I'm back from the Rincons. About half of it was wonderful and about half of it sucked. I'm hoping to get enough time today to fully update this journal before I leave tomorrow for the FREAKING SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE, aw YEAH, so we'll see what happens. I still have some packing to do, and I need to fetch batteries. And sleep.
Tyler and I drove back to Silver City some time ago, so we could meet Zack and CJ and drive to Tucson together. Unfortunately, the one person at the rental car place had left for an appointment (and was supposed to be back in one hour, but actually was back in two), so we had to sit around Silver City for two hours (bowling) until she came back and we could return the rental car. Not happy.
Eventually, we were able to leave, and headed out on the interstate to Tucson. We passed through a really heavy dust storm on the way, and then hit a major lightning storm later in the drive. One bolt actually struck a hillside near our vehicle as we drove and set it aflame (we talked to the fire crews some days later and found that the fire burned quietly for a few days before it was put out). It looked like about 30 little campfires, only 1/2 mile away.
We had reserved rooms in one of the Tucson Econo-Lodges for that night, and we got in late enough that they would bill us for the rooms anyway. It turns out that Tucson has two Econo-lodges...the nice one, and the one in the red-light district. We got the red-light motel, and we'd come too late to change.
It was 10:00 when we showed up, but it was over 100 degrees outside, and well over that in the rooms. The rooms DID have air conditioning, but it hadn't been turned on, so it was nearly 3:00 AM before the rooms were cool enough to let us sleep. A fancily dressed lady was in a room below us and we heard cars come and go all night. We were on the corner of a very busy intersection, bordered by "Lee's Drive-In Liquors" (no joke) and evidently, a crackhouse.
The usual bulk art on the wall was framed, and covered in broken glass. The shower door was broken (and reinforced with wire), the remote control was broken, and the TV was broken. Luckily, the room Tyler and I stayed in had a minimum of cockroaches (two...one in the sheets, and one that later crawled out of my hair). Zack and CJ's room had a lot of insects in it, including little bugs in the bed that bit them, and the grandaddy of all cockroaches who emerged from the drain as Zack took his shower.
The complementary breakfast was a pot of weak coffee, and a small box of greasy glazed doughnuts. That's all.
We were supposed to sleep there that night, then spend the next day resting and running errands (which we did), and then leave early the next morning (around 2 AM). However, Zack had to take our gear to the helipad that morning, and was so late getting back after running more errands that we'd had to pay for a second night, so we stayed there again. Then plans changed again, because some important fire atlas maps that Matt was supposed to FedEx to us that day didn't arrive in time, and Zack decided at the last minute that he didn't want to go without them. So we ended up staying in Tucson an extra day. Tyler and I sent out for pizza that night and got a really good one from Magpie's...black olives, mushrooms, and green chile. We also had Thai for lunch, oh my yes.
(KIM! You were in my fortune cookie!)
("You or a close friend will be married within the next year")
We planned to move out of the Roach Motel as early as possible so we could spend our last day in Tucson as comfortably as possible. However, Zack and CJ went out to a long, luxurious breakfast without Tyler and I, without inviting us, and without telling us that morning, so Tyler and I had to sit around in the Roach Motel hungry for several hours before we moved. >grr<
Now, because of the project we're doing, we can stay at hotels at a special government rate. As long as that rate is low enough, UI pays it for us. When Zack and CJ came back and we did move, it turned out the Hilton wouldn't take us because Zack didn't have government ID (and presumably, because we looked like filthy heathen). However, the Tucson Radisson DID take us. And get this...the rate we paid was $3.00 more a night than the Roach Motel.
The Radisson had a bathtub, clean wallpaper, clean carpet, and complimentary bath items. The Roach did not. The Radisson had a gorgeous, non-crackhouse view, and a TV that worked (Tyler and I sent out for Chinese and watched Star Trek: Nemesis). The Roach did not. The Radisson was spacious, had two beds, and a decent temperature. The Roach did not. The Radisson had a pool, a great fitness center, massages, a restaurant and bar, a beautiful lobby, and all sorts of other amenities. The Roach did not. And finally, the complimentary breakfast at the Roach was the aforementioned deadly doughnuts...while the Radisson's was fresh fruit and omelettes made to order. And we had to check out several hours before it was served. I don't know if CJ ever forgave Zack for that.
Tyler and I walked around the city a little, but it was so unbearably hot that it wasn't much fun. We ran into Zack and CJ three times, owing to the fact that only crazy people walk around Tucson at midday.
I had a lot of perishable food to finish off anyway. I had some leftover pizza to eat that day (the concierge had to warm it up in their microwave, since the rooms didn't have one...I'm such an ingrate), plus lots of fruit. Sadly, the pot pie I warmed the next morning at 4 AM turned out to have gone very very bad (and purple), and it was dark so I didn't notice until a few bites into it. >nausea<
We also took care of our per diem forms at the Radisson. We needed to make some more copies of the master form, so I took the form down to make some copies at the business kiosk, which charged my credit card over $8.00 and didn't actually make any copies. When I asked the concierge for help, she called the manager and I left, but I heard her say very quietly to the manager that I was not a guest of the hotel. He came and helped me, whereupon I informed him that I WAS a guest of the hotel (room key), and he was deliciously apologetic.
To our disgust, although Zack had said that he was open to leaving any time Tyler and I wanted (and he had previously said that 2 or 3 AM would be the best time to leave so we could get the hottest part of the hike done before sunup) Tyler and I told him that we DID, in fact, want to leave at 2 AM...and then Zack said he didn't think it was necessary and refused to consider it further. WTF? So we went to bed, got up at 3:30, and checked out at 4 AM...two hours later than we wanted to go, and two hours before the free, made-to-order omelettes.
This did not bode well.
More to come...