We started the day off yesterday by eating breakfast at the resort (expensive, just as Trip Advisor promised) with two guys that work with Jim, and their wives. After that, we took off—us in our Luxury Vehicle and the four of them in their SUV—so that they could finish registration for the Tour de Tucson and we could take a drive through Saguaro National Park. We planned to meet in Tubac, an artists’ community about 45 miles south of here.

I was fascinated by the Saguaros; they dotted the mountains like little soldiers standing guard. We are so used to seeing the Smoky Mountains when we visit Knoxville, Tennessee; the Smokies have a smooth edge to them and are completely covered with trees and kudzu. The mountains here are very jagged, brown, and sparsely vegetated. Jim noted that these mountains are a couple million years younger than the Smokies, and I said, “Oh, right…”, like I knew that and just needed a reminder. (our fifteen year old does that all the time and it’s annoying, but it just felt right for me at that moment…)

We found the gang in Tubac, and walked through what seemed like hundreds of galleries and shops. In some of them, it was hard to distinguish the junk from the treasure. Whenever we take a trip (which isn’t often), we try to find one nice souvenir to put in our house to remind us of the vacation…this time—though I have a day and a half left—I may just have to stick with my adage that my photos are the best kind of souvenir. Everything so far that we’ve found that we really, really like is very, very expensive! Here are some Tubac photos:

Also in Tubac, we stopped for ice cream. While everyone else went with the soft-serve chocolate and vanilla twist, I dared to be different and I chose the Prickly Pear ice cream!

You can’t get cactus ice cream in the Chicago suburbs, that’s for sure! Look at me, Mom and Dad: your one-time picky eater is now eating “exotic” food! (ha ha)

This morning is the Tour; the reason we’re here. Jim left at 4:30 a.m., after we both had a terrible night’s sleep. Someone’s car alarm kept on going off, and I’m sure he was nervous about the ride. I am going to take some pictures in a while as the race/ride is going right by our resort, but with almost 10000 riders, I probably won’t see Jim ride by and will have to depend on the official ride photographers to capture it for me! More tomorrow!