Visitors are what makes a house feel like home, especially family visitors. Besides celebrating Independence Day, the 4th of July also brought the other half of our immediate family out to Arizona to see us. Our other son, and our soon to be daughter-in-law (just 14 days from the day I am writing this) came out to visit us from New Jersey. Now you may be asking, what takes two Iowa kids out to New Jersey; grad school! 🙂
Visiting Tucson in July is a trial in a person’s ability to tolerate 100+ degree weather and this year did not let us down. As we say here, if you can’t stand the summer 100+’s, you do not deserve the winter 70’s! July is also monsoon season, which means quick moving heavy downpours of rain with lots of thunder and lightning. All told, July weather in Tucson is a mix of pool time, great lightning shows and spectacular sunsets.
We continued our new tradition of filling visitors with Mexican food and margaritas, working off the calories with hikes, and showing off the local sights. First stop, as usual is El Charro’s, our favorite. We made sure we went during happy hour, no need to pay extra for drinks :). The sun was at a perfect angle and we were able to snag a table outside to see the mountains.
What trip to Tucson in the heat of the summer would be complete without a trip up to Mt. Lemmon? We picked a perfect day as the temperature down in the valley was in the low 100’s and the wind started to pick up. As those of you who read our blog, all 5 of you, know, we were up Mt. Lemmon’s Sky Island Scenic Byway back in April. Though it is the same drive, there are lots of changes between spring and summer. The cactus are all done blooming and conserving water, the trees are all leafed out, and the pine trees all have that familiar smell that says “You are in the forest now”. Any trip up the Byway requires stopping at multiple overlooks to enjoy the view and take in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. This drive was no exception.
Our mandatory stop at Windy Point did not disappoint. It is a wonderful view toward the south and of the city and surrounding area. Aptly named though!
We managed to make it to the top, really just the end of the road, just past the ski area. Yes, Tucson does have a ski resort. We did a short walk out to the edge, not too close though, Jennifer gets a little nervous.
After a nice picnic lunch, we took a short hike and walk up the Marshall Gulch trailhead.
We really were not equipped for an extended hike so we walked in about a half mile and back out. Was good to get out and stretch our legs and we really did need to burn some calories so we could justify eating the giant cookie and ice cream at The Cookie Cabin :). Noticing a trend here from our visits up the mountain?
The weather all week really was nice. We managed to visit Saguaro National Park East and drive the loop road. Was great to see all the giant saguaros, we even found one that was still blooming!
Just a couple miles down the road from us is Tanque Verde Ranch. It is one of America’s old time cattle and guest ranches. It was established back in 1868 as a working ranch. It is now a luxurious outpost (Dude Ranch) of the old west with horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, hiking and eating. But most importantly, it reportedly has the best Prickly Pear Margaritas in Tucson. They have a Friday Happy Hour, so who are we to not sample them. It was our first trip there, and will not be our last. Pretty sure they had to go make more fresh Prickly Pear Juice after our visit! 🙂
In between all the driving, sightseeing, eating and drinking, we did manage to have some pool time each day. Thunderstorms in the area drove us out once, but otherwise, we managed to cool off everyday.
And that folks, is how you handle the 100+ degree temperatures during Tucson summers.
We have truly been blessed to have Steven and Helen and Matthew and Sydney out to see us and we are already looking forward to the next time they can come visit.