Monday, March 02, 2009

Another Reid Park Ramble

As I mentioned in my previous entry, the dogs and I did some more exploring in Reid Park yesterday. I've finished editing the photos, and here are some highlights. First, a quick recap: Gene C. Reid Park is a largish city park in the middle of Tucson, AZ, between Broadway Blvd and 22nd St., between Country Club Rd. and Randolph Way. The other side of Randolph Way is the much larger Randolph Park, which is basically a golf course, tennis venue and some buildings for Parks & Rec programs. (Randolph Park goes all the way from 22nd north to Broadway, while Reid Park gives way to a nice older neighborhood at the halfway point between 22nd and Broadway.) Randolph Park is where in past years I met William Windom, Patrick Warburton, Richard Herd, Mickey Dolenz and others when the annual celebrity tennis tournament used to be held there. But Reid Park has my heart. It's the once and future home of the Tucson Toros baseball team at Hi Corbett Field, the spring training home of the Colorado Rockies, and the site of Miko's Corner Playground, the best dog park in the city.

There were two places in Reid Park that I wanted to track down on Saturday, partly so I would know where they were for future access, partly as possible photographic opportunities. The first was the George Demeester Outdoor Performance Center, better known as the Reid Park bandshell. I once waited there for nearly an hour on my lunch break from Worldwide Travel, waiting for John Kerry to arrive and speak. He was late, and I only caught a few minutes of speech before I had to leave. That was in 2004, obviously, so I'd had plenty of time to forget exactly where it was.

From the Picasa album Another Reid Park Ramble

It wasn't hard to find, though. It was over a bridge and then right up the hill from the dog park. The structure looks as though it's seen better days. Nevertheless, it seemed like a pleasant place to spend a warm winter Saturday afternoon. There were a number of people scattered around, and I couldn't tell at first whether they were lingering from an earlier event, arriving early for an evening one, or just enjoying the day. It was about 5 PM.

As I got closer, I saw definite clues as to the nature of the event. I learned on Sunday that it was a Peace Fair, at which at least one member of our congregation had a table.

The event was over, but a number of very interesting people were still handing out. I'm sorry to say that within a minute of my taking this photo, the dogs you see here were having a rather nasty disagreement with Cayenne and Pepper. There was no biting, however.

This gentleman, who I think introduced himself as Brian, is with the Lovin' Spoonfuls vegetarian restaurant. This was the first time he had used his hot dog cart in a while, but he was pleased, because there had been quite a few people at the event "who really wanted to eat vegetarian food." He was amused by the names Cayenne and Pepper, which he said went together "like Ramalama and Ding-Dong."

The dogs and I found the gopher holes I showed you last night, walked past the edge of the Hi Corbett practice fields and all the way to the edge of the northernmost parking lot off that particular entrance; but didn't find the other landmark I was looking for, a rose garden. I consulted an outdated park map at the entrance, and discovered that the rose garden was off the southeastern lot, on the other wise of the dog park. It's been nearby all along! A tree is obscuring the word "Rose" on the sign over the entrance, which may be part of why I didn't notice it the only time I drove past it.

It's still winter, though, even in Tucson, and the rose bushes were cut back for the winter. It was easily the ugliest, most rose-deficient rose garden I've ever seen. Another park visitor assured me that in a month it will be a different story. The city's Parks and Recreation website has this to say about it:

The Reid Park Rose Garden boasts 1,080 different color rose beds, with more than 100 species of roses. The Rose Society of Tucson has been a partner with the City in the development and promotion of the garden for many years. A layout plan, available free at the garden, indicates the location of the various rose species in the garden and lists the best rose varieties for our desert climate. The garden also contains a large gazebo and is very popular for weddings, birthday parties and other special events by reservation.

The Rose Garden is always a special place to visit, but the most impressive display of roses in bloom occurs each March-April and October-November.

The only flowers I saw were a foot or so outside the garden, outliers on a bush the was poking through the bards. This one had ants on it.

And of course the dogs had to check out the spot after I showed photographic interest.

The last place on our itinerary, other than a quick second visit to the dog park itself, was to one of the duck ponds, the one with the fountains.

Near the pond we met a couple who liked Cayenne very much. It was mutual. Pepper, of course, was more standoffish.

Two things I didn't know about the "urban lakes" at Reid Park: they are connected by a little feeder canal, and the one with the fountains has a man-made waterfall. But I'll save those pictures for Tuesday night.


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