Wednesday, February 12, 2014


With the Gordon Lightfoot concert having come and gone we were back on the road Sunday morning - picking up where we left off two weeks previously.

Arizona bound. Hot temperatures here we come!

 Heading north on Interstate 10 towards Las Cruces. Back into New Mexico. 

At Las Cruces we continued west towards Deming. Not one of our favourite routes. After lower Wyoming I think this is the windiest ride in the USA. It was windy Sunday and it was windy two years ago when we came through. I didn't take many pictures today - you can see some here though. 

A few hours later pushing into the wind and we arrived in Lordsburg - a gas stop. Since we had pulled off at the same exit as the New Mexico Visitor Info we headed over there for lunch and wifi. Not in a hurry we stayed for an hour or so. 

We weren't really expecting to be visiting Arizona this winter. Our plan was to travel north through western Colorado - a route we have never taken. Unfortunately that will have to wait until next fall - we are too far ahead of schedule to be heading north through the mountains right now. Plus we have a chill in our bones from our cold winter to warm up from. Arizona and California is where the warmth is and so it is where the Wood Clan is headed.

Nice ride into Arizona and a little less wind. 

Just after this is where we ran into a problem. Right after Bowie the van made a chug chug sound and stalled - literally on the Interstate - Derek had just enough time to pull onto the shoulder. He tried over and over to start it up again to no avail. No overheating or other signs - obviously a fuel delivery problem. Hmmm…. Has our new fuel pump called it quits?

Would we need a tow?

After checking all that he could - we just sat and waited. Finally after about an hour Derek tried to start the van up again and it worked - and it stayed running - for 19 miles up the road. 

Chug - chug - stall. 

We waited another half hour or so and it started up again. 

We were pretty happy to see an AutoZone just off the Interstate in Wilcox. 

After talking with the guys in the shop and another fellow (a mechanic) changing his fuel filter in the parking lot we thought that that was our problem as well. Nice that Derek could change it himself. 

By this time is was after 5:00 pm - the parking lot was going to be our overnight spot. 

The van behind us is a fellow from California. He needed a new fuel pump. Unfortunately, he had to drop his fuel tank to do that. Nice that the mechanic stayed to help him do the job. 

Since Hraefn started up and sounded good the next morning we assumed that our problem was fixed and continued west. We were surprised at how much better he was doing - the fuel filter must have been a problem for a while. Something we should have been on top of ourselves.

A close up of the rocks from the previous picture - there is a nice rest area between Wilcox and Benson - we stopped for breakfast.

A good ride all the way to Tucson - as the elevation dropped the temperature outside rose. 

We had planned to be in Tucson on Sunday which became Monday instead - we pulled into the downtown just after lunch.

There were two breweries within the downtown area that we had decided to visit. One - Barrio - was a little out of downtown so we decided to park there and do the rest on foot.

Barrio Brewing Co. is in a very cool building - second in building design to Tao Mesa Brewing Co.'s airplane hanger.

We really like the industrial look - keeps the brew pub from being to formal looking. We were going to head to downtown first but we took a look around. 

Looking forward to trying the Porter and Stout.

The good thing about our plan to walk the rest of the way into Tucson's downtown is that we walked through a lovely historic neighbourhood - the Armory Park District. 

We could live here…...

Finally! Flowers! And if we are in the place where grapefruits are growing in early February we are definitely in the right place! 

As our path led us right to the Thunder Canyon Brewery we stopped in there too. Still too early - we'll be back for Happy Hour.

Heading down Broadway Blvd. It and Congress Street are the two main arteries in the downtown with lots of shops and restaurants.

Love all the blue - green tile going up on this high rise.

With some history just across the street.

Look who was here before we were!

We stopped in at the Tucson Visitor Center as well - colourful!

Looks inviting in this heat.

We wandered over to the very old part of the town to the north - the location of the original walled Presidio - the El Presidio Historic District.

Part of the area is now a plaza. 

At the corner of Alameda St. and Church Ave there is a little park with a log palisade and an adobe wall in the background.

Nice to see some of the original in a modern city.

Just down the street from there is a complex with shops.

