Monday, December 30, 2013

Riding Gates Pass

We rode Gates Pass today.  For me, it was very difficult.  However, here I am at the top.

It's hunting season in the Tucson Mountain Park.  It gives me the willies knowing that there are many bow hunters out among the cactus looking for deer.  A wayward arrow would really ruin a person's day.
Other than this paltry offering, I have zippity doo-dah all to say.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More Tucson Mountain Park

We talked about riding this morning, but ultimately wimped out and went for a walk in the desert.  The cool thing was we got to watch one guy make it up a really steep part of the trail.  It's about a 25% grade in places.  Here is a movie of the photos I took of him.  There is really stupid music, so if you're at work, mute.

We headed over to the 36th Street trailhead.  This is the nice part of the trail.

A dead saguaro.
This is a wash full of grass.  There's a wall at the end of it.

Why is this here?  The rocks are mortared, significant effort was required to construct this.

Jim was dispatched to see what was on the other side.

On the other side was another sandy wash, but at the level of the top of the wall.  We are well and truly confounded as to why this was constructed.

It was a pretty day, fairly overcast, but pleasant.

All in all, this is so much better than being in North Dakota.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Starr Pass Trail

Today we hiked the Starr Pass trail.  It was a windy day, but it was just lovely.  There were many mountain bikers out on the trail.  The ocotillos are lush and green.  It's amazing how much they've leafed out in the last few weeks.

This is from the top of the climb.

I love this view of the three hills.

This is a switchback on the trail.  One of these days I want to sit out here with lounge chairs and wait for mountain bikers to ride through here.  I want to see someone ride this.  It's so much worse than it looks in the picture.

We covered about four miles.  We were at the top in 40 minutes, it takes longer to go down due to the loose rocks.  I'm pretty happy with that time.  Towards the end the foot was starting to yelp a little, but over all I think I can say I'm better off than I was before surgery.  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day in the Desert

Yesterday, which was Christmas, we went back out to Fantasy Island.  It started off well, it was a beautiful day.  Here we are sitting under the branches of a Palo Verde tree.  Its bark is green and is capable of carrying on photosynthesis when the tree has dropped its leaves.  We were happy at that point, with no hint of the troubles ahead.

Mountain biking is a fickle sport.  One minute you're having fun, the next minute you're not.  Jim is no longer enjoying his ride.  We're not exactly sure what happened, he was up and then he was in the dirt.  As I have noted before, after picking myself up out of the dirt in Bend, it's difficult to learn from one's errors on a mountain bike because it happens so fast.  This was the secondary point of impact.

This was the primary point.  Interestingly enough, there was very little damage to his bike shorts.  That's good, shorts are expensive.

So that was yesterday.  Last night was pretty low key, Jim's hip really hurt.  Today, however, was much better than anticipated.
Three pairs of shoes came today.  One was ruled out immediately.  These two are still in the pool for being kept.  I'm hoping the hiking shoes will work out.  My current pair is from 2008, and is reaching end of life.  These are from Patagonia and have a very stiff sole which is good for the local rocks.  Annnnnd, they are not Gortex.

Jim is spatchcocking a game hen here.  We were going to do them last night, but the little buggers were still frozen, and neither one of us were really in the mood for an elaborate dinner.  They are now Boxing Day dinner.

That's what's happening here.  Here's hoping you have power if you're where it's cold.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas!  We hope it's a great day for you all, where ever you are.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

First Mountain Bike Ride Post Surgery and Post Plague

We went out to Fantasy Island today to ride the mountain bikes.  It was good.  My foot was very happy in the shoe.  Riding over rocks and standing on the pedals riding over more rocks was not painful at all.  My fitness level is still sad, my cold has not totally departed, and it makes me tired. 
Someone has attached a stuffed bear to the post at the entrance.  Some horrible person has cut open the bear's stomach.  Who would do such a thing?

Last year, there was an enormous pile of dirt at the western side of the island.  We guessed it was due to road construction on Houghton. 

This is the pile as it looks today.  All gone.

Here is Jim standing over his bike, looking very festive in his red jersey.

Here are the two of us in our festive red helmets.

It was a good day.  I think we're going to go back tomorrow and see if I can do some more mileage than we did today. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hiking on Cat Mountain

I continue to be less sick with each passing day, although there is still a fair amount of fatigue.  It's very annoying.  Today was a hiking day.  I can ride in 53 degrees, but it's not my favorite thing to do.  We headed out towards Cat Mountain.  Today we parked in the old parking lot, and walked up around the new gate.  It's not any shorter than using the new parking lot but the terrain is more pleasant.  This is what you see when going towards the trail.

View from the trail after gaining some elevation.

This was taken with zoom and much cropping, so it's somewhat indistinct.  Earlier, we saw these two on the trail riding towards us.  When either one would have to put a foot down, they'd turn around and ride the section until they could clean it.  The rider in the white jersey clobbered a rock with a pedal and fell downhill.  He got right back up again, which was impressive.  See the rocks at his feet?  That's the trail.  There are many big rocks on that trail.

