Odometer: 23,250 approx
After a short night of not very good sleep we get up at 5am. We finish packing our belongings and shortly after 6am leave the house and San Diego on HWY 8 East passing the mountains where even the HWY gets up to over 4,000 feet elevation (1,200 m) and from there down to the desert.
Shortly before 11am we arrive at the intersection to Interstate 85 South towards the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We take a short detour to the gas station and to Dairy Queen for a nice cool ice cream cone – the temperature is hovering at between 90 and 95 Fahrenheit (32 to 35 Celsius) and it is more humid than we expected. We also see puddles of water along the road, it must have rained just recently. Then, about 50 miles further South and very close to the Mexican border we take the 21-mile-loop through the park. The area here is beautiful and where ever you look you can see at least 5 or 6 different kinds of cactuses. There are only a few that are still blooming now but never the less we enjoy the tour and the very different vegetation from what we were used to see in the desert around San Diego. Mid afternoon we continue on our journey to Tucson (another 120 miles).
A few miles before we drive into town we see a sign to the left to the Saguaro National Park, the sky meanwhile is very cloudy but the light seems to be good so, despite being tired, we take the detour around the mountain and through nice neighborhoods and then head into Tucson from north east. Over the city and along the mountain ranges we see black clouds and lightnings and not long thereafter we are in the middle of a thunderstorm. It is pouring down while we drive through down town towards east Tucson, where I have found some reasonably priced hotels. We don’t specifically like the area though and decide to drive another 30 minutes north, out of town. Marco was right in insisting, we found a very nice clean hotel (“Super 8”) and finally got dinner at a delicious Asian Buffet very close by. Shortly before 8pm we arrive at our room deadly tired after a long and exciting day. We (Marco) drove almost 700 Miles, but got us here safely and without the slightest incident!