The Road To Tucson

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Interstate 8 to Tucson.  The big landmarks of the California desert may be windmills...
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...and Indian Casinos...
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...and things named in honor of Sonny Bono, but gardening has educated my eyes to the plants along the way, and to the mark that artificial irrigation makes on the land.  Green fields with dry brown hills beyond recall the orange crate labels of the first half of the twentieth century.  
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Water makes land that normally looks like this...Photobucket 
...or like this...
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...into this...
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...and this...
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Along the way we saw date palms, with the valuable date clusters protected from birds by cloth bags:
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These though were unprotected:
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Palms were celebrated in the hardscrabble town of Brawley nearby:
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The local cell phone towers were disguised as palms...
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Though the local ornamental palms looked sad.
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These were a little better.
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Colorado River water makes agriculture possible here. 
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We passed the Salton Sea, which was created when someone accidentally rerouted the Colorado river for a few months.  It's been slowly drying up ever since.
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We approached Arizona.  Not far from the Interstate the big fence built at the border is visible as a rippling black ribbon across the land:
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There is the Arizona Canal, which brings more Colorado water to this area.
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We crossed the mighty Colorado into Arizona, but at this point, all it has become is a small water treatment plant.
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Stopping for lunch and gasoline,  we noted that bad plant maintenance is the same here as at home.  Trim it into a globe.  
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Or an odd misshapen rectangle:
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The Ocotillo in front of a burger stand had died...
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...despite a drip irrigation system:
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Cereus and Hesperaloe looked good:
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The Cereus was about to bloom:
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The plant itself looked hard-grown:
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This Callindria was sharing its dripper with a large weed:
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All these trees are the same species.  The ones on the far left are their natural shape.  Someone meat-balled the ones in the center of the photo:
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An Agave and more green meatballs in front of the restaurant.  At least it wasn't lawn
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We traveled on and Arizona began to reveal itself as a land of granite hills.
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Tucson is enclosed by granite mountains and hills.  Our hotel welcomed us with the beautiful colors of Opuntia violacaea...
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And the warm glow of Opuntia microdaysis...
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The view from our room showed us the beauty of Tucson as the sun set.  We had arrived. 
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Comments

  1. That last photo says it all, doesn't it.

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    Replies
    1. The whole world just glowed at that moment.

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  2. I love roadtrips, the best part is the variety of plants. Enjoyed your rest stop plant critiquing, what a nice globe. Have fun and thanks for letting us tag along.

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    1. Road trips, yes! Not enough of them lately.

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  3. I love a road trip! The date palms reminded me of the one of the best milkshakes ever, a date shake we enjoyed north of Joshua Tree. And the beautiful late afternoon light is what I remember best about Tucson.

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    1. Date milkshakes were once a feature of the So Cal road trip; that's all disappeared now. The olden days of the 70's!

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