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Sunday, April 2, 2000

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Grant and the Santa Cruz Riverpark

While everyone else in the country is adjusting to daylight savings time, we get on with our lives. It is nice to have more of our daylight hours in the morning when it's cooler. The problem I always have is remembering what time it is in New York or California when I call my kids.

I felt so good this morning that I did laundry, took the bus over to pick up bread, and got ready to go to a movie, all before eleven in the morning. While waiting for the bus on the bread run a car came driving along on the wrong side of the road. They weren't speeding, just taking their time like all's right with the world. At the intersection, they slowed a little and made a left turn. Thank goodness the cars coming the other direction all stopped, stunned I expect. There were three of us waiting for the bus and we all sat there with our mouths open. I couldn't even say anything till it was all over I was so amazed.

On my way to a movie I decided the day was just too nice to waste in a movie theatre and got off the bus at Grant and 1st and started walking west along Grant. It was a couple of miles to the Santa Cruz past run down shops and strangely named bars. There were impromptu junkyards, including one with an airplane without wings.

This is in the old area of Tucson where US-89 originally came through on Stone, which was half a mile after I started walking. Many of the buildings are kept in good shape but there are too many that have that depressed look of old districts. Closer to the interstate there are more upscale office and industrial parks and a large 16 screen movie theatre that takes up a whole block it seems by itself.

Just before Grant went down to go under the railroad and the interstate I walked up to where I was beside the railroad to see what was up there. There are all these nooks and crannies that have been forgotten when roads are put on a separated level so they won't have to stop at the railroad. Most of them, as with this one, have become junky but I still find them interesting.

They have put nice decorations along the interstate and spruced up the underpass. It's still a bad place to ride your bike, and I usually ride on the sidewalk when I bike through there, as the drivers are more interested in hitting the on ramp at full speed than paying attention to whether there is a bicyclist or pedestrian in their way.

When I reached the Santa Cruz I crossed it and turned left to walk down the west side of the Santa Cruz Riverpark. Despite the fact that we haven't gotten enough rain to count in months, there were flowers blooming. The palo verdes were covered in yellow blossoms and those pretty orange/peach blossoms were out in force. I keep meaning to find out what they are. One of the palo verdes had a bird nest among the blossoms and it looked like a bird was very upset about me coming near.

I walked along the dirt walking path when it branched off the bike path and crossed a wooden bridge to the frizbee field. They have frisbee golf or something where they try to get frisbees in these baskets. They are all numbered and such. There were a bunch of 20 something guys, looking somewhat scruffy, and carrying around with bags of frisbees. I wonder if they use different frisbees for different conditions?

I stopped to eat lunch and rest my feet. It was still cool in the shade even though I'd taken off my light jacket while walking in the sun. It was quiet as the only people there were the frisbee players and they had all wandered off. No one else was there as there isn't much else to do, no playgrounds or fishing.

I continued on and soon reached the nice plaza before Speedway. There is a long line of trees in between. They are huge and look very old as they are gnarled and twisted but with frothy, soft needles that make them look beautiful. I crossed under Speedway and walked along one of the nicer sections of the Santa Cruz Riverpark.

The playgrounds, bathrooms and general architecture of this section has been very well done. At the main playground, bathroom area there are tall pillars with connecting arches that are covered with mosaics in spanish about the area. Even with all the homeless in this area, the bathrooms have stayed fairly clean as they aren't closed off but open at the top and bottom so the homeless can't hide in them as easily.

Below St Mary's the amenities are rather bland and bare, which is rather sad. The end of this section is anchored by the Garden of Gethsemane. I sat in there for a few minutes but didn't wander around as I've seen it so often, and I was really more interested in resting. I then walked under Congress then left the Riverpark to walk east on Congress and into downtown.

I noticed that they have finished the work at the Congress and I-10 intersection and have put some nice decorations on the walls and sidewalks. There is a mural on the Arizona State Office Building that I hadn't noticed before. The new courthouse is finished at Granada and Congress. It's a very elegant building but there are concrete and steel columns all around so that no one can drive too close. A sign of the times.

From there I walked up past the old Pima County Courthouse and crossed to the library. There is a new art grouping on the west side of the library that's interesting. I picked up a couple books at the library and filled up my water bottle. I then caught a bus to the downtown transit center, the Ronstadt Transit Center where I caught the 19 bus back to Stone and Prince and then half a mile more home.

I took nearly five hours to walk 5.5 miles but I took my time and stopped a lot so it was a good day. I feel like I need to use these good days to the full as all too soon it's going to be too hot to walk except in the very early morning.


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Walked - 5.5 mile


(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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