The first impression of Tucson was mixed. Tucson is HUGE and we did get a bit lost, BUT there were bike lanes everywhere, the busses had bike racks on the front of them, and even the signs told drivers to "yield to bikes." I teased Dave that we needed to take one of of those signs to mount on the back of my bike back home!
By about 4:00, we were nestled in the alcove that houses Tucson's Community Supported Agriculture pick-up site where fellow blogger Chile Chews volunteers every Friday. Not only were we surrounded by great local food and locals coming to get their weekly supply of farm-fresh veggies (many of whom were bikers), there was live music AND, of course, I had the opportunity to meet Chile.
To finally meet someone I've corresponded with for the last 18 months, was an amazing treat. And to discover that not only do we have many of the same simple-green-frugal goals, but I thoroughly enjoyed her and her hubby's company and hospitality. It was quite a visit! Well, let's get right to it.
Dinner plans were for Lovin' Spoonfuls, an all-vegan restaurant. So that Kelsey could join us, we sat outside in the cool evening air. The tough choice lay ahead. After 14 months of slim pickings at restaurants, it was a bit overwhelming to chose from the menu. Seriously, go check it out. Every last one of the choices is vegan! After ogling all the dinner plates on the way to the counter and reading the menu a dozen times, I finally decided on "Buddha's Delight." Beautiful, isn't it? Also making an appearance at the table were "Linguini with Italian Meatballs," the "Santa Fe Platter," and "Stroganoff Supreme." Everything looked fabulous and, in fact, my meal was wonderful!
We spent the meal relaxing and talking about our lives. To a certain extent, you get to know each other on-line, but I found that there was so much more to explore in person. And speaking of exploring, after dinner, we walked the Winterhaven Festival of Lights (see photos here). Of course, it changes a little every year, but it's a truly amazing display of lights. Road are blocked for pedestrian only access, allowing us to wander around an admire the unique decorations that ran for blocks.
Later in the evening, back at Chez Chile, we curled up in cushy chairs, exchanged local holiday gifts, and talked more over some of Chile's homemade peach liquor. It was absolutely delicious, but as I'm not much of a drinker, I was yearning for a good sleep by the time we called it a night around 11PM.
And as if last night wasn't a complete treat, Chile and her hubby prepared breakfast for us this morning - vegan pancakes (local whole wheat flour), topped with a choice of homemade pomegranate or prickly-pear syrup, and freshly-squeezed orange juice (from local oranges). I ate more than I usually do (the photo shows only one of the three pancakes I ate), but it was worth every last delicious bite, and we did take the dogs for a walk afterward, so I managed to get in a little exercise before we had to say out good-byes.
A HUGE thank you, Chile, for having us and hosting a fabulous visit! It would have been wonderful to spend more time talking and exploring life in Tucson, but we have family to reach for Christmas and one last stop before we're there - visiting Beany in San Diego. Until next time, we're on the road again...