My offices were in Phoenix but the airlines were demanding some fairly ridiculous air fares to get between Dallas and the capital of Arizona. Someone in their pricing departments still seem to think that they can try for and get over $1100 for a roundtrip ticket on a flight segment of less than 1,000 miles. Not from me, certainly. Yes, my employer is footing the bill but gone also are the days of taking whatever ticket the corporate travel planner came up with. We each are responsible for planning our own itineraries and with that comes the expectation to be as frugal as possible with the company’s money.
I booked a ticket to Tucson. I was going to be in Arizona for a week so the hotel and car rates weren’t going to change because I chose an alternate way there and back. Yea, I’d pick up at least one extra tank of gas but that would be small potatoes compared to the almost 50% savings I got in the airfare. Moreover, since I’m fairly junior in the ranks of management I know better than to think it is imperative at any cost that I arrive nonstop at my destination. The explorer in me has no problem at all tooling around places I haven’t been before or at least in a good long while and seeing what there is to see so long as I’m on time for work come Monday morning.
The one previous trip to Tucson was over 30 year prior during the Summer of my junior year in high school. One of my 9th grade classmates had moved with his family to Sierra Vista, about an hour and a half south and close to the Mexican border. I was visiting for my 16th birthday from my parents and looked forward to my first visit to the State of Arizona. We toured Old Tucson, the Hollywood film set west of town where exterior shots were filmed for any number of movies as well as the popular television western “Gunsmoke.” We toured Tombstone, site of the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral and also the Desert Museum zoological park.
As a teenager I liked Old Tucson but didn’t see much point in returning as an adult by myself. I was disappointed with Tombstone all those years ago as it was highly commercialized even then and nowhere near to what I would have expected a desert ghost town to be. I knew better than to expect anything else this time around. There were some recently discovered cave complexes east of town but caving was never really a strong interest of mine, especially given the prices they were charging for admission so all of this left me standing at the often ignored tourist kiosk thumbing through high gloss brochures for all manner of ways to spend my time and money in the Greater Tucson area.
I had a day and a half before I needed to be in Phoenix and the entire Sonora Desert to figure out what to see to capture the essence of post card Arizona.