Saturday, November 29, 2008

Return to Tucson post Thanksgiving

So, we spent Thanksgiving in McDowell Mountain park with Roger and Peggy Hancock. They came down from Utah to do some riding and to be less cold than it currently is is Salt Lake. It was fun seeing them again, although the climate was not overly cooperative.
We had lots of clouds and fast moving rain storms Wednesday and Thursday. When it would stop raining, the skies were just magnificent. But you could see the next storm cell marching over the horizon. Very frustrating, McDowell is a great place to ride.

The day after Thanksgiving was supposed to improve, and it did, everywhere except over the park. It was cold and grey and spitting rain most of the day. Everywhere else it cleared up.

We abandoned the idea of riding and went for a drive. This is north of the park.

Today of course it was a gorgeous day, when it was time to leave.

It was a fun trip. Now we are back in Tucson and in our slot for the next 4 months. We did a much better job of getting the RV backed in this time than the last. Very little drama. Jim is getting the hang of when to start the turn into the parking place. We're not quite level side to side which is annoying. It was out of level enough that when we deployed the slides, we'd be noticeably not level, but we were not out of level enough to use a 2 inch thick board. So we propped up the low side by driving on to 1.5 inch thick plastic leveling blocks. They're about a centimeter too thick. I expect they will compress and we will reach leveling perfection in about a week. So here we are and here we be. Mail delivery will recommence next week. We're looking forward to all the magazines we haven't seen for awhile. Hope you are all well and happy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Black Friday to You

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. We are at McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills. It is so beautiful here. It would be more beautiful if it would QUIT RAINING, but there you go. I have more pictures, but they'll have to wait until the force of the internet is stronger.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tour de Tucson weekend

When you hike out into the Tucson Mountain Park, there are a couple of stone ruins. This is one of them. There is nothing out there to tell you what it was, and thus far we don't know. It would be nice if there was an informative plaque.

It's fairly ruined!

Here is Jim making dinner. Look at the amount of counter space! Love that.

This has to prove that I have a sense of humor, since I posted this picture. The point of it is that we also got central vacuum. Isn't that amazing? Before we looked at this RV we didn't know such a thing existed. It's really good because vacuum cleaners are a huge storage issue.

I am currently up to 25 miles before the peripherals (shoulders, hands, sit bones) start clammering for me to get off the bike and get off now. We did make it up the easy side of Gates Pass yesterday.
Yesterday was also the Tour de Tucson, the long route is 109 miles. This is a really steep climb somewhere on Houghton. It doesn't look that fun.

I did not know this, until I started looking for photos from the ride, that part of the Tour goes through river beds. This the Santa Cruz crossing. I find it surprising that a road tour would take a bunch of people riding skinny tires off road.

The guys that won it, if you can win a charity ride, are from Hermosillo, Mexico. They averaged 24.9 mph, and that includes waiting for a train. They were pretty quick. They put minutes on the people chasing them.
So, that's what we're up to. We're riding, hiking and cleaning house. Hope you are all well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Life on Google

Google is putting Life Magazine photos on line. This is so cool. So many pictures will now be available. This one is from the 1930 archive, on poverty in the south. The woman on the newsprint is selling cellophane. It's an interesting contrast. So, in your spare time, there's new surfing material available for you.

Out to the desert we went today to begin Allison's wind desensitization. Of course it didn't blow much. We rode up and down rolling hills, firmly cementing in our minds why one should not sit around for 8 months.

A cholla (choi-ya).

Trail out into the desert off of John McCain loop.

Jim having a nosh.

We rode through the Gilbert Ray campground an saw this taped on the inside of the women's restroom. Talk about the law of unintended consequences!

Grey ghosts, the mountain bikes are getting a lot of sun.

This is the in-port storage paradigm for the road bikes. My Serotta will go in and fit on the rack which is nice. The Trek and Jim's Serotta have to lean. Not much else will go in there. Bummer.

Anyway, we put 25 mm tires on the Serottas because the roads here are so bumpy, I think it has improved the ride of my bike, it's less squirrley. We'll see, next time I'm in real wind how it does.
Other than that, we have not too much to report. We're doing crock pot red sauce for dinner. Put food in pot, turn on, walk away. Love that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Windy in the Desert

There she is, the 5th wheel, shining in the sun. Jim washed it.

Today was another windy day in the desert. We had planned to take the Serottas out to the other side of Gates Pass so I could start practicing riding in the wind in a low traffic area. I hate riding in the wind, but I need to get over it. However, it was a little extreme today. So we took the mountain bikes out and rode up to Starr Pass. Even with really heavy bikes it was pushing us around. It was not a fun bike ride.

