Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Rillito is Running

Today is the second day of unrelenting rain and darkness in the desert.  The snowbirds are getting cranky.  We went out this afternoon to see if the washes are running.  Why yes, yes they are.
This is the Tanque Verde wash.  This water crosses a low lying area of the Tanque Verde Loop Road.  Neighborhoods have been torn asunder by the force of the water. 




After leaving the Tanque Verde wash we decided to see what the Rillito River is doing.  We saw much more cloudiness and gloom on the way.


The Rillito is also running.  It's not bank to bank, but it's fairly impressive.



 Here is a video of the Rillito. 



It used to be that when one imbedded a youtube, there would be a picture of the video in the box.  Now it's just that "f".  Why is that?  Who thought this would be an improvement?
Other than complaining about the rain, this is all I have to offer.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rain in the Desert

Despite the overcast skies yesterday, we headed out for a bike ride.  Rain was coming, but wasn't expected until Thursday evening.  This is what we saw coming up Ironwood Hill.  A stolen car was pushed down the side of a hill into a wash.  People suck.  There are so many low income households in the area that can not tolerate this sort of calamity.  Losing a car can turn into losing a job, and then losing a home.  I hope the police find the punks who did this and put them in jail.


The really big wrecker was required to get the car up to the road.  They're pulling it up through pretty good sized rocks.



Despite the weather forecast, we got rained on returning to the RV.

At the moment, it's pouring.  Mt. Lemmon has gotten 5.39 inches since midnight.  The washes are running; two people are trapped in Sabino Canyon due to water running across the road.  This afternoon we were coming back from Target when the storms hit.  Visibility on the freeway was non-existent so we decided to take the frontage road instead.  We will not be doing that again for the rest of February!  The gem show has opened and with it has come the traffic.  See the yellow in about the middle of the picture?  That is a police officer standing out in the rain directing traffic.  He drew the bad duty today.


Tomorrow will be wet again.  Woe, woe is us.  It would be nice if a giant high pressure system would form and push the rain somewhere else.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

State of Siege

After yesterday's gloominess and rain, today was glorious.  The streets were wet from the overnight rain, so we hiked.  For some reason I left the RV without a camera.  I said to Jim that since I had forgotten it, we'd probably see a herd of javelina, a flock of deer, or perhaps aliens.  We did see this car at the parking lot.
This is a Triumph TR4, dating from the 1960s.  The car delivered its owner and the owner's mountain bike to the trail head.  You wonder, how does a Triumph transport a mountain bike?


This is a fork block that has been attached to the rear deck.  The front fork goes there and the back wheel goes in the passenger seat. It's a pretty clever way to get the bike to the trail head in your classic vehicle.


It was a beautiful day in the desert.  The respite from the events in the RV park was good.


We did see a single javelina.  He wouldn't come out of the brush, so I couldn't get a decent picture of him with the phone.  We did not, however, see the aliens.


There has been a rash of bike thefts in the RV park.  We've been keeping two cables on the mountain bikes, thinking we had enough security.  Then recently another bike was stolen after someone cut a Kryptonite cable with bolt cutters.  After that we weren't feeling so secure.  This afternoon, we went to Performance and bought two U locks for the bikes.  We've got the rear wheels immobilized, the bikes are cabled together, and there are two long cables attaching the works to the picnic table.  We're up to four keys with this lashup.  It just irritates the living snot out of me that we can't feel secure here.


I copied this off Twitter.  This is funny.  Hopefully, this does not give offense to anyone.


In other news, the RV dealer where we purchased the Beaver has filed for chapter 11.  This could not happen to a more deserving corporation.  McMahon's was the sleaziest group of people we've ever dealt with.  They over charged us for a "safety" inspection and did not fix basic broken stuff.  They took our money for an extended warranty and then didn't forward it on to the underwriter until we yelled at them some.  They had multiple reviews stating people had traded in financed vehicles.  McMahon's was supposed to pay off those vehicles, and they didn't, thus making the previous owners delinquent on their payments.  This is business karma.
Ken and Rachel, of Cameron's Reliable RV Repair, came this afternoon and fixed the Fantastic vent.  After watching Ken replace the lift motor and the actuator, I am so very, very, grateful that we did not attempt to try that ourselves. 
That's it - this is all I have to report.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cat Mountain Trail Hike and No Duck for You

Yesterday we hiked up the Cat Mountain trail.  Ostensibly it is a mountain bike trail, but it's not something I'll be riding, ever.  We saw this woman coming down the steep rocks, we saw her later riding over boulders.  Note the complete lack of body armor.


