Archive | July, 2012

History and Hokeyness in Old Tucson

12 Jul

Winding on the mountainous road leaving Tucson in the distance, I blithely anticipated Old Tucson would be a hidden treasure tucked between the hillsides.  Certainly tucked away… in the middle of nowhere… it dawned on me that I just might be entering that pesky force field that sucks me into tourist traps once again.

Famed as the studios where many classic westerns were filmed (Arizona , in 1939, was the first), there is an interesting veil of movie history draped over this hokey, low budget theme park.   More than 300 films/tv productions have been created here, but it was a little hard for me to imagine film casts and crews making well known scenes amongst the western facades that seemed so cheaply staged.  The movie credits are quite extensive (check out the Old Tucson website for a full history) with a steady stream of productions flanking the Western primetime of the 1950’s.  Most in that era were unfamiliar to me, but there were quite a few productions that caught my pop culture interest.   I wandered around recognizable sets from Three Amigos, Tombstone, Young Guns, and Little House on the Prairie.  I posed beside “The Reno”,  an 1872 locomotive that carried passengers from President Roosevelt to John Wayne and starred in nearly 100 features. Character actors reenacted a shootout scene from The Quick and the Dead.  Horrendous cabaret ladies made me wince as they sang classic numbers accompanied by film footage shot at Old Tucson.  A miniature train ride around the perimeter of the studios provided many a view of desert dirt and scattered props.  Overall, I think the hokey outweighed the history.

Flexibility is key. And I’m not talking muscle length.

5 Jul

As my first travel assignment was coming to the end of its term, I finalized my next assignment: an extension for thirteen more weeks here in Tucson. Yup, no trip to Colorado for now!

An underlying theme to travel PT is flexibility. I had every intention to spend my summer in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, Grand Junction… certainly not the desert heat of Tucson! But with a dry job market in my desired areas and a dry climate sadly setting Colorado a-blaze, my plan became flexible. With all the recent changes to find the right “fit” within the RV’ing lifestyle, staying put now grants me more time to explore all the things still left to discover in Arizona. I also had to use my week between assignments for the not so fun task of driving to/from Austin just to register my vehicle and RV I purchased here in Arizona. Quite the headache, but yet another exercise in flexibility.

I find it best to approach travel PT with a global plan because without thinking about life panned out in a few thirteen week intervals, it’s easy to lose grasp on how few travel assignments actually suck up a whole year. But the best laid plans need to be flexible. Here are some questions I have asked myself during this assignment transition:

• What is the back up plan if an assignment is ended early?
• What if your goal destination doesn’t have available positions in the time frame you need?
• What other state PT licenses do you hold as options, and is there such a thing as maintaining too many?
• How far away can you go while not breaking the bank with unpaid travel time and the expenses to get to your assignment?
• Can you take time in between for a road tripping adventure?
• What changes can you make to the plan to squeeze in those unexpected “taking care of business” hassles?

If you consider traveling as an RVer, also be sure your primary and secondary plans take into account seasonal differences. Driving conditions, freezing hoses/pipes, tornadoes/hurricanes are all examples of Mother Nature’s impact on the plans of a RVing travel PT. These regional and climate considerations are also key when building your potential travel route across several assignments.