After meeting us in Phoenix for a Cubs Spring Training game, Mike’s mom, Mary came back stay with us in the RV. She was our first overnight guest since two of my cousins stayed with us for a couple nights when we were still in St. Louis, before we took off on this adventure. She stayed for a total of five nights. We did a lot in that short amount of time!
The RV Park we were staying at, Justin’s Diamond J, was just behind Saguaro National Park, so checking that out was first on our itinerary. Mary got a little taste of what our weekends consist of – usually lots of hiking!
We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and then headed out on the Sendero Esperanza Trail. It was a really windy out there that day, especially at the top of the mountain, but overall it was an enjoyable hike. I had lots of fun impersonating the cactus.
Saguaro National Park is home to 25 species of cactus. The most obvious is the park’s namesake, the towering Saguaro cactus. (Pronounced Sa – WAH – ro.) We were on the look out to see how many species we could spot. I think we saw about 8-9 different types. Unfortunately, Mike found one with his backside while bending down to take a photo. The barb stuck right in there through his jeans, ouch!
After our hike, we got cleaned up a bit and went out for dinner and drinks at Thunder Canyon Brewery. We got flights of their craft beer to sample. Thunder Canyon was one of three breweries in Tucson that we visited, and I think it was my favorite.
Mike had to work the next day, so Mary and I planned a day together. I feel fortunate to have a mother-in-law who I enjoy spending time with. I know that others aren’t so lucky!
We went to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. A better, more descriptive name for it would be Arizona-Sonoran Nature Center or something like that because it really isn’t a museum in the traditional sense. It was full of flora and fauna of the desert as well as animals who call the Sonoran Desert home. We were there at a great time, because all the flowers were starting to bloom!
One of my favorite parts was the hummingbird aviary. It was cool to see so many of the little colorful birds buzzing around!
After spending a few hours there, we stopped at a little cafe called Coyote Pause on the way back to the RV Park. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch that may have included a prickly pear margarita.
That evening, we were reunited with Chris and Rachel of It’s a Wanderful RV Life. We met them in San Marcos, Texas and got along great. They happened to be staying a the RV Park right next door, so we invited them over for dinner to catch up on each others travels. It’s always a good time when you are reunited with RV friends!
Tuesday was Mary’s last full day in Tucson before flying back in Chicago. We went to check out the San Xavier del Bac Mission, also called “the White Dove of the Desert.” The church was built in the 1780’s and widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the U.S.
We took the free tour where we enjoyed hearing about the history of the mission as well as seeing its mixture of New Spain and Native American style art and architecture. One of our favorite details were the lions at the altar. Our tour guide told us that the workers were asked to sculpt lions, but had never seen a lion before hence the rather odd look of the creatures.
After the tour of the San Xavier Mission, we were quite hungry. We decided we would check out Historic Forth Street and ate at The B Line. It was a great choice. The food was delicious and the little place had such a cool vibe. After lunch, we walked up and down the street stopping in some shops along the way. Before we went home, we stopped back in The B Line to purchase some desserts that had been calling our name.
Later that night, we made dinner, watched a movie, and ate the desserts. It was a relaxing end to our time with Mary.