I had to get up super-early today to catch a flight, and stopped on my way to my rental car to take this photo of some cacti around our hotel.
Marana, Arizona is, intentionally, a “dark” community with minimal lighting to avoid light pollution and facilitate better viewing of stars. Desert darkness is about as absolutely dark as it gets. The stars stand out in sharp relief, to be sure, while the giant saguaros are ghostly figures in the gloom, unless you use a flash as I did here.
The night and early morning hours are apparently a favorite time for gangs of Javelina to prowl the neighborhood, although I didn’t see any on my way to the parking lot. I was happy about that, because I’m not sure I would know how to deal with a nighttime encounter with a herd of wild, pig-like creatures.
What’s on your “bucket list”? Is taking a walk in a place where the outdoor temperature is 120 degrees one of the items? If so, Marana, Arizona in July is a place where you can check that box.
To my knowledge, I’ve never been anywhere where the outdoor temperature has exceeded 101 or 102 degrees. In the Midwest, if you top 100 by a degree or two it’s remarkable, and cause for extended weather discussions. But I’ve now smashed my personal record, and I doubt whether I’ll ever be anywhere hotter, unless future travel takes me to Death Valley or the Sahara. In fact, it’s hard to even imagine hotter conditions.
To be sure, the heat here is a “dry heat”—thank goodness for that!—but . . . heat is heat. And at 120 degrees, heat becomes an oppressive, ever-present thing. The outdoor thermometer cautions that when you get above 110 degrees you’re in severe heat risk territory, and you can definitely understand why. When you are walking, taking sips from your water bottle, you’re always acutely conscious of the sun, the heat, your water bottle, and your reaction to the heat. It makes it hard to enjoy a stroll.
The only good thing about 120-degree heat is that it makes the early morning temperatures in the 80s seem like a cool breeze.
We were looking for a breakfast place in Marana, Arizona this morning. When I saw there was a place called the Feedlot Cafe, I figured we had to try it. When we drove up to the entrance and saw that the restaurant was part of the Marana Stock Yards, and you entered the building with the restaurant under a statue of a bull, I knew we made the right choice.
It turns out that most of the Marana Stock Yard building isn’t a restaurant at all. The Feedlot Cafe is in one corner of the building, most of which is devoted to a livestock auction arena. You can see the holding pen and some of the seats for bidders in the photo above, but the hall itself is much larger. And whoever decorated it really, really liked cattle heads.
The Feedlot Cafe itself was great. if you’re looking for a breakfast spot, eschew the chains and look for a joint that only serves breakfast and lunch. If you find one, that means you’ve likely found a local place that draws a local crowd and charges local prices. And that, in turn, means you’re doing to get great value and great food for your dollar. The Feedlot checked all those boxes and didn’t disappoint. My sausage, scrambled eggs, hash browns, and an oversized biscuit slathered with fresh butter and honey was a serious breakfast feast for less than $10. Add in some orange juice and a bottomless cup of very good coffee and you’re looking at a fine meal for a very reasonable price.
This place was terrific in every respect. The food was great, the waitress was polite and friendly, the locals who were eating didn’t give us the evil eye, and the decorations screamed authenticity. My favorite touch was the cowboy boots spelling out “howdy” in front of pictures of cowboys at rodeos.
If you’re in Marana (which is a bit north of Tucson off I-10) and looking for breakfast or lunch, you can’t go wrong at the Feedlot. I’d gladly tie on the feedbag there any day.