Between April of this year and now we've not been working out. Instead we were driving back to the east coast from Arizona, painting the house, selling the house, moving to South Carolina, leaving in the travel trailer, buying a new RV, going to South Dakota, picking up the RV, then driving across country again. When you don't work out, you get soft. Hands get soft, butts get soft, it all gets soft. The bottoms of my feet are littered with the corpses of blisters that have come up and deflated while hiking. We rode yesterday and today and my ischial tuberosities (that's the large sit bones) are bruised. My fingers are having to harden off again from rubbing on the hiking poles. Arrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhh. I can't believe how out of shape I am.

Today we learned that our younger socio-economically challenged neighbors have been jumping the RV park fence and stealing bicycles. So, we had to go buy a 10 foot cable so we can lock the mountain bikes to the RV, and the Trek had to go in the RV basement. So, the chairs and table have to come out of the basement because it's now totally full; but the bike cover for the the Trek has made a fabulous cover for the lawn furniture. We were really enjoying our false sense of security here. Fortunately the nice man two rows over went to new resident orientation this morning where they mentioned this and he told us before we learned the hard way.

Avocadoes are 2 for a buck here. Can't beat that.

Not too much to write about, we've settled in to living here rather than travelling.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More from Tucson

The wind was absolutely HOWLING today so we decided to leave bicycling for another day and hiked instead. This is where we often go, there are trails behind the Starr Pass Resort. It's a huge development of golf homes, golf villas, the huge resort, and the golf course. It's a pretty area, but we liked it better before they built things all over the desert. Anyway, so far we're allowed to park in their covered parking lot and go up to the trail heads. Covered parking is good.

Then we got back and did 4 loads of laundry. I hate laundry. We let the basket get a little full. Then there was thinning the herd in the sock drawer (we both overpacked socks) and cooking dinner. This is a rice based casserole. It messes up just about every square inch of the kitchen. Fortunately my sous chef is available to help with the cheese sauce and wash dishes. Notice the green thing stuck to the cabinets, just to the left of my head. That is a foam anti-collision device for my beloved's head. It's an outside corner and it's sharp.

Hope you are all well and dry.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Hola! It's nice here. In the afternoon it just grazes 80 degrees and the sun is out. We've hiked in the Tucson mountains the last two days. We saw this guy yesterday. He is a roadrunner.

This is the desert. It's hard to get good pictures because the sun is so harsh. This was later in the afternoon today.

We are continuing to wrestle with our storage paradigm for bicycles. The mountain bikes and my Trek road bike are living outdoors under covers purchased specifically for them so they fit well. Between them and the cover on the barbie we're heavily draped. Jim just can not bear the thought of the Serottas being outside so they are currently in the basement (main storage compartment of the RV) on their sides taking up all of the room. It's not elegant, but they are out of the elements.
So, we are settling in here. Today's big thing was to go to Costco and order glasses. Mine are really old, I have to put my reading glasses on top of them to read. That's pitiful. Then there was hiking, then there was flushing the black tank and putting things away. Being in an RV is like living on a boat, thou shalt put things away immediately. Tomorrow we're riding - the goal is to get up Gates Pass, but I'll be really surprised if we (I) get up the big hill.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have arrived in Tucson

I took this a couple of days ago. I guess the only thing I have to say about this is, WHY? It's a Hummer with tracks.

This is yesterday taken on the way through El Paso. That's Juarez, Mexico as seen from the freeway.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to drive across Texas and New Mexico on I10, this is what it looks like.

This was somewhere in Arizona. I think that says it all.

This is taken once we reached the pretty part of Arizona.

So, we're in Tucson. We have backed in to our very narrow site off the very narrow street. The standing joke between us after any stressful event is that I have run out of neurotransmitters. Today I would have to say that my brain was completely emptied and all the little neurons and axons were high and dry. Backing in to this site was difficult. At one point when Jim was pivoting the RV to make it turn, the wheels were actually being shoved sideways. That is something I don't ever want to see again. Unencumbered by facts and data, it seems like it should be easier than this. When we leave we'll just drive out; why, then, does it require backing and filling, pivoting, dragging the wheels across the pavement, and scaring the crap out of me? We're going up to McDowell Mountain park for Thanksgiving, I think we're going to back into each and every open slot so we can practice.
Tomorrow we're going to start the exercise regime and muscle rebuilding. Let the pain begin!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Modern medical mysteries

This is so weird. I sat down in my comfy chair last night to eat my bowl of dinner, kicked off my flip flops and discovered what was basically a bag of blood on the top of my foot. It wasn't a bruise, you could move it about. It was sloshing! We had to quit looking at it so we could eat dinner. This morning it had spread out in to the surrounding area and made red spots. Weird, just very weird. Tonight the red spots are spreading and the blue is fading. I'll have to see if I can get a picture of, I just know you all want to see that. We think it is a spider bite.

