Interstate 10 runs through Tucson and angles northwest to Phoenix.
Once you leave Tucson, the first spot of interest, higher than rabbit’s ears, is Picacho Peak. This peak is actually a group of peaks ringed by saquaros. For miles surrounding this congregation of peaks,there is nothing but dead flat dirt, mesquite, cactus.
At the exit to the Picacho Peak RV Resort, and an Arizona state campground, is Picacho Peak Plaza – a Shell gas station and curio shop. These knick knack shops scratch out an existence throughout the west and if you can get in and out without buying something that will forever gather dust on a shelf at home, you are far too disciplined.
Near the front entrance, I am confronted by a stuffed Jackalope, a mythical American West animal that is part rabbit and part antelope.
According to Wikipedia, the Jackalope prefers whiskey as a drink, can cause a lot of damage to one’s shins, and has some basis in fact. There is a man in the Dakotas who still makes them and sells in bulk to Cabela’s for around $150.00 apiece. It is said that Jackalopes are good mimics, and, at night, cowboys singing around a fire under the stars, can hear them harmonizing.
My T or C friend, Kirk, buys himself a candy bar for sugar energy and we hit the road again for Tucson, on an expedition to a camera shop to look at a new lens for Kirk’s camera. He photographs homes for sale, for Green Valley real estate agents. It was his photographs of my dad’s house that helped us brothers sell it and keep our financial affairs separate for good family harmony.
I think I see a Jackalope waving at us as we pull back onto the freeway, but Kirk says I am mistaken.
The human mind, our real-unreal world keeps reminding me, is more frail than some people want to admit.
Getting out of this tourist trap without spending a dime tells me I’m tougher than I thought I was.