After a very pleasant month in Tucson, we leave here tomorrow. We are headed to the Phoenix area to see a couple Mariners’ spring training games and then on to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Basketball Tournament. But first, a look back on our stay in Tucson and things we haven’t mentioned.
I once named a blog post “Our Own Private Idaho” because there were several Idaho folks on our campground loop in northern California. Well, I could have titled this one “Our Own Private Ada County.” (For non-Idahoans – Ada is the county encompassing Boise and surrounding communities.) We were very surprised to so see many Ada county license plates in a snowbird park in Tucson. We learned that the RV club, Rolling Eagles, spend a few months here each winter.
Fourteen rigs from the group were present this year including someone I knew – the former Meridian teacher Bobbi Brown, now Bobbi Rees. She, and her husband Bill, hosted breakfast for the Rolling Eagles and invited others, including us, to join the fun.
Of course where there are lots of Idahoans – there are lots of Boise State gear and banners – we fit right in!
In many ways snowbird parks like these are playgrounds for the active retired – and we barely scratched the surface. There are sports, exercise, educational, wood-working, jewelry making, writing, singing and so many more activities. There are classes and seminars to attend including the weekly AppleMac class that was my very favorite activity in the park. There is even a very large model train course that enjoys daily use.
Randy really, really enjoyed getting reacquainted with his old past time – golf. He went twice a week with the group here. He even parred the Tin Cup hole at the Tubac golf course – made famous in the Kevin Kostner movie, Tin Cup.
The most enjoyable aspect of this park, in our opinion, is the entertainment. There is a concert or performance every Thursday and Friday night – at least in the month of February that we were here. We went to all but one – not sure what happened there!
The highlight was international performing guitarist, Pavlo, who was amazing. He calls his music Mediterranean due to his Greek roots but it sounded wonderfully Latin to me. You may have seen him on one of his PBS specials.
At the Pavlo concert, we sat next to this couple from Indiana who had a son named “Randy Joe” also born in 1958 – it was kind of strange!
We saw Las Vegas performer and impressionist Robbie Howard – who can sound like dozens of well known singers. We saw an Arizona country western group Mogollon, and a local high school’s exceptional Mariachi group.
We enjoyed comedian Dick Hardwick, honky tonk pianist Mario Carboni and the University of Arizona pep band- all right here in the park.
We saw the Arizona Pep Band once again, in action, at an Arizona Wildcats Game. Going to a basketball game, to see one of college basketball’s premier programs, was one of the things we wanted to do while we were in Tucson. When I set about getting tickets in early January, the only tickets left for any game in February were singles. To get two seats together, I had to go to a 3rd party vendor and pay more than twice the regular ticket price. – The only game that had even that availability was on Valentine’s Day evening – so that is what we did.
It was quite impressive to watch a program with such an illustrious basketball pedigree. Prior to the game starting, the digital ribbon banners extolled their impressive history: 69 NBA draft picks, 28 All Americans, 28 Conference Championships, 18 NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, 11 Elite Eight, Four Final Four and One National Championship. Once the game begins, the crowd remains standing until the opposition scores. They repeat that at the beginning of the second half. A less than impressive feature was the crowd shouting “sucks” as each opponent was introduced. A little classless – for an otherwise class program
Our final excursion was a drive up to Kitt Peak National Observatory – our country’s only national observatory – established in 1958. There are 24 telescopes on the mountain, but only a few are government funded and operated including the 4 meter Mayall reflector and the world’s largest Solar Telescope. Most seem to involve a university consortium and some operate remotely.
We went to an evening event where we spent time at the visitor center and learned how to read the night sky.
Then we went out and observed the constellations with the naked eye and binoculars. The final hour was spent viewing various stars and nebulas through a telescope. The highlight was seeing Jupiter and four of its 67 moons!
Even after a month, there is much in the Tucson area we have not had time to do. Spending time here again in the near future is a distinct probability.