31 August 2009

Open Road all the way to L.A.

This is looking west from the Saguaro National Park East. On a clear day you can see all the way to L.A. Well, OK, maybe not that far but you can see the Tucson Mountains to the west. They have been made famous by the many fabulous photos of Tucson's gorgeous, legendary sunsets.


30 August 2009

Tucson's Urban Renewal - Converted Convent

This is an extraordinary example of imaginative real estate. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent and its adjacent school have been converted to residential lofts. This effort saved a circa 1886 building from destruction and provided airy urban living in the heart of downtown Tucson. This photo was taken from a friend's loft that is located in the adjacent "Dorm" building.

29 August 2009

Saguaro Skeleton

Here is a dramatic contrast to yesterday's posting. A fallen, decaying saguaro is utterly fascinating to examine up close. On this saguaro cactus "skeleton" you can see the ribs that support the massive tall cacus in life. These ribs are used throughout the southwest as building elements for fences, ceilings, gates, and furniture.


28 August 2009

Stormy Weather

This group of saguaros guard one of the entrances to Saguaro National Park East. Notice that only one saguaro in this photo has arms. The saguaros without arms are still youngsters (still under 70 years old!).


27 August 2009

Tucson's Historic Barrio ~ Timeless Beauty

Tucson's barrio district (also called Barrio Historico or Barrio Libre) is a treasure trove of charming adobe homes - many date from the 1800's. Adjacent to Tucson's downtown, this small area is now a mix of private residences and offices for lawyers & other professionals.


26 August 2009

Tucson's Hidden Spiritual Oasis

This is a tiny park that you can easily miss - Felix Lucero Park (otherwise known as the Garden of Gethsemane). Felix Lucero was a soldier who was badly wounded in WWI and he prayed to create religious sculpture celebrating Jesus if his life was spared. This amazing park is filled with his lifesize depictions of the Last Supper, Jesus on the cross, and others.

For additional information and many more photos, click here:

Garden of Gethsemane
602 W Congress St
Get directions

25 August 2009

Tucson's Saguaro Park East ~ Congested Area

Here's the road to Tucson's Saguaro National Park East. Notice the road sign that alerts drivers to "Congested Area." Beautiful monsoon storm coming in fast...


24 August 2009

Tucson's Famous Arabians

Tucson is home to many world class horse farms. Attracting international attention in particular are the farms that specialize in the beautiful Arabian, a horse that thrives in desert conditions. Shown here are a half dozen of the many magnificent horses at Fable Arabians.


23 August 2009

Stormy Cypress

Sometimes the monsoon storms come with fierce winds as well as rain. The cloud cover was so thick here that all landmarks dissolved into the storm and everything was enveloped by the clouds. Nothing was visible that was more than a few feet away until the storm passed.

22 August 2009

The Snake that Ate Tucson

After Thursday's post of "Sonic Snake" I received a request to show the full size of this reptile. Here you can see it slithers down a LONG stretch of the median. It is definitely Tucson's version of an anaconda!

21 August 2009

Tucson Trickster - Mr Coyote

Many Native American cultures describe the coyote as a trickster - clever and smart. It is quite common to see coyotes venture into populated areas in Tucson. This handsome fellow was trotting through Ft Lowell Park, a beautiful park rich with history:


For more info on the intriquing coyote, INCLUDING listening to the coyote, click here:http://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/coyote.php
Photo courtesy of Mark Wight.

20 August 2009

Tucson's Sonic Snake

Students at Tucson Accelerated High School created this remarkable piece of art that slithers down the center of the median at Wrightstown Road near Pantano. I wonder how many people refer to this Sonic as "The Snake Sonic"? And do you want fries with that chocolate snake, er, chocolate... shake?
Tucson Accelerated High School
www.leonagroup.com7820 E Wrightstown Rd
(520) 722-4721

19 August 2009

A City Unto Itself ~ Tucson's Science and Tech Park

Situated on 1,345 beautifully landscaped acres in southeast Tucson is a city unto itself: the Arizona Science and Technology Park. Formerly an IBM facility, the campus now consists of almost 2 million square feet of high tech office, R&D and lab facilities ~ all in a park-like setting.

Home to several high technology companies as well as Fortune 500 companies, the facility is also a technology business incubator.

For more information and a map, click here:

18 August 2009

Buon Giorno, Tucson!

