Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Race walking

This morning I was reading New York Bike Snob's blog, and Monday's post was fairly funny. It can be found here. He had a very humorous discussion of shoaling, which then digressed into foot messengers in NYC which then touched on race walking. I like the idea of race walking. This summer when we were traveling our fitness levels really suffered because we weren't able to ride much because of the weather in Canada, and the drivers will kill you in the South. We were left with walking for exercise. I can't run because of my feet, and unless you can find steep hills, it's difficult to walk fast enough to really raise the old heart rate. So, I suggested to Jim that we should learn to race walk. Articles on the subject suggest that it's a really good workout. For some reason Jim is not enthusiastic about this idea. Something about looking like an escapee from the Ministry of Funny Walks. Bike Snob posted this instructional video on race walking which struck me as funny, and perhaps validates Jim's position on the subject.

Today we're under a Red Flag Warning from 11:00 to 20:00 hours. The wind actually arrived at 11:28. The RV is bouncing some, but so far the motion is not too bad.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Disaster simulation in the GPNW

The Washington State DOT has released a simulation of what would happen to the Alaskan Way Viaduct in downtown Seattle. For you non-natives of the GPNW, it's a double decker elevated highway built many moons ago. The developers hate it because it blocks potential views of the water from the condos they would like to build. I personally love the thing because the north bound views are just stunning. It carries 100,000 vehicles a day, on 6 lanes. The current proposal is to replace it with a tunnel, with 4 lanes. No one has explained where all of those cars will go during construction. That entire debate is what lead Jim and me to up and sell the West Seattle house. Without the viaduct, no one will leave West Seattle for years. If you play the video, pay attention to the text that says it simulates the 2001 earthquake; except for it's longer, the epicenter is closer to Seattle, and it's of greater magnitude. But other than that it's just like the other one that did not do all of that damage.

There is much debate on the local radio on whether they're trying to panic the populace into moving forward with the tunnel, despite its gargantuan price tag, decrease in carrying capacity and massive engineering hurdles.

Jim remains in the land of ice and snow (not really, it's just raining), while I continue to enjoy fall at its finest in the desert southwest. Those of you who are in the north may take heart in the news that the system that is currently plaguing the GPNW will arrive here tomorrow in the form of sustained winds of 30 mph gusting to 45, followed by possible rain in the valley and snow on Mount Lemmon.

Other than that, I have nothing to report other than frequent hikes, grocery shopping, laundry and the daily mundane tasks of life.

Friday, October 23, 2009

17th Street Market

Greetings from the great prognosticator. But more on that later.

Last winter we kept hearing about the 17th Street Market, but for some reason we never got there. We finally made it there this season, it's a really cool store. Sunday we went back to get another jar of cornichons and took the camera.

How often do you see jars of ghee on the shelf?

This is interesting. Hummus and babaganoush in a can.

This, however, is my favorite item. Instant jelly fish. I never knew there was such a thing.

There is a huge Asian food section in the store. We were surprised by the size of it, and wondered how Tucson can support such a large selection of specialty items.

Hello Kitty rice candy.

Back to the great prognostication. As I previously predicted it would, the kitchen gray started leaking the very day the warranty on the RV was up. Fortunately there is a 90 day warranty on Beaudry fixes, so they'll have another shot at it. We are so annoyed, packing this thing up and dragging it down to Beaudry and then re-parking and putting it all back is a full two days. One wonders why this is so difficult to fix. You can see the water drops glinting in the early morning sunshine.

So, it'll be a long week. Jim has gone to the GPNW to visit his Mom who has just turned 92. It's raining sideways up there. The weather here is, however, beautiful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Hot!

Today was astonishingly warm. The RV air conditioning started running at 7:15 this morning, we wimped out on riding. We had the thought that we'd go mall walking in the afternoon. However, after noticing the number of children in the mall, and thinking about H1N1 and little petri dishes with legs, we ran out of the mall. So, that's how swine flu is affecting our behavior.

Interesting clouds. The smudgy looking part at the bottom of the cloud is virga, rain which does not reach the ground.

Other than whining about the heat, I have nothing intelligent to say. Hope you all are surviving your various climates.

Friday, October 16, 2009


It's 97 degrees today! Supposed to be hotter tomorrow. Oy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

End of the gray tank saga - maybe

Once again we have peace in the valley. Harmony and levelness reign in the RV; side to side, front to back, we are level. It's really nice not having the freezer door knocking me in the head when I'm putting away groceries. We're back from Beaudry and hopefully will not have to return this winter. The last gray tank leak was due to us filling the gray tank before 48 hours had elapsed. Apparently the glue takes that long to harden, so you don't want water all over it. Had one of our service professionals told us of this requirement, we would have been more than happy to leave the tank open for a week. Alas, alack, this information was not conveyed, and so Tuesday they had to reglue the pieces. So, we'll see. We're out of warranty in 6 days, so it'll probably last at least that long.
Here is Jim, watching his outdoor TV. I think he did it just so he could say he did. I have given him a stack of abuse about taking the TV outside. But, see, see - he's watching it.

Today we rode up to the University and had coffee with JimE. Jim has been riding a lot this year, right around 4,000 miles, and he is riding strong. While at coffee we saw the Gray Wolf. Today was a pink day.

He's got a new fanny pack, it says "Gray Wolf" on it; and he has added gold streamers to his handle bars this season.

