Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mid-week Round Up

Greetings Earthlings! Was your black Friday fruitful? We gave it a pass. I personally am closing in on being done with the Christmas shopping, due to the magic of online shopping.

The climate of late has been very good in Tucson- here is an example.

I got a couple of questions about the braking system we had installed in Mesa. M & G Engineering is the company who makes the equipment. It converts air pressure to hydraulic pressure in the truck braking system. Their website is here. There's an independent product review, with pictures; that link is here. It's pretty slick, if the truck gets away from the RV while under tow, it slows itself down using a small air reservoir. According to Chevy it does not invalidate the warranty on the truck, which is good.

This week we learned a new Class A thing: put the wheel covers on when the RV is at ride height. Our site is lower at the front and on the passenger side. Getting the back passenger side wheel cover on was just a bear because the back of the coach is low and tipped towards the passenger side. The cover is on there, but it's not pretty.

Our new mattress arrived yesterday from Florida. All things are available on the web. We got it from Comfort Custom Mattresses. It's good! Ordering a mattress sight unseen was sort of unnerving but it worked out. Don and Jamie were invaluable in the effort of getting the old one out and the new one in. Progress was being made on the list of things to do and fix.

Jim has gone to Seattle. His Mom is not doing well. Last week her knee starting hurting big time. The first theory was that she was bleeding into the joint as a result of a cortisone injection. Further examination did not support this theory. Then, on the way home from the doctor's office, she totaled her car. Both airbags deployed. Mom was not hurt in the least. Given how closely she sits to the steering wheel (she's short), I can not believe that she sustained no damage from a first generation airbag, but she did not. Anyway, her knee is still killing her. Jim would like her to stop driving and move into a senior living facility, but so far she has nixed both ideas. So, he's in the cold wet, rainy GPNW to discuss her plans for the future.

Other than this, I have nothing new or interesting to report.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving at McDowell

How was your Thanksgiving? Ours could not have been better. After departing Mesa and the icky RV park there, we went out to McDowell Mountain Park. It's one of the best places on earth. This is the sunset from the first night we were there.

This was last night.

The campsite with the brown and cream Class A and the blue tent is Roger and Peggy's site. Roger is a camping legend. This year he brought multiple outdoor cooking surfaces, multiple propane lanterns and the blue tent. The tent was excellent for keeping the blazing sun and sporadic rain off of our heads.

Our friend Greg was out from the east coast. It's always a treat to see him. Greg's in excellent shape now; he's riding and running strong.

Roger and Steve. Steve and his wife Brenda were also down from Utah. Brenda is new to mountain biking and did an excellent job of riding the rocks. Steve's an ex-racer, and it shows. His bike handling skills are superb. Note the propane lantern behind Steve's shoulder. That's the cook line Roger had set up.

Roger and Peggy.

Are they not a lovely couple?

Roger made his signature Thanksgiving dish - seared ahi.

The group.

As with all parties, there is clean up. This morning we stopped by and helped fold the tent (literally) and take out the garbage. The Utah natives are on their way north and we headed south.

Here is our new truck with the new canopy, providing shelter for the road bikes. Note the front slide out, with the attached storage units below. Note the concrete blocks on the ground. During the years we lived in the 5th wheel, we looked up for possible objects to be hit by the slides. Now we must look down. We came so close to running that slide into the concrete barriers. But, we didn't and that lesson is now firmly imprinted on our brains.

With any luck, we'll get the gravel guard soon, get it installed, and I will no longer have to follow the RV, driving the truck. I hate driving! Just hate it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mesa, AZ

This is an RV we saw at Rincon West. It's a Dodge, from the late 60's. It's very cool.

We had nice looking skies on the way to Mesa today.

We're at the Aztec RV park in Mesa, it's an old park, constructed when RVs were 30 feet long. Jim did a magnificent job of getting into a very tight, short spot. It's so tiny that we're sticking out into the street. If we still had the 5th wheel, I'm not sure we could have gotten it in here. We provided entertainment for the residents as we backed and filled. A couple of older gentlemen came out to offer encouragement and advice on how to best get in to this space.

After parking, we nipped down to the welding shop to see where they'd want us to park in the morning. Jim asked what time they'd be done and was told it's a 10 hour job! TEN! We'll be lucky to get it back at 5, it's 20 miles to McDowell Mountain park, so we'll be parking in the dark. This is all so character building!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Ride

Today was the Sunday morning breakfast ride. We had a very pleasant ride through downtown Tucson on the way to the Rincon Market. We rode by the OWS camp, it was fairly quiet there.

After breakfast we were riding home through the Dunbar Spring neighborhood. They were having a community gathering in their P-patch. This year they had three flour making machines running. These are mesquite pods that have been harvested from the desert.

Here is the mesquite flour making equipment.

They were demonstrating solar cookers. This one was maintaining 300 degrees in the sun.

The kids were really enjoying the day.

This little girl was holding an impressively large gopher snake.

Isn't he pretty?

Did everybody watch 60 Minutes? They did a piece on Grover Norquist, one of the most influential men in America, that you never elected. There was also an interview with Christine Lagarde; she's an amazing woman, currently at the helm of the IMF.

Tomorrow we're driving up to Mesa for the tow bar/braking system to be installed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tour de Tucson

Today was the Tour de Tucson. It's America's largest perimeter ride. The long route is 111 miles. These two did it in 4:29:30. The guy in the red ended up second by 6/100's of a second. They were going at it hammer and tongs at the finish.

This was the first big group after the 9 or so leaders went through. They, too, were just hauling.

A tandem in one of the early finishing groups.

This is the Stanford racing team. They did not make platinum, they made gold. Platinum requires that you finish in 5 hours.

Some of the guys from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. That team does really well here, this year they had 4 out of the top 10 spots.

