S: Tucson - March 2013
BC: October 2006 Ashley 2 years old | October 2007 Ashley 3 years old Austin 7 months old | March 2010 Ashley 5 years old Austin 3 years old | March 2013 Ashley 8 years old Austin 6 years old
FC: Tucson, Arizona March 10 - 22, 2013
1: Tucson, Arizona This was our 4th trip to Tucson. We went during school spring break, which was 2 weeks this year. Ashley was in grade 3 and Austin was in kindergarten.
2: Saturday, March 9, 2013 We traveled on the 9:00am sailing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen aboard the Coastal Renaissance | We waited 70 minutes at the Peace Arch border crossing before driving to Seattle. We shopped in the Burlington outlet mall along the way.
3: Coast Gateway Hotel at Sea-Tac Airport We purchased 4 pieces of the same carry-on luggage before we left. This was our first trip not checking any luggage with the airline. Austin liked watching planes from the hotel window and wearing his new tie up shoes.
4: ALASKA AIRLINES FLIGHT #646 K We flew from Seattle to Tucson aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800. We were in seats 28A, 28B, 28C and 28D. Austin said "look Daddy, I found PenguinLand" when he saw the snow.
5: Views of the Grand Canyon
6: Deb and Drew picked us up at the Tucson Airport. A welcome sign greeted us in Tucson Estates. | Austin was very excited to ride in the golf carts and wanted to drive! It's pretty much all he talked about.
7: The Tucson Estates gym. Karen's 1st day with the Hawaiian Tropic hat (missing for most of the trip). Ashley found it again near the end of our trip. | Ashley and Austin both liked swimming in the "Kool Pool" and improved their skills and confidence.
8: Cannonball! | Ashley (8) and Austin (6) spent several hours at the Kool Pool almost every day. Sometimes they would even go to the pool multiple times in a day. Austin quickly gained confidence and showed significant improvement with his swimming. He said that Ashley was "training" him. | Austin: "Daddy?" Trevor: "Yes?" Austin: "Ashley just pushed the cold button!" He was upset because Ashley told him that there was a hot and a cold button in the pool and she just made it colder.
9: SABINO CANYON | We were greeted by park staff at the entrance gate. The man suggested that we find parking before purchasing a ticket because the lot was full. He had no further useful suggestions and simply stated "well, it is Spring Break." Drew was able to get a parking spot after bravely pulling in before another guy and then backing into the spot where a girl was standing, "reserving it." | Arizona | 2013.March.13 | Parking was brutal!!
10: Sabino Canyon is a natural desert oasis located in Tucson's Coronado National Forest and is home to spectacular desert landscapes and abundant wildlife. The main road ascends from 2,800 to 3,300 feet and crosses Sabino Creek over 9 stone bridges. | Sabino Canyon tours offers a narrated, educational 45-minute, 3.8 mile tour into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The ground trams have nine stops along the tour. The tram turns around at Stop #9 and heads back down to the Visitor's Centre.
11: Our female tour guide asked if anyone wanted to exit the tram at each stop. Then she calmly said "okay, here we go."
12: Sabino Canyon
13: Stop #9 Trevor, Karen, Ashley, Austin and Deb got off the tram to take photos. Austin did not like us being away from the tram, even though it was only a 3 minute stop.
15: Sabino Canyon - March 13, 2013
17: Karen actually got in the pool!
18: Trail Dust Town and Pinnacle Peak We started out with an 8 minute ride on the CP Huntington Trail Dust Railroad. This train travels around the Trail Dust Town, Pinnacle Peak property and through the 'Ol Terrible Mine. We were the only passengers aboard for the trains first ride of the day. Then we walked around the property before dinner at the Pinnacle Peak Steakhouse.
20: Austin, Trevor, Karen and Ashley March 14, 2013
21: The admission for each attraction was 1 wooden nickel. The nickels were $2 each or 12 for $20, which is what we did. This was exactly enough for the 4 of us to ride the CP Huntington train and see the show. Both kids also got to ride the ferris wheel and the carousel.
22: In a Pinnacle Peak signature tradition, there are NO TIES ALLOWED! If a guest is 'caught' wearing a necktie the tie is summarily cut-off with great fanfare and hung from the rafters (all in good-natured fun). Austin, Trevor and Drew before dinner with ties.
23: Previous law breakers! | We signed cards with our names, date and where we were from.
25: After the show...
27: Austin didn't think much of having gel in his hair. Cart cruise to the golf course | Trevor found the chalk | Karaoke at Brats'
29: Hiking Little Cat Mountain Look out for the Jumping Cholla! (pronounced choy-a) is perhaps the most feared and hated cacti in the southwest desert. From a distance the jumping cholla looks like a fuzzy, soft plant, but those are tiny spines that easily separate from the tree and with microscopic barbs, they are difficult to pull out of your skin. | Little Cat Mountain | March 18, 2013
31: Karen was very excited for the season premiere of Dancing With The Stars! She made it through one dance... | Ashley and Austin liked to guess what the judges would score the dancers. | Grandpa made popcorn | The TV wouldn't turn on the next morning. Thanks to lots of information and videos on the Internet, Trevor and Drew were able to fix it for less than $10. Apparently the capacitors were too small and had a tendency to burst.
32: Looking past a jumping cholla forest toward Big Cat Mountain. Trevor left at 6:30am to tackle the Big Cat. There are no trails to the summit and hikers must choose their own routes. Starting the assent...
33: Big Cat turned out to be far more challenging than Little Cat. It was more difficult and technical to pick a route up. | The first plateau. Looking back toward the summit of Little Cat Mountain, Tucson Estates and Brown Mountain. | Big Cat Mountain March 20, 2013
34: Saguaro cactus ribs | An empty pool in the desert | Range in the desert | Pima County Sheriff's radio repeater at the summit | Looking down
35: Trevor at the summit of Big Cat Mountain
36: A different route down... We climbed down the face of the mountain. It was steeper but actually easier.
37: Pristine pool... not for long! | Dinner at the Olive Garden restaurant | Austin's usual sleeping position | Pretending to race the carts
38: This was our second visit to Old Tucson Studios.
39: Riding the carousel
40: "Don't count the years...count the memories."
41: We went to the 11:30am musical revue performance at the Grand Palace Saloon. "Join Miss Lillian Mae and her girls for a rip roarin', high kickin', can-cannin' good time!" Trevor was picked from the audience to participate in the show.
42: "Duel With The Dealer" performance
43: "Loop Rawlings" - a trick ropin', gun spinning', whip crackin' one-man wild west show. Loop Rawlings only picked Ashley from the crowd to spin a rope loop around. He also interacted with many other children, including Austin, by having them throw his hat at his head.
44: This is Brown Mountain, and it has been filmed in every movie ever made here at Old Tucson Studios!
45: The Sheriff deputizing the kids | The new Deputy Sheriffs | Austin wanted to ride the horses. He had to settle for a ride in the stagecoach. | Rattlesnake Mine
46: Ashley brought Baby Sheep for her one animal to Tucson. | Ashley putting Baby Sheep in her pocket
47: Austin liked the lion fountain. He spent time talking to it each day. | One last photo before we leave for the airport