Family travel tips to share and how to master hotel stays is one of the most important.

Vacation in Tucson, Arizona

Yes, it may seem to some of my loyal followers that I am falling into a rut so to speak. I appear to be going to the same darn places over and over again and again. After all, I’ve traveled to Kuwait many times and now I am vacationing in Tucson, Arizona yet again! As some of you may recall from a prior posting (April, 2008), I visited Tucson, AZ last year and I liked it so much that my very good friend and host allowed me to come to his home again in March and spend what turned out to be another very pleasant four days. During this time, my friend and I traveled in and around the Tucson area and ventured over a hundred miles east and north of Tucson to take in even more of the amazing sites in the nearby areas.

I almost didn’t make it out of Houston! Normally we don’t see fog in Houston but Murphy’s Law struck and we were hit with HEAVY FOG three days in a row!! On the morning I departed Bush Intercontinental (IAH), the fog was so heavy, we sat on the runway for over one hour before resuming our taxi and take off.

As we cleared the clouds, I managed to take this amazing photo of Houston shrouded in the fog that affected the entire metropolitan area. (The blue tint is an artifact of the photo enhancing software I use – Photoshop.)

We landed in Tucson about one hour late but once there, my host and I set out to do some sightseeing. We managed to take in some eye-catching views of numerous cactus plants. The above cactus reminded me of a camel’s head. What do you think?

Lots of great views abound – this one was in Sabino Canyon, east of downtown Tucson.

Our first stop on my four-day odyssey to Arizona.

On Friday (March 20) we visited the ASARCO open-pit copper mine located about a 45-min drive southwest of Tucson.

After lunch (at a great salad restaurant called “Chopped”), we took in the Tucson Botanical Gardens and Butterfly exhibit. I should point out the the weather in March is still very tolerable with daytime temps maxing out in the mid-70s to near 85 F (25 – 30 deg C). [Summertime temps in Arizona are very much like Kuwait with highs hovering near 100 – 110 deg F!!!]

The highlight of the day on Saturday (March 21) was a pre-arranged tour (advance reservations are a MUST) of Kartchner Caverns. A definite MUST SEE if ever there was one! Mother Nature at her best!

After Kartchner Caverns, we had lunch in Tombstone (just like we did last year).

Sure, Tombstone is very tourist-oriented (with many characters milling around Allen Street in period costume) but it still is worth an hour or two of your time.

A replica stagecoach ……

On Sunday (March 22) , we took a two-hour drive north to Phoenix. Along the way, we passed by Picacho Peak (pictured above). “So what” you say? Well Picacho Peak marks the western most advance of the Confederate armies during the US Civil War (1861 – 1865)!! If you are a history buff, you’ll appreciate that fact.

While in the Phoenix area, we toured Taliesin West, where Frank Lloyd Wright had one of the two schools he ran for apprentice architects. It’s still in operation to this day so if you fancy a career in architecture …..

The grand entrance to Taliesin West (two hours north of Tucson, AZ).

On Monday (March 23) I had a smooth and on-time return flight home to Houston. I’m already thinking about next year’s vacation in Tucson!
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PS: In her comment, Ms.Sarah Alia Shahrim asked about my camera. For this trip, I used a Canon 50D digital SLR camera with a 28 – 135 mm image stabilized zoom lens. I have had the use of this camera since December (2008) and I am still learning how to make use of all the many features it offers! During my trips to Kuwait, however, I have had to leave the SLR camera home and have opted instead to use a pocket-sized “point-and-shoot” camera. People in the Middle East often get upset when they see me pull out a huge camera and point it at them! On the other hand, a small camera is much less obtrusive and its easy to simply whip out a tiny camera, snap a picture and then return the camera to its holder all without attracting too much attention to my actions.