Vampires in Tucson? Few folks out in Memorial weekend sun – Slide show

Picnics, hiking, dog romps or simply lying dormant beneath a fat, shady tree are all glorious activities or an extended holiday weekend.

See the glorious landscape folks miss when they stay inside?/Ryn Gargulinski

See the glorious landscape folks miss when they stay inside?/Ryn Gargulinski

Unless you’re in Tucson.

For some strange reason, many picnic spots, hiking trails and even the fat, shady trees were largely empty over the Memorial Day weekend.

Neither the weather nor the landscape is to blame, as Tucson is notoriously beautiful with both. Sure, some folks had to work, others left town and still others probably had to catch up on the mounds sleep we lack in this workaday world.

But what about the rest of them?

My holiday weekend included no fewer than four picnics – one smack dab in the middle of Reid Park on a Saturday – at least three hikes, several glorious dog romps and yes, plenty of lying dormant beneath those fat, shady trees.

Yet few people were out enjoying similar activities. That’s not the way I remember it. The holiday weekend that kicks off the summer used to bring people out swarming in droves.

Believe me, I am not complaining. Fewer people means less noise, less litter and less chance of being accosted by angry music shooting from a portable radio.

It also offers less of a chance of ending up, as my once friend did, next to a family of 22 who brings a power generator, movie screen and projector to watch movies all night at a wilderness campsite.

No, not complaining at all. But intensely curious.

The most obvious answer is our town is stocked with vampires. This theory is in jest, of course, and could not be true for at least two reasons: 1. There is way too much black clothing still available at thrift stores and 2. There are too many people still driving around in the light of day. Maybe they really are driving around going nowhere.

The hypothesis that people fear the sun – or the outdoors in general – still holds water. We are told everything from UV rays to ozone will kill us. Don’t forget further fears of those nasty germs sure to be lurking on public picnic tables and grills or the diseases we may get from touching thing like public water fountains.

It’s a virtual cancer zone out there.

A third theory, which seems most likely, is that we really have become an indoor society. Venturing into the great outdoors is not so great when it disconnects us from our creature comforts.

After all, some outdoor areas are remote enough to – gasp – cut off cell phone service. Egads. And not many park pavilions offer wireless Internet connections.

Besides, leaving the house would mean leaving the TV. We wouldn’t want the American average of watching TV at least four hours each day dip in any way while we are out enjoying the sunshine.

That would be a fate worse than death – or at least as bad as all those germy picnic tables.

Reid Park picnic: Andrew Ulanowksi with daughter Andrea (left), Jenna Loomis with Dante, Deb Ross with Scout/Ryn Gargulinski

Reid Park picnic: Andrew Ulanowksi with daughter Andrea (left), Jenna Loomis with Dante, Deb Ross with Scout (Jenna baked the cookies)/Ryn Gargulinski

[tnipoll] [tnislideshow]


What do you think?

Do you notice few people at your favorite picnic and hiking spots?

What’s your theory on what seems to be the lack of enjoyment for the great outdoors?

When was the last time you went on a picnic?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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15 Responses to Vampires in Tucson? Few folks out in Memorial weekend sun – Slide show

  1. JoeS says:

    Spent time with the family.  on Memorial day I took my son to a local cematary to pay our respects to our service members that have made the ultimate sacrifice. 

    • Rynski says:

      definitely a fine american, JoeS! thanks for comment.
      very cool you are also sharing the respect for service members and importance of their sacrifice with your son. also glad to hear you had some family time (that didn’t nec. include lots of TV – haha).

  2. penny says:

    i spent the weekend moving… long weekends are great for that…

    • Rynski says:

      yes, moving – cleaning closets! – and other giant tasks are great for long weekends. (i FINALLY washed my car.)
      hope the move went smooth, penny.

  3. turquoise says:

    Had a nice day with 2 of my best friends. Had burgers, and salads and we spent most of the time indoors playing scrabble and just having (gasp) a talk fest.

    • Rynski says:

      beautiful, turquoise.
      friends, burgers and face-to-face talk fests rule. so does scrabble – it’s the main reason i know a few weird words that begin with the letter K.
      oh! and the (gasp) in the article was for people’s reliance on electronics – not a gasp at talking to friends. nothing beats the latter.
      thanks for comment.