This is poop on a rock, it's full of fur.  Life is difficult in the desert.


This woman was pretty good.  She, sensibly, was wearing body armor. 


These rocks are everywhere on the trail, you have to have pretty good skills to get up and over them.


It was a lovely day and a good hike.


Today the wind was down, but it was cold!  The original plan had been to go out for brunch with Don and Jaime at Prep and Pastry.  Hah!  Double hah hah hah!  They were lined up out on to the sidewalks waiting to get in.  Who knew?  We have not been there before, my friend Marcy had mentioned it so we thought we'd try it.  Apparently they are quite popular.  They have an interesting menu, featuring duck, duck fat and pork bellies.  There are also waffles and granola.  We ended up at a different restaurant.  Jamie made the comment that we should consider just riding on Sundays - and she's right.  We're competing with all of the non-retired for brunch.  We should go mid week.  Sounds like a plan.


After eating we had a delightful ride down the Rillito to the Santa Cruz trail.  It eventually warmed up just before we got back to the RVs.
Tomorrow the weather heads are calling for rain.  One can not complain, however, given the horrific weather bearing down upon the east coast.  Between that and the 60 mile an hour winds beating up Southern California, one feels quite lucky to be here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

On Walkabout in Tucson

This morning we were up and out for a follow up appointment at my doctor's office.  She's pretty far north, so we had planned to take our hiking stuff and go on out to the Tortolitas afterwards.  Unfortunately, someone (who shall remain nameless) forgot his hiking shirt.  So, we came home.  It was still surprisingly chilly.
We decided to take the new Modern Streetcar into downtown so we could walk around.  We parked at the Mercado Agustin to get on the streetcar.  Look at this picture of Jim.  He's wearing a jacket.  This never happens. 
 

We saw this on the ground downtown.  I'm not sure if he was dead or just cold.  Hopefully no one will step on him.


The Tucson Center for the Performing Arts started off life as a church.  It's been closed since 1999 due to structural issues.  The downtown arts community would love to see it reopened, but it will require a large application of money.  It's a really pretty building.


Is this not a cheerful court yard?


This is some of my favorite neon.  Lawyers occupy the building now.  It would be nice if they'd getting it working again. 


We walked up to the U of A campus from downtown.  It was a pretty good hike.  We happily got back on the street car to return to the Mercado; but then there was this.  The street car route is basically an out and back, it's not a giant loop.  When someone rear ends the street car in front of your street car, all forward movement stops.  Apparently two or three cars were involved in a chain reaction, resulting in a rear ender.


The sedan with its doors open pushed the other car into the street car.


Yep, there was contact.


What we found interesting was that there were 8 or so transit guys standing around looking at all of this.  There were no police and no one seemed to be in a hurry to clear the vehicles off the tracks.  The street cars drive in the traffic lanes, so if there are stopped cars, they are stopped, too.  The nice driver suggested that we'd do better to start walking, so we did.  We got bonus miles!  That accident will bollox up the schedule for all of the street cars until they clear the area.  We felt bad for the large group of well dressed people waiting at the stop near the Mercado. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More Hiking, More Biking in Tucson

Greetings from the desert.  Decent weather has returned and happy we are about that.  While we were waiting for the blustery winds to abate there was hiking.  We returned to the recently discovered hike in the Tucson mountains last Thursday.  Here is Jim, ascending a steep bit of the trail.


We continued on past the point of stopping last time, and walked along a ridge to the very end of the trail.  This is what you see at the end.  There is a pretty steep drop off at that point.


Someone left this wedged in the rocks, there are pencils and a notebook so one can record that one was there.  We dutifully left an entry and put it back.


