Home On The Range

I’m not a desert person. The closest thing to a desert that I enjoy is “Desert Moon” by Dennis DeYoung. But for many folks, the old west (and the new west) holds a certain fascination. My youngest aunt would love nothing more than to climb up hot, dirty rocks in oppressive heat, surrounded by cacti and reptiles that want to kill her, till the cows come home.

No, gracias.

All images from “Way Out West” by the Sterns

I know I’m known for not getting it, but I can see the allure of this image: the mesmerizing fire, Lassie shaking hands with Old Shep, some Hawaiian guy wearing an aloha shirt (why?), the chuck wagon, Alice from “The Brady Brunch” available to stoke the fire. But sitting in dirt? Pass.

Who wants to sit in dirt? Do you really think this family is enjoying sitting in dirt in this God-awful stretch of Tucson? The six-pack of soda is already hot. The ants are halfway up the watermelon rinds. Little Suzy has a rattler not five inches from her sandals. Are there no picnic benches in Tucson? I can already feel my underwire getting sweaty. This looks miserable.

Modern-day tourist sites use this image to try to lure you into the Sonoran Desert.

Tucson Today

While I agree that rainbows are pretty, we have them here twice a year when it rains. I would think treehuggers would avoid this area at all costs. Oak trees, cottonwoods, magnolias–all huggable. Cacti not so much. Mesquite and scrub brush? Not so fun. But again–to each her own. I contend I would definitely enjoy the LOW HUMIDITY.

Finally–the sun has set! Sunrise, sunburn, sunset repeat. Fortunately, this cowgirl gets to sit on a blanket to enjoy her Coke under the full moon. And maybe the elder cowhand can scooch so she can have some alone time with young Hank. Can’t you just see them ripping their scarves off and tossing them into the arid night?

Maybe all this makes you want to saddle up a bronc or throw your chaps and spurs on, but all it makes me want to do is stop by the local 7-11 to take advantage of their 2 for $3 Gatorade special. It’s all so dehydrating.


Places To Go, People To See, Part II

I thought Arizona was a desert, but I hear it’s flooding right now.


When I think of Arizona, I don’t think of lush, verdant fields and crops, much less apple trees. But that’s only because they never showed that on episodes of Alice, set in Phoenix in the 1970s.


This, however, is just as I imagine New Mexico would be, assuming both the feather-spangled Indian/Native American and conquistador are ethereal ghosts of the pasts.


Speaking of deserts in 1950s travel brochures, this, of course, was Vegas and poolside ping pong. But if you prefer to stay dry…


Are you up for a ghost town visit? It looks dusty and hot. And what about the Chinese Joss House? Have you ever heard of such a thing?


But this Ramona Room I could do. Happy hour drink specials? Air-conditioning? Tropical dancing and serenading? That I could definitely do.

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