Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Winter Nadir

Today is the nadir of my Tucson season.  The DVR has been "taping" cycling programs on a channel that is not in our current satellite package.  There was a huge list of programs that needed to be deleted.  Given the fact that the cycling programs were an indented list under "Cycling" I believed that my delete all was specific to those programs.  Nope.  All gone.  Eight months of collecting stuff to watch when we don't have satellite or cable is gone.  I am so pissed.  So, now we must start the collection process again.
This morning we started the day by having coffee and reading on the PCs, enjoying the heat pump and the space heater, because it's cold.  Late February, and it's cold!  I looked up to see a puff of smoke emanating from the space heater.  It's dead.  Have you ever tried to buy a space heater in Tucson in February? Not happening!  I found one on Amazon and forked over the money for one day shipping.  Hopefully that will make it warm up.

Today was incredibly windy.  After going to Lowe's, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot (looking for a space heater) we went to Food City on Irvington.  It's a great store, it smells wonderful.  There's a restaurant in the store and great produce.  We are trying to upgrade our fruit and vegetable consumption.

In other more cheerful news, our hummingbird has returned after being away for a couple of days.  We were happy to see her back.

Other than our electronic tales of woe, I have nothing to report.

Friday, February 22, 2013

RV Repairs and Riding

Yesterday Ken and Rachel of Cameron's Reliable came out to work on the RV.  When you own a Class A, it's always something.   Here is Rachel, doing the yearly PM on the Hydro-Hot. It was due! It sounds much better now that it's been cleaned and tuned.

This summer Jim noticed that sometimes when driving, the house batteries would start discharging.  This is bad.  It's indicative that the Big Boy (white thing in the middle of the photo) was malfunctioning.  The Big Boy is a battery isolator.  Please don't ask me to explain that, I'd have to get the manual out and read it to you.  Anyway, see the black thing far right in the photo?  That the BIRD, a Bi-directional Isolator Relay Delay.  It has something to do with chassis battery charging.  Ken decided to replace both items.  The Big Boy went in fine, but when the new BIRD was installed it literally went up in smoke.  Ken reinstalled the old one and will be getting a replacement part.  Good thing we're planning to be here for awhile.

Later, I asked Ken to listen to the bathroom faucet while running the water pump. Ken, I asked, is it supposed to pulse and make the lights blink?  Why no, Ken replied.  The pump is dying.  This would be the water pump we had installed in Bend last June.  Ken went out to look at it to see what it was and noticed a manufacturing date of 2001.  That's not a typo, 2001.  We'll be taking that back and asking the parts manager if it's a common practice to install parts that old.  It's too bad, we thought they were a decent shop, but I am definitely feeling ripped off about this.
It was a long day.  I did notice the pigeons are beginning the season of love while standing around watching other people work.  The one with the wings up is defending his nest position.

Today we went for a ride with Don and Jamie.  Fortunately Jamie suggested that I should wear a jacket instead of the vest I was contemplating.  It was cold!  This is on the campus of the University of Arizona.  These people are providing a screen.  They are there to promulgate a message of tolerance for the GLBT community.  They are also making it possible to not see the man behind them.

The man on the left in the sport coat using a cane is Brother Jed.  He is an evangelist who does not espouse a policy of tolerance.  He is exercising his First Amendment rights.

This is a university secular group.  When Brother Jed is on campus, they like to have a presence as well to rebut Mr. Jed's positions.  They were very nice about posing for me.  It's good to see the students out making a stand on what they believe.  I'm glad to see it.

After watching the people for a bit, we went over to Starbucks at the main gate and had coffee and a nosh.  It was very pleasant sitting in the sun.  These people are painting bells for Ben's Bells

After a nice break, we pushed off and rode home.  After sitting in the sun, it was again very cold on the bikes.  However, it was good to be outside, on the bikes with our friends.  It will be perfect with the addition of another 10 degrees or so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow in Tucson!

What is UP with the WEATHER????  This is what we saw on the cell phones last night.  Dire warnings from the National Weather Service.  We scoffed, snow this late in February in Tucson?  Never gonna happen.

This morning it was windy and cloudy, but it was 50 degrees.  No way is is going to snow, we still thought.

The hummers were active on the feeder.  Life was good.

Then, right around noon, the temperature dropped from 50 to the upper 30s in about 15 minutes, and it began to snow, this late in February in Tucson.

