In February 2014, Kate and I visited Tubac, Arizona. It was my first time having EVER stepped foot in Tubac. When I wrote SHIFT (and those books that came after it, for that matter,) I had never seen the town in which the story was set. I’d looked at some pictures through Google Earth, and I’d done research on the climate, economy, flora and fauna, but I had never experienced the town itself. In the end, I couldn’t have been more amazed. I’d hoped it would be like I had imagined–I hadn’t expected it to be EXACTLY what I had envisioned, to feel just like I expected. And I certainly hadn’t expected it to teach me things about my own characters. Because I knew, all along, the Cecelia loved this place, and I thought I knew why. But I didn’t really know why until I went there. Until I walked the streets, and felt the sun, and met the people. Until I walked gallery to gallery and ate the food and drank the wine, and shopped the market. It wasn’t until I was there that I really knew why Samantha had insisted that Harris and her build their home there–why she convinced Cecelia to visit, and why Cecelia decided to stay.
The sunrise from the balcony of our room at the B&B on our first morning in Tubac.
These are all lined up outside a great gift shop right in town. Was so beautiful to see all the bright colors and different shapes of pottery sitting in the dappled sunshine.
TUBAC! Also, the Art Festival! Proof that I was actually there.
This saloon is right in town, at the end of one of the dirt roads (they’re all dirt, so that’s not a great description.) It’s a great place. We chatted with our waitress about living and working in Tubac. I grinned ear-to-ear the entire time, picturing Collin, Ferris, Drake and Leah sharing a pitcher of beer. The place was perfect.
A very picturesque dry river bed in town. You’d never know it, but we were right in the heart of Tubac when we took this picture.
This courtyard was tucked back, not far from where we took the picture of the pottery. Quiet and absolutely beautiful.
More courtyard. I could picture Drake wanting to take Leah here–he’d know she would love it.
This alley gave me heart palpitations when I saw it and how close it was to the saloon!
A red jagged horizon against a mint blue sky.
More horizon and sky, plus scrubby bushes.
Here I am staring at the horizon, quietly crying over how perfect it all is. (Notice my flowy skirt in honor of Cecelia.)
This is the Tubac Market–the only grocery store in town. There were parking spots right in front and everything. Also, they had a great wine selection, much appreciated by Samantha and Cecelia in SHIFT.
This is the Tubac Community Library (which is part of the Community Center, and a very important place for Leah in SHIFT.) This also used to be the Tubac High School, though it isn’t any longer. In fact, I’m not certain there is a high school in Tubac. Drake would have driven to Rio Rico for school each day.
A beautiful purple cactus we found when we took a trip down a random dirt road in search of Samantha and Harris, and/or Cecelia’s houses. No houses found, but we did find this cactus and a horse.
This is the sunrise on our last day in Tubac. I was so sad to leave, but honored that mother nature saw fit to give us such a beautiful morning to see us off. One of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen. (These pictures are unedited, and unfiltered.)
You’ll notice that this sign reads in kilometers. Curious, I looked to Google to find out why, and learned that when the highway (I-19) was built, there was a push toward converting units of measure to the metric system in the U.S. The movement failed, but the highway signs have remained. Thankfully, the speed limit signs still read in MPH.
Beautiful sky as we drove into Nevada on our way home. (Again, unfiltered, unedited.)