Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Road Trip to Bisbee and etcetera

Sunday the wind was blowing the dog off the chain; between that and my ribs it was not a good riding day. So we decided to drive down to Bisbee. It's an old mining town and is the home of the Lavender Pit, which is a huge open pit copper mine. Active mining stopped in the early '70s, resulting in an immediate exodus of most of the people from the town. All that empty real estate attracted hippies and artists and the town reinvented itself as a tourist mecca. The anchoring structure of the town is the Copper Queen Hotel. The Copper Queen was build in 1890, it's been completely renovated. We don't recommend eating there, however.

Spring is sproinging in Arizona.

One of the many artistic touches in the town. It's a pretty cool fence.

Rooms for rent.

This is Brewery Gulch, tourist central. Arizona was the 48th state, it achieved statehood on Valentine's Day 1912. It took quite awhile to convince the rest of the nation to accept AZ, the overwhelming impression the easterners had of the territory was of desolate expanses of wastelands populated by gun slinging desperadoes. Cleaning up areas like Brewery Gulch, ending gambling and prostitution, were key to AZ's acceptance into the Union.

The Lavender Pit.

Monday we hiked. The wild flower display at the Genser Trail Head was just magnificent.

The yellow flowers are Mexican Poppies. This is from the web, so you can see what they look like.

An early blooming cactus in the park.

Last night's sunset was very nice.

This morning we got up early and rode up the east side of Gates Pass. I had to walk one of the steep sections because I can't stand on the bike yet. The worst part was people I know saw me do it. Arrrrrrrggghhhhhhhhh.
This afternoon I saw the ear surgeon; it's official, my surgery failed. I have very narrow ear canals, and he was unable to see around the corner of one of the bony things in the ear. He attempted to tuck in the graft in the obstructed area by feel, but it was unsuccessful and it did not adhere. A second surgery could be attempted, but it would involve drilling out bone in the ear canal. I'm going to have to think about this one for awhile. So in the meantime, I'm still deaf as a post. Showering is weird, water runs in my ear, and through my head into the back of my throat.
Other than that, I have nothing much to report. It did hit 90 today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Still learning to ride the Mountain Bike

When we started mountain biking, we knew that if you mountain bike, you're gonna fall. Despite my magical thinking that maybe I wouldn't fall, I'm on fall number two. One part of Christmas Tree Loop out at Fantasy Island is pretty much a ditch. You have to stay up high on the edge of it; unfortunately there's a giant overgrown bush on the left, which caused me to lean right. My back wheel went in the ditch, caught a pedal, and threw me to the ground. The good thing about these falls is that they're so fast, I don't have time to try to break my fall by extending my hands (thus breaking a wrist or collarbone), but man it's hard on the body! This one whacked me in the ribs. Nothing's broken, but it's good that it's my non-dominant side since use of my arm is limited, as is breathing. We have a knife in the tool kit and next time we're out there, the bush is getting trimmed, revenge will be mine.
This is my left elbow. I have since ordered elbow pads. Soon I'm going to be looking like Mel Gibson in the Mad Max movies. Knee pads have proved to be very useful, so I think elbows will be good, as well.

It's been otherwise uneventful here. We got the the electric fireplace fixed. Dimplex sent a new bottom for the box, with more air holes. It's been turning itself off because it over heats. The electrician who came out also recommended that we get a hole saw and cut a 2 inch hole in the top of the cabinet so it could breathe better. Jim did that today, we'll know if it's successful next winter (when it's out of warranty).
Today was a Red Flag day due to high winds, originating in the GPNW. Their latest storm was strong enough to cause wind here, but no rain. The warm weather high pressure system is late in establishing itself this year. We await that event with bated breath.
Thursday we are flying to the GPNW to visit Jim's Mom and our various medical professionals. I look forward to the annual squashing of the chest at Valley Medical's House of Discomfort.
Hope you are all well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Airshow at Davis Monthan

This past weekend was the 4th Avenue Street Fair and an airshow at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. We elected to skip the Street Fair because it doesn't change much from year to year and we've been there a bunch. Saturday we rode the bikes out Aviation Parkway and watched the planes fly. Sunday we drove on base to actually see the airshow. There were a lot of people there.

This is an F-15E Strike Eagle from Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. It's a tactical fighter bomber. It's sitting in a shelter for the A-10s based at Davis-Monthan, these shelters provide some shade for the crews working on the flight line, which is hotter than the 7th Circle of Hell in the summer.

This is Liberty Belle, she is a beautiful B-17G. There are very few B-17s left that are airworthy, so it was a real treat to see one fly. The airplane has been here in town for a week or so. There were a number of gentlemen visiting Tucson that flew B-17s in WW II and some of them had the chance for one last flight, an event that no doubt meant a lot to them.

