Thursday, August 10, 2023

Tucson Adventure - Day 9

[Composed: July 13, 2023, High in Tucson: 106°F ]

The last day of our Tucson Adventure went off without a hitch. We delivered J to his Mom and caught our flight from Jacksonville without incident. Arriving in DCA, we were pleased to learn that our DFW delayed luggage had beat us home. When we got to the baggage claim area, our two bags were parked off to the side, waiting for us. See, I explained to Shira, it was a good thing that our bags were delayed in Dallas: it meant we didn't need to schlep them from Tampa to Jacksonville (Shira did not appreciate my gratitude gaming of the situation).

As we walked into our home, we finally breathed a sigh of relief. We'd done it: we'd gotten the 5 kids from their respective homes to Tucson, had an amazing adventure in Tucson and gotten everyone home in one piece. We'd avoided sunburns, heat exhaustion, spider bites and even most cactus spines (sorry D)!

Looking back at our trip, it was clearly crazy to visit Tucson in the dead of summer. And yet, it totally worked. There were two factors more than anything else that made this trip such a success.

First, the vacation rental home was ideal. It was spacious enough so the kids could spread out during the day and not feel like they were stepping on top of each other. More than the house itself, the location was key as it was essentially in Saguaro National Park. This meant that we didn't need to go any further than our backyard or even the home's picture window to be face to face with an amazing landscape. Having such effortless access to the desert meant that even though the temps were high, we could still be immersed in unique flora and fauna. And finally, the pool was legendary, giving the kids and adults a heat friendly activity that everyone relished.

The other primary factor that made our trip work was letting go of the normal expectations for visiting such an outdoor friendly location. Normally, for a location such as this, I'd want to spend every minute hiking and exploring nature. But with temps well over 100°F every day, this just wasn't possible. So we had to get creative and find either indoor activities or outdoor activities that we could do in short bursts. This creativity lead to some really fun experiences.

Next year, we'll no doubt try to select a cooler location to take the kids. But Tucson, even with its insane temps, was a winner. 10 out of 10, would recommend.

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