This wonderful Italian deli and grocery is definitely off the beaten path and well worth the trip. Roma Imports has a deli counter that will make your mouth water. And... they also have a huge frozen section of delicious items that you can heat up at home (and you can take all the credit as your family and guests praise your cooking!).

They are open for lunch and have family size tables in the back. A winner in the "Best of Tucson" contest and voted "Best Loved Italian Deli." Delicioso!

Roma Imports
627 S Vine Ave
(520) 792-3173
Get directions

17 August 2009

Dawn of Another Beautiful Day in Tucson

Still some bits of clouds that may signal rain but for now there is just a gentle breeze and a sweet coolness in the air.

16 August 2009

Sunny Greeting ~ Rain or Shine

It's hard to miss this 12' tall smiling sun statue. This outdoor art piece is in a parking lot of a business that sells water and candles (go figure).

With an astonishing 360 sunny days per year, Tucson just recorded its 3rd warmest July ever. Here's some fascinating statistics from the National Weather Service Office:


15 August 2009

By Request ~ Dove Mountain Golf

After seeing my previous photos of the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain resort, a golfer emailed to ask for a photo of the actual golf course itself. He wanted to see how the desert vegetation is integrated into the plan. Stately saguaros dot the hillside in the distance. Also note the shadow of an immense sagauro cactus in the lower right corner.

14 August 2009

Tucson's Blood Sport ~ Mr Be-header

You would never guess that the venerable Bookmans Bookstore in Tucson has a dungeon entrance in the east parking lot. Guarding the steel loading dock door is a 24-hour security guard: Mr. Be-header. He's ready for action with not only his trusty axe to separate your head from your body, but he can also use his sword on you. The wheelbarrow of hay worries me a bit - isn't it quite close to that flaming torch mounted on the wall?

Mr. Be-header is another one of the fantasy murals that decorate the walls of this great bookstore (used and new books plus so much more). In July I posted the "Dragon Slayer" and still coming up are "Damsel in Distress," "Evil Queen," "Venus de Milo's Sister," and "Pirate Ship." Bookmans staffers tell me that all of the mural characters have been given pet names. Mr. Be-header's nickname is "Dick"(He was named after a former U.S. Vice President).

Bookmanshttp://www.bookmans.com/Grant & Campbell

13 August 2009

Tucson Summer: Rain + Sun = Ten-foot Sunflowers

This might indeed be Tucson's tallest sunflower ~ it has stretched to more than 10 feet! The contrast of the sunworshiping sunflower and the grey monsoon sky is striking.

And ~ I bet you didn't know that there is a National Sunflower Association... Well, click here and check it out: http://www.sunflowernsa.com/

12 August 2009

Tucson's (In-)Famous No-Tel Motel

Well, what else can I say? What it lacks in amenities, it makes up for in honesty. Perhaps Governor Mark Sanford (and his microphone-loving wife, Jenny Sullivan Sanford), Nevada's Senator John Ensign, or former presidential hopeful John Edwards could keep this place in mind if they ever travel to Tucson. Hey, we won't tell ~ the sign promises that.

No-Tel Motel - maps.google.com2425 N Oracle Rd, Tucson - (520) 624-0980Directions and more »

11 August 2009

Mountaintop Living - Tucson's Dove Mountain

Here's another photo of the Ritz Carlton resort at Dove Mountain ~ way north of Tucson. This loggia is adjacent to one of the restaurants and it overlooks the golf course. The combination of stone and mesquite wood columns creates a rustic yet elegant walkway. If you scroll my previous posts you'll see a magnificent desert landscape view from Dove Mountain and also a closeup of a komodo dragon (a stone one!).

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/(520) 572-3500Directions and more »

10 August 2009

Desert Tortoise on Steroids

The Sonoran Desert is home to the Desert Tortoise, a herbivore that can live to be 100 years old. They typically measure about a foot in length and are about 6" tall. This SUPERSIZED metal tortoise maintains control of the median on Harrison Road north of Golf Links.

The scale of this sculpture is closer in size to the Giant Tortoise ~ typically associated with the tropical region of the Galapagos Islands - a location with weather definitely a bit wetter than Tucson, AZ! The artist also created some metal prickly pear cactus (visible on lower right) to complete this desert tableau.

