|Sunset in Tucson (photo by Yvonne Condes)
I love Tucson in the winter. It’s crisp and cold and the desert is quiet and beautiful. It’s been years since my husband and I have taken the kids to spend Christmas there so this year we packed the car and made the 8-hour road trip from Los Angeles.
The car in question was graciously provided by Ford. We borrowed a Lincoln MKT for a week and put about 1,200 miles on it. It was a fabulous roadtrip car. It was roomy and luxurious with leather seats and so much leg room.
We were able to pack two kids, 5 suitcases, Christmas presents, blankets, and pillows and we could still see out of the back of the car. Once we got to Tucson and unpacked the car, we could fit 2 more people once we put up the seats in the third row.
My favorite features in this car-full-of-cool-features were the built in cooler that we used for cheese sticks, sodas, and water, and also the AC outlet that I used to run and charge my laptop while we were driving. I didn’t use the laptop while I was driving, but it was great for the passenger. The only thing I didn’t like about the Lincoln was the gas mileage. We got 21 miles per gallon on the highway, which seems good for a vehicle of this size, but less than we were hoping for. It drove wonderfully and we loved the GPS telling us how far we had to go.
It was interesting to get to use all of the new technology and safety features that are available in new cars these days. The Lincoln had adaptive cruise control that would automatically slow down in traffic. In normal driving, if the car sensed that we were approaching something too rapidly an alarm would go off to warn us to brake quickly. When backing up, not only was there a rear camera, but an alarm would sound if we were getting too close to something. And then there was the mood lighting. The interior accent lights could be changed to a variety of fun colors.
The cars features combined with my kids’ good moods and lack of traffic made for the best drive to Tucson I’ve ever had. We left late morning from West LA and arrived at Loews Ventana Canyon in the early evening. We got a great deal on the hotel and had a fabulous time there. The first night an astronomer had set up a telescope and allowed guests to look at the stars while she gave a talk. Weeks earlier, the hotel had a gingerbread making party and decorated the gingerbread men that stood guard around the gingerbread replica of the San Xavier del Bac Mission in the lobby.
After a day visiting with friends, we took the kids to my favorite place in Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The desert zoo has outdoor walking trails where you can see coyote, mountain lions, javelina, gila monsters, and hawks in their natural habitat. I think we did the entire 2 miles of desert path while we were there. The Raptor Free Flight was amazing. We watched as group of hawks flew from cactus to cactus and then swooped down and attacked and ate an animal on the ground.
On Christmas Eve, we packed up and headed to my brother’s house. But first we stopped at the DeGrazia Gallery of the Sun. DeGrazia was a Tucson artist that interned for Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco and became well-known in the late 50s after Unicef chose one of his paintings for a worldwide holiday card. The picture below is from the chapel next to the gallery.
|A mural in DeGrazia’s Chapel at the Gallery of the Sun
in Tucson, Arizona
On our last day before we left Tucson, we visited Nogales, Arizona to see more family. I haven’t been there in years and I was saddened to learn that my late Aunt Tita’s house had been torn down . It was beautiful and old and spooky and I wish it were still there so I could show it to my kids. We were able to see my late grandmother’s house from the outside and the old church that we would visit on Christmas Day.
Then we packed up the Lincoln and headed back to Tucson. It was a really wonderful trip and in a very sweet ride.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but I was loaned a Lincoln MKT for a week.