|Black-necked Stilt and Gull at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR|
Instead of heading back to the I-10 super highway, we headed south along State Route 111 to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR for a little late year birding. We stopped at four different stops along 111. The first three yielded only Eared Grebes as additions to the year list, but after a 1/4 mile walk at the fourth spot we hit birdy pay dirt: Snowy Plover, Bonaparte's Gull, and Least Sandpiper. These put me at 262 species for the year...just 3 shy of beating the 2007 record and still 3 days left in the year.
|Sandpiper sp. Western? Least?|
|A typical multi-species pond scene at the Salton Sea|
It seemed to take forever to get to Tucson. I-8 seemed like such a mistake. We didn't get into town until almost 9 p.m., but little did we know that it was actually a very fortunate choice as there was a huge accident on I-10 above Casa Grande that had traffic backed up for hours almost into Phoenix, so yay for us! We headed directly for Yoshimatsu for some veg curry noodles and house ramen. They almost didn't serve us, but let us stay and I was so thankful they did. That warm, soupy noodles was just the thing I needed.
In Tucson, we stayed at the Windmill Suites at the corner of Campbell and River. What a wonderful place! The rooms were big, bright and beautiful. It was great having just that little suggestion of a kitchen to make it more homey. We also had access to washers and dryers so we got to freshen up our clothes. I'm sure our Tucson friends and family were thankful for that!
The next day, Sunday, I walked Sabino Canyon with some of my friends who I miss terribly. There was water under the bridges and we walked up to the 2 mile mark and turned around mainly due to the fact that everyone's stomach was growling. Of course, we went to the Eclectic Cafe. Oh yes! Beans and tortillas for breakfast - how I miss Tucson! It always feels like going home. After over two weeks on the road, it was good just to be able to want to go somewhere and NOT have to set the danged GPS!
|There was water in Sabino Creek!|
|Sabino Canyon is always even lovelier with friends!|
|Sandra and Shoko were waaaayyyy ahead of us!|
|Jonas and I made it 2 miles up|
Sunday afternoon and evening David and I spent with his mom (while Kara nursed a sinus infection that she caught from her sister). She made us rice and beans and taught me her secret recipe for Adobe salad dressing (yummers!). We also had chocolates and a fabulous cream cake that David's brother made (non-vegan I'm sure, but delicious anyway). We were so stuffed we couldn't move. While David visited his brother, I showed David's mom all our pictures from Puerto Rico earlier this year and then when he came back, David had a ball taking pictures on my iPhone of all his baby pictures (haha! Here's my revenge for all the space he used):
|Our lil' Jibaro|
|Gotta love that little denim bell bottom jumpsuit!|
|Not much has changed!|
|Bewick's Wren (dang!)|
|Our buddy, the Black Phoebe, waiting with us for the Sinoloa Wren|
|New Year's Eve Day "run" with a few friends|
|Todd had a run-in with Princess and end up falling for her. OUCH!|
New year's eve was quiet for us. we met our good friends Len and Carloyn at Guadalajara Grill at Mountain and Prince. I was really delighted to see their new vegan options! It was hard to choose, but I ended up having the Portobella Fiesta (Large portobello mushrooms stuffed with red bell peppers, zucchini, onions and diced tomatoes, served with black beans and white rice veracruzano). Len picked the serenade, the title of which escapes me know). We left early and headed back to the hotel before the roads got too crazy. Besides we had an early start the next day. Homeward bound...
|Carolyn and Len enjoying the serenade|