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Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

Sanibel Island...
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Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

We'll be spending only a short two nights in Tucson and are thinking about the following itinerary. We are not as interested in city life as we are desert/ some history. Here's the first draft:

Day One

Arrive (hopefully) 3:45pm TUS; get car. Take drive to Saguaro NP west for short drive and watch sunset. Check into Windmill Inn and have dinner (where? suggestions please)

Day Two

Get up early (we'll still be on Eastern Daylight Time)- go to Sonoran Museum for 8am interpretive tour and stay through lunch. Drive to Tombstone for a quick walkabout (don't need to see reenactments) and then on to Bisbee for the late afternoon before returning to Tuscon. Dinner either in Bisbee or Tucson or somewhere in between (suggestions?)

Next morning we head to Sedona- I'm thinking of going via Globe and the Tonto National Forest...

Is this doable? Anything else we should consider?

Thanks!

Marina, California
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1. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

When are you coming?

> Take drive to Saguaro NP west for short drive and watch sunset.

The sunset spot is actually Gates Pass, which is in Tucson Mountain Park. Not trying to get annoyingly technical about it, but you don't drive to SNP to get there, you just drive towards it.

Edit: sunset possibility also depends on when you're coming. We don't do DST, but the sun still sets close to 7pm in the summer. Getting the car around 4 then waiting for over 2 hours for the sun to set may not work. Why not eat something, then go to see the sunset? If you're on East Coast time, you'll probably hungry by then anyway, and that would open up your options for dinner quite a bit.

> Check into Windmill Inn and have dinner (where? suggestions please)

First night, I would go with something close. Zinburger is right there across the street (caddy-corner, actually) whereas the Vivace pizza place is right there next door to the hotel practically. These aren't in my personal Top 25 for Tucson restaurants, but I doubt you'll want to make a big production out of it after traveling so far and for so long. But they're relatively inexpensive (~$12/person) and the food is pretty good.

> Drive to Tombstone for a quick walkabout

C'mon... Tombstone? What about a day in Tucson? Our city isn't just the Desert Museum. If you really, really want to see Tombstone and Bisbee, I guess you could do this, but you won't be getting to see Tucson hardly at all. Just driving through it. Not to mention having very little time at both Tombstone and Bisbee. Plus, you're going to be on the road all day the following day, so why do this to yourself?

> I'm thinking of going via Globe and the Tonto National Forest...

This is a very pretty drive but it will add at least two hours. I don't know what else you have going on after this, but I have the feeling you're not spending as much time in Sedona as you should already, so it may be best to just get there. On the other hand, taking 77 through Globe allows you to avoid Phoenix completely, which is a big plus.

Edited: 08 May 2011, 16:28
vcv
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2. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

I recently spent 2 weeks in the Tucson area (my first visit). Although Tombstone was interesting, Tucson itself has so much to offer that I agree with ColinAZ that your short time might be better spent in the city and at the Desert Museum and SNP. Even 10 days in the city weren't enough for us to see everything we'd planned.

Take a look at this excellent website for ideas for many activities:

http://www.mikepintucson.blogspot.com/

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

Hey, vcv,

Thanks for plugging my list of things to see and do around Tucson.

I definitely agree, with only two days (really just one day), skip Tombstone. After the Desert Museum, drive down to San Xavier del Bac Mission, maybe having lunch of an indian fry bread taco. If you are interested in history, visit the Arizona State Museum, on campus, and the Arizona Historical Society Museum just west of campus. Dinner at El Corral Mexican restaurant downtown (very close to campus). Order the carne seca plate.

If it is a clear, no clouds, day when you arrive, you won't get much of a sunset, so you could skip driving out to Gates Pass for that. And if your flight arrives at 3:45PM, it will probably be around 5:30 PM when you get to your hotel. I suggest having dinner at El Corral on River Road. It is less than a mile away.

Edited: 08 May 2011, 19:58
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4. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

Since your hotel (Windmill Inn) is in the eastern part of the city, why not drive up the Catalina highway to the major overlook (senior citizen moment, can't think of its name!) and watch the sunset from there? The Catalina Highway is a toll road, but worth the toll. If you are a Sr. citizen and have a Golden eaghle Pass, it takes care of the toll.

Tucson, Arizona
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5. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

I think Mike P actually meant El Charro (not El Corral) downtown.

I have to agree with others that the trip to Tombstone/Bisbee just isn't worth it for such a short stay. I also agree that the extra time it would take to go to Sedona through Globe really is not that well spent. The Tonto National Forest is not "forest" as most people think of it. The scenery is OK, but not worth the extra time IMO - I'd rather have the extra time in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

Lots of restaurants within walking distance of the Windmill Inn. Colin has given some good suggestions, but there are others like P.F. Changs and El Corral (great prime rib).

Edited: 09 May 2011, 00:14
Tucson, Arizona
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6. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

"I think Mike P actually meant El Charro (not El Corral) downtown."

Thanks for the correction. It is El Charro that I meant.

Sunset at Windy Point (I think that is what Treplow was thinking of) is a good idea. But then you need to drive back down an unfamiliar mountain road in the dark. And, although there is a fee for Mt. Lemmon, you don't need to pay it if you are only stopping at the viewpoints or at the top.

During the Summer, June and July, the sun sets in Tucson around 7:30PM. I think the latest is 7:35 PM at the end of June.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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7. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

I agree that you are probably trying to do too much on the second day with a trip to Tombstone and Bisbee. San Xavier would be a nice alternative. We used to live within a block of the Windmill, and the view of the sunsets from that area were spectacular. The area has built up quite a bit, but if you have a good view of the Tucson Mountains you should get an excellent show.

The drive through Globe and Tonto National Forest will provide lots of scenery, but be aware it will be a hard day of driving. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. From Globe, you can go to Roosevelt Lake, then Payson and then the back way into the Verde Valley and Sedona.

Depending on how much time you have in Sedona, you can make a run over to Jerome. It's an old mining town with as much atmosphere as Bisbee, and, from Sedona, it would not be as far a drive as Bisbee is from Tucson.

Sanibel Island...
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8. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

Thanks all for the feedback. I think we will be cutting out the day trip and spend more time at the museum and NP area and go into town for the evening.

I've been thinking about the White Stallion Ranch as an alternative accommodation since is seems closer to the museum being on the west side and perhaps a nice way to settle in for the first night.

Thanks for the tip on Jerome- I'll look into it. We are staying four nights in Sedona and so the trip there doesn't need to be a rush- thought about checking out the Tonto Monument to break up the drive. According to Google maps it added about 90 minutes so it seems worth it.

Tucson, Arizona
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9. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

If you want something very close to the Desert Museum, you might want to consider Cat Mountain Lodge. I don't know of anyone who has stayed there, I just heard about it from a friend who lives in the area:

http://www.catmountainlodge.com/index.html

Sanibel Island...
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10. Re: Short Trip Itinerary- comments please

I did end up booking at the Cat Mountain Lodge. It seemed better suited to our short schedule of Desert Museum, Saguaro West and a night or two in town. The astronomy option was also intriguing.

Thanks for the tips!