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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Tucson General Info
      #5471232 - 10/15/12 10:33 AM

Someone emailed me with some questions and suggested I need to post my answer. I've added a little more.

Marriott Start Pass- West end of 22nd street (Where it becomes Starr Pass blvd)- arguably the nicest Tucson has to offer. Very pretty hotel with convention facilities, endless river pool restaurants, major golf course, and a visible Milky Way.

Lodge in The Desert- sort of the traditional best hotel in Tucson. It's older, but has just been remodeled. It has first rate food, but is in the city so everything is nearby.

Doubletree on Alvernon- This has a conference center and decent food. It is very central for going anywhere in town, but not one of the highest end resorts. I've stayed here and it is nice, and should be reasonably economical.

Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort- This is in a beautiful area of to the Northeast of the city. The food is good, though the overall hotel is starting to look a little dated. The main thing here is golf, and it is not well located for getting to the convention center.

Westin La Paloma- a famous resort and outwardly an equivalent to the Marrriott Starr Pass. It has, however, seemed to be having management difficultites the last couple of years, which have regularly showed up with them getting sub-par reports on their restaurants from the health department. I mention this since it is commonly found on web searches.

Hilton El Conquistador Resort- This one is up north, and is the one resort I haven't attended events and conferences at. For whatever reason it's the one folks here seem to forget exists, but I don't know why that is.

Hilton on East Broadway: A regular high-rise hotel. It's in an unusual location to find it. Note 22nd street, one major block south of Broadway is much faster for moving east and west than broadway, which is congested and ends in an incomprehensible knot in the downtown area.

Residence Inn- There are several of these around town. If you aren't familiar with them, they have a sort of living-room/ kitchenette equipped room type so they have space for a few days. The food they have is a basic breakfast and snacks in the evening. This is not restaurant style dining, but they have space, will have a hot tub, and are economical.

I'm sure others will have suggestions as well.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5471242 - 10/15/12 10:38 AM

Here are some other things to do in the greater Tucson area.

Aviation:

Pima Air and Space Museum- huge and extraordinary variety.
Titan missile museum
Davis Monthan AFB boneyard (tour is thru the air museum).

Wildlife:

The Desert Museum (living exhibits)
The international wildlife museum (basically a huge collection of stuffed animals from all over the world- kids seem to like it).
Tucson Zoo (small, but they've tried to make it nice).
Tucson Botanical Garden (large variety of desert plants, and in town so it isn't far).

Astronomy:

Kitt peak- about an hour out, has day and night programs (not for the advanced observer).
Mount Hopkins- about an hour south on I-19, has striking scenery, visitor's center has a guided tour up the mountain.
Large Binocular Telescope- this is 2 hours out, so it's a bigger deal, and requires reservations.

Parks:

Saguaro National Park: Tucson is bracketed by it on the east and west- no real park facilities; just enjoy seeing the giant cacti.
Collosal Cave- park at the east end of Old Spanish Trail road- scenic area and an unusual underground cavern.
Chiricahua National Monument- 2 hours from Tucson on I-10- quite a striking set of natural rock formations near where a lot of the famous western stories happened. The less I tell you, the better the pleasant surprise.

-Rich


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desertstars

*****

Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5471274 - 10/15/12 10:56 AM

For those short on time, who still want a look at classic Sonoran Desert landscape, consider driving west on Speedway Blvd. as far as the entrance to Saguaro National Park. If you time it right, stop at the top of Gates Pass on the way back and watch the sunset.

Bring a camera.


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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: desertstars]
      #5475387 - 10/17/12 04:21 PM

Another vote for the Pima County Air Museum; it's quite spectacular if you enjoy historical aircraft of all sorts.

For the ladies (and a few of us guys), there is a museum that has all sorts of elaborate dollhouses and the like. I think it's called the Tucson Miniatures Museum or some such and I believe it's on Fort Lowell Road or Grant Road. Some of you CN'ers in Tucson might be able to offer more information on this rather unique museum.


