On the Road Adventures

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feb 3, 2010

Yesterday we visited the gallery and home of the artist DeGrazia. It’s a lovely old adobe he built many years ago when he was the only person who wanted to live way out of town in the foothills under the Catalina Mountains. Now, of course, cities being what they are, there are car dealerships and malls all around his homestead, but the house and gallery are still a small island of beauty and sanity in amongst all the trappings of so-called civilization.

You’ve seen DeGrazia’s work – he’s the archetypal SouthWestern artist, with his round-faced children and flowing lines. While I’ve always thought his work was interesting, I didn’t realize how powerful it is in real life. The prints don’t convey the energy of the palette knife strokes and layers and layers of paint. And his house is so lovely. I can see how it would be easy to paint there.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the Tucson Botanical Gardens, in part for the plants, but mostly for the butterflies. They have a butterfly house that has exotic butterflies flitting around right in front of the visitor’s face. Or, in my case, hitching a ride on my hat. They were like mobile flowers, so fragile and yet with so much energy.

Today we moved down the road to the Kartchner Caverns State Park. We have reservations for a tour of the caverns tomorrow and there’s a nice campground here so we thought it would be nice to be close by. Kartchner Caverns were discovered in the 1980s and were kept a close-held secret for the next 14 years while the family who own the land negotiated a deal with the state of Arizona to make the caverns a state park so they would be protected. Too many caverns have been irreparably damaged by being “loved to death” by uncontrolled access, so the family wanted to protect these. There are two chambers, the Rotunda and the Big Chamber. Our reservations were for the Rotunda tomorrow so after we got set up we went to the museum to check it out. While we were there, the ranger told us there was a Big Chamber tour just leaving, so we quick signed up for that, and had our introduction to the cavern a day ahead of schedule.

I love caves, at least, caves that have nice walk ways and lights. This one is just lovely. The walls and floor are festooned with all types and colors of formations. I can just imagine how amazing it must have been for the first discoverers to set eyes on this wonderland. Sorry to say, no cameras are allowed, so tomorrow I shall have to buy a postcard and take a picture of that. If you'd like to take a tour of the cave, check out the website at


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