We camped last night at Tucson Mountain Park, a county park adjacent to Saguaro National Monument. The weather has been perfect so far and the morning light was beautiful on the desert vegetation. We must have had the right amount of rain this past winter because the desert is as green as I have ever seen it as this shot from our campsite attests.

Tucson Mountain Park, Tucson, Arizona

Morning light on the Sonoran Desert, Tucson Mountain Park

Just up the road from the park is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We hadn’t been there in many years, so we took the opportunity to visit. Barbara had heard that they had an interesting gallery space so that was an added attraction. Just inside the museum entrance was a docent with a screech owl perched on her hand. She told us about the owl’s habits (including the fact that they don’t actually screech) and suggested some exhibits to visit. We spent more time than we expected and didn’t see nearly half of the museum. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must-see side trip from US 89.

Docent with owl at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona

Docent at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum with a screech owl

Our final desert adventure of the day was on the Pinal Pioneer Parkway, the section of historic 89 between Oracle Junction and Florence. I was amased at the colorful display of flowers and cactus blooms along the road. I’ve driven this section of the road many times but have never seen it looking so beautiful.

Historic US Route 89, Pinal Pioneer Parkway, Arizona, Spring Flowers

A spring show of color along the Pinal Pioneer Parkway

This is the best time of the year to be in desert. The trip is off to a great start.