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EricCCD
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/14/04

Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5477868 - 10/18/12 10:19 PM

Rich,

Of those hotels listed, which is closest to the venue? I only need a place to crash Saturday night, Sunday at the most, before I head off for the real reason I'm flying out there.

Eric


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: EricCCD]
      #5478130 - 10/19/12 01:20 AM

Bizarre as it sounds, there really isn't much of anything around the convention center. This has been a bone of contention in town for a while as various schemes have been advanced to redevelop the old downtown area.

Depending on what time of day you are getting in, the Marriott Starr pass is about the easiest to get to downtown from, traffic wise.

If you're getting in late and expect to be drained, staying by the airport makes more sense, though it isn't especially convenient.

-Rich


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5478658 - 10/19/12 11:38 AM

My wife's dog people friends say the airport area is not particularly safe so they avoid it. Just one data point; but folks may want to stay in an area with more things to do and see - and safer.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: rboe]
      #5478807 - 10/19/12 01:07 PM

I work next to the airport (not figuratively- my worksite has a hangar anf includes taxiway access onto the runway). Away from the airport it gets worse. But that's mostly in the wee hours of the morning; daylight is pretty safe, and folks here are nice, anyway. The thing is, you have to transit that area to get to any fun stuff, and besides ASAE, there really isn't much going on downtown, or to the south of it.

Unfortunately, while there is much to see around the University of Arizona campus, it has the worst traffic in the city. I urge everyone to really look at a map of where the convention center is with particular attention to where one needs to go to significantly away from there. S main becomes 10th avenue to the south of the convention center, which makes this one of the easiest routes to a major access corridor; 22nd, which spans the city, and avoids bad traffic 24/7. If you want to cross town, 22nd is fastest. 22nd also makes for an easy rule of thumb- better parts if town are to the North of it. With that said, compared to where I last lived, New Orleans, Tucson simply doesn't have a bad part of town.

To the north of the convention center is Speedway, which along with Broadway and Grant also cross the city, but have significantly heavier traffic (Friday this will be a concern). It is possible to get to Broadway directly, though confusing (see the map). Broadway has lots of good places to eat along it as does Speedway.

Several of the hotels on my list are in this area. The Doubletree is at the geographic center of the city, is next to a large park which includes the zoo and a driving range, and is basically convenient to everywhere but the observing sites. If you get on Alvernon where it crosses broadway next to the doubletree, there are a few odd features. First, this street actually starts down south of the airport running e-w, then turns north as Alvernon, and crosses Valencia (Tip- this is the easy way to-from the airport). It goes up to just south of golf links (a major e-w) and you have to take what looks like a highway off ramp to stay on Alvernon, because the main roadway turns east to become Golf Links (again, odd). The next major cross street is 22nd, and the good news is you're in the part of the city organized as a Cartesian grid. If you run west from here, you will pass the Reid park zoo, then later go by to the south of downtown, and eventually wind up at the Starr Pass Marriott.

If you go east on 22nd, you can turn left on craycroft or wilmot to get to the nicest general purpose shopping area in the city, and the crossings with broadway and speedway come with many dining choices nearby.

Continuing north on Alvernon, the doubletree is on the right with a driving range on the left. At broadway there is a shopping center with a very popular sushi place called sushi garden and a subway (I'm trying to remember what else is there). Continuing north on Alvernon there are crossings at Broadway, Speedway, and Grant. Basic services like pharmacies and such can be found along here with a McDonald's and a large Fairfield inn. There is also a fancy Chinese restaurant named Gee's which had unusual food- the main dishes are served with rice on the side and have a meat portion, which though perfectly prepared, will have no vegetables of any kind with it. If you ask for that, they come on a separate plate and not in a form compatible with the main dish. So, I haven't figured out what the deal is, and it hasn't come up since there are a bunch of options of all kinds near us.

