Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tucson Updates

Here in Tucson we are feeling like baked potatoes. Why, you wonder? Well because it's HOT. We spent some time deploying sun shade material on the west and south facing windows and walls. It's pretty cool stuff, it's basically bubble wrap with aluminum foil on both sides. So you get reflectivity and a dead air layer at the same time. So the RV reminds me of the baked potatoes you get in the restaurants that are wrapped in foil.
Here is Jim measuring for a window.

The plastic zipper bag upper left is the container a blanket came in. It's full of various battery chargers and keys. That cabinet was getting so hot the plastic was deforming.

Behold the magnificence of the basement. Unused items have been banished to the forward storage bay and the space is now available for the good bikes and the outside TV. Yes, my beloved feels that he needs an outdoor TV, never mind the fact that it's too hot to sit out there! Maybe in a month or so.

So - I will now provide the later returning snowbirds with a Tucson update.

This is the 4th Avenue underpass. which is now open. There is, however, great controversy about the safety of the underpass for bicycles due to the trolley tracks. There are sidewalks which might be a better option than getting trapped in the tracks. Apparently there have already been several injuries, two of which occurred at the grand re-opening.

The I10 freeway is done! All on/off ramps are now open for your driving pleasure. We were talking to the shoe guy at Summit Hut and he told us the Gem and Mineral Show had threatened to go elsewhere if Tucson did not git'er done, so Tucson got'er done.

The Saguaro National Park (West) is repaving. Since they are aware of the heavy bicycle traffic out there they are using a minus 1/4 chip instead of the normal 3/4 chip size in the areas commonly utilized by bikes. This will provide a smoother surface. The article went on to mention that over the past 3 years they have observed an increase in user conflicts and bicycle accidents, and they are looking at ways to mitigate these problems through engineering, enforcement, education and encouragement. I will stand by to be amazed.

The work on Mountain is not complete. One side of the road is still excavated, there is a 2 way bike lane on the side of the road that is available. No ecd on that project.

We have been somewhat busy with the undone stuff that accumulates when one is traveling. We got a bike rack for the mountain bikes and a 68 inch grill cover to put over them. Our neighbors did that last year and their solution was better than our solution. The cover is really heavy, and since the bikes are under the nose sheltered from the howling southerlies we get here, we are hopeful that it will stay on and the bikes will stay upright (which was not the case last year). Today is truck beautification day, new oil and fuel filters and an exterior detailing. We've ordered the second air conditioning unit, but it will be awhile because the factory in Mexico burned to the ground. Tomorrow I go see the ENT to see if the hole in my ear is closing, or if intervention will be required. Allegedly the heat will break tomorrow so we'll be able to go outside and start regaining the fitness level we've lost over the summer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Return to Tucson AZ

If you've ever wondered what Santa Fe to Las Cruces on I25 looks like, this is pretty much what you will see.

We got off in Hatch, NM to get gasoline, not realizing that Hatch is THE chile capitol of the world. So now you know.

Look at the roof of the building, I guess he's spreading them out to dry.

This is a Border Patrol station somewhere in NM. If you are Anglo, they just wave you through. If you are not, they don't.

Somewhere near Benson AZ. The mountains there are very lovely.

This is what you see when you tow a fifth wheel. That's the pin box attached to the hitch which is attached to the bed of the truck, and the trailer filling up the rear view mirror.

So, we are now in Tucson. Perhaps we've returned a teensy bit early, but we really ran out of places to go. I'm ready to not be moving. It's nice to open the medicine chest and find everything in the same place it was the day before.

The dinette and couch windows face west and they get HOT in the afternoon. We've put up the sunshades from the minivan we used to have to try to deflect some heat. We may end up having awnings over the windows installed. Or not. I hate the idea of drilling holes in the side of the RV.

Next week Cameron's Reliable RV Service is coming to measure us for a second air conditioning unit. We want it for redundancy if nothing else.
So, here we are and here we be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Santa Fe - Petroglyphs and Museum

Wednesday we hiked out to look at petroglyphs with friends of ours we met in Tucson. They are here for two months each year. There were a lot of them in the rocks. Click on the photos and you can see them better. It was pretty cool.

Today we went back in to Santa Fe. We went to the Georgia O'Keefe museum. It was slightly underwhelming, I didn't think they had her best work there. It was worth visiting for the movies they were running about her life. She spent years in New Mexico, it was her home. There was footage of her talking about events in her life. We saw this guy at the visitor center. Pretty cool piece.

Then we walked down to the railyards and looked around. There was an REI there which was pretty surprising. It's off the beaten tourist track. It was a nice day to walk around.
Tomorrow we over night in Las Cruces, and Saturday it's on to Tucson. After being chilly here, Jim is looking forward to being a snake on a rock.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taos NM

Tuesday we drove up to Taos. It's about a 90 minute drive. Going up we took the scenic "high road" and coming back we took the "low road." The high road is high. At one point we were at 8150 feet. You climb up and then go back down into Taos. I personally would not recommend the route for an RV, although we did see 2 fifth wheels on the road.
This is the view from the windshield.

These are the Sangre de Cristo mountains. They are the southern end of the Rockies.

At the Taos visitor's center the sign read the pueblo was open today. So we decided to go there first. It was extremely uncomfortable for me. The Taos Pueblo has a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation as an living aboriginal site. So, you pay $10 to walk through what is called the Sacred Village. The tribal leaders have allowed wood burning and propane for heat, but there is no electricity and no running water. The bulk of the living space there has been converted to retail. It just felt very awkward to be walking through someone's neighborhood gawking at the citizens.
The Taos Pueblo is old, probably back to 900 ad. The date varies depending on who you're reading. This is the North House, and it believed to be about 1,000 years old.

