Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

by chelseajin

Fridays off from the clinic beg the question of what to do on a long weekend. I decided to bite the bullet and rent a car to go out to the Desert Museum. After extensive googling of the perfect GPS app, I installed MotionX which had some incredible maps and also offered free voice commands. The only drawback was the lack of updated traffic maps and I was directed into construction zones around the area.

As my friend Julian said, a car is basically freedom. Friday morning was a good time for me to get out since everyone was at school/work and I had the road mostly to myself. I wish I had a mount for the phone so I could have taken some video while I was driving through some mountains because the view was really incredible. The closer to get to the museum, the more wild (rather desert-y) it gets. The road gets narrow and you’re winding around the sides of a mountain without guardrails to keep you in. I imagine if there were snow, it’d be a real death zone. There are signs to share the road with bikes but I had no idea how anyone could bike in the area because there are no rest stops.

I haven’t had to pay much attention to gas usage before, but at a certain point I started freaking out that I wouldn’t have enough to make the return trip (had about 3/8th of the tank). Every time Lady GPS said to continue on the road for another 5 miles, I yelled, “Are you serious?!” thinking the trip would never end. In the end, I was fine, but adrenaline-pumping all the same.

I haven’t had to deal with the Tucson heat for a while since I’ve been inside buildings all day. But once I stepped out, I felt the sun sapping my energy. After a few animals, I walked through the Desert Loop. I never considered the sun a possible traffic factor, but after a few hours, I started wondering why the bench was so far away and I was moving so slowly. I felt a lot better after I sat down and had my lunch and water.

They had a lovely aviary and separate pen for hummingbirds. If I had a speedlight, I think I could have gotten some awesome close-up shots of the hummingbirds in flight. But these guys are so tiny, aggressive, and fast, that it’s pretty difficult to get a clear picture of them. They sound like huge mosquitoes or bees as they whizz past you.

The gift shop was highway robbery, murder, actually. But I did end up getting the obligatory mug and some prickly pear blended tea. I hope I can either go into Nogales, Mexico, or a local natives market to get other prickly pear items at a better price.

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