Saturday, August 20, 2005

CSI: Old Tucson

Today we went a little bit beyond Saguaro National Park to see Old Tucson Studios. We had no idea what to expect from the place. It wasn't bad, though it's apparently their off season so some of the stuff was closed. That was a little disappointing, but if you look at the pictures it wasn't disappointing in the case of the log flume ride. Ick. The best part about it being off season was the fact that there were very few other human beings in the place. That's why some of the pictures look like we were in a ghost town. It's a multi-faceted visit. Some of it consisted of out-and-out price gouging (like chargin $2 for a soda from a vending machine?!? Nope.), to cheesy (like the godawful stunt show hosted by some friggin' junior high school kids), to authentic and cool (the derelict train, wagons, buildings...). There were a bunch of movies shot at the place during the last 60 years or so. Scott knew them, but the only one I'm really familiar with is The Three Amigos. Because, honestly, who doesn't love Chevy Chase in a big stupid sombrero? That's comedy!

We also got to experience the haunted mine. It was cheesy, but well done. Rubber bats, rats, and skeletons... and a maze. In the dark. With small angled bits of wood on the floor so you're not only feeling your way along the walls, but you're also tripping as you drag your feet. Oh! And narrow, too. My shoulders were brushing against the walls, and just when you turn to correct that the walls turn as well. Deb made it through the maze first, and then got to see yours truly come through with Matt holding my shirttail in one hand and Scott in the other. A conga line of Scotsmen in a haunted house in the desert doesn't happen every day.

Then, cut to about 11pm. We're all outside on the patio because it's a cool, breezy evening. We're watching a small airplane go by in the distance. Then it turned around and headed back. And again. And again. It slowly dawns on us that this plane is flying in a search pattern over the mountains. You know, the ones directly out our front windows? After about an hour, a helicopter comes zooming in on the scene. Low. Very low. The helicopter zapped its bajillion candle power spotlight on the mountains while the airplane continued to circle. Cool! The binoculars are out, we're looking at all this stuff as it goes on for about 20 minutes. No idea what/who they're looking for. The helicopter and airplane abruptly leave in different directions, but the helicopter came back about five minutes later to shine the spotlight on the mountain again. Then it left. That was it. Hopefully there will be some mention of it on the news tomorrow. Otherwise it'll just be one of them there mysteries of the desert.

Hey, when you vacation with us, you get a thrill-a-minute! We should charge for this!

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