Blue sky, hot weather, cactus, friendly natives, a sensational espresso bar, true Mexican food, and well-maintained bike trails. Tucson is the perfect getaway from the rainy, windy, chilly winter in Seattle. Never mind that we drove 4000 miles to get there and back. It was worth it.
With the electile dysfunction of 2016 and the media’s all-consuming interest in Trump and his band of proto-conservatives, Russian spies, Cypriot money launderers, rapacious Wall Street foreclosers, Alt-Right apologists, de-constructers, de-conflicters, feckless co-conspirators, and ne’er do well family members, it was a relief to struggle out of the swamp and disappear into the real landscape of America.
Like many of our friends, M and I usually jump on an airplane to get as far away from home as possible. We like foreign travel, exotic cuisine, and the sound of other languages, but in the last 18 months we have taken four driving trips in the US – South Florida and the Keys, DC and the Civil War battlefields, Oregon and Northern California, and Tucson and the Southwest – 12 weeks in all. In the process we’ve become devoted road warriors. Interstate highways are the arteries of our surface transportation system but local roads, off the Interstate grid, are its capillaries. That’s where America lives and where you can see it best.
This is California’s central valley in March. It doesn’t get much greener or more beautiful than this.
There’s nothing like a road trip to clear the head. This is the Oregon coast near the California border.
A quick stop at Indian Wells to check out the best tennis tournament in America.
And, eventually, our arrival in Tucson where we rode, ate, and drank for 10 deliciously hot days.
This margarita and asada en mesquite at Cafe Poca Cosa was our last meal in Tucson and worth every one of the 4000 miles.
Leaving Tucson we drove north and finished the trip off with four national parks – Mesa Verde, Escalante, Arches, and Canyonlands – and a visit with family in Salt Lake City. This view is from Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab.
There’s a lot to be said for a winter vacation, especially in the midst of the turmoil and exhaustion of Trump’s first 100 days. But, turmoil and exhaustion are not good reasons to relax our vigilance. This democracy was hard won and can be hard to maintain, especially when greed, conflicts of interest, and lack of empathy for the population at large are involved. Watch the referendum in Turkey this weekend if you don’t believe it.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
(often attributed to Thomas Jefferson but the real provenance is unknown)