Day 1 Wendell, NC to Tucson, AZ May 20, 2024

Day 1 – Wendell, NC to Tucson, AZ

The day started at 4:20 a.m. with coffee and a quick bite to eat. We were out the door at 6 a.m. with a ride to the airport from our friend, Michael. We got through the check in process and security quick and headed to our gate. The Southwest terminal is not much to look at, so we walked a few laps knowing we had a three plus hour flight to Denver.

John wore his Air Force t-shirt so the young lady that sat next to him asked what he did while in the AF and John explained he had been an jet engine mechanic. She let us know that her husband was a private pilot and was part of a company out of Raleigh. John mentioned that he’d like to take lessons one day and they exchanged information as her husband does that as well. She also let us know she was headed out to LA to see her cousin, Josh Sanders, who happens to be one of the top five contestants in The Voice. We plan to watch it tomorrow night and vote for him!

We arrived in Denver and had a three-hour layover so first order of business was lunch. The Denver airport is the second largest in the US so there were plenty of choices! We split a house salad and a burger along with our first beer of the trip. We did quite a bit of walking around as our next flight to Tucson was over two hours. We flew Southwest both legs and it’s been a long time since we have flown with them, but we’ve always had good experiences.

We landed in Tucson, grabbed our rental car, and noticed how brown everything is. Quite a change from Wendell as far as landscape and I knew it would be, but it’s still strange to see very little green as far as you can see. Our first stop was at Costco to get a few things that will last us our whole trip. It was packed, but then again, it’s a Sunday afternoon, so not surprised. Next stop was our AirBNB to drop things off, change and then head out for dinner. 

One of the things we looked at prior to coming out west was some of Guy Fieri’s picks from his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. There were four listed in Tucson, so we picked Inca’s Peruvian Cuisine, and we were not disappointed!!! We will be better starting tomorrow about taking pictures of the food; we totally forgot until the end! We started off with a Peruvian Mule, which uses an ingredient called Pisco, which is the signature spirit of Peru, made of distilled grapes. Next we ordered the Chupe de camarones, which is a Peruvian shrimp bisque soup with jasmine rice and cheese. It was delicious! We split the Lomo Saltado, which Guy had on the show, which consisted of Angus beef marinated in Peruvian spices, sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and parsley over a bed of potatoes (they looked like French fries, but softer) and jasmine rice (which was shaped like a pyramid). The food was so good, and we sat outside which was pleasant while looking at the mountains (brown, lol) in the distance. We finished the dinner off with a crema volteada, which was a creamy custard (reminded us of a flan) with a caramel sauce. Would recommend this place and a nice touch is that the owner came out and greeted us and checked on us a couple of times.

After dinner we headed to the grocery store to pick up a few little things needed for the stay and topped the evening off with a glass of sangria while sitting out in the back yard. It was almost 9 p.m. so we were feeling the effects of the long day plus the time difference so called it a night. A great first day! Tomorrow we will be going to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Taken from Wikipedia, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a 98-acre zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, natural history museum, publisher, and art gallery founded in 1952. Located just west of Tucson, Arizona, it features two miles of walking paths traversing 21 acres of desert landscape. Time permitting, we may also do the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Nite all!

At the Denver Airport
Coming into Tucson!
Right outside of the Tucson Airport!
Our Peruvian Mule’s! The nuts in the background are roasted corn kernels and they are tasty! Like having almost popped popcorn.
Our view while we ate.
The only food pic we got, the dessert, lol!
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