From there, Alvernon becomes a sort of Stealth "Route 1" shortcut which slaloms along and becomes River Rd on its way to the northwest of the city. This isn't obviously useful for getting to the convention center, but it's the easiest way to get to businesses on Oracle, such as Starizona, without getting into the UoA traffic.

The Northwest has the most congestion with Oracle really serving as the single primary route. The main restaurant nexus there is around Tucson Mall, which is the largest mall in the city.

The oddest thing about Tucson is how a city of a million people gives the impression of being a small town. And it's this unique layout which seems to have a lot to do with that.

-Rich


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5478907 - 10/19/12 02:12 PM

Thanks Rich! When I lived down there in 92 it was a smaller town. We lived on Magee and Oracle (just north of Ina) so I used to be much more familar with that area. My knowledge set is really dated.

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Skip
Starlifter Driver
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: rboe]
      #5480222 - 10/20/12 11:33 AM

My folks lived in Tucson from 1975-2000. I visited them often and got to watch Tucson grow during that time. It changed a bunch in those 25 years! They lived in the NW part of town and so I'm way more familiar with the northern area. Downtown - not so much.

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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Skip]
      #5483017 - 10/22/12 02:48 AM

Should any of you be interested, here's a link for the local bus service. The Downtown Bus Station (Ronstadt) is a few blocks from the Convention Center.

http://www.suntran.com/routes.php

Edited by Tom and Beth (10/22/12 02:49 AM)


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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5487707 - 10/24/12 09:44 PM

I'll probably be looking for something along the lines of Motel-6 or Days Inn. Hope there's plenty of those in Tucson.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5487991 - 10/25/12 01:42 AM

Indeed, that's not a problem. There's a LaQuinta at Wilmot and Broadway, for example, and there's a Hampton Inn right near there. Everything one needs to live is near that corner, and a few things one doesn't.

-Rich


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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5490515 - 10/26/12 04:30 PM

Quote:

Indeed, that's not a problem. There's a LaQuinta at Wilmot and Broadway, for example, and there's a Hampton Inn right near there. Everything one needs to live is near that corner, and a few things one doesn't.

-Rich




I didn't want to put this in the Sat Dining thread, but since Rich gave a good leadin

For any of you who MUST have pork roll and other "New yawk" grub, Just west of Wilmot and 22nd is "Tony's". It's a small hole in the wall place with good food and friendly staff. Think of it as an Italian Deli.


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Clay Kessler
sage


Reged: 04/16/07

Loc: Manchester MI
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #5491512 - 10/27/12 10:58 AM

Is "Gus Balone's" (SP??) still open?

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #5491563 - 10/27/12 11:33 AM

Tony's is actually run by Italians. They make their own gelato. Try the Zoupa Inglesi.

I'm sorry, but I have no idea on Gus Balone's.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

Indeed, that's not a problem. There's a LaQuinta at Wilmot and Broadway, for example, and there's a Hampton Inn right near there. Everything one needs to live is near that corner, and a few things one doesn't.

-Rich




I didn't want to put this in the Sat Dining thread, but since Rich gave a good leadin

For any of you who MUST have pork roll and other "New yawk" grub, Just west of Wilmot and 22nd is "Tony's". It's a small hole in the wall place with good food and friendly staff. Think of it as an Italian Deli.




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Alan S
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/27/07

Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Clay Kessler]
      #5492895 - 10/28/12 10:37 AM

Yes, still there, however, Gus passed away about a year or two ago (I was told) and things are definitely not the same...in my opinion...although they still have a very loyal following.

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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Alan S]
      #5496216 - 10/30/12 01:46 PM

For those of us who love vinyl records, according to Highroads, Triple-A Arizona's magazine, there will be the 8th Annual Tucson Record Show on November 11. I hadn't planned on staying overnight Saturday, but I guess I will to check out the records.

The show will be held at Las Cazuelita's Event Center, 1365 W. Grant Road.


