Friday, May 8, 2009

Mt. Lemmon in Arizona

Nathan is gracing us with his rare and lively blog post today: Austin and I took a trip together today in search of a trombone and Mt. Lemmon.In the search for today's perfect instrument, Austin has decided to venture into the brass instruments therefore following the footsteps of his brother and myself. He has found an instrument on Craigslist for $50 that has some miles, and taken it's last two owners to college on full scholarships. Now I've tried to tell him I never advanced much beyond wild elephant calls with my French Horn, but he does know his brother is quite accomplished with the trumpet so he's determined to conquer the beast. We saw a fantastic Trombone player in New Orleans so I think that helped him make his selection.

To fund his musical exploits and due to space limitations, he has to recycle some other instrument. This is normally accomplished through the magic of Craigslist and his personal sales approach, not necessarily pushy, but tenacious. However this time, the guitar in question was still under a trial warranty, and unique enough to not appeal to the masses, lets just say it was called the rodeo cowboy.However, the box has been ditched, so getting it back to the store was going to require a UPS packaging store. Austin thought this should cost at most $20, but having used these places before, my estimates were a little higher. The tenacious part makes it impractical to try to tell Austin that, plus all these things were more or less on our way to Mt Lemmon, wherever that was. Our GPS refused to find any of the "towns" that were supposed to be on the road to Mt. Lemmon.

After visiting the first non-existent UPS store thanks Lola (it really is time for an update), we finally found one on the second try. After asking about the box about 3x and measuring the guitar about 43x and having every working employee look at the guitar, and of course measure it again. They finally arrived at the low low price of $89 box and return the guitar on the slow train. Unfortunately Austin only paid $69 for the guitar, so this was not such a good deal. However he is very good at selling things, and I hated to waste the trip, so we decided to do a little advance so that the Trombone in question could still be acquired.

On to Mt. Lemmon! The first person I asked knew where Mt. Lemmon was and pointed us in the right direction, so we were off. The mountains around Tuscon are pretty dramatic, rising about 7000 feet above the desert/valley floor. As we approached the mountain the cactus and other desert plant life became much more dense. There are some beautiful, expensive houses perched low along the mountain wall, some in quite interesting ways. The climb up the mountain is very quick. It was interesting to me that you can see the mountains more clearly from the valley than the valley from the mountains. There just seems to be much more haze looking down on Tuscon. The rock formations and views along the road climbing up the mountain are quite dramatic. Also amazing how much the temperature and plant life changed on the way to the top. About 4000 feet Austin is starting to get nervous. We stopped at various locations going up the mountain to take pictures and enjoy the views. There is a really cool overlook about half way between 6000 and 7000 feet where we got out to explore, and walk along the ridge. The views of the valley were awesome, and the rock formations including the one of Nixon were very interesting. I was talking with Austin about these and realized partway through the conversation that he thought these along with all the balanced rock were man made sculptures, not natural features. So while many do look quite purposeful and unlikely, I got to explain how some of these happen, including balanced boulders. At 6500 feet Austin decided we were quite high enough, and that if I wanted to climb any higher I would be doing so on my own, so we headed back down the mountain.

A quick trip to pickup the Trombone, and back home to the RV for the initial practice sessions. Wonder if there is some version of the "I'm not going any higher" argument I can use in relationship to the new Trombone. The good news is we are not in Africa.


laurie l. goodman said...

Great shots and commentary...I'm so glad you got to go...We loved it- as I mentioned :)