Sunday, February 19, 2017

Madera Canyon and Illness Comes to Visit

Friday was the last good weather day.  In all of the years that we've been wintering in Tucson, we have never been to Madera Canyon, so we decided to go there.  First we went to the top parking lot, it's at about 5900 feet, and the trail ascends to 7900 feet.  After about 100 yards of that, we decided we would get back in the truck and go to a lower altitude.  Between the wind and the lapse rate, it was really cold.  We went to parking lot C, which is the lowest lot.  With the benefit of hindsight, we should have gone to B.  Leaving C, the trail goes straight up, and there are a lot of rocks on much of it.  I don't like these rocks because they roll under your feet.  If you go, and get a map, all of these parking lot designators will become clear.

It's a pretty area.  There are a lot of trees.

There are mountains.

Eventually, there were overlooks.  See the blue off to the left?  That's what in all of those mine tailings.

We took the Bog Spring trail.  This would be the spring.

There is a nice looking stand of sycamore trees at the spring.  It's unfortunate that the light wasn't better for photographing.

I took this driving back down the big hill.  You can better see the wall of tailings with the water inside.

Elephant Head.

More grassland.

This is an old helipad.  It was used for the Titan Missiles.

More views of the mountains.

It's pretty out there.  At present it's mostly brown grass land and dormant trees, but it has its own serene beauty.

Coming back from Madera, I could feel myself getting sick.  By the time I got home I had the burning throat, the coughing up of material from the lungs and the burning eyes.  The timing on sick was good since the weather the last two days has just been awful; it's windy, cold and wet.  The rain just started up again.

It's really tragic how bad the weather was, because this was the weekend for 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo.  It's a mountain bike race up near the Biosphere.  It's north, and higher in elevation than Tucson, they got way more rain than we did.  It's surprising to me that they have the race this early in the season.  Here is a picture of Lance Armstrong who did the event with George Hincapie.

He's looking slightly hypothermic.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Animals and Politics (sorry)

Here are some nice animal pictures from yesterday's ride.  The road runner was interesting, he sat on the post and made a sort of cooing noise.  We've never heard a road runner make any sound before.

The round tailed ground squirrels are now out and about.  They are one of the cutest animals on earth.

Ok that's it for the nice things that we've seen.

On the news tonight, a couple of Trump supporters were talking about how impressed they were by all that the president has accomplished during his short tenure.  Other than repealing the section of Dodd-Frank that required reporting of bribes paid by oil companies to despots, or allowing the coal mining companies in West Virginia to dump mining debris into the streams and rivers; I can't really think of much that he has accomplished.  Oh, and there is that whole tarnishing the image of this country. This allegiance to the administration is just baffling to me.  I look around at people going about their day, and I wonder why isn't their hair on fire?

I can't even discuss the press conference yesterday.  Have you ever seen such a tragic performance?

CBS is reporting the following:
“Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed. These staffers in particular are often the conduit between the secretary’s office to the country bureaus, where the regional expertise is centered. Inside the State Department, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed expertise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorganizing the bureaucracy. … Two sources also told CBS News that Ambassador Kristie Kenney, the Counselor of the State Department and one of the last remaining senior officials, was informed that she will be let go. She is a career foreign service officer who had served as an ambassador under Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton.”
Not a single State Department official was included in the White House meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week.
“Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — who has no regional expertise or diplomatic experience — had a greater role in the meeting than the Senate-confirmed secretary of State. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Tom Shannon was on the official schedule to take [Tillerson’s] place but was then shut out of the White House meeting.”
Because of the absolute plethora of other things to say about politics in this country, this did not get a lot of coverage, and it should.  Foreign policy is going to be run by a 30 something with no political experience, an ex oil executive, and that man.  If this doesn't scare you to death, I don't know what it will take.  Additional words on this subject can be found here.

At Boeing in South Carolina the president orated about keeping the jobs home - we're keeping the jobs here.  Check out this diagram. This is how manufacturing works.  Nothing he says is going to undo this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tardigrades, Verizon and the Usual

Did you all go look up tardigrades?  If not, then you should.  They're amazing animals.  From wikipedia we learn the following.
Tardigrades are the most resilient animal known: they can survive extreme conditions that would be rapidly fatal to nearly all other known life forms. They can withstand temperature ranges from 1 K (−458 °F; −272 °C) (close to absolute zero) to about 420 K (300 °F; 150 °C), pressures about six times greater than those found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a human, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more than 30 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.
They're about one millimeter in size.


Yesterday was an extremely aggravating day, we started looking at the new data plans from Verizon.  Verizon is just the spawn of Satan.  The data plans used to be S,M,L or XL.  We were on the XL plan which gave us 22 gig of data which was accessible by the two phones and the mifi hotspot.  THEN Verizon went to 2,4,8 gig plans or "unlimited" data.  Unlimited is so misleading.  High points of the unlimited data are as follows:
  • The phones get unlimited data, up until 22 gig then they get throttled.
  • The mifi hotspot can have 10 gig of data for the laptops at 4G speeds, then it's throttled to 3G speeds
  • The two phones can each tether 10 gig of data for the laptops at 4G speeds, then they're throttled to 3G speeds 
  • Oh yes, and the $10 discount for autopay - you have to let them bill your debit card or checking account directly.  They don't want to pay the credit card fee.  I am so sure I will give the evil empire my bank routing number!
So, you no longer have the nice big pool of data, you get little pools of data for each device.  It's just such a pisser, I hate this new plan.  We have had very little luck using the phones as hot spots for the laptops.  Given the number of videos that websites are forcing on the consumers, 10 gig of data won't last very long.

In other news, there has been hiking and biking.  We saw deer the other day in the Tucson Mountains.

Politics, as usual, are making us crazy.  The Russians are deploying land based cruise missiles,  their planes are buzzing US ships, a spy ship is parked off of Connecticut and all that man can do is talk about his electoral college numbers.  There has been zero response to these provocative actions.  Has that man said one thing about the damage in California due to flooding, or storm damage in the South East?  No, too busy playing golf in Florida.  It's going to be very interesting to see what comes of the investigation into Flynn and what did the president know and when did he know it.

WTF Just Happened Today is having a fund drive.  It's costing him money out of pocket to host the website and pay for Mail Chimp; not to mention the six hours a day he puts in to the site, in addition to his day job.  If you like what he's doing, slip him a few dollars would ya?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Happy Valentine's Day to you all.  In these strange days that are upon us, I hope you're with your favorite person.