This trip was motivated by several diverse considerations, ie;
- My sister's oldest daughter & family lives in Tucson and we wanted to visit them.
- I lived in Tucson after my family moved back to the USA from Guam.
- We wanted to visit the Sedona & the Grand Canyons.
- We wanted to take Jeremy to a dude ranch, and hike Sabino Canyon.
If you have never been to Arizona and you are planning a trip there, or you just want to know more about it, here are some good sources of information;
One of our first adventures, was a trip to the Pima County Air Museum. This used to belong to the Air Force, where all of the Air Force retired aircraft were stored in a huge area. My parents were stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, and our house backed up to the aircraft storage area (base housing). So a lot of us kids would sneak through the fence to go out into the storage yard and play inside the WW2 aircraft stored there.
Jeremy and I stopped to admire a SR-71 (image #2), which was the fastest manned airplane in the world for a long time and might still be the fastest.
The museum has at least one of every thing the Military ever flew, and even though they refurbish and sell some aircraft & aircraft parts, and destroy others, they maintain a set of aircraft for the museum so that the general public can see where their tax dollars have gone!
Celeste, Jeremy and I hiked up to the top of Sabino Canyon, nice day, got an early start before the heat went up and we had a lot of fun. Sort of "earning" our dinner as they say! Seven Falls is 4.2 miles up the canyon from the parking area, so we felt that we had done a respectful amount of hiking once we got back to the car.
The next day's adventure was to introduce Celeste & Jeremy to horse back riding. This is at a dude ranch near the Tanque Verde Ranch. I used to work at one of these riding stables when I was a teenager, but I could not begin to identify which ranch it was after all these years!
Everyone is saddled up and ready to ride. Because my back was not in good shape, I helped them get ready and I let them take the ride, while I waited for them. I would have preferred to go, but my back was never going to deal with that kind of movement & bouncing!
We drove out to the Biosphere which is north of Tucson near Oracle, AZ. This was an interesting tour, as there was a well known study made of the effects on humans who are working & living in an enclosed space without the ability to exit.
The Biosphere interior is comprised of areas where they grew their own crops to sustain themselves. We took the guided tour, so that we could hear the narration about each area and what took place there.
Sedona Canyon, Arizona
We rented a jeep because the native Indian Cliff Dwellings (Palatki Heritage Site) are way, way back in the area to the north west of Sedona. Without a jeep, there is no way to get there, unless you go with a tour group. We thought it would be much more fun to drive ourselves there and back!
After leaving Tuscon, we drove to Sedona Canyon. This area has some amazing rock formations, beautiful in color & shape.
The Palatki Heritage Site and its sister site, Honanki, were the largest cliff dwellings of the Red Rock Country between AD 1150 - 1350.
It is amazing to realize that these cliffs were where this Indian Tribe lived a very long time ago.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Since the weather conditions in the Grand Canyon blocked our goal of a flight down into the Canyon, we decided to drive back to Sedona via an alternate route. We took a look at the Arizona map and decided that it would be interesting to drive to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
As you can see in these images, the area is a mixture of volcanic ash, dried out trees and unusual geography everywhere you look. There is a 1.6 kilometer loop trail that takes you through the park, but they do not allow hikers to climb to the top of the crater itself - this has been closed since 1973 due to damage caused by hikers.
Verde Valley, Arizona
Verde Railroad locomotive after dropping us off at the mid-point of the train ride.
The train had to be driven down to where they could put the locomotive back on the front cars to enable us to return back to the starting point.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are Affiliate Links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, that I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. So we would appreciate any click throughs, if you are inclined.
You may have noticed that there aren't many pics of the Grand Canyon? We went on a "discovery drive" around the Canyon rim and were planning on taking a flight the next day to tour the Canyon, however, the next day a raging snow storm precluded us from taking that flight. So we did all the other things you see in this post. And eventually, as it always does, we had to return back home to Florida.