We've said goodbye to Arizona and moved on to southwest Texas to check out a new possible warm weather destination on our way to the beach. Mission is right on the Rio Grande north of Brownsville. Last week it snowed in Tucson, and here we find all kinds of flowers blooming on the last day of February.
And it's gone!
Tucson had a 1.5" snowfall yesterday, an extremely rare occurence. But by this morning, most of it disappeared well before noon, except on the mountains which looked majestic!
Snow in Tucson
Snow, common in the mountains around here, is rare in the city of Tucson. Today, we have officially failed in finding warm, sunny, winter weather.
This week is the 94th annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros - Tucson Rodeo & Parade. I can't say rodeo is my thing, but parades certainly are. And the opportunity to see the world's longest non-motorized parade was one I could not pass up. It's all horses, antique horse-drawn wagons and carriages, and high-school marching bands playing tunes like the theme song from Rawhide. If you are into rodeo, this one is the outdoor PRCA season opener and one of the top 25 professional rodeos in the country. Here's some fun Tucson rodeo history. This is not so much a glamour event as a window into the world of hard-working horses, their owners, and the Tucson community. Local schools close for the event, and In spite of cold weather and 25 mph wind gusts, thousands of people turned out to watch and participate.
The puppies had a spa day this week . . .
Breakfast at this place reminded me of Steve (who loves bacon) and Sharon who at one time had a huge collection of pigs. Yes indeed, flights of bacon. Wish you were with us!
We had heavy rains this week, and even heavier in the mountains on top of snow, which resulted in some flash flooding. This rain garden in downtown Tucson was full yesterday morning.
Yesterday afternoon, the wash beside our campground became a rushing stream about 30 feet wide. This morning all you could see was where the water had been--and some tracks of a mountain lion who must have followed after the water receeded. Yikes!
Following the most delicious, sad, late breakfast ever (at Prep & Pastry), we headed to Biosphere 2 in Oracle, AZ. Biosphere 2 started in the early 80s to research and develop self-sustaining space-colonization technoloy. Two Human Missions took place in 1991-94 to see how humans could live in a completely self-enclosed and self-sustaining environment. Turns out that the eight-person teams could not grow enough food to feed themselves and had no time for experiments because all their time was spent growing food and maintaining the facility. The complex, now owned by the University of Arizona continues as the largest facility in which to conduct controlled experiments on natural environments. There are ocean, rain forest, and desert biomes and areas for large-scale water and life and solar energy experiments.
The behind-the-scenes infrastructure is fascinating because it was constructed to mimic the natural environment in a completely closed system. It even includes two huge 'lungs' that were constructed to guard against the possibility that the sun would over heat the environment and cause the glass panes to explode.
This is the longest we've stayed in one place since we started our RV adventures, and we've found a lot to do. Exercise classes, swimming, yoga, pickleball, sight seeing, hot tubbing, making new friends, and hanging out with old ones. I even had the pleasure of hearing a lecture by a Border Patrol officer. And of course we have all the same housekeeping activities that we have at home, albeit on a very small scale.
The weather has been 'cold'. It's laughable to me, but a couple of rainy days in the 50's and nighttime temps dipping below freezing have made the locals and snowbirds a little testy. Most days it's in the mid to high 60's and sunny--delightful. Here's a pic I took one morning as the rain clouds were clearing over the right side of the mountains near our campsite, while the sun was shining over the left side.
Some pics from around the neighborhood.
Good friends Pat Smith and Scott Brooks from Columbus were in Tucson for a week. Smith and I spent a day at the annual Tucsson Mineral, Fossil, and Gem Show which brings 50,000 people from around the world to Tucson for two weeks each winter. This year there were 48 separate shows scattered all around the city. Venues include the convention center, numerous hotels, and hundreds of tents. We visited maybe half a dozen locations. Smith was in search of beads, which we found, and I especially enjoyed a Native American crafts show. We shared a few meals together while they were here. One at their beautiful camp site in the Catalina Mountains, and another at the home of Tim and Theresa Schwab who recently moved here from Columbus. Tim and Theresa are the in-laws of Pat and Scott's son Ray.
Doug and I visited the Pima Air and Space Museum, which contains an overwhelming amount of information about the history of airplanes, with an emphasis on military aircraft. There were eight hangars of exhibits and acres of planes to been seen on the outdoor tram tour. Being epecially fond of small things, I took a couple of photos of the smallest planes I saw. Given my recent work history, I was dismayed that there was no mention that I could find of Gerrie Mock in their Women in Flight exhibit or anywhere else. Doug Kridler will be pleased to know that I have sent an email to the museum's curator. Still awaiting his reply.
Ann, Doug, Moose, Darla, Sunny, and with gratitude, Winnie and Chinny.