  4. Alan Melroy (Alan from Kent WA says:

    Moving storage unit from floodzone Kent to Renton was major accomplishment of weekend.   New neighbor of storage are the remains of Jimmy Hendrix.  Worked Monday, went looking for Whales Sunday (Not recommended for desert)

    PS.  I also have done Oregon, NM, and Tucson.  Refer to me as Alan from Kent WA.  (See Horse’s Mouth) 

    • Rynski says:

      wow, alan from kent WA,
      i would say that was a MAJOR accomplishment. good for you!
      cool new neighbor, to boot. also like your whale watching – good one, as you noted, for the right climate (haha).
      p.s. yaay! fine to hear a fellow traveler hit some of the same dandy areas. i’ll check out your horse’s mouth – and i have a big feeling you are a big music fan. stay cool.

  5. What I Did says:

    I went disc golfing, hung out with friends, went and tore down a house and its foundation, and got a mild sunburn this past weekend, which is turning into a great tan.
    I saw a whole bunch of people swimming in pools – looked like they were having fun outdoors.  I guess parks aren’t interesting anymore?

    • Rynski says:

      so glad to hear you saw folks outdoors – whew, i was really getting worried but now i see people DID have lots of fun – as well as hard work!
      glad you had some friend time and disc golf to balance out the massive job of tearing down a house. wow. and i thought i was working hard washing my car – hahahha.
      thanks for input, what i did.
      p.s. yeah, i was thinking parks might be passe – but it’s sad that some are shutting because of lack of $, poor attendance, etc.. …and how lucky that people have their own pools.

  6. radmax says:

    Happy post birthday/memorial weekend Rynski!
    Sounds like you were out and about all weekend.
    Love the slide show-that cavalry bugler is one of my faves around Tucson, nice counterpoint to Pancho Villa downtown. 🙂 …you just know they wouldn’t get along…oh, and the pic of Sawyer getting ready to snatch an unsuspecting hotdog-what a sneaky Pete! He reminds me of the shark in “Jaws”.
    Glad you had fun Rynski…one thing does trouble me though, what the heck are those holes in the rock for? An Anasazi lawn sprinkler? 😉
    Captcha, ‘recycled be’ reminded me to ask…was all that trash yours? 😉

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax, thanks!
      yes, it was a rollicking weekend in the sun (with big hat and sunscreen, of course). glad you enjoyed the slide show…and love your idea of bugle boy fighting with pancho villa statue – that would make a great short story – all the statues in town come to life and kill each other. i’m placing my bets on the tanque verde/mcdonald’s giant dinosaur – hahahah.
      the holes in the rock are a great mystery – i was trying to listen to some dad explain them to his kid, but didn’t catch the explanation. i think i DID hear him saying something about a sprinkler….
      NO, the trash was not all mine – but thanks for askin’. i would never use those horrible clear bags – hahah. i like the sawyer pic, too – it’s blurry since i had to snap fast to save the hotdogs. hope your memorial day weekend was just as snazzy!

  7. Andrew Ulanowski says:

    Heya Ryn!  Hope all is well . . . what a fun time we all had! Sounds like you you were quite the party maven this weekend. I only managed to barge my way into a Sunday BBQ (having homemade banana bread in hand works very well for ‘barging’!).
    I always enjoy seeing friends and it was wonderful to have met up with you, Debbie, Jenna and last but not least: The Fur Faces! Looking forward to another get together.

    • Rynski says:

      hey andrew! i agree – saturday’s picnic was a blast – thanks for putting it all together! great company and yes! great doggie guests.
      your homemade banana bread was the BEST!!! made a delish breakfast the next morn…ANYONE should let you into a picnic with that delicacy!
      glad you had fun, too – and the fur faces all say hi. yes – let’s do another get together once late summer/fall hits – then i can blog about how no one goes outside for labor day (hahahah).

      • Jennatoolz says:

        That banana bread was indeed quite tasty!! I couldn’t resist it when I got home…told myself I’d eat half and give the rest to Aaron. Before I knew it, it was gone! (Sorry Aaron, couldn’t help myself!)

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