The Wandering Wishnies travel blog

Lovely wall with tile mosaic in southwest motifs of mountains, cactus and...

The tiled design on this wall was a bit unusual; all the...

The mural on this wall appeared to celebrate women

This one was a bit strange, with floating arms, legs and hearts

Frequently I found pretty colorful mosaic columns just decorating a street corner

Playful and imaginative bus shelter

Even McDonalds benefited from placement of public art depicting children at play

Sun shining through trellis over fountain and pool creates interesting floral design...

People sculptures representing people going through the different stages of cancer

Happy people coming through their illness, celebrating survival and success

One of the pedestals with inspirational message in the Bloch Plaza

Another inspirational message at the Plaza

A beautiful view along the auto trail in Saguaro National Park

This Saguaro is very old, and very healthy, judging by the size...

Boo Boo and Beau playing almost looks like they are kissing

Boo Boo assumes a submissive position with her boyfriend, Beau

We had dinner our 1st night at the Longhorn Grill, the entrance...

This is what the funky entrance of Longhorn Grill looks like during...

On more than one occasion while driving around Tucson, I was impressed with the beauty of the city. Even the highway overpasses and pedestrian footbridges are constructed with pretty designs in them. This is a city with aesthetic values and not just a utilitarian mindset.

The day we drove to Reid Park for the bird walk, I was noticing walls with great tile designs along 29th Street in South Tucson, but couldn’t stop to take any pictures because my camera battery had died. So the day we went to visit Marilyn we left early and re-traced our route so I could capture some of this lovely public art. There were even cool looking bus shelters. Take a look at the pictures above.

We also stopped again at Reid Park because I had noticed a sculpture garden and sitting area with a sign “Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Plaza”, and I knew there would be some photo opportunities there as well. It is a beautifully trellised plaza with a decorative fountain and pool in the center, benches to relax, pedestals with inspirational messages and people sculptures.

Wanting to know more about why this was here, I did some research on the internet. What I found was pretty interesting. Richard Bloch is the “R” of H & R Block, the tax preparation company he founded in 1955 with his brother Henry. In 1978, Richard was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and given three months to live. Instead, he found a major comprehensive cancer center, and after two years of aggressive therapy he was cured. He sold his interest in the tax company and dedicated his life to helping others fight cancer. Here’s a link to more information if you are interested. Cancer…There’s Hope, about the author

In 1990, the first R A Bloch Cancer Survivors Park was dedicated in Kansas City, Bloch’s birthplace. Information I found said that they were planning to put these parks in every city in the U.S. with a population over 1,000,000. The plazas are to be a place of hope, inspiration and peace to cancer survivors and their loved ones. Including Kansas City and Tucson, there are parks in at least 20 American cities and one in Canada. Most are located in very high profile locations and each has a distinctly different design. Here’s a link to some of them R A Bloch Cancer Survivor Parks.

I am frequently moved and humbled by things I see as we travel around this great country. This was one of those times. I love it when people who have had great good fortune use it to help others.

We had a great visit with Marilyn, who dog-sat our Boo Boo the last time we went to Mexico. The minute we got there, Boo Boo and Beau went crazy chasing each other around, like they had never been apart. Marilyn’s health is much better than it’s been in the recent past and we are so happy for her. We capped off the visit with a trip to Macayo’s Mexican Restaurant so we could have some of their awesome Green Corn Tamales with Baja Sauce. Yummmm.

One of the things on our “to do” list this time for Tucson was to visit the Saguaro National Park. I can’t believe we were here two weeks, and hadn’t gotten to it. So the last day before we left, we drove over there. It is the desert and the Saguaro’s at their finest. Getting a late start, we didn’t walk any of the trails. We drove the five mile auto loop, seeing many awesome stately Saguaro cacti, after first having watched a 15 minute movie about the park, the plants and the land.

The movie was narrated by several different people, some of whom were Native Americans. They spoke reverently about cherishing the land. They believe the land is our ancestor and should be loved and respected. I must say that since we have spent so much time in the southwest, I have come to really appreciate it, and to feel very much in touch with the land. Out here you are so close to it, and feel its energy and its life. So different from growing up in an upper Midwest big city where all you feel is people and industry. I know I could live out here and be happy forever.

When the movie ended, the screen slowly began to rise into the ceiling, and curtains behind it slowly started to open, and the darkened room became illuminated with the bright daylight as you gazed upon the desert you had come to love and appreciate through big picture windows. It may sound corny, but it was such a neat way to end the presentation.

The day we left, Friday, we stopped at Nelson’s RV, the Carriage dealer in Tucson to have a couple of small things looked at, the most important of which was the small intermittent water leak under the kitchen counter. We had finally been able to isolate exactly where it was coming from, even though it only leaked sporadically.

I can’t say enough good things about this dealer. They got us in on two days notice, and fixed everything we asked for, plus they volunteered to reinforce our outside stairs, which they have found to loosen up over time. Everything was covered under our warranty which expires this week (hence the urgency to get in now). We even paid them to do some routine maintenance, and to re-attach the mud flap on our truck, which got knocked loose some time ago when I backed into a curb. Last year when we were in Tucson, we had them do some work for us also. This small family owned dealership is just the nicest place, and their mechanics are knowledgeable and professional.

We also took the opportunity to look at some of the new Cameo models on the lot, but happily, we didn’t see anything we like better than what we have now.

After a short and uneventful drive to our next destination, De Anza Trails RV and Pet Resort in Amado, AZ, we settled in here for 9 days. It’s a pleasant, relatively small park with 82 sites. From 1963 to 1983 this was the site of the Amado Greyhound Race Track. It has a 38,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, way more room than they need. But the new owners (2005) have big plans for the place. They plan a large pull through area, an area just for Class A Motorhomes, and a section where you can purchase your site and install a park model. The drawings look nice, but reality is some empty fields right now. But it will serve our needs until we meet up with our friends next Sunday in Nogales, to head down into Mexico.

Saturday, we drove seven miles south to the artists’ community of Tubac, for their annual Festival of the Arts. It is a high quality juried art fair with a decidedly southwest flavor (of course :). I saw lots of things I liked, but alas, we RVer’s have no place to put anything. I did see some very nice jewelry, but I can’t really justify new purchases, when I’ve only begun to wear what I have again. Besides, I’m sure I will see more great jewelry while we’re in Mexico.

Speaking of Mexico, we decided to make appointments to have our teeth cleaned in Nogales, Mexico, this week. Our traveling buddies, Doug, JoAnn, Ellie and Jim all had teeth cleaned and dental work done there last week. They really liked their dentist, so we decided to see the same one, and get caught up on our dental hygiene which is way overdue for both of us. (Thanks for being the guinea pigs guys :)

We’ll probably do some birding while we are here, and I’ll make another visit to Tubac to see the regular artist studios and galleries after the festival closes. The weather here has been awesome. I’ve been whining about cold weather so long, I won’t bore you with more whining, this time about the heat! Our thermometer registered over 80 yesterday, and it is another bright sunny hot day again today. Finally, what we have come to Arizona for! Shorts and sandals at last.

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