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We spent a near perfect day at the Tubac Golf Resort. Surrounded by the Santa Rita and Tumacacori Mountain Ranges, the resort occupies what was the first Spanish Land Grant in the Southwest … the Otero Ranch.

Around Town — Golf, a Skull and Dope Sniffing Dogs

In 1959 the historic Otero Ranch was purchased by singer/actor Bing Crosby and other local businessmen who transformed the 500 acre ranch into the Tubac Golf Resort. The resort showcases the Otero family’s original hacienda and a 200-year old barn that has been converted to a classy eatery known as the Stables Restaurant. The Stables oozes historic charm with its original stone floors and vintage photos … one  photo showed President Gerald Ford meeting with the President of Mexico.

While having lunch on the veranda of the Stables Restaurant, we were able to enjoy this pastoral view of the golf course. A film poster inside reminds visitors that the resort was the setting for the golf-themed movie Tin Cup, starring Kevin Costner.

During lunch, our attention was directed toward this mother owl tending her young in a tree near the fairway. Now that’s what we call a nest with a view.

After a relaxing lunch, we strolled over to the original hacienda. It  is now used for small events and wedding receptions.

We were amazed to find a rather eclectic furniture boutique located on the grounds of the resort.

Just north of Tubac is the small community of Amado. We thought we were hallucinating when we saw the giant longhorn skull entrance of the Longhorn Bar & Grill. This Amado landmark is said to have been featured in Martin Scorsese film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore … we plan to check out the DVD to confirm.

Another landmark in Amado is the Cow Palace Restaurant and Bar. Built in the 1920’s, this steakhouse served as a watering hole for the Hollywood elite.

At the entrance to the bar are photos of the Hollywood celebrities that came here to eat, drink and relax after a hard day of filming in the surrounding Sonoran desert and Santa Rita Mountains. We recognized most, but not all the faces on this wall of stars.

The bar area has a wonderful vintage atmosphere … over the years the only modification has been the addition of a few booths. The Cow Palace is particularity proud that John Wayne was a frequent customer. Prominently displayed above the bar was a picture of what we dubbed the original odd couple … John Wayne and Frank Sinatra.

Just miles south of Tubac is Tumacacori National Park. We were disappointed to find that the park was undergoing restoration and that some features were closed. As we were leaving, we noticed the Old Tumacacori Bar … a kitschy 1930’s cowboy bar and hangout. It is said that the current owner holds the oldest liquor license in Arizona.

During our visit we tried but could not ignore the illegal immigration issue … we were in what’s known as the Tucson-Nogales corridor. A headline in the Tucson paper estimated that 1600 illegals flow through this corridor DAILY … perhaps Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan aren’t wrong when they say the U.S. is being invaded. We were subject to daily inspections at a Border Patrol checkpoint ... including drug sniffing dogs, a Border Patrol vehicle hid in our RV park and a helicopter flew so low one night that we thought it was going to use our trailer as a landing pad. Not a pretty picture.

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