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APRIL 19, 2009   

More Grand Canyon trip pictures & commentary on this site from 4/11 to 4/20. Our travel tips and suggestions at From the Cuyahoga to the Colorado.

Quail Creek

We spent the day at Ed and June's house in Quail Creek, a "resort" (retirement) community south of Tucson. It's a highly planned development aimed at people wanting an "active adult retirement lifestyle."

It's also a 24/7 gated community where a guard with a clipboard checks to be sure that you're expected before he lifts the gate. As we drove through I noticed a much more substantial set of metal gates (open) behind the simple pole-type crossing gate. Looks like if they want to lock down the entrance they can do that.

Ed's patio, looking toward game preserveAs much as I find many aspects of this lifestyle completely foreign, I have to admit that I enjoyed sitting on the sunny patio and listening to the quail. Yep, strangely enough there actually are quail nearby in a game preserve that borders part of the development.

I felt like I was in a Disneyland for adults, where all of the negatives of the modern world have been banished outside the gates. No loud car stereos, no crazy people walking down the street, no trash, graffiti, or (apparently) crime. Also no children, for the most part. The grandkids can visit, of course, but can't use the pool or other amenities except for a few hours a day.

OK, right now this isolationist lifestyle seems troubling and negative in a way I can't clearly define. It's obviously only available to people who have lots of choices in front of them. They choose to separate themselves as much as possible from the life that most of the world lives, life with children and diversity and daily annoyances. It takes the concept of "suburb" to the next level, and I have a nagging concern that it's not good for society as a whole. Maybe not even for those who seem to be thriving in its sheltering confines.

Desert life

Large saguaro cactus, with Ed explaining it to JoanneSocial issues and concerns aside, it was neat to be among desert flora and fauna for a while. We saw and heard the aforementioned quail, along with an occasional lizard. There were lots of beautiful cacti and other desert plants, including saguaros like this big one that Ed's describing to Joanne.

As we walked to the golf course and recreation center we passed a wide variety of plants and trees in bloom. The desert Spring is as colorful as what we have in the Midwest, although the plants tend to be more widely separated. No masses of color like you'd see when the azaleas, rhododendrons or other spring plants are in bloom back in Ohio.

Yellow and red flowersThis bush, on the other hand, puts on a pretty good show by itself. I wish I'd have taken more pictures of the desert flowers, but never quite got around to it. Since we left at 4:30 the next morning I missed my chance.


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2009 APRIL