Up up to the Catalinas in a new car

It is so hot here, so hot, humid and hot. People often escape from Tucson to the Catalinas, high mountains, cool mountains. Not us though, not for a long time, not in the old buick. Poor old car. It felt like a victory for the whole Gibbons clan that Dan finally got the job he deserves, and then got a new honda civic. It’s blue. Our biggest victory in some time.

We drove up that steep, long mountain road in a new car! A triumph.

I have a bit of car envy, me, who has only properly owned a car for about 5 months, and that was years and years ago and never wanted another. I know how bad they are for the environment. I love moving slow on my own power, if I must move quickly let it be on a train. But hell, it felt good to drive up that mountain to find cool air, knowing we would get up there and back. Cars do bring so much freedom, and I found myself wanting it. Remembering those dreams of a midnight blue straightback Chevy truck. Funny no matter how much you change, you never totally leave your old self behind.

They’ve cleaned most of the old rusting cars out of the canyons, the ones we used to count when we were kids, but there was still at least one van left:


The canyons, though, beautiful. Seven cataracts (as opposed to seven falls)



The pine-covered summits, where I confess I would have liked a long-sleeved shirt while we sat outside and I ate my fancy french dip sandwich and sweet potato tots, delicious, though it felt a bit of a betrayal now it’s no longer the old pie place. The one miraculously saved from the fire last go round. A bit of rain came through.


The Catalinas on a hot Saturday in August? Not too much sense of the lonely wilds up there. Rose lake? A family planted every few feet fishing. White, Mexican and a family whose patriarch was wearing a fez. Diversity was nice, but actual people? Not so much. I remember I went camping there as a kid, fishing there once with the Sweetzers, they caught a shoe. I fell in love with their bait box full of lures of many colours. I shot my first gun at a row of tin cans. They made scrambled eggs with cheese in that old cast iron skillet they never washed and called them snots. It must have been a BB gun, right? I can’t remember. They owned gear, but the army surplus kind, they were an army family. None of the fancy stuff my friends are packing these days. I think about all the places American troops have gone on mostly the wrong side of everything, and can’t match that to the kindness I remember. Sort of the way Rose lake didn’t look familiar at all, didn’t match any one of those memories.



Then back home. Barely escaping Tucson’s largest predator and certain death…


A new car. We could go anywhere.


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