A Festive Anniversary Week in the Sonoran Desert. Part 3: The Map of Adventure

(December 11-17, 2022)

Before getting too far ahead of myself, I thought it would be a dandy idea to build a map of the circles we traveled in and around Tucson.  This will not only aide those of you who are following along on our travels to see just where all these places are, but it helped me relive the week and will refresh my memory in years to come when browsing my journals.

Read on to view our trip highlights, and see just where all those parks, monuments, and mountains are found, and where to go to soak up the flora and fauna unique to the Sonoran Desert.  Also, this map gives you a sneak peak of journal posts to come.

Full 2-page spread of our illustrated travel map

My approach for the map was to spotlight each day’s highlights, whether it was significant discoveries, surprise scenic views, cultural and western history, or delicious food spots.  

Close-up of the more western side of our travels
Close-up of the more eastern side of our travels. la Casita is in the upper left of this page, below Tom Mix.
Close-up of the more SW area of our travels.
Close-up of the southern route

Then I built a key to show major and minor roadways, where we were in relation to Mexico, and distances we traveled to get to and from la Casita every day. 

Here’s the Map Key, showing mileages to and fro

Hopefully this map is self explanatory. Sure made sense to me, and was great fun putting together! Maybe someday you’ll want to explore the wonders of the Sonoran Desert in and around Tucson. And don’t forget to stop by at least one of the many In-N-Out Burger joints and order a mouthwatering meal from their “Not So Secret Menu!” (Why oh why do we not have these burger places in New Mexico? So I asked their corporate office, and got a reply, from Brandy!**)


Let me know if you go (to the Sonoran Desert and/or In-N-Out Burger)!

Stay tuned for Part 4: Casa Grande Ruins and the Hohokam, Tom Mix … a Legendary Cowboy, and Weird Fungi

**Dear Barb, Thank you for your e-mail and for your interest. 

In-N-Out Burger® is a privately held, family operated business which first opened in Baldwin Park, CA in 1948. As we continue to expand, we are always careful not to open a new location until we can guarantee the same quality food and service as we provide in our existing locations.

Our immediate expansion efforts are primarily focused on the states where we have already been operating. However, we do plan on further expansion, particularly into areas where our customers have expressed interest. As such, we are happy to let our Real Estate department know that you are ready to have an In-N-Out Burger in the New Mexico area!

Thank you again for contacting us.  Sincerely, Brandy Customer Service


  1. Made Byfay says:

    Barb, I love your map! I expanded all the images and looked at all the details. I so wish I had discovered sketch journaling when we lived in AZ, 1986-1990! Your map and stories have brought back so many good memories. It next best to going back myself. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures. When you told about hiking through the desert between cactus in an earlier post, it brought a smile. There is one little cactus they call Jumping Cholla, for the reason that you can’t seem to pass anywhere close without them grabbing onto you! We learned a trick from the locals to carry a small pocket comb for lifting out cactus. That was a finger-saver! We visited the Suguaro national forest many times. The cactus are amazing and stately! We were told that they have to reach 100 years old before they begin to grow “arms.” So the Suguaro with many arms must really be ancient. Also, I remember the colors and quality of the light was so different from the PNW. Magical. However, winter would have to be the time I would go back for a visit, as I could not tolerate the summer heat now. What a batch of fond memories you have stirred up. Thank you! And say hi to your kitty again. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Outrageously awesome comments, Fay! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences in the Sonoran, all the way to a cactus spine removing comb. We know that trick, and our dog owes a pocket comb many thanks! Ouch!
      How cool you were privileged to spend 4+ years living in and exploring the Sonoran Desert. We think it’s a remarkable place, spines, thorns and prickles included (and we live in the Chihuahuan Desert!). My follow up journal pages are allowing me some quality time rabbit-trailing through the web, learning so much more about all the flora and fauna, geology, landmarks, parks and monuments. I do love the research almost as much as being there. I’m delighted you are reliving your time in the desert. You say you’re in the PNW? No no no ….. too much rain and green for us, but we do love visiting that gorgeous part of the country, especially the Cascades! Again, thanks so much for the comments. I loved reading them.


      1. Made Byfay says:

        We have had so much snow and so many days with no sun this winter! It would have been wonderful to pop back to AZ for a month! But we have had a few days of sunshine lately and that is making me hope for crocuses and spring! Then there isn’t anywhere else I would rather be than the PNW. 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful map, Barb, I just love the detail! I, too, enlarged all the close-up images of your maps, as ‘Made Byfay’ did (hi neighbor – I’m in the PNW as well!). We have been to the Kitt Peak Observatory and I’m surprised it is still closed, but hope you can get back there for the tour. And, ah, the Saguaro N.P. is magical! I love how you made the key for the different map areas, and the distances – I love those kind of statistics! We haven’t been to an In n’ Out Burger, but I’ve heard a lot about it! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for taking time to comment, Karen. I really enjoy putting together these kinds of illustrative maps. In a few years I’ll be happy to have the reference, if for no other reason than proof I’ve been to all these places! Haha!
      How lucky that you’ve been to Kitt Peak. They haven proposed an opening date, yet. But it was a view that conjured up all kinds of imaginings about the universe.
      If you ever get a chance, In-N-Out Burger is one of those “destination” places. My brother and a group of Burger addicts drives from Seattle to somewhere in Oregon a few times a year for no other reason that to get their “Animal fix!” He’s the one that turned us on to their outrageous 🍔 burgers!
      Talk to you soon!


  3. sgoodman56 says:

    Ditto to all the comments about the map, it’s incredible that you have so much detail. When I was still eating meat many years ago, the In N Out Burger was a favorite dining place on a California trip!


    1. Wow, many thanks Susan! The map was fun, and the burgers delicious!


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