After coffee we rode up 1st to Ina with JimE who is now an Oro Valley resident. I am once again learning the lesson of how much a person deteriorates when said person does not work out for 5 months. It was painful. We will persevere and haul ourselves back into some semblance of fitness.
Other than that, I do not have much blog material. Oh, we are having a heat wave, should be in the mid to upper 90's this weekend. Today was a Walmart trip; gotta love a store where you can buy an electrical tester and stuff for salad in the same place.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

RV repairs and another Tucson road update

Monday and Tuesday of last week saw Jim in full blown cleaning mode. Monday he scrubbed the RV roof, washed (and dried) the entire RV, and then treated the RV roof with RV roof treatment stuff. Tuesday he did the awning. We were pristine in our spotlessness.

Wednesday we took the RV in for her third kitchen gray water tank. Third, that's pretty amazing. This is how they move RV's around on the lot. They lift it up with a forklift and drag it where they want it. So we left the RV at Beaudry's thinking we would get the new gray tank installed that day and we'd be done. But no, that was not to be.

Unaware of the coming calamity, we drove out to the end of Park and watched the F16s landing at Tucson International. It's pretty cool, they were practicing touch and goes. After that we had lunch and then walked a bunch in the University area.

After a few hours we got the phone call; about the tires. Apparently 1 tire had tread separation that so alarmed the tech that he took off that wheel and put the spare on the RV. Another one had become virtually bald - all this in 14,000 miles. How does this happen? And no, the RV would not be ready that night, Keystone had still not authorized the replacement of the leaking holding tank. So, back to Beaudry on Wednesday afternoon to pick up our crippled RV we went.
Thursday morning we were back bright and early. They put the RV up on jack stands and took the wheels off so that we could take them to Goodyear for new tires. We had planned to buy 4 of the same as currently installed, but noooooooooooooo, there is a nationwide shortage of this tire. Nooooooooooo we don't know when they might be available. So we ended up with 14 ply tires at 3 times the price of 10 plys. They did give us some money for the old tires, but not enough. So that took until 2:00 on Thursday. We took the wheels in at 2:30 ish and lo and behold, there is the new gray tank on the floor of the shop. We asked when should we return and were told 5:00. We left with the RV at 6:30. I really really really hate parking in the dark.

Friday we repositioned the RV and got it perfectly and completely level. Any door in the RV when opened stayed where you left it. Marbles did not roll across the floor, my inner ear was at peace. We were happy and life was sweet. The terrible experiences of Wednesday and Thursday were put behind us with a collective sigh of contentment.
Saturday we got up to go for a bicycle ride. Jim went out to dump the kitchen gray tank, and discovered this. This is a leaking gray tank, again. A primal scream would not have been inappropriate.

So we did do a ride up Aviation Parkway. On the way back we checked out the 18th Street underpass. It is now open for your cycling pleasure.

Today we did a brisk hike up the Hidden Trail. Afterward we washed clothes. We saw this card up on the bulletin board in the main laundry room. Pretty amazing. About half of the park model resales have lowered their prices, but this one is pretty extreme.

So, this week we'll be back at Beaudry, at least twice.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New running boards and bicycle rack

After several months of stating his case for running boards, Jim received budget approval to have them installed on the truck. Are they not lovely? I have not totally bonded with them. When getting out of the truck, I forget they're there and whack the backs of my shins. Hopefully I won't have to rip my flesh too many times before committing the new evacuation procedure to muscle memory. I will admit that they do add that certain touch of manly bling to the truck.

Saturday was build a bike rack day. The bike rack on the RV which carries the mountain bikes bounces around a lot when we're traveling; so much so that the rubber on the grooves for the top tubes is partially worn off (along with a fair amount of paint on the bikes), and bare metal is exposed. This will not do for the road bikes. So, an in bed solution was required, one that would not require removing the hitch. So, two 2 by 4's, 4 metal straps and two fork mount blocks have been shaped into a bike rack. There is Jim with his battery powered skill saw and drill. Battery powered tools are a beautiful thing. Note the crock pot in the far right of the picture. The crock pot is a beautiful thing. We made pork chops and black beans in it. After 8 hours of low temperature cooking they are fork tender and de-lish.

Now Jim is tying the 5 pieces that make up the rack together with the steel straps. I was the able assistant.

This is also a beautiful thing. You pull the metal tape out and it stays where you left it. No more laborious mashing of the slide to get the thing to quit retracting and scaring you to death, it just stays there until you push the button.

Behold the beauty of the bike rack. Now all we have to do is get up earlier, quit surfing the web in the morning and get our out of shape selves up and out on them.

Today we hiked the trail behind the Marriott, it has much climbing so that is good. This is from the Gerson trail head hike we did last week. I like that trail better, but it doesn't have enough elevation gain.

This week's unpleasantness will be dealing with the local RV dealer again. As you no doubt recall, we had the kitchen grey water holding tank replaced March 27, 2009 because a seam in the tank ruptured. That would be six months after we bought the RV. Well, it's ruptured again, the belly board is bowed under the weight of all the water on it and we are just fit to be tied. One wonders if this will be an every 6 month event for us. Tomorrow we'll be talking to the dealer, it would be nice if we only had to go down there once, but I am certain we'll have to take it in for them to confirm the leak and only then will they order a new tank, whose installation will involve a second trip. We're just barely within warranty. So, we'll have to do a partial repack of the basement, load the wagons and hitch her up. At least Jim is down the curve on backing into these narrow spaces so I don't have to stress about that anymore.
Hope all is well with you all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Update to Tucson Updates

I have reports that Mountain Avenue still has impassible sections due to construction. They're working on it, but it's not done.

Look over at the section of "other sites worth looking at", and notice a new entry for Tucson Bicycle Lawyer. It's an interesting blog. Granted, it's written by a lawyer, but there's some interesting information to be had. I was shocked, nay stunned, to know that not one motorist has been cited for failing to observe the 3 foot law when passing a bicyclist. I'm really hoping things aren't as terrible as portrayed on the blog, but it is informative.