Arizona - Tucson's PEP Boys, Sophia's and Tarantulas

Tuesday July 17
In the restrooms I talked to two other woman also camping and familiar with the area. They were, in a friendly way, trying to tell me that I should not be wearing flip-flops because of the creatures living in the desert - scorpions that camouflage themselves and the trantulas. Today was another day of getting geared up for Mexico. Doing things like buying shower shoes at Target. By mid-afternoon the heat was unbearable. We roasted walking two blocks to the air-conditioned library in Tucson. In the library we were cold and I ended up falling asleep with my head on the table. Ken was asked to put his shoes on. Ken bought our Mexican liability insurance on-line. For supper we chose to eat near the library because we were going to eat then return, which we didn't. We ate at an Italian restaurant - Enoteca. We were fed a white crust pizza with cheese, a few shrimp and capers on it. I think it was supposed to be special, but it definitely was not. We reluctantly camped at the same place, with the tarantulas and all the other creatures. We again left the hatch closed.

Monday July 16

Ken woke up, at sunrise, before me today. He woke me pointing quietly to a roadrunner just out our open back hatch. The temperature is very hot and dry!!! How do you get used to this? It did rain a bit today, actually, we now find out, their monsoon season has just started. We saw many places where it said to be cautious of flooding. It rains in the mountains then the water runs down and floods the lowlands. We drove through parts yesterday, there were signs stating it was below sea level. We drove around to gear up for Mexico. We got an oil change, fuel and air filter change. The van was missing, hesitating and stalling. We thought driving through a desert could have plugged up the air filter and the fuel filter change was for luck. Tuscan's only redeeming features so far are cactus and the animals, both are so different from what we are used to.

At night, back at the camp, Ken thought he would unplug the empty Coke machine, but could not reach back in far enough. We both went about taking out nightly cool down showers. Ken was slower than I, for once, and I was waiting outside for him. I could not believe my eyes - there was a tarantula walking along the sidewalk by the Coke machine. Ken must have disturbed the tarantula's sleep when he tried to unplug the machine. We learned later that you do not stuck your hands up or below anything in the desert because of the creatures. Needless to say, camping felt a bit weird after that, I hoped to fall asleep quickly and we no longer left the hatch open at night.

Sunday July 15

It was very hot today!!!
I had an early start to the day because I knew that I had to get up and do the laundry here at the Motel 6 - less than wonderful atmosphere. We drove on from El Cajon, California to Tucson, Arizona on highway number eight through the Sonora Desert. I heard that highway number ten is even hotter. We took short breaks, mostly to cool off. We ate at a McDonalds in El Centro, California and again at Sophia's Mexican Food Restaurant in Gila Bend, Arizona. Now Sophia's needs mentioning because it was the worst Mexican food that we have eaten thus far. Ken opened his usual order, a burrito and wondered what was in it, how bad is that? The salsa must have been out of a jar/can/alley... and my chili relleno had hard bits - yeach!!!! It has gotten very hot here, I think it is near Death Valley (130 degrees F that day). On the way, the van started missing, turned out to be a plugged air filter. That night we found a campground north of Tucson, called, Catalina State Park, we set up and took showers to cool off, not knowing of the tarantula that lives behind the Coke machine. The little restroom buildings were very hot, like a sauna without the humidity because it is very dry here. There are cactus and other desert vegetation here.

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