There's a fair amount of land out here.  One wonders why there couldn't be a few more trails built.



The sun was dropping behind where we had been and was lighting up the rocks a little.


In addition to hiking there has been riding.  Today we did the Santa Cruz trail to the Rillito trail to Mountain and back loop.  We were heading up the trail when we were buzzed by this guy.  He landed in front of us and sat still long enough for a photograph.  He is a big hawk.


After the hawk flew away, we looked up and were surprised to see a P3 Orion.  It's a submarine hunter.  Why is it here?


This is a structure along the trail.  There is a circle of these brick things, sort of like Stonehenge.  It's a good place for a nosh and some conversation.


Today's key learning is to not ride through the UofA campus at the quarter to the hour.  It was wall to wall moving people and bicycles, heading out to their next class. I think my reflexes are not as fast as they were, dodging bikes, people, cars and the street car was challenging.
Other that this, I have zippity-doo-dah to offer up in a post.  We need to go somewhere so I have pictures of new stuff.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Wild Skies in Tucson

This is what we saw this morning.  Fog!  In Tucson!  The temperature equaled the dew point, and we had really dense fog.


Later, it cleared up and we had a beautiful day.  It was not that warm, so we headed for a hike in the the Tucson Mountain Park via the Sarasota Blvd entrance.  The sky was just amazing.



We saw a bunny in the brush.


We still wonder why this wall exists.  On the other side is a sandy wash at the level of the top of the wall.  This required a fair amount of effort to create.  What???


On the way back it started looking ominous.  Rain was not in the forecast, but still ....


More ominousness.






Isn't that the most amazing sky?  We got back to the truck before the weather reached us.  It rained pretty heavily on the way home and in the RV park.  After a couple of hours it all moved east and it returned to being a beautiful day.  The weather this winter has just been weird.  It's supposed to be back in the 70's in a couple of days, and I am looking forward to that.
Other than this, I have nothing interesting to report.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

We're Out of Food Again

Well, I see it has been several days since a post.  I hate when I do that, we forget what we've been doing.  The calendar reveals there were a couple of doctor's appointments.  There was also a rainy day, which I will not complain about given the weather the rest of the country is enduring.
Friday I had an outpatient procedure which required anesthesia and intubation.  I will say I was impressed with the surgery center's approach to pain management.  There was IV morphine accompanied by oral percoset immediately upon awakening.  Yeah baby!
We did a short ride Saturday, but I was pretty tired and slow on the bike.  Today was better, we rode the trail out to Camino de Oeste.  The Ironwood Hill still kicks my butt some, but I definitely was riding stronger.
It's been windy.  In addition to rain, we also have much higher humidity.  We've had clouds in the afternoons.  The humidity has been nice, our fingers aren't cracked as they have done in past years.



Tomorrow we must go to the grocery store.  We hate doing that because of the current flu epidemic sweeping through Tucson.  One wonders if we should lay in a stack of surgical masks for shopping trips.   I really do not want the flu.
Other than this paltry offering, maties, I have nothing of interest to offer.  Perhaps we'll go somewhere to provide some blog fodder.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Hike in the Tucson Mountains

Today we parked at the Genser Trailhead.  Instead of going the way we usually do, we went the short route which takes us through this wet area.  I'm not sure where the water comes from.  Today it was pretty wet, with enough water to actually trickle.  It's pretty in there.


We walked past the place where we usually stop.  We discovered that the trail actually continues for quite some distance, with a fair amount of up.  Here we are at the top of the ridge.  The light green square on the left is a reservoir cover that used to be dark green.


This is looking back in to the Tucson Mountains.  It's a good hike.  We really enjoyed it, both for the up and for the fact that we haven't been there before.


While we were gone, the RV park filled up.  All the northerners are now down here.  It's nice in November and December because there are very few people in the park, and one can do laundry at will.  That's over for a couple of months.  Jim was at Costco around 10:30 this morning, and he reports that it was full of the aged.  When I lived in Tucson thirty some years ago, we used to complain about the snowbirds and their erratic driving - now we are part of that demographic.  It's tough to become a cliche.