Friday, March 30, 2012

Stalking the Wildlife

We had a delightful ride through the Tucson Mountain Park and the Saguaro Monument West with Don and Jamie this morning. It was GOOD to leave early because it's heating up here. That's Al on the left, we ran in to him out on McCain Loop. Middle is Don, and Jim (spousal unit) is on the right.

The visitor's center at Saguaro West. We've never been there before, it's really very nice. We stopped for water today.

These are flowers on a Buckhorn Cholla. They're everywhere out where we were riding, most of the buds haven't popped yet. For such an unattractive plant, they have a gorgeous bloom.

The Great Horned Owls are back, they have nested in a very tall palm tree right out in front of the main activity center at the RV park. There are three babies up there, but only one was sitting up.

Here he is observing a big bug, which is seen far right in the photo.

The bug can now be better seen hanging upside down.

Now he is bored by the bug.

It's time for a nap.

I used my Lumix camera with a 200 mm lens to see the baby owl. They are very high off the ground. That is my report for the day.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pleasant Riding

Temperatures are climbing, the weather wimp (me) is suffering. We went out earlyish for a short ride. I think this is an agave. It's a pretty color.

We headed out towards the Tucson Mountain Park and made a left at Coyote Pause. There is a road in back, and we wondered where it went. It connects to Bopp, incidentally. Anyway, there are several large attractive homes back there. We liked this gate a lot. There is a solar panel which powers a light in the round piece so it glows. That would be nice to see at night.

Look at the fence uprights behind the saguaro cactus. Those are ocotillo ribs. Sometimes they'll root and become a living fence.

It was a pleasant ride, not too long, not too hard.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Annual Cactus Roundup

Can you believe March is almost over? We're seeing an early cactus bloom, but it's not as good as it has been in years past. The ocotillos have been particularly disappointing. Usually the ribs leaf out and become green and lush, but not so much this year. This plant has pretty good blooms, but no leaves.

Purple cactus in the park.

Yellow cactus.

Another one of the night bloomers, whose name I do not know.

Ken was here today, and worked on the hydro hot, replaced the spring on the bedroom slide topper and mounted the new gravel guard. It was a warm day to be working on the RV. We think the spring on the main salon slide topper is failing, we're hoping to get that replaced before leaving for the summer. So, there's that and re-riveting the slide lock cover on the forward driver's side slide.
Plans for May are firming up. We have reservations May 13 - 31 in Oroville, CA, which is near Grass Valley, which has road and mountain biking opportunities. We wanted to be closer to Grass Valley than we are, but couldn't find an RV park with 50 amp. If we like it there, we'll scout the area RV parks for goodness. The first half of the month is still in flux.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fourth Avenue Street Fair

This weekend is the 4th Avenue Street Fair. It was pretty big this year, maybe it's a sign of the economy picking up. The weather was good yesterday and today, warm and not a lot of wind.
Some vendors did not have a real theme, but had a lot of stuff.

These are wood carvings from Oaxaca (pronounced wah-hah-ka). The detail on the painting is extraordinary. Look at all of the little dots.

Tarot card readers were everywhere.

Meat. Meat everywhere.

We got a sample of the tri-tip, it's really good.

This individual did not have many takers, but appeared to be happy just to be there.

One of the artists there worked in pencil, and made big art. They were spectacular. One would need wall space for that.

Look at the ink. Every year I am just astounded by the amount of ink young women are getting. My reaction is certainly generational, but it just seems like a lot. Could be worse, could be up her neck like many we see.

It was a good fair. We got fig balsamic vinegar, a silver necklace and a print done by a Japanese artist of gold fish. I love the gold fish.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Night Blooming Cereus (Not)

Behold the beauty that is the night blooming Cereus. At least, that's what I think it is. Anyway it's an amazing plant here in the RV park. This is what he looked like around 6:30 last night.

Update to post: I have been reliably informed that this is not a night blooming Cereus. At this point I do not know what it is.

And this is what he looks like at 8:00 am the next day. If I were a more dedicated photographer, I'd be up at dawn before the light got harsh, but apparently I am not. It's a spectacular specimen.

