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.
saguro cactus cactus cowboy
Put a cowboy hat on top and a funny face in front and you have the familiar cactus icon.

naked saguro
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. Harris Hawk

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.
mountain used in commercials  

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 story.

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