9 April, 2015
Tucson: Day 1
I arrived in Tucson today for a vacation, staying with my cousins. This is the first of the daily entries giving some thoughts on things I see and do. I’m new at writing travel posts, so, sorry if these thoughts don’t provide a coherent whole. I’m also tired after a long but fun day.
I got up while it was still dark to get to the airport on time. I wasn’t as tired as I expected. I flew all the way from western NY to Tucson, AZ, so it was a fairly long time of flying, but it went fast. I truly enjoyed the flying actually, I don’t fly often and the novelty still gets me. It’s amazing that I can fly in a giant, metal, exploding-chemical-powered bird oer such a vast distance, across the United States, in just a few hours, when that trip would have taken weeks not long ago. And just random regular people can afford to do this, you don’t have to be a king or anything! Amazing. The flights were smooth (I had a brief layover in Minneapolis, where I ate some delicious Chick-fil-A for breakfast and got some writing done,) mostly though there was some turbulence coming into Tucson. I don’t get easily bothered by turbulence, but apparently it was pretty bad because many other passengers got nervous and ticked off. I also drank rum and whiskey on the planes, and that was good.
The climate of Arizona is entirely different from that of New York. The desert is beautiful, in a different way, from the lakes, forests, and grassy fields I love and am used to. I like these tall cactuses, which look alien to me, and the big rock formations, and the little lizards scuttling around sometimes. It’s so sunny, too, and not too hot this time of year, which is nice. Dry, warm, with a breeze that’s stronger the higher you go. The totally blue, cloud-foresaken sky is unsettling to me, though. I can understand people liking it, and it is pretty in a way, but, it just reminds me of how incredibly dry this part of the US is. I find it vaguely, just a bit stressful to see no clouds at all. Coming from a city immediately adjacent to the Great Lakes, the scarcity of water in the Southwest is a bit daunting. I hope everyone here, and in California especially, can handle the apparently increasing drought OK. Still, there’s a beautiful and resilient living landscape here.
I loved climbing around on the rocks and seeing the mountains pictured below. My cousin, who has lived here a few years, was super helpful in taking me there and telling me about the different mountain ranges in the state. A cool phenomenon he told me about is “sky islands,” which is where the more moist and hospitable mountain peaks act as “islands” in the “sea” of the dry landscape, and lead to speciation as animal and plant populations are separated from one another for long periods, the same as they would be on literal islands. I had no idea this phenomenon existed. There are squirrel species, for example, that only live on one or a couple connected mountains.
I also got to drive past the Tucson “boneyard”, which is part of a military base, and is where the military stores tons of old planes for spare parts use. The Southwest is the best region of the US for this due to the lack of damage from rain and ice. It’s pretty amazing to see row after row after row of military planes. I’ll try to get better pictures later! It reminds me of all the experimental aircraft testing in this part of the country, too, UFO’s and Area 51 and all that.
I hope to see some tarantulas, gila monsters, snakes, and scorpions and get some sweet pictures. I like the uniqueness of this environment. It’s exciting. I’m going to hopefully get to go trailriding on horseback too. My cousins are super welcoming and this is looking to be a great vacation. I’ll try to give more detail and coherent thoughts on later posts, I’ve just been awake a long time, I’m tired. Going to bed right after this. Goodnight everyone.