Arizona-Mount Lemmon

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The drive up Catalina Highway offers impressive views of the valley of Tucson, the surrounding mountains and the rock formations known as hoodoos. There are many vista points along the way that offer good stops to take photos.

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I have travelled all over the USA and visited most of the major National Parks, and I believe that there is no more dramatic drive than the 30 mile trip to the top of Mr Lemmon. There are pull-offs, trailheads and scenic overlooks all the way along the highway. I took an amazing number of beautiful photos – one breathtaking view after another. Because you climb nearly 7,000 feet in elevation, you go through several different and unique ecosystems.

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Going through this drive is like going from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada in one hour. You start going through the residential areas of Tucson, then go through the desert passing large saguaros. Slowly, as the elevation increases you’ll notice some trees. By the end of the drive you’ll be surrounded by dark green trees more reminicent of the Rockies and if it’s winter you’ll see snow. The road up Mt. Lemmon is long (about 25 miles) but well worth the drive. Along the way there are dozens of stops, each giving you a unique view at various elevations. The mountain itself is over 9000 ft. Near the top is the town of Summerhaven, which doesn’t really have too much, but is a nice break. If you want to hike to the top of the mountain (or ski – yes you could ski near Tuscon), turn right off the road near Summerhaven. Unless you’re visiting Summerhaven, you’ll need to pay a $5 entrance fee.

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The wonders of the desert foothills and rocky gorges of the Santa Catalina Mountains are marvellous and accessible.

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“The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it.”

~Robert Edison Fulton, Jr.

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“A desert is a place without expectation.”

– Nadine Gordimer

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“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams.”

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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“Arizona looks like a battle on Mars.”

~Author Unknown

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“In the empire of desert, water is the king and shadow is the queen.” ~Mehmet Murat ildan

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“Once, it was so damned dry, the bushes followed the dogs around.”

~Nancy Dedera

View from Casita 2

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New York City – NYPD & FDNY – Local Heroes

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The New York City Police Department (NYPD or NYCPD), officially the City of New York Police Department, was established in 1845 and is the largest municipal police force in the United States, having primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City. The NYPD is one of the oldest police departments established in the United States, tracing its roots back to the seventeenth century. (Wikipedia)

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Members of the NYPD are frequently referred to by politicians, some media and their own police cars by the nickname New York’s Finest. The NYPD is headquartered at 1 Police Plaza, located on Park Row in Lower Manhattan across the street from City Hall. (Wikipedia)

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The Municipal Police were established in 1845, replacing an old night watch system. In 1857, it was tumultuously replaced by a Metropolitan force, which consolidated many other local police departments in 1898. Twentieth-century trends included professionalization and struggles against corruption. (Wikipedia)

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As the high-profile principal law-enforcement agency in the largest city in the United States – also a main media centre – fictionalized versions of the NYPD and its officers have frequently been portrayed in media including novels, radio, television, motion pictures and video games. (Wikipedia)

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The New York City Fire Department is the largest municipal fire department in the United States and the second largest in the world after the Tokyo Fire Department. The FDNY employs approximately 10,200 uniformed firefighters and over 3,600 uniformed EMTs and paramedics. Its regulations are compiled in title 3 of the New York City Rules. The FDNY’s motto is New York’s Bravest. The FDNY serves more than 8 million residents within a 320 square mile radius. (Wikipedia)

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Like most fire departments of major cities in the United States, the New York City Fire Department is organized in a paramilitary fashion, and in many cases echoes the structure of the police department. The department’s executive staff is divided into two areas that include a civilian Fire Commissioner who serves as the head of the department and a Chief of Department who serves as the operational leader. (Wikipedia)

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Operationally and geographically, the department is nominally organized, into five Borough Commands for the five traditional Boroughs of New York City. Within those five Borough Commands exists nine firefighting Divisions, each headed by a Deputy Division Chief. Within each Division are four to seven Battalions, each led by a Battalion Chief. Each Battalion consists of three to eight firehouses and consists of approximately 180–200 firefighters and officers. Each firehouse consists of one to three fire companies. Each fire company is led by a captain, who commands three lieutenants and nine to twenty firefighters. There are currently four shifts of firefighters in each company. (Wikipedia)

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The city’s first firehouse was built in 1736 in front of City Hall on Broad Street. A year later, on December 16, 1737, the colony’s General Assembly created the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York, appointing 30 men who would remain on call in exchange for exemption from jury and militia duty. The city’s first official firemen were required to be “able, discreet, and sober men who shall be known as Firemen of the City of New York, to be ready for service by night and by day and be diligent, industrious and vigilant.” 

Although the 1737 Act created the basis of the fire department, the actual legal entity was incorporated in the State of New York on March 20, 1798 under the name of “Fire Department, City of New York.” (Wikipedia)

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“New York is notoriously the largest and least-loved of any of our great cities. Why should it be loved as a city? It is never the same city for a dozen years altogether. A man born in New York forty years ago finds nothing, absolutely nothing, of the New York he knew. If he chances to stumble upon a few old houses not yet levelled, he is fortunate. But the landmarks, the objects which marked the city to him, as a city, are gone.”

 – Harper’s (1856)

“I was in love with New York. I do not mean ‘love’ in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again.”

–Joan Didion

“Each man reads his own meaning into New York.”

-Meyer Berger