Saturday, February 4, 2023

Weather, Riding, Spy Balloons

 Greetings fellow citizens.  I hope your current climates are tolerable.  Finally today we had this.


For those of you who are participating in this, I hope it will be over soon.


There has been riding along the Rillito trail.  This is an agave, putting up a flower spike.  Eventually, the flowers will open and the plant will die.  It's always sad to see them put forth this much effort and then perish.

This is a horse in an enclosure at the Rillito Downs racing track.  They race quarter horses there.  I disapprove of this activity because the number of horses who die entertaining people is not trivial.  They keep launching investigations, but the horses continue to die.

Some pretty good clouds on the way home.


Yesterday we had cloud cover all day.  It was kind of gruesome.  It did give us a spectacular sunset.  Our condo is oriented so that we don't see much sunset, unless it's filling the entire sky.

The neighbors were out last night.  Jim had gone out to the car to get my phone, and these three were happily tearing out an agave pup.  Agaves send out underground shoots, and baby agaves pop up through the dirt.  It's a non-lethal form of procreation.  Anyway, they were on the sidewalk where Jim would need to walk to return to the condo.  I went out on the deck and banged two pots together, and they mosied off into the desert. 

Today we rode south on the trail.  The trail people have put up arches that have counters of how many people walk or ride on the trail.  This one is the prettiest arch we have seen thus far.

The Chinese spy balloon was shot down today, it landed in about 45 feet of water off the coast of South Carolina.  Happy we are that we won't be subjected to anymore republican men pointing their AR15s skyward, suggesting that they would shoot it down.  It's more likely that they would put someone's eye out.

Other than this, I have not much to say about things.

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bike, Hike, Road Work and the End of the Covid Emergency

We've been riding.  One day we rode up a bike way to the University of Arizona, which is a street cars can drive on, but it's understood they're not supposed to hit the bicyclists.  It's relatively safe.  I need to go back to the U and get some photos. 

We saw a couple of these rolling down the side walk.  They deliver food on campus.  They're just cuter than bugs.  Cartken makes them.  When people walk towards them, they pause to avoid collisions.

Almost every UofA student dreams of living here - someday.  I've never seen a for sale sign on this house, but one can always hope.  This is located in the historic Sam Hughes neighborhood.

One day we were tired (days are running together, can't remember when) so we went into Tucson to look at stuff.  The last time we were here there was a giant hole in the ground next to the neighborhood we like.  There's a building there now.  It looks pretty good.  It's retail down, residences up.


These are some of the houses from the beautiful neighborhood.  It still has the issue of being surrounded by old houses that have seen better days.



However, it still has the advantage of being within walking distance of Seis for most excellent Mexican food.

There was also a drive to see what's happening on 6th Street.  We were last there when Jim got his second Covid vaccine.  That post is here.  As it turns out, there is a massive construction project to widen I10 between 29th and St. Mary's which we were unaware of.  There is a good article on the project here.  There is a slide show at the bottom of the text that was interesting.  Anyway, it's still very much under construction, and all of my pictures are terrible because of the spots on the windshield and where the sun was.

From the article we learn, "The complete reconstruction of mainline I-10 for the segment between St. Mary’s Road and 29th Street included 6 new bridges, 17 retaining walls totaling nearly 14,000 linear feet of walls, drainage structures paralleling the corridor, and pavement design. The field investigation program conducted by NCSG included 122 borings for the various structures. A combination of drill rigs was required, including conventional truck mounted, track mounted for drilling on slopes, and difficult access rigs for the sides of steep embankment slopes."

New widened road.

A good mural we were afraid might be lost.


St. Mary's (also known as 6th Street) on the way to the freeway.  The road there is entirely gone, really gone.

Today we went up the Iris Dewhirst trail.  It was kind of a slog.  Apparently today was a fatigue day, but we went anyway.  It was a beautiful day.


I love this view into the canyon.


Once you get to these rocks, the hike is over and your feet are happy.

If you haven't seen this, here is news you can use.  As of May 11, the Covid state of emergency is over.  This will change what the government pays for.  It will no longer pay for monoclonal antibodies, which are moot anyway, since they don't work on the new variants.  The feds will no longer pay for home test kits.  This paragraph, "Paxlovid and other oral antiviral drugs made available under emergency use authorization will remain covered by Medicare even though it has yet to be fully approved by the FDA, thanks to a provision Congress put in place as part of the fiscal year 2023 government spending package that passed in December." leads me to believe that the elderly will not have to pay for paxlovid, which is good because it's about $500 retail.  I'm not clear on lab testing, who pays for that.  CNN put up an article on this which you can find here.  I think this was a premature decision, but nobody asked my opinion.

So that's what's shaking in Tucson.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

HIke, Water, Javelinas

Yesterday it did not reach 50F, it was just too dang cold to ride.  So it was back to the Iris Dewhirst trail.  We're walking faster than we were, so we went farther than we had been.  We turned around at the first water crossing.  The sun was really harsh, it makes the water hard to see.


Look how the bank has been eroded over time. 


A large rock at the water crossing.


A long dead saguaro.

