking spot for the night.
Ruth made pizza for dinner, and we were having a couple of glasses of wine with it.
Around 7:30pm, we saw some vehicle lights head up our way. Sure enough, it was a cop car!
I opened the door of the motorhome to greet him. He was just a young guy. Said that he was on duty all night, and wanted to check that we were okay because he never sees anybody parked up here. Said that he would check on us a few times during the night, and that he hoped his car driving by didn't wake us up.
As he left, he said "oh, by the way, today is National Wine Day, so I'm glad to see you participating".
And here I was hoping that he wasn't going to tell us to leave because I'd already had a couple of glasses! Nice guy!
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Yesterday's drive, 67 miles (107 kms).