An A1 Skyraider, built by Douglas. It originally was an attack bomber flown off of carriers in the Korean conflict, and later was used to protect search and rescue flights in Vietnam. It's now a private plane.

This is the A-10 Warthog. It's an attack bomber originally designed to destroy tanks. The Warthog demonstration flight was the best part of the show. The guy flying it was just magic, he is the leader of the A-10 West Demonstration Team.

Three of the six Thunderbirds. They had a pretty good show, although I was hoping it would be noisier. All in all it was definitely worth seeing.

Today we rode to the U and then up north to climb some hills. While going through campus we saw this. Apparently there were tours being given to prospective students and their parents. I guess they were going to cover a lot of ground, and needed the Segways.

We had a delightful lunch at La Salsa and enjoyed the day. It was warm and the winds were calm. Tomorrow that all changes, again. Bummer.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring in Tucson

Well, spring is on the way. The cactus that should be known as Old Faithful is blooming. Is this not spectacular?

I've been eating Clif Bars since 1995 and I think I may have burned out on them. This is my new food bar for riding. Safeway carries them, and quite often will put them on sale for 10 for $10. They are good! All of the fruit flavors are good, but the chocolate and mocha flavors are really good. If you're looking for portable food, give these a try.

Today was a big day for us. We got a new toilet! It's so nice, unlike the old one, the seat is wood, it's wider and it's comfy. Best of all, the toilet holds water and it works way better than the old one. We are happy campers.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Riding at Fantasy Island

Today was spectacular. We went out to Fantasy Island and rode a hilly trail section that is new to us. Before we could get there, Jim had a fall climbing out of a big wash. Our key learning from this ride is that when one is climbing a very steep grade, one should slide way forward on the bike seat. When coupled with boobs to the tubes (which are the handlebars, but handlebar does not rhyme with boobs), the front wheel is more likely to stay on the ground. Jim forgot this, and pulled up his wheel, which then flipped and he fell over. It reminds me of that guy on "Laugh In" who would fall over on his tricycle. Jim is undamaged. He is indicating where he landed on the trail.

I rode well today. We went back to the scene of my fall, looked at it and then rode through it with no drama. We were both happy to see that I did not engage in any post-fall nut bag behavior and rode the washes with aplomb.

This picture came from Velonews, it's from a MTB race in Australia. Does this look like fun?

After riding it was hot and we were tired so we came back to the RV and sat outside and had a Corona. They come in 7 oz bottles, which is about all the beer I would ever want to drink. The bottles are just cuter than bugs. We've taken to squeezing lime juice into the beer which is good. We never drank Corona when we were in Seattle, it's not bad. Stella Artois and Grolsch are just stupid expensive here, so Corona it is.

So - that is all for today. Sunday is supposed to be "breezy" which generally translates to really really windy. We may drive to the Sunday omelet. Although last week I demonstrated that I can ride in really windy weather, I still do not enjoy it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spenser the Bike Store Dog

This is the shop dog at Arizona Bicycle Experts. They are primarily an MTB store, and we like them a lot. His name is Spenser, he's a rescued dog. His former living situation was one of cruelty and abuse. Now he's a bike store dog, which is pretty much Nirvana for a dog. Spenser commutes to work in a trailer pulled behind a bicycle ridden by one of his humans. He has a container of dog treats by the door, it has a lid which he walks over to and rattles when he feels its time for a nosh. This dog is so cute it hurts me.

We went on a leisurely bike ride today, with lunch at the Rincon Market. Temperatures are up, winds were down. Finally!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Moving On and the Bruise (bottom of the post)

We like being full timers, I like not taking care of a house and a yard; I like not paying all the bills associated with owning a house. Sometimes I miss my stuff, it was always enjoyable to haul out the Noritake china and just look at it, but over all being full time has really exceeded expectations. The downside to it is everybody moves on. In about 6 weeks we'll all be gone.
Our delightful riding buddies from Winnipeg loaded the wagons this morning and departed for the Great White. We will miss them until next season.

And now, as previously promised, here it is - the bruise, in all of its glory.

We are now about to go forth and speak to La Mesa about a rear view camera for the RV. One more item on the action item list we need to close before we leave for the summer. So far, the kitchen gray tank is NOT LEAKING! Happy we are about that development.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Search and Rescue

Yepper - we're in the west here. Jim and I hiked up the Starr Pass trail today, we saw this emblem on the side of a truck pulling a horse trailer at the trail head. Pretty cool, how often do you see the word "Posse" on a government pickup truck?

Here are the posse members. They ride the trails and look for evil doers and vandals. We told them about the evil ATV riders who have been riding on the trail and pulling up fences. They're going to check it out tomorrow, hopefully they'll find the evil ATV rider and shoot him.