Arizona has javelinas. They look like pigs, but they're peccaries.  They're smelly, near sited animals.  Dogs are not safe around them, because the javelinas view them as predators and will attack.  Here they are, on the ground off of our deck sunning themselves.




We're sitting around, waiting for it to warm up.  It's inconvenient to ride later in the day, but it's too cold to do otherwise. 

Later... The javelinas stayed in the sun for a good 90 minutes.  One of the grounds keepers came through with a gas powered blower and they took off when they heard it coming.

Holy cats!  It was another cold and windy ride.  We're back to wearing the jackets over arm warmers.  We did go out in to the wind this time, coming back was good.  The trail on the south side of the Rillito River is not being maintained.  There are some big pot holes in the asphalt.  It's painful in places.  Tucson has a large homeless population and many of them have moved on to the bike trails in large numbers.  I think between dodging people and pot holes we're going to move back to riding on low traffic roads, the city paves them occasionally.

That's it!  That's all I've got.



Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Bikes and Still Chilly

Sunday we rode from the ball fields up towards the new Amazon distribution center.  It's a massive building.  I have no pictures because we took the scenic route there, as well as a tour of an abandoned park, all of which had a screaming tail wind.  As we got near the target, we re-evaluated the wind and decided to turn around.  Good choice.  Next time we won't go the scenic route, or tour the abandoned park, and so will will have enough legs to get there and back.

It was cool, but not as cold as Saturday.  The wind was just exceptional, steady with gusts.  One good thing about a bike with heavy wheels is its stability.  There is no twitching the way a lighter bike does.

We saw an interesting bike rack on a BMW.



There is a two inch receiver with an anti-wobble device.  I believe, although I could be wrong, that this is for carrying two trikes.  It's hard to see, but I think there are two tire holders on one side, and only one on the other side.  It's a Hitch Rider, they make interesting stuff.

Google lens identifies these as classic saguaro cacti.  I don't know what they do, but can attest to the fact that they aren't living.  They're not cell towers, they're disguised as palm trees here.


The Catalina Mountains.


Yesterday was a big shopping, a four store route.  We saw this guy up by Costco. Unfortunately I only got the front of the truck. The back continues on in the same vein.


Interesting clouds out to the south.  See the dark area at the bottom?  It's raining hard out there.


We're sitting around waiting for it to warm up a little.  We will be hiking the Iris Dewhirst trail later.  We don't like it that much, but it's close and difficult.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Riding Along the Rillito River

Holy cats it was a cold ride today.  The outdoor thermometer said it was 52F, but with the wind it felt much colder.  We wore the same stuff as last time, except this time we each put a paper towel in our helmets to cut the amount of wind that was giving us ice cream headaches.  Coming back we had a very stout head wind.

Our desire to park at the Rillito Race Track was thwarted by every parking place being full due to some sort of soccer event.  So we went down the road to a smaller trail head that had open slots.  Tomorrow is the Rillito Farmer's Market, so we'll probably go to yet another trailhead to find parking.  We're not riding on the roads yet, people are so crazy in their cars.  We may never ride on the roads again.  Being in a hospital now would be bad.

Today's route out to the east was not so interesting.  We will not go in that direction again.   There were trees and very blue skies.  This is the winter sky color.

There are large power poles in the Rillito River.


This is something having to do with electricity, but I'm not sure exactly what that would be.


Tomorrow is forecast to be warmer and happy we are about that.  Monday will not be a riding day because highs will be in the 40s and that is too cold for moi.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Water and a Parti Poodle

Today, on the 19th of January, we finally went out on the bikes.  Riding the bikes was the whole reason we came down here.  Between Covid, feeling bad, and a cold January, it didn't happen until today.  The sun was very bright, once again we forgot the sun screen with predictable results.  

It was 52 when we left, with some wind.  We wore cycling undershirts, a jersey, light weight arm and knee warmers, and jackets.  The plan had been to wear the vests, but it was cold enough to want jackets.  Last night it froze, so it's still a cold air mass.  We enjoyed the jackets up until the last mile or so, when we started getting a little warm.  Without them, it would have been an awful ride.

We left from the Rillito Downs parking lot and went right on the trail.  We should have crossed the river and then gone right, because we stranded ourselves on the path that has no river crossing bridges.  Please make a note of this.

This is the Rillito River, which most of the time is dry.  It's running!  It's not bank to bank, but it's a good amount of water.

Up river.


Down river.


At Camino de la Tierra the water is also running.  In defiance of the stupid motorist law, people were driving through it.  The pick up trucks were going really fast, putting a lot of water in the air.  This person went through slowly, and without making a rooster tail. 


We met a nice dog today, his name is Leo.  He's a Parti Poodle.  The Parti refers to the dog being part white.  This was the original form of the Poodle, but over time people bred them for solid colors.  AKC will not allow Partis to be shown in dog shows.  They're currently making a come back in popularity. Here is an article on the subject.


He's wearing Dad's hat.


He's a nice dog.  They have the nicest coat, they're soft.

Riding was good.  Spin bike does transfer to road bike.  Hike does not.  It was good to get out.