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Dragonwatcher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/21/08

Loc: Coupeville, WA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5496265 - 10/30/12 02:21 PM

I'm staying at Days Inn Convention Center. Should be a short walk & I really valued that over a nicer, more distant place.

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Skip
Starlifter Driver
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Dragonwatcher]
      #5496452 - 10/30/12 04:26 PM

I'm staying at a HI Exp 1500 block Grant Road. I believe it is on the other side of freeway from convention center and a mile or two away. Don't know anything about the neighborhood. I've got a rental car reserved and plan to drive to and from Convention Center. Anyone know anything about parking at the Center?

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okieav8rAdministrator
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Dragonwatcher]
      #5496735 - 10/30/12 07:15 PM

Quote:

I'm staying at Days Inn Convention Center. Should be a short walk & I really valued that over a nicer, more distant place.




That's the kind of lodging I'm looking for--something cheap and close. I wonder if I should make reservations?


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Joe Cipriano
Entropy Personified
*****

Reged: 09/03/05

Loc: Uh... anyone have a GPS?
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5496899 - 10/30/12 09:11 PM

I'd make them quickly, if I were you. Between the ASAE, U of A homecoming, and the beginning of the area's tourist season, selection may become scant rapidly. Also - generally (not always), the farther out you book, the cheaper the rates are.
I booked a room for 2 nights (09 -11 Nov) at The Quality Inn on Oracle (couple of miles north of Starizona) on 09 Oct, for $71/night - it's listed for $80/night right now.


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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Joe Cipriano]
      #5497007 - 10/30/12 10:21 PM

I'm booked at the Starr Pass Marriott for the 4th, 5th then Adam Blocks workshop, then back to the Starr Pass for the 9th and 10th......Astro overload! I might sneak out on the golf course for some night scapes.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #5497054 - 10/30/12 11:03 PM

The area where the Days inn near the convention center is is pretty stark. North or east are where all the eating places are. The interstate is unusual in Tucson; it isn't a shortcut for anywhere you want to go in town.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Skip]
      #5497123 - 10/31/12 12:19 AM

It's actually right along the freeway. There really isn't much of anything in that area. The phrases "Downtown" and "Along the interstate" usually mean things kind of central to what's shaking. Except in Tucson; here the interstate goes to parts far away, but is on the edge of town for anything useful. At the same time, the downtown is really off to the south and west of just about everything. This is why there are hotels scattered all over the city.

Parking at the convention center isn't especially difficult or easy- you may be doing a bit of a walk, anyway, though.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6045100 - 08/25/13 12:24 PM

I noticed some general info questions coming up, so here's a reheat. The only major difference for this year is less emphasis on observing during a full moon.

-Rich


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6046163 - 08/25/13 11:10 PM

Barbara says that the best day to check air fares is on Tuesday. So....I'll be booking my flight. It's about half the cost to fly to Phoenix, though, so I'll have a bit of a drive. I found a really inexpensive car rental place, Payless, that quotes $26 a day for a Ford Fiesta. Barbara has a ton of Hilton points, so I'll have a free hotel stay.

It looks like I'll be seeing you guys in November! Now the wait begins...

David


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6047901 - 08/26/13 10:59 PM

I've been thinking about getting a nice zoom lens to replace the 18-55 lens that came with the T2i. It's ok, but does not have the oomph that I'm looking for. I checked B&H and was ready to get a Canon 28-135 f3.5. The reviews are very good. And now that I know I'll be heading to Tuscon in November, I decided to get the lens. Before I purchased it from B&H, I checked on the 'Mart since they have some good deals pop up now and again. Holy cow! There was the exact lens equipped with a UV filter. B&H lists it for $479 + shipping + filter. I got if for $215 with filter and shipping. Pretty exciting!

David


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6047996 - 08/26/13 11:55 PM



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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6052273 - 08/29/13 10:39 AM

Room is booked. Not exactly where I wanted it, but considering that I'm using Barbara's Hilton points, I chose one that required a lot less points. The big news, Barbara has United points, so my flight may be done on points. It's not the best thing having a spouse that travels, but I must admit that the points come in handy!

