Tucson 2023 — Part 2

Other area shows

The next day, I decided to use the rental car to visit shows which were beyond walking distance. First, I thought that I would drive up Sentinel Peak (“A” mountain) and take some photos of the view.  However, it turned out that the gates for vehicle access would not be open until much later.  (Access was completely eliminated for a couple days each week as well.)

So I headed over to the Oracle show area to check out what John E Garsow had at the RMGM show.  The tent was very, very cold — there were holes high up in the walls for heater exhaust, but the heaters apparently had not materialized.  I had a nice visit catching up with John and buying an assortment of rough material. Most of the other dealers in that show were mineral and fossil vendors.  While not nearly as elegant as a hotel venue, RMGM appeared to have a bit higher quality material than what I saw at the 22nd street main tent.

After that I decided to check out the Casino del Sol show.  It was one of the places I had not visited in previous years.  It was located quite a distance from the freeway and the venue was as the name implied — a casino resort, very upscale compared to most of the hotels close to the freeway shows.  My hope was to check out a dealer of cut and rough gems from Malawi.  Unfortunately, that was the one booth which was empty.  On the whole, it was perfect for folks who are looking for beads of any kind and findings.  The quality appeared to be better and more varied than what I have seen at Gem Faire and G&LW shows.  The booth numbering was confusing and the aisles were not very wide, especially since it seemed to be a well-attended event.  There were also demonstrations and classes being held there during the show.

From there, it was back to the other side of the freeways, to the JOGS show.  Parking was awful as usual and the floorplan seemed less well marked than before.  There wasn’t a lot that interested me.  A couple of possibilities to cut or recut, but not ideal.  When I left the show, I thought I was going out the same door through which I had entered.  But no, it wasn’t and I was lucky to locate my rental car.

Next was a quick survey of the Kino show.  As always it was windy and cold there.  The layout seemed a bit more organized than in previous years.  In the past, I found a few equipment dealers there in addition to the many with rocks and fossils.  Unfortunately, the ones I wanted to see were not there this time.

In my  last couple days in Tucson, I managed to get in a couple other shows which were located away from the freeway area.  One of these was the G&LW Holidome and Gem Mall show.  That one has a huge parking lot with golf cart shuttles to take buyers to the front doors and multiple huge tents.  In one of the tents there were a few suppliers of better quality gems and jewelry, but mostly there was a lot of beads and lower end material.  Also obvious was empty space which had not been the case in previous years.  Unless I hear that things have changed, it is one show I can skip in future years.

The other place I visited on my last full day in Tucson, was the Mineral City show.  It was as the name implies — lots of dealers with all sorts of minerals spread over multiple buildings.  It is one of several locations in off Oracle Road a bit north of the freeway show area.  I saw only a little of the place, but it looks like a must for those who are mineral collectors or just like seeing some of nature’s artwork.


Tucson 2023 — Part 1

Saturday morning the trip started with the flight leaving SLO (San Luis Obispo) in darkness heading east and south into the rising sun.  It was a full plane and a short flight to Phoenix for connections could be found to just about anywhere.  My seat was way in the rear, and I was impressed by my fellow passengers behaving sensibly when exiting the plane.  Instead of everyone getting up from their seats and crowding the aisle, they waited until those in front had moved!  Naturally in Phoenix, my flight to Tucson was four moving walkways distant from the terminal where I landed.  Not all that much later I was arriving on-time in Tucson.

After parking the rental car at the hotel and getting something for lunch, I headed off to survey the “freeway” shows until it was time to check in for my room.  Much was just as I remembered it, with only minor changes since 2020.  Some vendors were exactly where I recalled, and others were no longer around.  The 22nd Street show tents were fairly busy.  Their main tent seemed to have less congestion than before — I believe they eliminated a row of smaller booths and increased the size  of the booths and remaining two aisles.  A new third tent was added to the 22nd Street show.  That one was set up with the three aisles.  The JGM tent in the next  block had a lot of empty space as usual but they added many small outside tents.

Then, on the other side of the freeway, there was the Pueblo show.  While the hotel has gone through more than one identity change, the show has stayed with the original name.  It was the first place in Tucson I visited many years ago, so it has a sort feeling of “home”.   It seemed to be a slow day which was great for me to visit with vendors and friends from previous years.  On the other hand, not so great for dealers’ sales. Finally back to check-in to my hotel and then take a quick look around the show there and at the next door hotel.


The hotel was much as I remembered.  The lobby and first floor rooms held dealers and the space for outside dealer tents seemed to have expanded.  However the amenities had gone downhill a bit.  The room was missing the expected microwave and fridge.  (Supposedly had been ordered, but yet to be delivered.)  The breakfast area was somewhat larger since it was moved from the tiny bit left in the lobby to a 2nd floor conference room.  This change also made it harder for staff to monitor and resupply the breakfast offerings.  It also seemed that the variety of items available for breakfast was fewer than in previous years with no variation from day to day.  The staff was polite and friendly, but obviously overwhelmed by the swarms attending the Tucson shows — which seemed to be the case at many other places serving the visitors.  I did find it amusing that the “C” door still did not unlock for the room keys and an appropriate size rock was still being used to allow access back into the building.

(Sign in hotel elevator.  Took until the last day to see the typo.)

When the Orange Juice is not Orange

This morning I picked a basket of oranges from one of the trees lining our driveway. At this point, there are two orange trees as well as a lime, lemon and several mandarins which are big enough to be productive.  Hopefully, in another year or two the more recently planted citrus will catch up.

Once washed and sliced, it was time to put the Cusinart with its juicer attachment to work.

These oranges are the “Moro Blood” variety.  They do well in our mild coastal climate and ripen earlier than the Valencia orange we also have.  There were no seeds in this batch — just lots of juice.  Juice that was not orange, but red.

Hints of Spring

When I went out this morning to pick a few oranges to juice for breakfast, I could not help but notice that while I was away enjoying gem shows in Tucson the past two weeks, certain elements of the garden had decided that it must be spring. It is a couple days short of the middle of February, but one grape vine was already producing clusters of buds.

Several of the fruit trees were blossoming and others were covered with buds that would also be open soon.

And along the fence was a row of assorted daffodils.

While grape hyacinths that hag languished in a pot for years now lined the blueberry bed.


‘Tis The Season

The holidays are here, some decent rainfall in the past few weeks has resulted in the hillsides turning green again, and Christmas decorations are in place.

For the past two years because the COVID pandemic put a damper on holidays, we set up a smaller tree in the living room instead of our traditional 9 footer in the family room.  A new red rug was added this year in hopes of reducing breakage of ornaments in the event they slipped off the branches.

Having the lights pre-wired on the tree is a great time saver so it only took a few minutes to assemble the tree.

Then time for the ornaments.  I have been collecting glass ornaments for many years.  We have some really nice fabric covered boxes for storing the collection.

At this point I do not use all the ornaments on the tree.  I have decided on bird, flower and geometric ornaments for this tree.  (The Santas, snowmen, clowns, animals, musical instruments, toys and other random items worked out nicely for the smaller tree used the past two years.  )

It took a lot of trips up a ladder to decorate the top part of the tree.  Then the rest is easy.

Ready for Santa.

Happy Holidays, everyone!