Wednesday, May 12, 2010
W.O.W. stands for Way Out West, a unique, funky, wonderful Bed & Breakfast outside of Tucson, where we spent our tenth and last night in Arizona (yes, we are still catching up on our AZ adventures) -- it was a wonderful respite for the weary travelers. This is the view from the porch of CJ Vincent and MaryEllen Landren's place.
Actually, it's only part of the view. Lower your eyes from the mountains, and they will rest upon the amazing (and organic) desert habitat that CJ and MaryEllen have created, claimed from Tucson's encroaching development. Cactuses, flowers and plants of every variety, butterflies and mammals, and - of course - birds.
Our photos don't do it justice - check out the website link above.
CJ and MaryEllen truly care for the ecosystem they inhabit. CJ showed us around after we arrived, and started talking about his "scratch and sniff" garden. We had no clue what he was talking about, until he started breaking off flower petals and bits of plants, crushing them and instructing us to smell. As he told us the Latin names of the bits of botany, we inhaled odors of licorice, Lemon Pledge, chocolate. Like an Arizona Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.
The bees and other critters liked it, too. Rabbits and other mammals scurried through the grasses. Coyotes howled at night. Snakes were rumored to be about, although unfortunately we didn't see any.
Way Out West is a teensy bit out of the way, as the name implies, about a half-hour from downtown Tucson. But it's a perfect place to hang your hat if your are birding the Tucson area, or want to go mountain-biking (CJ's an expert) in the desert. You are also very much staying in someone's home, not in the privacy of a lodge or cabin. Breakfast - spinach-and-bacon quiche, fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, coffee, muffins - was out of this world.
And then there are the birds. W.O.W. plays host to the uncommon and much sought-after Rufous-Winged Sparrow.
Lisa got her life Greater Roadrunner - FINALLY! - and we were entranced by a pair of beautiful Harris' Hawks:
CJ and MaryEllen really care for the habitat and the ecosystem - did we mention that? - and they intimately know the flora and fauna around them, and adopt the creatures around them like members of an extended family. This here is "Drooper," a Canyon Towhee with a damaged wing that has not only thrived and survived at Way Out West, but actually mated and reproduced! :
In sum, we'll go back to SE Arizona some day, we'll go back to Tucson, and we'll go back to CJ and MaryEllen's place. W.O.W.