Once again, I headed to Tucson to spend time with Steev, Greta, Savanna, and their dogs during the holidays. I had some concern about traveling by air during the holiday season, something Tom & I had never done, because of the possible bad weather and large crowds at the airports. However, travel for this trip was simple and easy with my departing from home on December 23rd and returning on December 30th.
December 23: Airport shuttle service picked me up at 6:00 A.M.; this is a great way to get to the airport if you don’t want to leave a vehicle for a week in their parking lot or you don’t want to have friends take you because of the early hour. The flight to Tucson was uneventful; no large crowds, no problem getting through security, easy pick up of rental car. I arrived at Steev’s and Greta’s around 2:00 in the afternoon. It was amazing how much Savanna had changed from when I saw her in July; she is growing up quickly! This was Steev’s birthday so he opened his presents; afterwards, I left to check into the Best Western Royal Sun. Early evening, we went downtown Tucson for dinner to celebrate Steev’s birthday; traffic was heavy and it was difficult to find a parking space. We went to a relatively new restaurant called Proper; decor was awesome and menu interesting because they grouped entrees either SMALL or LARGE so what you selected was dependent on how much food you wanted to consume. All of us agreed that the food and service was superb.
December 24: Took a walk this morning with the temperature being not too hot or too cold; ate breakfast, which was included with the price of the room, at the motel restaurant. Because I was going to run out of reading material, I wanted to go to a bookstore so Steev, Savanna, and I walked to a used bookstore on 4th Street. Upon return, I took off walking to a “near” drugstore for lip gloss; the “near” ended up being a mile one way (at least I did not have to worry about getting enough steps for the day)! We drove to Tumacacori National Park late afternoon in order to see over 1500 luminaries being lit at 6:00 PM. We arrived early so time was passed by listening to carolers singing outside the entrance to the mission, watching volunteers place/light all the luminaries, and seeing the sun go down over the mountains. Luminaries were placed on the top of the fence surrounding the mission, along side the concrete paths, on the steeple/roof/inside the mission. By the time we were able to enter the mission grounds, it was dark and the luminaries glowed; it was a beautiful sight that could not be captured by camera. There was live music played and refreshments offered to all. Upon our return to Tucson, Greta prepared the traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Mexico which consisted of yummy tamales and black beans.
December 25: This morning I went over for breakfast and coffee. We opened our presents; it was fun to watch Savanna trying to eat the wrapping paper and laughing at her new toys.
After packing a picnic lunch, we drove to Saguaro National Park where we ate our lunch and hiked a trail that went to the top of Brown Mountain. The elevation of Brown Mountain is 836 ft. which is not much but I still have to stop and catch my breath about 3/4 of the ways up. Once we returned to Tucson, we went to Greta’s sister and family for Christmas dinner. Great meal and good conversation.
December 26: After taking a walk and having breakfast at the hotel, we went to a scond hand store to purchase some items for Savanna. While in the area, we explored a couple more stores that Greta thought I would enjoy. One of the stores was a great bakery that had wonderful tasting cookies. Later in the afternoon, Steev and I went to the second Hobbit movie; it was very intense with constant action. Will have to wait until next Christmas for the final installment. Greta had prepared Shepard’s Pie for the evening meal which was delicious. After cleaning up, I returned to the hotel.
December 27: This morning, I accompanied Steev and Savanna for a walk to a nearby park while Greta & Jemma went for a run. At noon, I met Jim and Carol Davis at the El Charro restaurant for lunch; wonderful couple hours of good food and conversation. Later in the afternoon, Steev took Savanna swimming while I watched; she really likes the water!
December 28 and 29th: On the 28th, we walked downtown to the post office. It was wonderful walking weather and, on our way downtown, we stopped at one of Steev’s favorite places for coffee. It was interesting seeing downtown Tucson on foot instead of in a car. The afternoon was spent reading and playing with Savanna. Pizza was delivered that evening. On the 29th, we went to a local Farmer’s Market where there were many dealers selling locally made products. Both Steev and I made some purchases. In the afternoon, the four of us took Jemma and Josie to the doggie park where they had fun running with other dogs. Later in the afternoon I said my “good byes” to Savanna and headed back to the motel where I packed for the next morning’s departure. That evening, Greta & Steev picked me up and we went to eat at La Indita, a Mexican restaurant on 4th Street.
December 30: As with any trip, it is always great to get home.