Monday, January 28, 2013

More Winter in the Desert

This weather is driving me crazy!  Today was windy, then the temperature dropped 10 degrees and then it rained. This is an El Nada winter, and it is not nearly as good as last season.  Don of Don&Jamie came by in the rain to show us how wet he was.  They had gone out for a ride and gotten wet on the way back.  It was just gruesome today.  It's making me extremely cranky.

Eventually we ventured forth into the retail arena for provisions.  However, first we saw this.  The vehicle is 180 degrees to the direction of the road upon which it was traveling, and the left rear wheel and tire are under the vehicle.  How does this happen?

After a trip to Costco, we headed to Safeway for food.  This is what we saw on the side road in to the parking lot.  It's a giant hose crossing the street.

These are pumping entities in the parking lot of Safeway.

So we have pumping entities in the Safeway parking lot, crossing the ditch by the side road, and then crossing the road.  We are flummoxed as to what all of this is and what it's doing.

So that was today.  Jim feels worse today than he did yesterday.  We're sort of dispirited about his lack of progress back to full health.  Tomorrow is going to be cold and windy but sunny, perhaps I'll take him hiking.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Walk Outside

After record breaking rain yesterday, it was dry today.  We went for a walk out in the desert.  The clouds made some good looking shadows.

Poor saguaro!  It's a big one, but has fallen to its death.

Jim is feeling better, but is still not at full fighting strength.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rain in the Desert & Crime

It rained last night!

Are all y'all checking the credit card bills carefully?  We got a call from our Visa card last night wanting to know if we recognized charges made in Rock Hill, SC yesterday.  Why no, no we did not.  Apparently the newest thing in credit card fraud is transmitting skimmers.  They sit on the mag stripe reader, capture your information, and then beam it elsewhere.  The crooks then make new credit cards at their leisure with the skimmed data.  Gas stations are prime real estate for this activity.  We will now await our new credit card in the mail.
Jim continues to suffer the tortures of the rhinovirus  he brought home with him.  We had a brief outing, and then he returned to the couch.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This Past Week

Oy!  It's been a long week.  Jim was in Seattle visiting his mother, but now he has returned; with a cold.  Yes, the husband has a cold.  Is there anything sadder than a man with a cold?  No, there is not.
Here are some pictures from the week that was.  For your viewing pleasure here is an orchid.  They are so beautiful.

Another view outside of the stone hut out on the Bowen trail.  It was just a gorgeous day for a walk in the desert.

Jamie and I rode Gates Pass and McCain Loop - and we did really well.  Here is Jamie at the top and she's smiling because it's over.

This was tonight.  The sun setting on the mountains was just beautiful.  I wish we were a little higher so we could see it better.

So, Jim is back and I am glad because now I don't have to pump up my dang bicycle tires. Plus, I missed him a lot.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ride on, Tucson

Today was an excellent day.  It started out with the breakfast ride, which was chilly!  We went up to the Old Times Cafe.  We had a good group today, the Kansans and the Canadians are back.  It was good to see everyone again.  This is the Old Time omelette.  Portions are generous.

Today was Ride on, Tucson.  It's a bicycle party in Armory Park.  They block off the roads for a 2.2 mile loop through historic neighborhoods.  The goal is to get kids out on their bicycles.  Patrick Dempsey and Tom Danielson hosted the event.  We were there before the official start, and so were too early to stalk Mr. Dempsey for a photo op.  One of the things I love about events like this is the El Grupo turnout.  The club gets kids into riding and racing.  They also foster doing homework, community service and good manners.  They are an excellent asset to the community.
Here they are doing a bike handling exercise.  A large group is riding in little circles, occasionally having to stop and do a track stand to avoid hitting each other.

Mid-photo is Ignacio, who is the organization leader.  He is doing a perfect track stand, absolutely motionless.

Kids who can't afford to buy a bicycle, get a bicycle.  I donated a Trek Pilot when we first came to Tucson.  Having three road bikes in the 5th wheel was a major storage issue.  Lizzie rode it for a few years, and now this young woman is riding it.  Is she cute, or what?  El Grupo warms the cockles of my heart.  They're a 501c3 non-profit, if you'd like to send some cash their way.

That's Jim in the white helmet.  He volunteered to be a course marshal for the ride. 

