We left Beltsville around Noon and did not encounter any traffic on the way to BWI Airport. There were neither people in front of us to check our luggage at the Southwest Airlines counter, nor were there many people in front of us at the security checkpoint. I only had one small jar of apple preserves from Solomons Island to give to our hosts, so I was hoping to find a “made in Maryland” store when we were in the airport. There was not one on the concourse from which our plane departed and the small newstands had the usual tourist kick-knacks, like shot glasses.
We had over an hour to spare, so we had lunch at Obrycki’s. We split a turkey club sandwich and it was plenty of food for both of us. My father got a Sam Adam’s beer and I got water.
I have an interesting side note, regarding the photo of the Southwest Airlines plane I have included. When I took the picture, I had no idea that soda cup was in the way. I wish I could take credit for that. I didn't even "see" it until after the trip. My husband "saw" it in the picture. So, that photo could have the captions of, "That's one thirsty airplane," or something much more corporate, "Have a Coke and a smile."
Our flight departed half an hour late, so we were glad that we did not have to deplane in Albuquerque. The wind was on our side and we arrived there on time, anyway. Southwest gave us a snack box of cheese and crackers, a small stick of salami, and a package of chocolate chip cookies.
The flight from Albuquerque to Tucson was not full. For those of you who choose the window seat, the right side of the plane (Southwest 737, seat F) gives you the best view of the landscape when departing Albuquerque. You will see everything from canyons, to mesas, to mountains. Also, you get a great view of the Santa Catalina mountains as you descend in to Tucson.
I was worried about not being able to find my cousin in the crowd at the airport, but the Tucson airport is small, compared to BWI, Regan National, and Dulles. She was able to meet us at the end of the concourse and we spotted her right away. She told us that their son had driven the van to pick us up, because her husband had separated his shoulder when he had been thrown from his bicycle accident in a thankfully minor mishap. (To all you bicyclists out there: Tucson has some great biking trails.)
It took about 25 minutes to get from the airport to their house. The interstate between the airport and their house is being widened, so the exit closest to their house is closed. Therefore, we had to get off the interstate and take side roads for part of the way, adding to the time of the drive.
Their home is on the west side of Tucson, with a gorgeous view of both the Santa Catalina mountains and the Santa Rita mountains. You can see all the mountains, actually, but those two ranges look particularly good. Dad and I took some time to unpack and get settled as my cousin finished preparing dinner. We had oven roasted beef, mashed potatoes, and a salad of cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, and red onions. Dessert was a cream cheese pie.
We watched the Arizona State University vs. Stanford basketball game after dinner. My cousin's husband and son built a fire in the fireplace, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
We heard the howling of several coyotes right around the time I was thinking about going to bed. I was told I would definitely hear coyotes, but I assumed the sound would seem far off, in the hills. They sounded like they were immediately outside the living room window! I quickly asked, "How many do you think there were?" The reply was that there were probably four of them. I ran over to the window, but could see nothing out there in the moonlit night. I ran over to the kitchen window and my cousin's son turned on the outside lights, but there were still no coyotes that I could see. Although I wished I had seen one, the sound was sufficiently memorable.