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A wandering day in Arizona


Yesterday I went to the Biosphere 2, which is near Tucson, Arizona, south of Phoenix. And yes, I loved seeing it, and was amazed at it, and I could go on and on, but I won't. I recommend that you go see it. It's open to the public, it costs about twenty bucks admission, and there are regular tours through it all of the time, so you can just stop in. And while I'm glad to have seen it, when I look back at yesterday, it was only a part of it. Yesterday was a wandering day.

I learned the phrase "A wandering day" from my friend who drove. Like most of the people I've known all of my life, he's very busy with the new job, and repairs to the house, and a thousand other things. And while we've talked about going to the Biosphere 2 for years (we're both "plant guys"), it just seemed as if it was always being put off "until tomorrow".

But we finally made it happen. On Friday we went to Apache Junction and stayed with a friend who owns a spectacular place there, drank some beers on his patio under the stars, and in the morning headed south.

The Biosphere 2 really isn't all that far from Apache Junction, and the road we took to it, Arizona State Route 79, is much more interesting than the freeway. But the trip back was even better. We wandered.

We put the San Pedro River on our left. The San Pedro is riparian, like all "rivers" in Phoenix (I grew up next to the Mississippi River, so to me rivers are things that always have water in them), and while you really can't see "the river", you know it's there as all along it there are cottonwoods, amazingly green showing the way.

We wandered through Mammoth, Dudleyville (although I think I blinked and missed that one), then to Winkelman, and Kearny. We stopped to read historic markers. In Kearny we stopped for a burger and onion rings at Buzzy's Drive In (you gotta know where it is, the sign is old and faded). Then up near Ray, Arizona we stopped to look at the mine. There's a visitor's entrance with a lookout, and it's just amazing to see. After wandering through Superior, which was having a big event, we turned west, and then stopped for coffee at Queen Valley. And we wandered.

Eventually I was back home in Glendale, and this morning I'm playing back in my mind all of the places that I saw in the last two days. These are the places that I've always wanted to see, for no apparent reason. And those are the memories that make me a wealthy soul.

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