The day ended with this.

All in all, it was a very good day.
Of course it would be better if the sweetie was here to pump up my bicycle tires.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gator Fest

Lazy Daze had an open house and Gator Fest today.  It's not clear to me in what way gators are related to recreational vehicles, but there you go.

There were many 5th wheels on the lot. I find this one interesting in that it has a double slide.  The bed is on the smaller slide.  I think that is pretty strange.  The nested slide has added weight and complexity.

In my humble opinion, this is just stupid.  The fake fireplace installation has taken up valuable wall space that could have been used for storage.  No RV in the history of the world has had enough storage, and this is not a good use of the wall resource.

This is in a diesel Class A.  This is the bathroom in the back of the bus.  There are two sinks in the vanity.  It's a huge bathroom.  Forward there is a half bath, as well.

A Sanibel model from Prime Time Manufacturing.  It's 39 feet and is really nice.  It has good basement storage and good interior storage.  If I were inclined to own another towable, which I am not, this would be a contender.

There was a live band which was quite good.  Several food trucks were out for the occasion. 

Great graphics.

Oh yes, the gator fest.  I find it somewhat shocking in this day and age that an albino alligator would be brought down from Phoenix with its mouth taped shut so that people could gawk at it.  His name is Powder.  I hope at some point he gets to bite someone.

This is a tiny alligator, also with his mouth taped shut.

We were strong, we bought nothing.  Afterwards Don, Jamie and I went for a short flat ride. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

McCain Loop Ride

Finally you will have a post in which I do not complain about the weather.  It was very nice today.  Don, Jamie and I rode out Ajo to Kinney.  Don did Gates Pass and Jamie and I did McCain Loop.  I can tell I have not been on a road bike in awhile.  It was odd, we had a headwind all way back, we pulled into RCW and the wind just stopped.  This was taken at the entrance to McCain Loop.

So that's it - all I have is good weather and a bike ride.  Jim is in the GPNW where they are having the mother of all temperature inversions.  It's warmer at 2,000 feet than it is at sea level.  Soon it will rain on them and it'll clear out the air.  I'll be glad when he's back, I hate pumping my tires!

The Winter Blast is Over

Winter Blast 2013 is finally behind us. Yesterday was Blowing the Dog Off The Chain Windy, but it was warmer.  According to Chuck the weather guy we had down slope winds, which were out of the east.  Whatever, it's not so dang cold anymore.
While it was cold, it was at least sunny.  This is from a hike we did in the Starr Pass area 2 or 3 days ago.  The days are running together again, I can generally tell you the day of the week, but frequently am not sure of what week of the month it is.  It's sad when your brain gets this mushy.  But I digress.

Wednesday we went up the Cat Mountain trail again, it's a very pleasant hike.  It looks to me like it would be terrible mountain biking, but this young man made it look easy. Here is is climbing up a boulder with panache.

I did not catch him in the act, but he's about to clean this boulder, as well.  He did have to unclip on some of the rocks and dab; but still he had impressive clearance rates.  I see this and always wonder how did they learn to do this? 

Today appears to be better, it's still cool at 9:30 in the morning, but the winds have died and happy we are about that.
Other than this maties, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cold Hiking

We're cold!  My ennui knows no bounds. Yesterday it was too cold to even hike.  We're trying to stay out of retail due to the rates of flu in the state.  When it's this steenking cold and we can't go in the stores, there really isn't much to do.  We ended up going to Target and avoiding the cold and flu medicine aisles.

Last week we visited ABE to discuss new wheels for Jim's mountain bike.  My Stan's NoTubes wheels have just been wonderful, so Jim is getting a set as well.  This is Spenser the shop dog.  He's being incredibly cute in hopes of getting a treat. It works well.

These are flowers in a container in the same cluster of shops.  They're probably frozen hulks of dead vegetation after the last two nights here.  It has been in the low 20s.

Today we hiked the Starr Pass trail out of the Genser Trailhead.  It's a sunny trail which was good.  We saw horses at the water tank.

Here I am at the top of the hike.  Note that I am wearing long pants, which I really do not enjoy.  Shorts are better.

There were a lot of mountain bikers out today.  Apparently there was some sort of bike demo being held at the trailhead.  They were operating out of a Penske rental truck so we couldn't tell whose bikes were being demoed.