I didn't really catch it but the sun was hitting all of the chimes - lights were dancing everywhere.

Enjoying looking at the koi and turtles in the central pond.

Loving all of the flowers and plants along the way. We can't remember what this one is but it smells like candy.

Back along Congress St. now heading back to Thunder Canyon.

But first a stop to get Cassia some ice cream. We had searched everywhere until someone told us about the Hub - a boutique ice cream shop.

And this happen' looking place a few doors down. 

Pretty wide eyed….

And after a few more shots of crazy faces finally a smile!

As we were waiting for Cassia to eat I took this picture of the historic Hotel Congress - and look what else! The timing of it all! Dragoon Brewing Company - we'll have to wait for next time to visit more Tucson breweries. 

The back of the Playground - pretty neat.

Tucson now has an electric bus - amazing - what is old is new again I guess.

After all that walking in the heat we were happy to return to Thunder Canyon Brewery for some food and beer. We chose six beers for our flight - since they also have guest breweries we chose a few from Thunder Canyon plus a few others. We tried the Orange U Glad, Dark Lightening Stout and Bees n' Berry from TCB plus Scout Porter from Dragoon, Prickly Pear Wheat from Borderlands Brewery (also in Tucson) and Oak Creek Cherry Chocolate Porter from Oak Creek Brewing Co. in Sedona. Once she saw that we preferred the stouts and porters, our very friendly server, Sara brought us a sample of the Starry Night Stout from Grand Canyon Brewing Co.

Although we go in for dark beers, we both really enjoyed the Orange U Glad an orange infused wheat beer - perfect combo and a strong orange taste that was nice. 

The Bees n' Beer was also nice - a light ale brewed with blackberries and honey and I liked the Prickly Pear Wheat. But in the end Thunder Canyon's Dark Lightening Stout was our favourite.

Awesome pretzels and wings too - nice that all the appetizers were half price. Some thing about pretzels go perfect with beer for me.

Thanks again for the great service and conversation Sara! 

After that we continued back to the van - we took a different street through the Amory Park District.

We came across this quaint area of the neighbourhood. Strips of new houses with back lane garages with a side walk along the fronts. A perfect design in our opinion. Why aren't these more common in cities?

LOVED all the colours and housing styles.

Back at the van we rested for a bit and had dinner - then onto our second brewery of the day.

From Barrio Brewing Company we chose the Nolan's Porter, the Mocha Java Stout and the Beardown Brown. Now, here's the thing - we had read on the website that if the railway crossing arms go down the pints are $1 off. If you can believe it, while we were waiting for the waitress to come take our order the train came! So - Derek rushed off to put in our order - that is why we ordered three at one time. 

We visited with a local couple - Chip and Lisa for a while and had a really nice time. Not too late though - we were back at the van by 8:30pm.

So, that is how our day went. Similar to El Paso - we decided to go into a large city that we previously only knew by driving through. One of the things we really like about visiting all these craft breweries (beside trying all this great beer of course) is that it gets us into the heart of some large cities. We are finding that we are quite liking these urban visits. 

We liked Tucson so much that if we decide to travel less during our winters south and instead find a place to rent, this city is first on the list. 

Thanks Tucson - we'll be back!

Sittin' here pretty warm in Gila Bend!


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  1. Thanks again for another city tour. Us country folk try to avoid cities at all cost, just enjoy different parts of the country and smaller town. Guess we do miss some stuff, but you taking us there. And Suzie not a craft brewery type of person, Just boring light beers. At least its cold and refreshing.

  2. I barely remember wandering that area when my folks retired there...but you brought back some memories. Something so sweet about the small adobe homes I love. Lets buy a couple and be neighbors. First flower...lantana I think spelled right, is my favorite flower. And now I want a homemade pretzel and a stout! Nice tour...

  3. Looks like your van troubles are solved. Bad gas? I thought that was only a myth about Mexico!!! Great pics of Dad and Cassia. Where are you Teresa? We are looking forward to our trip heading out West first and then north.

  4. Love love love Arizona!! Glad you got off with just a fuel filter......could have been so bad.....

    Safe Travels............

  5. Good luck to you on your travels. Lovely shots.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.


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