David


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6053630 - 08/30/13 12:26 AM

Where did you end up staying?

-Rich


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6054018 - 08/30/13 09:03 AM

Here. While I would have rather been close, the price difference won the day. Besides, I'm stealing Barbara's points.

David


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6055803 - 08/31/13 10:38 AM

Heh- that's in line of sight from where I live. Important note- you will drive until you run out of gas looking for "South Wilmot". The signs just say "Wilmot." There's a Texas Roadhouse steak place across the street from it, a great Indian place just east on Broadway, along with Macayo's further on which has pretty decent Mexican, there's a Denny's at the corner, and just to the west on Broadway There is a Panera bread, Coco's the usual fast food places, a really good shish kabob place (run by a Russian family). And there are more- suffice to say, you will know why this area is called Restaurant row.

-Rich


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6055970 - 08/31/13 12:23 PM

If I'm driving when I get to a destination, the ole' Tom Tom is in my suitcase. Don't leave home without it!

David


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6056030 - 08/31/13 01:07 PM

Ok- just beware there are quite a few GPS traps in Tucson, so use it in traveling map mode instead of turn by turn. They named some roads where they start, stop, have a wash (arroyo, wadi, or dry riverbed, elsewhere) or airfield, and start again- the roads were never connected because there was never a bridge, and this is why people always mention major cross streets you should be near.

Since this is big sky country, you'll never get lost because you can see the different mountain ranges no matter where you are in town. So, the low and jaggy Tucson mountains are to the West, the tall Catalina mountains start after an obvious notch to the northwest and continue across the entire north of town, the greener and least jaggy Rincon mountains are to the East, and the distant point with a set of lower points on the right side of the Santa Ritas is to the South. The main city is basically a grid, so navigation is very possible.

-Rich


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rboeAdministrator

*****

Reged: 03/16/02

Loc: Phx, AZ
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6056240 - 08/31/13 02:44 PM

Now you really confused him Rich. Everyone knows Big Sky Country is Montana.

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: rboe]
      #6056347 - 08/31/13 04:17 PM

I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque!

David


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6056441 - 08/31/13 05:33 PM

Coming from the gulf coast, all of this is big sky country.

-Rich


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6056886 - 08/31/13 11:31 PM

Quote:

Coming from the gulf coast, all of this is big sky country.

-Rich




Tell me about it. My home is 26' above sea level.

David


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6057766 - 09/01/13 02:24 PM

Out here it is routinely possible to see features 65-100 miles away depending on how clear the air is. You will likely be able to easily make out Kitt Peak with the 4 meter telescope dome and the McMath solar observatory plainly visible as you move about town, and that's about 55 miles away.

In a way, this place is the near opposite of going somewhere like Manhattan or LA where everything man-made in the world really is available. I'm therefore trying to make sure people are aware of what is here they won't see elsewhere. I know a lot of conferences are set up to purposely keep people there and away from the outside world. But this one isn't like that.

-Rich


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6058099 - 09/01/13 05:56 PM

Completely off topic, but as it does involve Tuscon, a bunch of my customers will be there in late October for a National tennis tournament. I don't remember the club that's the headquarters, but anyone that's been there for the Nationals before said that they had a terrific time! The weather at that time should be just about perfect.

David


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ToxMan
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/23/11

Loc: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Re: Tucson General Info new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6175843 - 11/04/13 04:31 PM

Quote:

Astronomy:

Kitt peak- about an hour out, has day and night programs (not for the advanced observer).
Mount Hopkins- about an hour south on I-19, has striking scenery, visitor's center has a guided tour up the mountain.
Large Binocular Telescope- this is 2 hours out, so it's a bigger deal, and requires reservations.




Actually, it is a 2.5 hour drive to Safford. Then, another hour to hour and a half up Mt Graham to LBT. So, plan well. Thanks


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