Thursday, April 22, 2010

Doggie Day Trip - Southern AZ Missions and Forts

Sophie and I spent Good Friday 2010 exploring the sights along I-19 in Southern AZ.  I highly recommend this easy day trip from Phoenix as it offers a variety of interesting, dog-friendly destinations.  The round trip tour took 12 hours and included many leisurely stops in between.  Here are the highlights:
  • Pima Air and Space Museum - We didn't have the time or inclination to stop here, but the museum gets high marks in my guide book.   Check it out, and let me know what you think.  
  • San Xavier del Bac - We experienced the iconic "White Dove of the Desert" at dawn before the tour buses rolled in.  It's the perfect time for shutterbugs as you'll get no crowds and pure, golden light to highlight the architecture and whimsical landscaping.  Dogs aren't allowed in the Mission, but Sophie was happy just roaming the grounds.    
  • Tubac - Tubac's historic center is surrounded by eclectic shops and galleries.  It is an artist's town, and you'll find many opportunities to view local works.  Recent state budget cuts threatened the Tubac Presidio Historical State Park.  So, concerned locals raised enough money to keep the park open.  The Park is currently operated by the Tubac Historical Society.  If you're looking for colorful Mexican pottery or large copper/metal art pieces, a stroll through Tubac will be worthwhile.  
  • Anza Trail  - Tubac and Tumacacori are 3.5 miles apart on the Anza Trail, which is only a small portion of the 1200 mile trail that stretches from Nogales, Arizona to San Francisco, California.  We enjoyed one good mile of the trail by using the gated trailhead just outside the Tumacacori walls and heading for the cottonwoods that line the Santa Cruz river.   
  • Tumacacori - The highlight of our trip was Tumacacori.  The Mission structure is unconsecrated, so both the mission and the grounds were accessible to dogs.  The structures are beautifully preserved, and both the self-guided and guided tours are well executed.  There is a peaceful church garden, a museum and a tortilla making exhibit complete with free tortilla and beans.  Yes... Sophie had a tortilla too.    
Directions - Take I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson.  Take I-19 south to hit the sights.  We took the same roads back, but if you have extra time, drive further south past Tumacacori and take the 82 north to Tucson.  It passes through Patagonia State Park and several Southern Arizona wineries.

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