Tucson, Arizona
April, 2000

While we were in Tucson we enjoyed great food at a restaurant named El Charro, visited good friends that I worked with at Boeing, went to Old Tucson Studios, the Desert Museum, and the boys earned another Junior Ranger Badge at Saguaro National Monument.
Let's start with good food.  We have a book entitled "Eat Your Way Across the U.S.A.." We haven't been to a bad restaurant yet that's listed in this book, however a few have closed shop.  Now you might be wondering what this picture has to do with a restaurant.  Would you believe it's the main ingredient for several of their specialty dishes ?   It's called Carne Seca 
Fresh beef is sliced thin, seasoned and literally "hung out to dry" in the hot, dry air above the roof of the restaurant.  It's then shredded and made into some of the best Mexican food I've ever had.  We ordered their cookbook and should be receiving it soon.  Mitch looked at this and asked, "how do they keep the crows from sitting on top of the rack?"  Good question!

The restaurant includes both of these buildings with an outside patio area and a nice gift shop.

But don't drink too many of their excellent Margarita's.  Besides being unsafe, it can also hinder one's ability to understand the street signs at the end of the block.
Here's a couple of the local critters

You know it's a good day, when you have time to visit an "A"

Have you ever wondered what one of those large white letters on top of a hillside looks like up close.  Well here's Mitch and Max next to the green "A" in Tucson.  The picture of Tucson at the top of this page was taken from this point.  The "A" stands for University of Arizona

Phoenix?  Why no stories about Phoenix?  Phoenix is filled with thousands of Snowbirds.  There are dozens of Snowbird parks.  (A Snowbird is someone that lives in an area with a cold winter climate. When it gets too cold they drive their RV to sunny, warm Arizona.  A lot of Snowbirds might own a mobile home, condo, or even a house as a second home in Arizona.  During the hot summer months they travel North to their other home in the cooler climate).  All of these parks have spaces for overnight RV'ers.  There is only one problem for us .... almost all of these parks are 55+ parks.

We drove around looking at, and calling parks for 2 1/2 hours trying to find a place to stay near town.  Even though neither of us are close to 55 yet, most of the parks had no problem letting Cheryl and I stay.  The truck and trailer are newer, (their very picky about the age and condition of what you're driving and living in), we look somewhat respectable (if I comb my hair and shave), but then we mention the kids and get a big "Sorry."   There were a few parks that said the kids would be O.K. for a day or two, (after all grand kids can visit for limited duration if they behave and stay out of the way). But then we had to ask about Cocoa.  Most parks had a 30 lb. limit for pets so again off we'd go.

We finally found a park manager that would break the rules for two nights by explaining that we were in town to get some work done on our truck at a shop that was only four blocks down the street and .... that the only family park we'd found was sixteen miles out of town, and .... that it would be difficult to be that far away, and ..... we've looked everywhere and we only get turned away, and ..... that our dog is very nice and will stay inside, and  .... we full-time travel, and ..... we'll be good and . . . . .  He let us stay.

So we had the truck worked on and headed out after two nights.  We felt like there was a couple of folks keeping a close eye on us and we didn't what the Manager to get into hot water at the next owners association meeting so we headed to Tucson.  Most places have an hour or two for an "adults-only" swim at the pool.  This place had two one-hour blocks when supervised kids can swim.  You can bet that Mitch and Max didn't miss a minute of the kid pool time.

There was also a questionnaire to fill out if you wanted to use the computer room, (to make sure you didn't mess up their equipment or something).  I only needed to connect to the modem phone line and they said that would be OK as long as I didn't touch the computers.  Well, after I helped a few of them out and made a few configuration changes for them the guy in charge of their computer room said he had never met anyone that knew more about computers than him, (and I knew way more).  By time I got my e-mail they were practically begging me to stay for a few weeks or come back next winter.

Did you know that many Hollywood western movies were actually shot in a location known as Old Tucson Studios, just outside of the city?  Stay tuned for our next exciting adventures.
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