Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Historic Barrio

Thursday was a rest day. The Arivaca ride just about finished me off on Wednesday. I came home and fell asleep on the couch, twice. So today was not strenuous. We drove up 6th Avenue on the way to go walk around the Historic Barrio district, what's left of it. I love 6th Avenue, there are several old courtyard motels that are quaint and picturesque.

Then we walked through the Historic Barrio.

This is what's under the stucco.

Many of the houses have good sized courtyards with creative gates.

I love the doors and the use of color.

This is my favorite house.

I went to school at UofA for years. For some reason I felt that I needed to move almost every semester. I'm really glad we weren't on a quarter system. Anyway, this is one of my apartments, I think it was the first place I lived in. It was built in 1908. The heat did not work at all, and the swamp coolers only worked about every other day. Other than that, it was fine.

Not too much is happening here - hope you're all doing well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Ride to Arivaca

Tuesday was sunny, windy and cold! I was sitting outside watching Jim adjusting his new bicycle pedals and I had to get a jacket for warmth, and a hat to keep the sun off my head.

Jim's Shimano road pedals finally died after 11 years of use. I think he got his money's worth out of them. He got a pair of touring pedals to replace them, they use the mtb bolt pattern, but have a platform that's like a road pedal. And they did not cost an arm and a leg.

We eventually left the house and hiked up to Starr Pass. We did not go up on the ridge because it was blowing the dog off the chain.

Today was better. We left the RV park at 0900 hours and drove down to Amado. From there we road the bicycles out to the coffee shop at Arivaca. Going out it climbs more often than not.

We had a pretty good group today. It was nice sitting in the sun. I had pie. Pie is good. Going back to the car we had a headwind, it's always a head wind going back.

Upon our return we went to the Longhorn for a beer. It was fun.

The Arivaca ride is interesting. There's not a lot out there. Mainly ranching, I think, and the Border Patrol. It seems that for every civilian car there are 3 border patrol vehicles. Arivaca is fairly close to the border with Mexico. When I was riding back today I could see 1 gallon jugs of water placed out in the desert, some of the churches do that for the people coming across. Trash is a huge issue for Arizona, apparently tons of personal belongings are abandoned and have to be removed. Tonight on the CBS news there was a piece on the drug war in Mexico, and the thousands of people who have been killed. There are tunnels being built in Nogales to smuggle drugs across the border. Where there are drugs, there are guns, so the tourists do not go to Nogales as they used to, further depressing their economy. One of the government talking heads is predicting that the Mexican government will collapse, and the country will be run by cartels. It's sort of surreal and grim.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mount Lemmon

This morning we took the dead TV to Beaudry RV for replacement. While waiting for the service adviser to return from lunch we toured Class A's. Does Jim not look fetching behind the wheel? All he needs is $695,000.

I had had a 4:30 appointment on the east side and we had time to kill. We found the house my parents used to live in on the east side of Tucson. All the vegetation had really grown up since the 80's.

We still had time to kill so we we drove out Catalina Highway up Mt. Lemmon. I had forgotten how spectacular it is up there. This is taken approaching the incline, the clouds are pretty good.

We're still low on the slope, looking at the homes of the rich and beautiful. Talk about no back yard!

Moving on up...

In mid-June 2003 a fire started on top of the mountain. It was not contained until mid-July, after burning 85,000 acres. There are still blackened trees, dead trees and a general lack of vegetation.

There are new trees and trees that survived.

This is about 5500 feet, lots of boulders.

About 6,000 feet, 39 degrees, it's cold!

Due to time constraints we had to turn back before the summit, that and the fact that we didn't have chains for the snow. We'll be returning in March to go on up to see how much of the town of Summerhaven has been rebuilt. It burned to the ground during the fire. You can read more here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New phone number at bottom of today's post.