To learn more about the interesting desert tortoise:

09 August 2009

Tucson - Endless blue sky

Do you ever wonder about the "realism" of the photos that you see in publications like Arizona Highways? Well, wonder no more ~ Tucson really looks like this! Here's another photo taken at Dove Mountain, an exclusive enclave north of the city that includes the beautiful Ritz Carlton resort. The views from here are magnificent! And do check out my previous posting of the Ritz's stone komodo dragon, too.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/(520) 572-3500Directions and more »

08 August 2009

Historic Tucson ~ Picture Perfect

Tucson's barrio district (also called Barrio Historico or Barrio Libre) is a treasure trove of charming adobe homes - many date from the 1800's. Adjacent to Tucson's downtown, this small area is now a mix of private residences and offices for lawyers & other professionals.


07 August 2009

Godzilla Lizard Hazard ~ Unique Golf Challenge

Golfers have all sorts of challenges - their golf balls fly off into the rough, sink in water, and get buried in sand. But how would a golfer fend off a komodo dragon - with their trusty 9 iron?

This BIG stone sculpture guards the golf carts at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain. You may know it better as the recent host course for the Accenture Match Play Championship. Godzilla Golf indeed.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain - http://www.ritzcarlton.com/
(520) 572-3500
Directions and more »

And about that big lizard:

06 August 2009

Half & Half ~ Tucson style

The monsoons are still with us but we're not getting rain every day. Here you'll see how weird the weather can be here ~ half of the road is wet from a quick storm and the other half is totally dry. Pale yellow and pink sky with soft grey clouds ~ with Tucson's Santa Catalina mountains in the distance. It's a beautiful late afternoon display in monsoon country! And with the rain the temperature comes down...a bit.

05 August 2009

Tucson YWCA ~ A Window of Opportunity for Girls

This striking portico forms the front entryway for the Frances McClelland Leadership Center, a beautiful YWCA facility dedicated to Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women. If you stand in the east parking lot, Tucson's famed "A Mountain" (site of the annual fireworks display) is framed in one of the red trimmed lattice "windows." Every angle of this building is interesting. It was locked up when I stopped by so I couldn't take any interior photos during this visit.

525 N. Bonita Ave.Tucson, AZ 85745(See a map)

04 August 2009

Ahhh... Water, Agua, Cool & Refreshing

We hearty Tucsonans are pretty much living in the triple digits now (day and night!) so any glimpse or sound of water is welcome. This refreshing bubbly oasis is on the west patio of the Tucson Museum of Art.

A bit of outdoor umbrellas can be seen in the background. And that is where one of Tucson's most charming cafes can be found ~ Cafe a la Carte. It's small, friendly, and wonderful. And the desserts... oh la la!

Cafe A-La Carte
150 N Main Ave
(520) 628-8533
Get directions


03 August 2009

Tucson's Kinetic Art Scene ~ Mat Bevel Institute

Weird and fun and provocative, the Mat Bevel Institute is a Tucson art treasure. The outside courtyard of the institute looks like a cross between a wind farm and a junk yard. The sculptural art pieces are created from found objects ~ a bicycle tire, a tractor seat, a TV antenna ~ and they all move in different ways. A strong breeze gets everything going at once - fun!

530 N Stone Ave, Tucson, AZ

02 August 2009

Tucson's Cancer Survivors' Plaza

This colorful yet serene plaza park is part of a network of 24 Cancer Survivors Plazas across America ~ an initiative funded by the Richard & Annette Bloch Foundation. The 1.22 acre plaza features pedestals with inspirational writing (including advice about coping with cancer), benches, bronze statues, and a beautiful multi-level fountain decorated with ceramic flower tiles.

Situated on 22nd Street near Country Club Road and adjacent to Tucson's Reid Park, the structure is open to the sky and it's very pleasant to watch clouds roll by while listening to the water gurgle in the fountain.

01 August 2009

Tucson's Birthday Boy!

This may appear to be a defnite departure from my mission for this website ~ I want always to focus outward and celebrate what's new, fun, beautiful, and interesting about Tucson...but today is my Rottweiler's birthday and I want to celebrate by sharing his incredible story with you.

This great dog has achieved the heroic age of 12 years ~ despite the "best" veterinary neurological specialists in Phoenix telling me 10 years ago that with my dog's profound health problems he probably wouldn't live to see his 3rd birthday. So along with my wonderful Tucson vet, Dr. Jack Quick, and his fabulous staff at Pantano Animal Clinic, we have 12 candles on his birthday turkey burger today! I'm writing this to simply make the point that hope, love, and optimism are powerful medicines.

Happy birthday, Grizzly!