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Trip Report Saguaro/Tucson

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Link to my photos
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0IatW7FqybsWt3
Sorry---Lots of food pics


Even though our quick weekend get away started out on the wrong foot, we ended up having a great time in Tucson. We arrived at American Airlines Fort Smith Arkansas(this is only about 15 minutes from our house, but we rarely fly from there because it is usually a lot more expensive or if we are using points, it is nearly impossible to get a seat with them). As we walked in the door I received a text on my cell phone saying our flight was on time. This is a super small airport and we were the next in line, literally 1 minute after walking in the door. The agent told me the flight had been cancelled and the next flight, which was the last flight for the day was full. At the same time, the entire track team for the University of Arkansas arrived behind us. They had been sent from XNA(Northwest Arkansas Airport) as that airplane had been cancelled too. The only thing the agent could come up with was for me to drive to Tulsa(a 2 hour drive) and he put me on a United Flight. Of Course, I arrive at Tulsa to find that flight was full and the American Airlines Agent at Fort Smith had made a huge mistake. My father had dropped us off and already left, so we were stuck. So, American paid for our hotel and gave me a $200 voucher and didn't charge me for my luggage. I had prepaid my hotel and car rental, so I did lose that. So much for the agent @ FSM. They did suggest that I write customer relations and I would likely get a bit more $$/voucher from them, so I will try.

The only other negative encounter was with Mount Lemmon Night Sky. There was apparently to many clouds, so they cancelled for the evening. No big deal,, but would have liked to have been able to do the tour.

Restaurants: (we did more eating than anything on this trip really). Surprisingly, very good food at Tucson.
Beyond Bread--Awesome Sandwiches, Salads, and Pastries
Baggins Gourmet-Similar to Beyond Bread-very good but one notch below Beyond Bread
Scordato's Pizza-Had a very good Salad and Pizza here. Would go back.
Farmers Market & Food Festival-Had a very good Tamale here from Tucson Tamale Company, Very good Chicken Crepe from Planet of the Crepes, sampled tons of other good items. Most things priced $3-$6.
Frost Gelato--Best Gelato Ever!!
Allegro IL Gelato--Good but not nearly as good as Frost
Eegee's--Local slushie drink-I thought was great, wife was underwhelmed
El Guerro Canelo --a must do in Tucson, Wife wanted to go back. We had the sonoran hot dog, a couple of tacos, and a torta. Outstanding!
AJ's Fine Foods--Had Breakfast and bought some salads for a picnic-very very good
Very similar to a Whole Foods. Great cup of mocha here.
Octillo Cafe in Desert Museum--probably the best meal we had--SUPER!
Cup Cafe in Hotel Congress-Cast Iron Baked Eggs were very good here. Enjoyed Cup Cafe!!

Tours:
Sabino Canyon-8.5 mile walk to Seven Falls. The falls were a trickle, but still a nice hike and waterfall at the end. Signage is TERRIBLE. It is really frustrating to me when trails(especially a super popular one like this) isn't properly signed. Huge crowds on this one, but that really doesn't bother me. I would do this trail above anything else in Tucson as really they all look exactly the same. I find this one to be more diverse than the rest. Frankly, do this hike and skip the rest. Everything just looks the same to me.
Desert Museum-This is really a zoo. Very good. Raptor Flight was awesome!
Best Drives are Bajada Loop and Catcus Drive in the West and East sections of Saguaro NP.
Kartchner Caverns--Very good Tour and Docent here. Only gripe would be that you aren't allowed to take pictures. This is a pristine, but small cave. It is decorated, but not as heavily as I thought it would be. Not anywhere near the same category as Carlsbad Caverns.
Mission San Xavier Del Bac--Enjoyed this tour and docent was great! Free and they ask for a donation, but repeatedly tell you to not feel obligated to do so though. Most people would leave $5-$20 I would imagine.

We stayed at Embassy Suites Paloma Village. Very good-it is not upscale. I'm not sure there is really a good location in Tucson to stay. Everything is super spread out to us. Free Breakfast there was the best freebie I've encountered. This is really the kind of lodging I like in a city.

This is my 35th national park. Hot Spring is my least favorite of all time. I would rank Saguaro and Petrified Forest next to that tied for the next to last position. However, certainly worth doing once and we were very happy to have seen it and really did enjoy the trip despite American Airlines foul up(there were no issues on our return flight home).

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