This is our new method for carrying the hiking poles.  Those are clamps we bought at Lowe's.  The things sticking up in the vertical are to increase the size of the object one can clamp.  They work perfectly for containing the poles on the side of the truck canopy so we can reach them without lowering the bike rack and the tail gate of the truck.

So that was today.  Tuesday we are planning to go out to Fantasy Island to see if I can still ride a mountain bike.  That should be interesting.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Winter Solstice

Greetings Earthlings.  Have you missed me?  I have spent much of this week continuing to suffer from the plague.  Wednesday and Thursday were consumed by a sinus headache of such intensity that my hair hurt.  It was gruesome.
Friday I was better, and completely bored so we went over to Lazy Days RV Center to see what convection/microwaves the makers of high end RVs are installing.  Why, you wonder, would that interest us?  Well, that would be because ours has some sort of electrical weirdness that causes the 20 amp breaker to trip during use, after use, or sometimes when it's not doing anything.  It's supremely aggravating.  A new unit must be procured by special order, and then we must get on Ken's schedule to have him install it.  It is always something.  In the meantime, there will be no potatoes or pizza, which vexes me to no end.
Today's outing was to go look at over the counter convection/microwaves.  We were hoping for something different than the Sharp we currently have, but it's not looking good for a change.  Our cabinet depth is such that it looks like we'll have to get another Sharp, or engage in extensive changes to the woodwork (noooooooooooo).
We did see Santa leaving the mobile home park that is adjacent to our RV park.  That is a 1963 Impala he's riding in.

Here is Santa being driven by his main elf.  There were about 8 more beautifully restored cars following this car.  It's unfortunate I couldn't get better pictures of them all.

It's been cold and damp for the past two days.  We drove up to the top of A Mountain to look at the sky.

The clouds did provide a pretty good sunset later in the day.

Last night Jim and I were talking about how it's sort of weird to be in a half empty RV park watching Alien movies, and in other parts of the country people are getting snowed on and doing last minute Christmas shopping and how disconnected we feel from our culture sometimes.   Then we realized what day it was, and that AGAIN we totally spaced out on the fact that the 21st is our wedding anniversary (28).  I think we might have better luck celebrating the Winter Solstice.  At least the weather man will bring that to our attention.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Full Moon

It's cloudy tonight, so my full moon picture is not that great, but I do like the clouds.

My cold persists, the dry hacking cough has picked up the companions of a runny nose and inflamed sinuses.  Woe, woe is me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Hike with a Cough

Woe!  Woe is me.  I've developed a sore throat which has degenerated into a non-productive, hacking cough.   No one is getting any sleep as I lie awake hacking like a cat with a fur ball.  I'll be glad when this is gone.  Yesterday was particularly bad, I spent most of the day of the couch watching Hellboy II and Buckaroo Bonzai.  Nothing but high quality programming for me!
Jim rode his bike yesterday.  On the way home while he was standing in a cross walk, ahead of the stop line, he was bumped by a vehicle behind him.  The driver's excuse was that his brakes are bad.  One wonders what the driver will do in the event of having to stop quickly.  There was no harm to the bike, or to Jim, but it is unnerving behavior on the part of the Tucson motoring public.
Today we did a flattish hike out in the Tucson Mountains.  See the dip in between the two high points?  That's where the trail we usually take comes down.  It's steep, and I wimped out on going up it.  Too tired.

More of the trail.

People also mountain bike out these trails.  We don't, it's just too rocky.  We've met this woman and her husband several times out in the hinterlands.  They are both really good riders, very technical and very strong.  They were the first people to suggest to me that body armor is a good thing on rocky trails.

It was a glorious day in the desert.

Next week should be even warmer.  Whoo-hoo!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Fourth Avenue Street Fair

Today was the opening of the 4th Avenue Street Fair.  Since we'd already hiked, we decided to try to park closer to 4th Avenue than we usually do.  There is a new parking garage downtown.  This is the Jim Glock overpass from the garage over 4th Avenue.  Jim Glock is an out going transportation director.  So this is his bike bridge.

There is much food at the street fair.  This pleasant young woman was handing out samples of the tri-tip.  It is SO GOOD.   We contemplated buying an entire tri-tip and taking it home, but in the end decided not to.

The is the smoker cooker for the tri-tip.  Notice all the wood on the left.

This guy was great.  He was alternately singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and playing the kazoo.  He had a really good voice.

More food.

More psychics.

This was one of my favorite booths.  They were selling proton alignment resonance technology bracelets.  I love that!  Not sure what it does, but that is a magnificent product name.

Look at the guy on the far left.  He's playing a saw with a violin bow.  It was a very interesting sound.

More food.  These are tornado fries.  They take a potato, and make one long strip out of it and then deep fat fry it.  I bet they're good.  They're served skewered on a stick.

These people were new this year.  Check out their menu.  Alligator!  Frog legs!  Sharks!

However, this was the best of today.  Bacon lemonade.

It was a good day.  We had a good 2 mile hike and then my foot had enough left in it to walk 4th Avenue for a couple of hours.
Now I feel as if I am getting a cold.  I'm hoarse and raspy and I feel terrible.  Let the whining begin!