We left Usury Mountain and drove down to Marana which is just outside
Tucson. The Valley of the Sun RV Resort and MH Park, where we stayed
also had many park models and was more of a trailer park because it had
no age restrictions and more year round residents. The school bus even stopped
there but it was set up differently and there was a dumpster. Campgrounds
have places to throw out garbage daily but the place in Mesa had garbage
pick up twice a week, if you missed it you had to take your garbage with
you which we did. Valley of the Sun was also more up front in an ad and disclosed
the presence of park models. It also seemed to be the best choice near Tucson.
While in Tucson we visited Saguaro National Park which like Usury preserves
this interesting plant.
Put a cowboy hat on top and a funny face in front and you have the familiar
The dead Saguaro in this picture shows the round woody ribs, in the
living Saguaro these ribs are covered with a pleated spongy flesh
and a waxy green skin with spines. The Saguaro flowers in late April, May
and June and in June and July it produces a pulpy, sugary fruit with 2000
seeds which feed desert wildlife. Native Americans are permitted to
camp in the park and collect the fruit of the Saguaro and many still do.
The next day after visiting Saguaro we visited the Arizona- Sonora Desert
Museum which is a zoo, natural history museum and botanical gardens. It
was impressive and well worth the visit. While there we saw several
desert animals, birds and plants. The highlight of the visit was the Harris
Hawk hunting demonstration. These raptors are magnificent and well adapted
to desert life.
From the Museum we went a short distance on the same road and visited
the old Tucson Studio. Built of Adobe to resemble a frontier town in 1939
for the movie Arizona staring William Holdin and Gene Aurthur. It was idle
until 1945 when many more movies were made. Over the years many stars have
made movies there including Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston,
Kirk Douglas, Ann Margaret, John Wayne, and Maureen Ohara to name
a few. Wayne and Ohara made Mclintock and Wayne made Rio Bravo with
Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Walter Brennen or was it Rio Lobo which
he made there as well. Gene Wilder made parts of the Frisco Kid there. Many
TV shows and commercials were also filmed at the studio. In 1989 a fire
destroyed the sound stage, as a result the studio is no longer used
for movies and has been converted to an amusement park. Occasionally a commercial
is made there and you may recognize this mountain from a recent car commercial.
The flag has nothing to do with the Old Tucson Studio. So why is it here?
Some of you may even recognize it but not know why it is here. Actually
it's here because it was a surprising taste of home, Columbia University
whose flag it is, has a campus near Tucson.
Columbia University is an old and prestigious New York City University
that Debby's mother, Fannie, our son, Richard and our Daughter in-law Caryn attended and graduated from. Debby and I as well as some of you drive by their football stadium when taking the back road to the Washington Bridge. The campus is known as Biosphere 2 and it is an interesting
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