Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Waves, Wine & Warmth (2018)

Return to Tucson

Though I was still several days away from returning home at this point, this was to be my last full day of sightseeing. It began with a basic breakfast, provided (on paper plates) as part of the Fairfield offering. Following some recent coolish weather, today was forecast to be a genuine Arizona scorcher. After checking out, I drove back to Tucson for the first of two planned highlights. I was now sufficiently familiar with the area to complete the drive to my first objective entirely from memory.

I arrived at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in baking sunshine, purchased a park entry pass and paid a further ten dollars for a 'tram' ticket. Sabino Canyon is a striking ravine in the Santa Catalina Mountains, located immediately north of the city's east side. The 'tram' was of course NOT what Americans would call a streetcar, but rather a two-car road train with 'toast rack' seating, which looked as though it had maybe escaped from Disneyland or the like. I rode one of these vehicles uphill to Stop 9, the turnaround point. I then walked down to Stop 8, where due to shortage of time, I boarded the next tram for the remainder of the descent. The trams had a mix of covered and open seating, and throwing caution to the wind, I rode outside on both journeys. Altogether it was a fabulous experience - never more so than the section done on foot - featuring lots of spectacular scenery and unusual plant life.

Back in my rental car, I again drove to my next objective without map assistance, grabbing some lunch en route. The Pima Air & Space Museum had a truly vast collection of aircraft, some housed inside cavernous exhibition halls and some parked outside under the fiercely hot Arizona sun. The collection was mostly military in nature, but there were some significant commercial aviation exhibits too, including an ultra-modern, ANA-liveried 'Dreamliner' prototype.

Finally, I drove the short distance to the Courtyard Tucson Airport, without - you've guessed it! - so much as glancing at a map. I was starting to feel just a little bit smug at this point! As I knew from previous experience, Marriott's 'Courtyard' brand is more of a full-service concept than Towneplace or Fairfield, with a proper bar and bistro facility. This particular Courtyard, however, was not as new and shiny as my previous two Marriott properties on this road trip. Dinner at the in-house bistro proved to be very nice indeed.

And there we must leave the detailed account of this latest North American adventure. The following day I drove back to Phoenix to catch a flight to LAX, and made a new hotel discovery at that airport. Tuesday and Wednesday brought about my return to the UK, courtesy of Lufthansa, and Thursday saw my return home to Edinburgh. While parts of the trip suffered from some uncooperative and almost spiteful weather, writing this report has confirmed to me that, overall, this was another great trip through contrasting parts of an endlessly interesting continent. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I took pleasure in rekindling the memories.

Sunday 15 Apr

Distance driven: 97mi

AZ trip to date: 592mi

AZ trip total: 719mi

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