My 25th high school reunion was at hand (Coolidge High School, Class of 1979) and it had been a long time since I'd been to Arizona. Victoria had never had a chance to visit that part of the country and I have relatives out that way she had never met, so we decided to have an Arizona vacation. My folks drove down from New Mexico to meet us. We flew into Phoenix, rented a car, spent a week and drove about 1200 miles, and had a fine time. Here are some pictures. Click small image for a larger view.
Victoria at the Boyce-Thompson SW Arboretum. Picketpost Mtn in the background. Golden barrel cactus at the arboretum. Another Sonoran uplands vista at the arboretum.
Cactus in bloom. Roosevelt Lake. Victoria holding up the new Roosevelt Dam bridge.
Roosevelt Dam, constructed 1905-11, was raised 77 feet and refaced in 1996. The Apache Trail, from the dam to Phoenix, is mostly unpaved. It is mighty desolate and empty country, but beautiful in its own way.
Ocotillo, Fonquieria splendens, are usually dry and leafless. Leaves appear after rains and they have red blossoms March-June or after a wet spell. At Tortilla Flat, as the Apache Trail comes out of the Superstition Mountains. Kachinas at the Heard Museum, Phoenix.
Jemez Pueblo Indian effigy caricature of a Spanish priest. Hohokam ruins, Casa Grande, at Coolidge, Arizona. Victoria getting acquainted with a cholla cactus.
Up Madera Canyon, Santa Rita mountains south of Tucson. Victoria with Jesse Judkins, son of my cousin, Dan. Up toward the top of the mountains are stands of pine and aspen.
Looking west as the sun sets behind Baboquivari, sacred mountain of the Tohono O'odham people. Dan says this is why he is here. Sunset glow on the Santa Ritas. Crossing the low Tucson Mountains west of town.
At the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Looking SW from the ASDM across the Avra Valley. Dan Judkins and Victoria.
Prarie dogs. Bighorn sheep, who had been asleep in the shade, perked up when they heard their keeper. Coming down the bluff the fast way for a noontime snack.
The Sonoran desert scenery is magnificent. San Xavier del Bac mission, 9 mi. S. of Tucson, founded by Padre Kino in 1700, the present church was built 1783-1797. ( A fellow traveller took the camera so I could get into a shot.
Plasterwork around the San Xavier church altar. Later in the day we headed across the border to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico for some shopping. Anyone need a serape? OK, perhaps something stronger? Just take your pick!
Indians from the Mexican interior, begging. Tumacácori, a Spanish colonial mission est. 1691, about 15 miles north of the Mexican border on the Santa Cruz river. Victoria and Mom.
Another view of the church. My Aunt Sallye with Rocky, Jesse, and my Uncle Gene. Cousin Carlene, her husband, Chip, Victoria and I.
Ghost Ranch Lodge, our base of operations while in Tucson. Boojum trees (Idria columnaris), along with other cacti at the Lodge. Boojums aren't native to this part of the Sonoran.

Our week drew to a close and we headed back to NJ. We sure had a nice trip west.

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