Thursday, June 1, 2017

Most of the fam damnily

Rachel, Robert and I just got back from Tucson, where we had one of the best family vacations ever. Both my brothers, Scott and Rusty (AKA James) live there with their families.  And this trip was extra special because we talked my dad and his girlfriend, Lisa, who live at Lake of the Ozarks, into flying down as well.  Altogether we totaled 11 people and were the biggest, loudest, and happiest group of people in all of Tucson and Oro Valley.  It took three vehicles to get all of us around and you could hear us coming for miles.

I felt like a small piece of something so awesomely giant, so wonderfully reassuring and beautiful my heart could barely contain the feeling. Each day I woke up, threw myself into the crowd of family, and off we went, to storm through the city and its mountains with our laughter.  

It's that sense of belonging right there that glues me to life.  

Before I share pictures I will explain who everyone is.  Robert and Rachel are mine.  Kristin is Scott's girlfriend, and she has a daughter, Autumn, who is almost 4.   This was my first time meeting Kristin and Autumn and they are the bees knees and very lovable gals.  Heather is Rusty's wife and they have a daughter, Harper, who just turned 4. Like I said, lots of people.  Lots of awesome people.

When we arrived, a huge cookout was underway at Scott's, and it was instant chaos.  We spent the next few days hiking, eating amazing food, driving up Mount Lemmon, touring Tucson on bikes, shopping at 4th Ave, and visiting Rusty's work at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where the A-10 he works on has his name on it.

I have so many pictures from this trip and I really struggled to narrow down my favorites.  

We were having such a good time the first evening that we forgot to take pictures of my dad and his brother, Wayne, who along with his wife, Kate, dropped in for the cookout. Dad and Wayne hadn't seen each other in ten years and Scott, Rusty, and I were so young we only barely remembered them. It was a blast catching up with them. 

Rusty did manage to snap a picture, and though it's missing some people I still love it.

From left: Dad, Wayne, Kate, Kristin's dad and mom, Heather, Robert (behind me), me, Scott, and Rachel.  Floating around in this soup of people somewhere are two dogs and two kiddos but who knows where. 

If you like weird burgers, Lindy's should be on your radar. From left to right: Rachel, Scott, Dad, Lisa, Heather, Harper, Rusty, Robert, and me.  

Rachel, Robert, Scott, Rusty, and I hopped on bikes and went for an evening tour of Tucson. We saw many historical parts of Tucson like the nation's oldest Mexican restaurant and the El Tiradito Wishing Shrine.  We also ate a Sonoran hot dog which had lots of unknown toppings but was really tasty.

Part of the tour was through the famous rattlesnake bridge, which is where the tour guide snapped this picture.

We took a sunny hike at Honeybee Park

And climbed around an old dam

Robert snapped this excellent shot of Autumn, Kristin, and Scott

And towards the end Autumn caught a couple free rides

We had so much good food - my list of favorites include the orange cardamom pastry and cherry rose sencha tea at Prep & Pastry, PB bacon burger at Lindy's, scrambled eggs with bacon and chiles and a cochata (which is 1/2 cold brew coffee, 1/2 horchata) at Seis, picnicking at the top of Mount Lemmon and breakfasts at Scott and Kristin's house.

One morning there was even a Pac-Man tomato egg burrito.

The Pima Air and Space Museum was fascinating. Rusty talked about planes, how all the pieces came together, and how to fix them. Dad, who is a retired junker, talked about scrapping the planes. 

These legs belong to (from left) Robert, Scott, and Rusty

We spent hours exploring Mount Lemmon - hiking, sightseeing, picnicking, and even going up the slow and peaceful ski lift.

It was Memorial Day, and though Rachel and Harper didn't plan on dressing alike, it just magically happened.

This is a little more dangerous than it looks (for Rusty that is, because Heather wasn't pleased). 

And finally, a picture with Scott, Dad, and Rusty

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