Tucson trip report 11/5-11/13

Nov 15th, 2005, 10:43 AM
  #1  
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Tucson trip report 11/5-11/13

Just back from Tucson 11/5-11/13 and wanted to give a report in hopes that it will help others who are planning a trip there.
Days 1-5
For the first 5 nights of my stay, I stayed at the Tanque Verde Ranch. This is a nice property on the east side of Tucson and abutting the Saguaro National Park. I had reserved a standard room which is adequate for 1-2 people. It had a nice southwestern decor and had patio chairs out front. The bathroom seemed a little outdated, but it was fine. During my stay I was actually the only one in my building unit, as the other bathrooms in that building were being redone and mine was slated for the same after I left. This ranch offers a wide range of activities including hiking, mountain biking, nature walks, art classes and of course horseback riding. Rides go out 3x per day and you can choose between walking rides or lope rides. To participate in the lope rides you must first pass the ranch lope test, for which there are classes available to teach you, if you don't have much riding experience.
The food was excellent. Lunches are served buffet style in the dining room. There are several hot entrees and side dishes available, as well as a large salad bar and breads, cheese etc. The best part was the huge pastry table offered each day at lunch with about 20-30 items on it. Dinners are waiter service and they offer about 4-5 entrees. Several times a week dinners are served as a cookout in the Cottonwood Grove.
Breakfasts are a buffet or you may order off a menu. For all meals you may request a table for just your party or you may choose to join others at one of the group tables.
The desert setting is lovely, with lots of varieties of cacti. While there I saw a road runner, cotton tail rabbits, and many quails. I didn't see any rattle snakes during my stay, but the people staying in the next building had one on their porch.
Overall it was a great stay and I plan to return in the future.
More to come below . . .
Miramar is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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Day 6
On 11/10 I left the Tanque Verde Ranch and went on to my next destination.
I drove to Sabino Canyon and took the tram tour. It was a nice tour, except the tram started smoking halfway through and we had to evacuate it. they sent us a new tram and we were able to continue on. But I really enjoyed the scenery at the Sabino Canyon. After that I drove up to Oracle to tour the Biosphere 2. I enjoyed seeing the Biosphere and I liked the drive up there. At times I felt like the only car on the road. the tour itself of the Biosphere was a little dull for my taste. I was more interested in seeing the different habitats, how the people lived etc, and the tour seemed to spend a lot of time talking about the complexities of the plumbing and HVAC systems. I realize these are a big part of how it functioned, but it just isn't my interest.
Finally it was time to check into the Westward Look Resort. Check-in was friendly and efficient. The lobby rooms were reminiscent of the old west or a mexican hacienda. They marked the building I was stying in on a map and I set off to find it. I had a bit of trouble locating it, but once I did I was impressed. I had reserved a standard posada room and it was quite large. It was decorated in a dark terracotta color with a mexican style tile in the bathroom. I believe the hotel has 3 pools, but I only used the one closest to my room. I didn't eat at either of the hotels 2 restaurants, but they looked nice. The hotel also offers tennis and horseback riding.
That night I drove out in my car to Guadalajara Grill on Prince Road. I knew I had come to the right place when I saw how busy it was. They offer patio seating but there was a wait, so I decided to go inside for prompt seating. They start you off with salsa made tableside to your taste (mild, medium or hot). It was delicious. The rest of the meal was good too and they have mariachis playing.
Miramar is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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Day 7
I drove out to the Sonoran Desert Museum. This is a smallish, but very well done zoo. I loved how natural many of the enclosures were. I also really enjoyed the drive out to the "museum". It is a gorgeous drive over a road that is narrow and twisty in many places and has great views of the mountains and desert.
After the zoo I decided to check out downtown Tucson. It was veterans day, so not much was open including the Sosa-Carillo-Fremont House which I had hoped to tour. Despite it being a holiday, downtown Tucson is very different than any other city I've been to in that there is really not alot there. I'm more used to larger cities like Boston, New York, Chicago where the downtown has a lot of office buildings etc.
That night I ate dinner at El Charro (the downtown location). It was quite good and the inside of the building had a historic flavor to it.
Miramar is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Day 8
On this day I decide to visit Tohono Chul Park for an hour or so in the morning. It is a jewel. I loved the landscape there. I could have spent a little more time but wanted to move on to Old Tucson Studios. The drive to the studios is the same road that one uses to get to the Sonoran Desert Museum, so I was able to enjoy those views again. It was fun seeing the Old Tucson Studios where many western based movies and television shows were filmed. Unfortunately they had a fire in 1995 which destroyed many of the original sets. They have rebuilt much of it and will continue to do so.
After several hours at the studios I decided to head back across town to visit the Tucson Botanical Gardens. It was okay, but not great. If I had to only choose one garden setting, I would choose Tohono Chul, as I thought it was alot prettier and seemed more natural.
Tonight I dined at Old Pueblo Grille on their lovely patio. The main entree was good, but my appetizer and desert were merely alright. The best part of this restaurant was the patio setting--I don't think I'd feel the need to repeat it when I'm in Tucson again.
Day 9
Today was my last day in Tucson and I had to leave quite early in the morning. It was about a 30-40 minute ride to the airport and the driving was easy with not many people on the road at 6:15am Sunday morning.
Overall, I really enjoyed my trip to Tucson and I definitely will return! Please feel free to ask any questions if you are considering a trip to Tucson!
Miramar is offline  
Nov 15th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip here, Miramar. Sounds like you had a nice, leisurely visit. And also happy that the weather was "chamber of Commerce perfect". Or did it get too warm for you.

No, not much in the downtown area but there are some things to see if you know where to go.
MikePinTucson is offline  
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