This Tuesday, I am switching from a music list to a Top 10 I wrote to
convince my friends and family to come visit me. Now I am posting it as a reminder to stay strong and survive the coming inferno.
Tucson is one of the Top 5 Least at Risk for a National Disaster cities in the US. And so what if sometimes you can’t see more than 10 feet in front you thanks to a giant wall of dust? Everyone knows that God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt. Although apparently it hurts me to such an extent that my doctor is now recommending allergy shots because dust + my body = epic disaster. But you know, very few national disasters. Yay!!
3 words: Amazing Mexican Food.
More than 350 days of Vitamin D rich sunshine a year. THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY!!! And if you are only coming for a visit, the high rates of skin cancer are nothing to worry about. Just pack your sunglasses and sunscreen.
Location! Location! Location! Want to make Tucson part of a bigger trip? Tucson is just hours from the Grand Canyon, 2 hours from the vast Phoenix conglomerate (Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Anthem, Chandler, Gilbert, Flagstaff, Apache Junction, Peoria, etc.), 6 hours from San Diego, 4 hours from Rocky Point, Mexico (favored beach getaway of locals), 2 hours from the infamous Mexican border (enough distance to keep me safe, but close enough for you to evade the authorities if you knock over a bank while you are here), and 1 hour and 6 minutes from THE THING which is stored in an odd and somewhat creepy shed out behind a combination gas station/Dairy Queen in the middle of nowhere.
Interact with mountain lions! This is a true story: I once took a visitor walking at Sabino Canyon and on the way there I jokingly told the visitor about how there all these signs in Sabino Canyon warning visitors about potential dangers. (Mountain Lions! Snakes! Falling Rock! Flash Floods!) And then I gave her tips on what to do if she saw a mountain lion. (Make yourself look taller. Make loud noises. DO NOT RUN!) I thought all this chit chat was HIGHLY amusing. That is, until we got to Sabino Canyon and the ranger stopped us as we were pulling in to the parking lot to let us know of the HIGH LEVEL of mountain lion activity and to give us tips on how not to get eaten. (Make yourself look taller. Make loud noises. Maintain eye contact with the savage beast. Stand shoulder to shoulder. DO NOT RUN!). The visitor in my passenger seat almost fainted as I merrily continued to the parking lot and pronounced that we would definitely still be walking. In my defense, mountain lions are not generally spotted on the paved walking path. You need to go on the hiking trails for that kind of thing. But I strongly recommend the hiking trails. Nothing gets your blood and adrenaline pumping like a near death experience or a good ole fashioned javelina goring.
Creepy-crawly type things. Tucson is a natural habitat for tarantulas, black widow spiders, as well as a wide variety of snakes and lizards.
Saguaro Cactus. The Sonoran Desert, which Tucson is in, is the exclusive home of the iconic Saguaro Cactus. And I like to force all of my visitors to take a picture where it looks like they are hugging one. It’s funny because if you actually hugged one, you would definitely end up in the emergency room. Also, if one of the arms of the cactus fell off and hit you in the head you would die because they are very heavy. All of the nature in and around Tucson is designed to kill you or at the very least tell you to KEEP OUT! And RESPECT BOUNDARIES! And yet, Tucson is still populated by over a million extremely dense people that just can’t take nature’s not so subtle hints. It’s an entire city of people that would make extremely bad exes. So, you know, don’t come visit if you are looking for love. Doomed to end badly.
Fine tune your driving skills. Remember that one time that little old lady who could not see over the steering wheel ran into your house? Well guess what!? They did not revoke her license. They just relocated her to Tucson so that she could drive around with all of her fellow house smashing friends. Also, U-Turns are not only legal, they are a necessary part of navigating Tucson.
Starry skies. I once heard that people that visit Tucson in some sort of official capacity are flown in at night because from the sky, Tucson looks really stinking ugly and unappealing during the day. Night is an entirely different story. In an effort to support local astronomical activity, Tucson has a very strong light pollution ordinance. The result? Beautiful starry skies can be viewed from anywhere in the city, nearby mountain vistas offer beautiful views of city lights below and starry skies above, and if you are a really serious stargazer, Kitt Peak National Observatory offers views of planets and distant galaxies.
Something for everyone! Golf? Wine Tasting? Craft Beer Drinking? Eating? Shopping? Outdoor activities? Spending $1.50 to go see movies at the “cheap seats” on a Tuesday night? Tucson has got it all! And by all, I mean actually not all at all.