Double click on the photo, I left it big.

There will be more cactus photos as the season progresses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

End of the Biking Season Party

We're coming to the end of the season at Rincon West. Dave and Marilyn hosted the party again this year. People are pulling up stakes and departing for points north. There was a good group and a lot of food.

On the right we have Pat and Gary, both of whom are nationally competitive cyclists in their respective age groups.

This is Marilyn. I think next year I'm going to have to get Dave to pose for posterity.

Here is Jamie, looking dashing in an orange sweater.

Jim & I mountain biked today. It was good, I'm cutting back on my dependence on body armor. It's getting too hot!
Tomorrow morning we're stalking the night blooming cereus, a cactus who blooms at night, for one day only.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hiking & Newspapers

Gorgeous day in the Old Pueblo. Chilly, but nice.

I find this so funny. The cold weather is reported above the fold in the local paper. Wouldn't happen anywhere else!

Other than this, I have nothing of interest to report.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two Days of Bad Weather

We're on day TWO of really crappy weather. At present we're experiencing bright sunshine, wind and hail. The plan had been to hike today, but the wind was just too cold. Yes, I can hear all of you who had winter snickering over that statement. It really was a cold wind, however.

Yesterday we went to the mall and wandered around. Macy's is carrying an extensive selection of single purpose appliances. I have previously posted about the brownie maker and the donut shaped something maker, today we have the meatball maker. They also sell appliances to make pizza, quesadillas and hand held pies. Does one not use one's stove anymore?

Today we've had interesting skies with squall lines ripping through. Just when you think it's over, it's not.

We went to Costco for granola, and spent some time looking at stuff. Have you ever read the ingredients on these? Second item is mechanically separated chicken. That would be the stuff they scrape off the spines. When did it become acceptable to market products like this as food?

We stopped at Food City for an avocado (4 for $.99). Their target market is the local Hispanic population. There's an entire food culture of which I am unaware. On the left is quince paste, on the right is guava. Jim and I have no clue as to what one would make with that. I looked around for cooking classes locally, but did not find anything useful. It would be good to broaden the culinary horizons.

Perhaps the weather will be less terrible tomorrow, so we can go outside. I have yet another bicycle saddle to audition.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Old Pueblo Grand Prix Criterium

Yesterday was the Old Pueblo Grand Prix Criterium. It was a shorter course than last year, lap times were very short. When we got there, this group was racing, they were men's something. They could have been Cat 3 or 2, but that's of no matter. What is significant, is that these guys are in the process of lapping the main field.

This is the main group. So, at what I think should have been the end of the race for the leading group, the announcer says the guys who lapped the field have to do another lap with the main field. He was suggesting that the time they put on the main field was negated. We never did hear what the officials decided. If I had been in the lead group I would have been very annoyed.

There was an event called "street sprints." Contestants lined up and clipped in while having their bikes held. Then they sprinted for the line.

Then there was the pro women's race. A woman from Manitoba won it, she's on the far right in the red & white jersey and the black helmet.

Interactive cycling dot com was out filming on all four corners. If you subscribed, you could watch the race live on your smart phone, all while being at the race.

A scarlet macaw. The bird's owner had provided a good perch for him on her back. He looked pretty happy.

Interesting looking dog.

The pro men started at 5:30. They finished in the near dark. There was a fair amount of cloud cover towards the end. It was a big field.

These guys are riding close to 40 mph, and they can turn around and look behind them. See the guy on the far left.

There were two tight corners on the course. Much skill is required to make it through unscathed.

Kenda-5 Hour Energy ran a smart race. They put one guy off the front early on, and the rest of the team sat on the front, preventing anyone else from a successful chase. They eventually won the race. They're in the red jerseys.

This is coming out of the second bad corner. The road narrowed between the two bad corners, so they would exit strung out in a line.

I could not get a shot of the final sprint, it was too dark by then. This is St. Augustine, it's a beautiful cathedral.

Today has been a very different day in terms of the climate. We've had wind, hail, rain and more wind. We're ready for our day of winter to be over now, thank you!