Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Perfect Day

One of our daughters and her husband have been visiting us for Christmas. She expressed an interest in visiting some of her and our favorite haunts in Southern Arizona, also known as God's Country. So a couple of days ago my wife and I, our daughter, The Old White Haired guy and his wife packed up and took a trip. It was a beautiful day, 70's, bright blue sky. Unfortunately our son in law was not feeling well and didn't go with us. We left about 0830 and drove east on US 60 to Florence Junction where we turned south on a state highway to Florence. We continued south from Florence to Oracle Junction and then to Tucson. This road is a nice two lane paved highway, with a lot of desert scenery—mountains, saguaros, ironwood, palo verde and mesquite trees. On I-10 all you see is trucks and road construction. The Florence highway is much pleasanter, but slightly longer in time. Florence is the home of the State prison; Oracle Junction had a restaurant that reputedly sold horse meat back in the day. Anyway, at Tucson we got on I-19 and drove to Nogales.

There is a restaurant in Nogales, Arizona called Zula's. Zula's was founded in 1950 by a Greek family. I remember going there with my Dad in the early 50's. We got there just in time for lunch—clever planning, eh? They serve American, Greek and Mexican food—all good. But their claim to fame is home made apple pie served with a hot cinnamon sauce and, if you desire, a la mode. Which of course we did. After lunch we waddled out to the car and drove to Tumacacori, which is about 18 miles north of Nogales( see blog entry of April 16, 2011).

There is an arched window, no glass, in the museum just before you walk to the mission. I have used that arch as a frame before and wanted another shot through it, this time with blue sky. Imagine my horror when we opened the door to that room and saw a blue scissors lift and a green golf cart in front of the main door of the mission. Plus two workmen.

We milled around the museum for awhile, me casting aspersions on the workmen's ancestry for many generations, until—miracle of miracles—they packed up and left. I got my photo and we walked in and around the mission and the mission garden.

The photo below was taken with a cloudy sky. Which one do you like best?

Our next stop was Tubac, a few miles north of Tumacacori. Tubac was a Spanish/Mexican presidio at one time and has a state park there at the site of the presidio. In recent years it has become an art colony. There is an import store, La Paloma de Tubac, with wonderful pots, etc. from Mexico and other parts of Central and South America. The OWH bought a couple of nice pots for his newly tiled patio; we bought a small sort of jar and a few other things. Great fun.The photo below is of the jar we bought. It is about six inches high.

We then continued north to San Xavier del Bac, a still working mission just south of Tucson( see blog entry of January 22, 2010). The inside was still decorated for Christmas, the day being 5 January and Epiphany being 6 January. I hadn't brought my tripod with me because I was concerned about room in the car re pots, etc and I expected the church to be too crowded. Oh, well. I cranked up the ISO to 2500 and hand held as best I could. I think my Sony a900 responded pretty well. What do you think?
Below are two photos of the main altar area.

This Nativity was in a side chapel.

Side door.


I also took a few exterior shots as the sun was sinking towards the horizon.

We headed for Tucson about 445 PM and found our way to the best Mexican restaurant anywhere. Well, at least in Arizona—Molina's Midway, on Belvedere just north of Speedway. I hate to think how long I've been going there but I used to know some of the family that own it. The ones I knew are all gone now, I think. We had carne seca gorditas, chalupas and green corn tamales. For the uninitiated a gordita is a large thick corn meal tortilla. A carne seca gordita has carne seca, lettuce and cheese piled on top. Chalupas are gorditas folded up taco style with whatever as a filling. Absolutely marvelous! Molina's also make green corn tamales, but only when they can get fresh tender white corn. Usually they put a sign up when they have green corns. This day no sign, but I asked anyway. They had green corns! Another miracle! Molina's are the best green corn tamales ever! I don't even bother with them at any other restaurant. We made them ourselves a couple of times—time consuming, mixed results. Molina's—carne seca gordita and green corn tamales—I thought I'd died and passed on to a far better place than I deserved. When we finished eating we came back to earth and drove back to Mesa. Good food, good weather, good sights, shared with great people. A perfect day!