We hiked hard, breathed heavily and it was a good time outside.  Note to future self, the green jacket is too warm at 44 degrees, a heavy shirt would have been better since the sun was out. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Vendor Recommendation

When we bought our RV, the previous owner had worn two holes in the back of the driver's seat, and there were two cuts on the dashboard.  It's been driving Jim nuts.  Today, Anthony from ColorGlo came out and fixed the blemishes.  The color match is almost perfect, I think over time it will be unnoticeable.  So, if you have unsightly blemishes on your RV leather or vinyl, give them a call.  We're pretty happy about this.

One of the RVs near us has put up a hummingbird feeder.  This afternoon there were about 4 hummers trying to beat each other up while guarding the feeder.  The net result was none of them were getting anything to eat.  They're feisty little buggers.  If they would cooperate they would all get fed. 
Well, tonight will be our first night of lows in the 20s.  We're really hoping the wind will slack off a little during the day.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cold Comes to the Old Pueblo

Well, the weather heads are just beside themselves.  It reminds me of watching the weather guys in North Carolina when we'd have thunderstorms and they would start talking about the possibility of tornadoes. The excitement was just palpable.  Anyhoo, we're under a high wind warning at the moment (it's windy), and it's going to rain tonight.  The BIG news is that starting Friday, night time lows will be in the 20's.  So, we may have to dig out the toe booties and the full finger gloves for a week or so.  I  truly want my snow bird rebate.
This is what we saw last night.  It was a lovely sunset.

Today we went out to Robles. This is the Boulder Belt trail.  It's a little lumpy and it's very steep.  At the top of the hill there is a switchback that climbs up a rock.  We decided to bail on this trail.  So far we're liking the Camaro trail in either direction.

Look, a Palo Verde has scraped off a layer of skin.  Today we discovered that all of the wet wipe antiseptic things have dried up as well as the adhesive on the bandaids in our bike first aid kit.  We'll be freshening up our supplies.

Those of you who followed our travels in Germany in 2011, will no doubt remember the amount of complaining I did about the cuisine. I lost 4 pounds on the trip while getting zero exercise.  Really, how many German restaurants have you seen recently?  We've seen none, until today.  RCW has been bringing in food trucks to the park, and apparently this is the Thursday truck.  They have curry wurst!

We went to the post office this afternoon. This is what we saw on Mission.

How does this happen?

The propane trucks have been in the park the last two days until well after dark.  People who heat with propane are stocking up.  Tomorrow night we'll be turning off the water and draining the hoses so as to avoid frozen water damage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Trail Review: Gould Mine and Sendero Esperanza Trails

We drove out to parking lot K24 (across from the Sonoran Desert Museum on Kinney) so we could hike the Gould Mine trail up to the Sendero Esperanza trail over to Hugh Norris.  A few notes on finding the Gould Mine trail are as follows.  If you see this map kiosk, you have gone the wrong way.  Go back to the parking lot and look for a trail split in the parking lot, take the left split.  When you get down to the wash, turn left, walk towards Kinney, the trail picks up on the other side.  It's not intuitively obvious from this map.

The trail up to the Gould Mine is fairly rocky.  They're the kind of rocks that roll when you're going down hill.  These are mine tailings from an abandoned copper mine that was in operation from 1906 to 1911, producing 45,000 pounds of copper.

An old stone hut near the mine shaft.  Jim is there to provide scale.

The old mine shaft.

Why is this sign necessary?

Looking up hill from the mine shaft.

Looking back at where we'd walked up.

We turned left on to the Sendero Esperanza trail and headed up towards Hugh Norris.  Esperanza is also rocky, and is steeper than Gould Mine.  This is what you see when you reach the crossing of the two trails.  From here it is 2.2 miles to Wasson Peak.

Petrified mud.  Yes, really.  That's what it is.

There are no steps on these two trails, which is good.  Going up they're pleasant, there's enough grade to make you work, but it's not terrible.  Going down is not completely wonderful due to the presence of all those loose rocks which frequently roll under one's foot.  Stiff soled hiking shoes and poles are highly recommended.  Our route today was 4.2 miles round trip.
I haven't taken this one off the list, but I think the Cat Mountain trail is still winning in terms of pleasant walking.