There are single story houses as well. This is someone's studio, selling real Indian stuff. Click on the picture if you can't read his sign.

They do have a great back yard.

This is a structure beyond the perimeter of the Sacred Village. I like the touch of turquoise on the column.

There is a Catholic Church. Although the Pueblo People have made great strides in recovering their original language and traditions, many remain practicing Catholics.

The water foreground is the source of drinking water for the Pueblo. If you're living in the Sacred Village, water must be hauled to your residence with buckets.

There was not much information on where the bulk of the people on this pueblo live, we suspect that they are elsewhere on the reservation. Then again, it's not really any of our business to know that, so we looked at what the Pueblo People were willing to share with outsiders and left it at that.

Then we went back into Taos. The central part of Taos is much like Santa Fe only smaller. There are many small shops full of cuteness and art.

The town plaza.

Kit Carson's house. It's a museum now, but due to budget cuts and the planetary recession it wasn't open. He led a long and interesting life as a mountain man, scout for the military, married man with 8 kids and he was a Freemason.

This is the "low road" just out of Taos.

The Rio Grande Gorge is just stunning. We drove along running water for quite awhile. Click on this one to enlarge it so you can see the canyon.

So that was Tuesday.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Santa Fe - Shopping

Santa Fe is just cuter than a bug. There is shopping to be had here. Much of it is very high end and very expensive. The tourist part of town looks like this. It's cute, really cute.

Rugs for sale, and trinkets.

Jim at lunch. We ate at the Famous Plaza Cafe, it was good. We had soft tacos, they bring you 3 salsas. One of them was just incendiary. I dipped my fork in it to test it and just that tiny little amount made me tear up.

There is a lot of inlaid jewelry and accessories. These are inlaid belt buckles, tips and keepers. They are little pieces of art. The store was not keen on people taking pictures so I had to sneak this photo, which is why it's not so good. But just look at them, they're so beautifully done.

This is the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. It's 400 years old.

The church sanctuary.

Look at the architectural detail to the right and down slightly of the cross. It would appear to be a cornice, but it's actually trompe l'oeil. It's very effective, the back wall is flat.

Santa Fe is spectacularly beautiful. The desert is greener and lusher than Tucson, more water and less heat. It would be paradise except for the fact that the wind is just howling, and apparently it's even worse in March and April. It could be a contender for the summer residence. Tomorrow we are driving up to Taos. The forecast high there is 58 degrees. Bring me my jammies!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Amarillo TX to Santa Fe NM

We drove on I-40 today to Santa Fe. Now that we're back in to big sky country we're both feeling much better about things.
It's interesting to see the remains of Route 66 which parallel sections of I-40. Many places doomed by the freeways. This is all that remains of the Roadrunner drive-in in Vega, Texas.

This is I-40 through New Mexico. It is so much prettier than I-10.

We're here for 5 nights. The force of the internet is strong here, so there may be a picture or two heading your way.

Oklahoma City OK

Oklahoma City was a very nice surprise. We weren't expecting much from it, but it's a delightful city. If you're sent there on business, do not despair; there is much to see and do.
I wanted to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It's really well done. The museum was interesting in that it told the stories of how people were rescued and what it took to find them all. Recovery was even harder due to the damage the building sustained. It was a huge effort that went on until the building's remains were imploded.
This is the reflecting pool, located on what was N.W. 5th Avenue. There are two symbolic gates, one is marked 9:01 and the other 9:03, the times before and after the bombing of the Murrah building.

The field of empty chairs is where the Murrah Building used to be. There are nine rows, one for each floor of the building. Each chair has the name of a person who was lost, the little chairs are from the daycare. There are 5 more chairs for people outside the building who were killed. The beige building in the back was the Journal Register building, it now houses the museum.

This is what the inside of the Register building looked like after the explosion. Most of it was repaired, but this was left to show what it had looked like after.

The Survivor Tree was surrounded by burning cars after the bombing. Pieces of debris were embedded in its trunk. It was burned. Afterward, heavy equipment was parked on its root system, compacting the dirt. But it lived. It became an important symbol to the bombing survivors.

The Methodist church behind the bombing site. The rose window was blown out of the church by the bomb. It took about a year, but they were able to reopen.

Bank of America building downtown. It's pretty cool.

Public art.

Old building, in the Prairie style.

The huge Bass Pro Shops anchors the Bricktown district, so called because the buildings are all red brick. The city has done a bang up job of refurbing the area and making it very pleasant. They have a triple A baseball team downtown as well as the basketball team they got from Seattle. There are a ton of restaurants and shops.

Stuffed bison in the store. They have lots of things hanging from the ceilings and perched on various surfaces.

An armadillo.

Taylor Craft airplane.

And for all of you hunter gals, camo skivvies!

Toby Keith has a restaurant in Bricktown. We didn't eat there, we went to a barbeque place for lunch. They had fried okra that was just to die for it was so good.

The canal that runs through Bricktown, with a water taxi.

Public art, Sisyphus pushing the rock.

The end of the canal walk, that's a huge mosaic.

Then we went to the Myriad Botanical gardens. 17 acres downtown of very nice plantings and walkways.

This is the Myriad's enormous greenhouse.

The art museum. Look at the glass inset. It has a huge Chihuly in it. They had a really good exhibit of Cezannes and Turners collected by a couple of women from Wales back in the day. They also have a huge Chihuly exhibit. Why there? Because his mother in law is from OK City.

There's a lot to see and do in Oklahoma City. If you're RV'ing through the area it's worth a stop. And, we think the toilet is finally fixed.