There were many food vendors at the finish line. I love this food cart.

Isn't this lovely? It's a house near Armory Park. Beautiful, just beautiful.

A church downtown.

A new building downtown. It's kind of cool.

Our friend Dave, of the Manitoba Fast Old Guys club, finished 18 out of 1,266 riders on the 60 mile course. Good show!

We got the canopy on the pickup today. Tomorrow we will rebuild the bike rack to go in the bed of the truck. Now that the bikes have their new home, life will be better. We have one more major push towards finalizing the configuration (tow bar with braking system) and then we move in to maintenance mode.

Update: Barry Bonds (baseball) and Bill Walton (basketball) did the ride. Pretty cool.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hidden Trail

This is who we saw on the Hidden Trail today.

They're pretty good sized deer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rock Wren Trail

Today was just spectacular. We took a hike and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the horse water tank, the area is very green after rain.

Is it not lovely?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Organizational Monday

Are you plagued by big puffy comforters, or ski clothing, or other items that take up too much room? Get a space bag! U-Haul sells them. One puts the bulky item in, sucks the air out with a vacuum cleaner, and the result is a much smaller item.

Even though we don't wear shoes in the RV, we noticed the edge of the carpet up by the door was getting dirty, so we bought a runner at Lowes. We knew it would creep, but honestly, we thought it would creep in both directions, so there would be a net travel of zero. No. It only creeps in one direction, away from the front door toward the kitchen. I thought it might be related to the nap of the carpet and got a rug pad to put between the runner and the carpet. No improvement. Then we got out the sticky backed velcro, and stickied velcro to the tile and the underside of the runner. This thing's desire to creep is so strong that it's overpowering the glue on the velcro strip. Tomorrow I'm going to hot glue the velcro to the runner. I will have a stationary runner, I will.

We spent the day re-doing the basements. The bikes are out on the bike rack with a new water proof grill cover on them. I decided that my desire for order was trumping my desire for the bikes to be inside. It went fairly smoothly. Storage always looks bigger than it is, and one's stuff always looks smaller. We have everything in there, with space reserved for things that are out now, but must be stowed for travel. This is Jim in the big storage bay under the living room slide. It holds quite a bit of stuff. Luggage, chairs and less frequently used items live here.

The pull out tray will be the home for the frequently used stuff. It's pretty cool, it goes out on either side of the RV. Cleaning and utilities things are on the driver's side bays, but I didn't get pictures. Too tired.

We're now done with this phase. Monday we're heading to Mesa to get a Blue Ox aluminum tow bar, base plates for the truck and a pneumatic to hydraulic braking system installed. That will allow us to tow the Chevy, and stop it when necessary.
So, that was today.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rain in the Desert

Yesterday we rode the road bikes. Yay! The new Santa Cruz River trail is open, and it's very nice having a new north south bike route. One of the southern bridges is closed, but there's a detour, so it's all good. This is me, putting the shoes on in the passenger seat of the new RV.

Today was a gruesome day in the Old Pueblo. It rained like heck! This is Tucson Boulevard where the water was pretty dang deep.

Pusch Ridge with clouds on it.

More clouds.

We're getting closer to being moved in to the RV. We still can't do anything with the basement until we get the canopy on the pickup. Once we get the bikes into the truck, everything gets taken out of the basement and assigned a location based on probability and frequency of use. Bins will be purchased to closely match available storage so that volumetric efficiency can be maximized. If the economy would pick up, I think there would be a future for me as a professional organizer, I am that good.
60 Minutes is on and we just saw a piece on why it's not illegal for members of Congress to profit from inside knowledge of financial markets which are impacted by bills they have or have not passed. It's hard to fathom how venal and corrupt US politics have become. The article is here, if you need to be further aggravated.
We went to Home Goods this afternoon and got a Calphalon air bake cookie pan for $5. One corner is a little bent, but it's ok. The cool thing is, it fits in the convection/microwave and the square frozen pizza will fit on the pan. I do miss flinging the frozen pizzas into the regular oven. However, we are confident that we will prevail over the new kitchen paradigm.
OK, here is an uplifting piece from 60 Minutes profiling a smart and good person involved in education.
So, that is about all I have to offer, over and out maties.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It was a windy day in Tucson.

We spent the day registering the RV, buying stuff for the RV, and thinking about the RV. Sometimes one is owned by their stuff. Hopefully tomorrow we're breaking a sweat.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Trip to Lordsburg and More Technology

Oy! Evading the tax collector is a laborious and time consuming process. The drive to Lordsburg NM was 164 miles each way. My behind feels like it's pleated from all the time in the truck. Here is Jim putting diesel in the one ton for the last time. I will miss that truck, with her heated 8 way power seats, and spacious cabin.

Interstate 10 - on the way to NM. There's a lot of space out there.

We met the out of state delivery driver at McDonalds and then drove over to the courthouse. It's a terrific old building. It houses the clerks, the judges, the trial and jury rooms, and the jail. We had the piece of paper notarized, traded vehicles and then drove back to Tucson. This is an out of business restaurant in Lordsburg.

Coming back, we got behind this.

We're not sure what they were, but they were big.

Over the last two days we have gotten our technology on. Pat from Desert Satellite came out and got our satellite receiver hooked up and working. We're using the Winegard on the roof because the installed Kingdome is too old to automatically switch between satellites. We'll either replace that at a later date, or just keep putting the carry out on the roof.
Today we received the CenturyLink modem and the phone guy came out and activated our phone connection. The Verizon mi-fi doesn't work well at all in Tucson, so that service is now suspended. So, we have satellite and wifi.

So far, the weather is not totally wonderful here, it's supposed be windy, blustery and rainy this week end. Hopefully this will not be the case all winter, snowbird weather rebates have been difficult to obtain.