We went Texas route 29 from Georgetown over to Junction to pick up interstate 10. It was very pleasant driving. The roads were very good with very little traffic. The picture below is of Mason. Blink and you'll miss it. Hunting season has started, there were lots of guys in camo at the barbeque restaurant, stores are selling blinds and deer corn. Today was a beautiful day for it. We ended up in a former KOA in Fort Stockton TX. It's a good location for them, there is nothing much else for stopping until you get to Van Horn, which is 120 miles away. We were happy we'd made reservations, they're pretty much full.

So, doesn't he look happy? He's not driving. His wife is getting over the new RV jitters and actually got behind the wheel today.

See? I'm driving. It's easier to drive than the Dodge towing the travel trailer. It trails faster and is not so affected by traffic coming up on along side. Box trucks would make the travel trailer sway, we don't feel them now. At present I am still limited to driving in a straight line. We're still thinking about backing.

So tomorrow is probably Deming NM. I think we're going to have head winds and climbing tomorrow which slows down progress.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Greetings from Georgetown TX

This was taken somewhere at a Flying J truckstop. I don't remember which one. This is so disheartening. People eat this. It's no wonder we're an overweight nation, whose health care system is about to be inundated by people with diabetes and its side effects such as peripheral neuropathy, blindness and erectile dysfunction. You'd think the threat of ED would get the truckers to eat more oatmeal, but it hasn't happened yet. Hardies is selling a pork chop sandwich with gravy, we keep threatening to buy one just so we can get a picture of it. Stand by!

This is the RV park in Georgetown. It's call the New Life park, it's very nice. Long level slots, good laundry, lots of water pressure.

Jim is setting up to grill dinner. Note that Jim is not wearing shoes, as usual. For someone who practically wept when forced to Goodwill his Cole Haan and Ferragamo dress shoes, he has certainly made the switch to not wearing shoes.

Friday we went and looked at possible final resting places. The first was the Oaks at Wildwood. The picture below is a 4 plex. They are really nicely done. There is a lot of privacy and they're well built. All exterior maintenance is done for $210 a month. We're still schizophrenic on the subject of where to live. The real estate agent was talking about the nice people who live there, one lady likes to invite people over for 6 course dinners, and they play music and sing between courses. I personally would not enjoy this. Can't sing, don't really like singing. If you're in a little community like this, how to you avoid the social pitfalls? On the other hand, being isolated is bad. How does one establish a social network but not end up spending half your time not making eye contact with the singers. It's a conundrum, for sure. Then we went up and looked at Sun City by Del Webb. Drove through there for 10 minutes and fled in terror. We're not Sun City people, I think. Not yet anyway.

Then it was off to the historic downtown. Georgetown as it is today did not exist 10 years ago. The downtown was there and intact but decrepit. City government actively recruited business, Del Webb and industry to the area. Part of their carrot was a restored downtown. It is cute. Georgetown gets a lot of press for being a good place to retire to because of the climate and proximity to Austin and healthcare. That's the court house.

Old buildings.

The Masonic Lodge.

Traffic in Austin is terrible. So they built a beautiful toll road that goes around Austin. They're not using it yet! Something about having to pay money to drive strikes a Texan as just wrong.

Today we went to Austin. Traffic was terrible getting there, partially due to a football game. This woman is pedaling a pedicab, the truck is in the process of cutting her off. He overtook her, swung wide and dove in front of her. Bicyclists should be armed. He deserved something bad.

We parked, observed the local eateries. There are a lot of restaurants.

Cool office building.

Then it was off to Lance Armstrong's bicycle shop. It's pretty cool. He's placed a lot of emphasis on bikes for regular people, especially commuters.

Some of the jerseys.

This is downstairs where the $9,000 bikes are. It's hard to read, but that is the "bike fit studio". Tres tata. They were also working with a young team in another lab, looking at pedaling, watt output, that sort of thing.

Bikes for regular people.

After lunch at the Whole Foods Market which was really really big, we walked down 6th street which is where all of the bars and tattoo parlors are. I have never seen so many people with ink. This is the Esther Williams bar.

A stand up comedy bar.

More bars.

The Driskill hotel. Old, really old.

St. Mary's cathedral.

Lobby of an old office building.

We visited a condo sales office - 1,092 square feet for $500,000. Fees are $400 a month. We'd have to rent storage for the bikes. It's nice, looks at water, there is access to a foot bridge across the river to walking trails. There is a Whole Foods within walking distance, one would have to drive to Walmart for staples. We keep reminding ourselves that you don't have to own real estate to enjoy an area, that's why we bought the 5th wheel. I think we're going to concentrate on living in the moment and we'll worry about the final resting place later.
Tomorrow we are hitching up (aiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee) and driving West. Not sure how far we will get, we're not great at early starts yet. But what else do we have to do?