Yesterday was an annoying day.
First, Jim's cell phone quit working. We'd been anticipating that it eventually would, and it did.
Since we were in the car when it happened, we decided to head on out to to the Verizon store. We have an air card with Verizon, they bill me for it monthly. I wanted to put the new phone on the same contract. I couldn't remember the air card number, so I used the phone in the Verizon store and talked to the nice young man at customer service, gave him my ssn and he gave me the aircard number. The store sales guy typed it in to the computer to bring up my account, it wouldn't take it. We called customer service back 5 minutes later to double check the air card number; they could not find me in their system. Verizon billing could not find me in their system. As far as they are concerned, I did not exist. So, we did not get a phone.
We go home. We turn on the TV. The green power light comes on, blinks 3 times, and the TV turns itself off. It worked that morning. Now it does not. So, we call Customer Support. They want a serial number, we find it. They want a receipt. We tell them, no receipt, the TV came installed in the RV. This does not compute. Why is there no receipt? It came in the RV. What's an RV? Finally a diagnostic is offered, unplug it for 30 minutes, if the behavior persists, it's broken. Thank you, thank you very much.

That was yesterday. Today was instructive. We found the contract for the air card and took it with us to a stand alone Verizon store, not a mall store nor mall kiosk, but the Verizon store one sees in strip malls. There was a completely different pricing structure both for the phone and for the cell phone plan in the stand alone. We were stunned, nay shocked. It's not enough to compare service providers, one must compare between stand alones, mall stores and mall kiosks for the best pricing. Who knew?
The TV has not healed itself, Keystone will let us de-install it and bring it to the dealer, so at least we do not have to hitch up the RV and drag it down to Beaudry.

This is the new TV watching paradigm. We brought the 19 inch with us, so at least I was able to watch the season premier of Burn Notice. Michael took his shirt off in the episode, whoo-HOO!

This is one of the many venues going up for the Gem and Mineral Show in February. It's a trade show, and is the largest of its kind on the planet. The temporary buildings are just huge.

We did laundry this afternoon. This was on display while folding. It was a really good double, and even the violet stripe was visible.

As promised, here is our new cell phone number: 520.822.4592.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Round trip to Florence

Monday night we were walking at dusk. Pretty, isn't it? We had drinks and a planning session for the ride next morning to Florence. Departure was at 0700, which meant getting up at 0600. That's the first time since I retired that I have gotten up that early. Cool, eh? Gotta get up early to have fun.

So, Tuesday we loaded the bikes and went out to breakfast in Oro Valley, which is about 30 miles north of here. We learned a better way to pad bicycles when you're putting multiples on a bike rack: pipe wrap with masking tape to secure it. Works like a champ, it's a beauteous thing.
This is Jim at breakfast.

This is the Tom Mix monument on the way to Florence. Click here for information about Tom.

We had great whanging tail winds on the way to Florence. We averaged 17.8 mph, even with the climbing. We felt young again. This is the hotel in Florence, the directions to get there were "it's across from the prison."

The Florence prison, right across the street from the hotel.

The entrance, no tours were scheduled for that day.

Jim sitting in the motel court yard, enjoying not being on a bicycle seat and being clean.

After getting cleaned up, we drove down town looking for food. We went to this saloon and had beer and sandwiches. Jim and I split a cold meat loaf sandwich was was pretty dang good.

More downtown, this is the American Legion hall.

A big building on Main Street.

Main Street.

Offices of the newspaper.

The General Store.

The residents of the prison make things. This is where they sell those things. There were some beautiful carved leather pistol cases.

The group! Jan is in the purple sweatshirt, she drove sag for us and a fabulous job of it she did. This is a sub-set of the Long Riders.

Today dawned windy as hell for the return. Really really windy. It was, of course, a headwind. I rode for awhile and decided it was not fun and got in the van. After awhile it died down a little, and I rode some more, but then I got back in the van. It was not a good bike day for me. Several of the Long Riders rode all the way back to the RV park for total mileage of 70 some miles today. These people just impress the hell out of me with their ability to stay on a bike for a long time. Jim did 45 miles each day.
This was today. Look at the the trucks! This is Bill, he's a really strong fast rider.

More pictures from the desert.

So, that was the trip to Florence and back.

And so, I'd like to leave today's post with my favorite picture from Tuesday.