We just put in eight nights on the road, with three in Palm Desert at the revamped JW Marriott Desert Springs resort and then down south o’ Tucson in Green Valley/Tubac. Played three rounds of golf in Palm Desert, including a double one day at Desert Willow, perhaps the best muni not otherwise called Bethpage or St. Andrews. Terri spent a good deal of time on schoolwork and she got brownie points for entertaining my ‘rents one eve. Food was good. The Swedish massage a bore … hey, ABBA’s Swedish, too. Big fan of the resort but AZ was the star. We spent one day hiking in Madera Canyon, slowly trying to get our legs underneath us. Took one trail that dropped 1700 feet in less than a mile. Really wish we’d gone up that one instead of down. Great hiking there on Mt. Wrightson with varied flora – even stumbled through a couple small aspen groves – and fantastic views out over Green Valley and up to Tucson. Did a bunch of shopping/window shopping and came away with some new hiking goodies and some artwork. The latter's from an Albuquerque-based artist – Allan Bass – and he works in clay. We picked out three masks that are representative of Katsina figures, though the officialese says he was inspired by petroglyphs/pictographs. Whatever. It’s some great work and fits perfectly with our fetishes, Navajo textiles, Acoma pottery, etc. While Tucson is chin-deep in great Mexican food, we found little ‘tween the Old Pueblo and the border as far as commendable chow. Well, the food at the new Dos Silos at Tubac Golf Resort was fine, but it was resort-ish Mex, and most specifically in price. Asked a local chef where to find something palatable in the area and he suggested “on the other side of the line.” Must be all the bluehairs. (Truth in advertising … we were keying on Tubac and Tumacacori for an article I’m writing, but there’s actually some good Mex in Green Valley, of all places – Manuel’s and La Placitas. And the Old Tubac Inn makes a mean carne adovada but the chile verde sucks; the caddy margs are tank-sized!!) Last Saturday we took in a demonstration cooking class at the new Tubac Culinary Center. We had a great time and will make it back for another go around next time we’re down there. It’s 86 bucks/person, 5 courses with wines and depending on the cuisine and the crowd there can be some hands-on. But we’ve attended a number of cooking sessions and are really to the point where we come away with more new knowledge through demonstration, it seems. We did Italian and hope to catch Thai next time. Met some nice folks and picked up a few colorful phrases in Italian, just to top it all off. And now … it’s just 18 days to Vegas!!!!!