This is Mabel, she's a mule. She's in the back of the picture above. Her rider had us put our trekking poles on the ground because when she was up for auction people would hit her with sticks to make her move for the bidders. Mabel now has a much better life than before.

It was a beautiful morning. This afternoon another storm rolled in, the winds were fairly impressive. However, I am not complaining, because (as I have been recently been reminded) it could be so much worse.

The bruise continues to color up nicely, I think tomorrow it should peak, so there will be another picture. I know you're all looking forward to that.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Last Week of February, First Week of March Recap

Welcome to yet another gargantuan posting. I can not believe how time just jets along here. We're already seeing a decrease in the number of RVs in the park as people load the wagons and return to the frozen tundra that is the north. It's also the season of love - for the pigeons. They've been on top of many RVs displaying for the girls and hoping to get lucky.

The worst thing they do is get under the slide toppers and build nests and poop. Pigeons poop tons of poop. We got swimming noodles and cut them into sections to block off access to the space under our slide toppers. It's really awful when they poop on top of the slide and then the rubber gaskets get covered in it when you retract the slide. This park needs more hawks.

This is Jim's Market. A couple bought the building about this time last year and converted it into their home. I like that they did not repaint the exterior. It's been here for a long time.

It's spring! See the spring flowers along the edge of our patio? They're from Michael's, no watering is required.

As previously promised, here are the pictures of our most recent welding. The bar on the right (the one coming toward you) is original, and was not up to the task of supporting the receiver. The bar on the left is the new bar that runs the width of the RV. See the plate in the back with the wiggly seam? The part of the plate to the left of the wiggly seam is new. There are new cross pieces between the bars that run the width of the RV, since it's all tied together, it should provide for less movement of the bike rack.

This is the same new 2 inch receiver as before, but now it has an anti wobble device on it. See the collar looking thing with the screws? That helps prevent motion of the rack due to slack within the receiver. So, we've done what we can with the welding and the anti-wobble. Now we're on the trail of a camera that will allow us to spy on the bicycles while we're in transit. I posted a request for recommendations on the RV forum on the Trailer Life website. It's just amazing how many stupid replies I got. If people can't add to the discussion, then they just shouldn't be allowed access to the internet. La Mesa RV says they install them, so we're going to see what they have to install.

Tucson remains just a dot to the left of center. It's not a smaller version of the Phoenix megalopolis, it's just different. This used to be a pink buffalo on the building roof, with gold wings. Now it's a patriotic buffalo on a sail boat on a building roof.

Friday we rode to the Lost Barrio for coffee at Tooley's. We were able to sit outside, it was very pleasant to linger and chat with the folks from Winnipeg. After coffee we went across the street and looked in some of the stores. These horses are from India, the lady in the store thought they might be temple horses, but was not sure.

This is a different shop with more interesting home decorating stuff. The shopkeeper there had been standing in the doorway with a hand full of burning material that was reminiscent of incense. She made a salute to the day with it, and finished with a brisk statement of "well! that's much better". I wish I'd had the camera out for that.

Saturday was pretty cool. There's going to be an air show at Davis-Monthan in two weeks. There are many planes in the air flying and practicing. We saw an amazing F15 flight. I tried to take pictures, but he was too far away. I got this picture through the windshield of the truck. Left to right the planes are: P51 Mustang (WWII), F16 Falcon (1974 first flight, currently in service), F4E Phantom (Vietnam era), and the F22 Raptor (currently in service). Pretty cool, seeing them fly in an echelon.

So we rode Fantasy Island Saturday. I fell. It was just stupid. There's a small wash that I went in at a bad angle. Instead of riding up the section of the wash that forms a ramp to exit, I hit a vertical wash wall, and the bike just stopped. I'm going to have a spectacular bruise on my left hip, which will be photo worthy (The photo is at the bottom of the post, stop reading after the breakfast picture if you don't want to see). After the fall, we continued on for 14 or so miles. Christmas Tree Loop was fun, it's a short loop but has several whoop-de-doos that are steep enough to be fun, but are not terrifying.
The desert has greened up a bunch with all the rain we've been having.

Today was a mass ride to breakfast at the Rincon Market. Riding in was very nice, with sunshine and pleasantness. Coming back was not as pleasant, there is a storm coming in bringing wind, rain and snow in the mountains. How much longer must I suffer with these storms? Where is my snowbird rebate?????????????

Here is a picture of the bruise taken on Sunday. It's not that colorful yet, but it's interesting how much definition was left by the seam in my bike shorts. It speaks to the amount of tissue juice is still floating around in there.

So other than that, we have nothing of major import to report.