The trip in March of 2010 ended up being to Southern Arizona. Tucson, Madera Canyon, Ajo, with a very brief side trip to just south of Sonoyta Sonora, to see Echinomastus acunensis in flower. It was the last escape from Tempe for The Poetess and I, before we split up the household. It was the most bourgeois of all of our trips too, staying in motels. Including the "expensive" Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon. I used to think $100 a night was a lot for a room, but I guess I had a rather working poor perspective on that. Having spent almost $200 a night in Long Beach Island this summer, I've reset my sense of scale a bit.
For years, I have had an odd love/hate feeling about Tucson. It seems in many ways the quintessential southwestern town, crisscrossed by railroads, with a scattering of adobe houses mixed in with old West style brick, small but oddly cosmopolitan, like a working man's Santa Fe. But every time I try to romanticize it, it also appears as scruffy, beat, aimless and ominous, sprawling, a parody of itself, too small and culturally isolated. In other words, yeah, the quintessential Southwestern town.
The Poetess and I had contemplated moving there, both before we moved to Tempe, as she was accepted at the University of Arizona MFA program (but they didn't throw any money at her) and after she completed her program at ASU. I still contemplate moving there from time to time, just to get out of the madness that is Phoenix, but to still be in Arizona, and in something like a city. But then it doesn't seem possible to just move there alone. I imagine it would somehow break my heart. Then I remember it's already broken. But it would be like jumping into heartbreak soup. The Poetess and I mutually were skeptical about The Valley of the Sun, so it feels just masochistic enough to continue living here. haha. etc.
Some Tucson images:
The cactus part of this visit to Tucson was a trip up Redington Road, just west of the city, into Coronado National Forest.
Mammillaria macdougalii's Fibonacci elegance.
Beautiful form of Cylindropuntia versicolor stem joint.
What looks for all the world like Escobaria orcuttii, although I'm not aware of any records of this plant from this far west.
One of my favorite geographical races of Escobaria vivipara, bisbeeana.
Nice Agave. Always a fan of the ones with marginal indentations caused by leaf spines.
Still snow on the peaks in March.
Lots of Echinocereus rigidissimus
Cylindropuntia versicolor, in its purple, tree-like glory.
Coming up, Madera Canyon and more southern AZ glories.