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Arizona Thanksgiving

Part 4: Pima Air Museum & Thanksgiving Day

I met the Melsons for breakfast the next morning and then went for a hike up the "A Mountain"! I literally thought it was gonna be a hike hike, so I prepared for the worst, but in reality you drove most of the way up and had a tremendous view of Tucson! There was a trail up to the top, and the kids all took the short cut over the lava rocks (and straight up the hill), but Liz and I stayed on the main trail. We eventually made it to the "A", a colorful letter A built by U of A people way back in 1915 or thereabouts, but the trail up was just as dicey, so Liz and I decided to head down to the road. The others eventually made it down and they all found the other trail, but I walked back along the main road because the trail involved a climb up a couple of boulders!

View of South Tucson from the "A" Mountain (downtown Tucson is above)


Floyd and the boys scramble to the top (of course) while Liz and I took the easy trail to the mid-point of the "A".


The "A" from ground level with the Melsons scrambling back down...


Gazebo back at the parking lot at right

Headed over to Liz's neighbors Sue and Jerry’s after that for an absolutely scrumptious Thanksgiving feast!  The next day we went to the Pima Air Museum, and that was quite  fascinating; many veterans were there volunteering and leading tours, and Liz and I ended up chatting with a pilot who was actually captured by the Germans (he wasn’t shot  down, but all his engines failed). That was actually a good thing, because civilians didn’t abide by the Geneva Convention; only the military did! But they were still incarcerated  after the war; evidently the Russians kept them there for awhile, then released them later! Some of those planes were quite fascinating, including the Guppy, which was a cargo  plane.


"Okay, so where do we go first?"    Carwyn goes straight for the flight simulator!    At right, Floyd, Mark, and Liz pose in front of a Lear jet


Liz poses outside Kennedy’s Air Force One, while Bohden poses by his favorite helicopter, the Crane


Floyd and Liz next to a giant seaplane


"No, Carwyn, I don’t care how many times you flew the simulator—you can’t fly that jet back to Goleta!"   

Cactus Wren (token bird)


At left is the "Guppy", a "whale" of a cargo plane!   At right, Floyd checks out the replica of our solar system  imbedded in the sidewalk

We stopped at Wendy’s for lunch (I should have followed Liz’s example and had a salad), then I headed home to crash before meeting the crowd at the motel to carpool to  Metropolitan Grille for dinner with Liz's friend Arlene. Actually, I got waylaid in the parking lot: the bushes were full of little violet flowers that had Marine, Pygmy, Reakirt’s, and  Ceraunus Blues, in addition to both Painted and West Coast Ladies and another Southern Dogface! After tearing myself away from that we headed over to the restaurant,  which was a lot of fun; I had the rack of lamb, so I really stuffed myself that day…

Butterflies hanging around the La Quinta parking lot...


Ceraunus (left) and Western Pygmy Blues


Reakirt's ’s Blue with a chomped wing


Marine Blues


L-R:  Dainty Sulphur, American Snout, and Sleepy Orange



This could be either a Common Checkered or White Checkered Skipper; the only way to tell the difference is through dissection! Other checkered skippers have less pattern on the underwing.


Most of these are Painted Ladies; on the far right is the similar West Coast Lady.  Note the blue "eyes"!


The Southern Dogface gets its name from the "poodle" pattern on the upperside of the wing (although on this individual it looks more human…). Since these butterflies don’t rest with open wings you rarely get to see this pattern unless it’s backlit (center).

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