This is a photo of the television.  Look at that.  That's live footage of Dove Mountain where the Accenture match play tournament was snowed out.

Around 2:00 we drove up to the top of Sentinel Peak (also known as A mountain) to see what we would see.
The Catalinas.

Looking over at the Starr Pass resort.

Cat Mountain, partially obscured by clouds.

Then we drove out west on Ajo Way.  This is looking north.

Looking South, I don't know which mountains those are.

This is Kitt Peak, where the observatory is.

Looking north east.  This is round two of the horrible weather settling in.

Around 5 pm, it all started up again.  Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and sunny.  That will be better than today.  I have to say, this has been the coldest winter since we started coming here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Trail Review: Pima Canyon

Today got off to a slow start.  The weather forecast was for high winds so we waffled awhile about riding vs. hiking, and eventually settled on hiking. We headed north to the Pima Canyon trail.  Go north on 1st Avenue, cross Ina and keep driving.  There is a parking lot at the trail head.
Memory is a funny thing, neither of us remembered the rocks!  It's a rocky trail.

More rocks.

Really big rocks.

Still life on big rock.

This is the creek.  It took us about 45 minutes to reach this point.  I do not have a good idea of how far it was.  It's slow going due to the uneven trail and the climbing.

We saw 3 hikers and asked how much farther it was to the dam, it was a mile or mile and a half.  Since it was 2:00, we hadn't had lunch, and we had insufficient food and water with us; we decided not to proceed since we were totally unprepared for a longer hike.  The plan had been to go an hour out, we bailed after 50 minutes.
This is part of the trail back, did I mention the rocks?

Look!  A crested saguaro.  We saw this on the way back.  The sun was on the wrong side to see it clearly.  There was a park ranger behind us, so I didn't really want to leave the trail to photograph it from the other side.

I found this via Google images, it was taken in 2008, and gives you a better view of the crest.

I like this trail.  The first section is a little like stair master because you're going up rocks, but it's not as hard on the knees as Hugh Norris was.  It's a beautiful trail.  Next time we're going to take lunch and water.  Hiking poles and stiff soled shoes are highly recommended.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


We're getting hummingbirds at the feeder.  This is a terrible picture, I grabbed the old point and shoot, held it over my head an pointed in the general direction of the window.  But there is a hummer!  They will actually sit on the perches.

We also saw a wood pecker working on one of the palm trees.  He was relentless.  I had time to change lenses on the camera to pull him in.  He's pretty far away.

Cute, eh?

It was good today, the high was 77.  However, starting Tuesday, we're under a winter storm warning.  High winds, cold weather, snow, the works!  This has not been nearly as good a winter as last year.  Still looking for that snowbird rebate.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Riding, Planting and Bird Feeders

Yesterday dawned cloudy and chilly.  But then the sun burned through and warmed up the day.  We went out to Fantasy Island with Lisa and Hans and rode the south end trails with half of Christmas Tree loop thrown in.  I will say that Monday's rain vastly improved the trails, they are not so full of loose sand and were almost tacky.  It was a good ride.  I cleaned Fire Loop and only walked out of one wash on Christmas Tree.  It's a wash I have never made, so at least I am consistent.  It was a fun ride and a good day with nice people. 

When we got home we decided we would go to Lowe's and buy plants.  Sometimes I miss gardening, not too often, but once in awhile.  The planter we bought in Tubac has been giving me accusatory looks as to why I have not put something in it.  So we purchased African Daisies.  Being in the plant department was creepy.  They have a lot of lavender, and it's covered in BEES!  I would be afraid to pick up a pot for fear of being stung.

While I was on a roll of domesticity, I finally got around to hanging the hummingbird feeder on a slide window.  For weeks a hummer has been coming by and looking at the window, so we thought we should put up a feeder.  Haven't seen him since!

This is an Annas, which is what we see around here.

Thursday I did something unusual for me.  I bought a new PC over the internet without having seen it.  I truly hope I like the touch on the keyboard.  Windows 8 is just more than a body can bear.   My Sony Vaio has truly been a disappointing machine.  The internet card dies at the slightest provocation and now the touch pad will no longer operate the scroll bars, it won't create a crop box in Picasa and it won't highlight text.  So annoying, the old mouse came out of the storage box this morning.  Good thing we didn't 86 it!
Today is warm and sunny, with blustery breezes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mid-week Round-Up

Oy!  I am tired of winter.  Yes, yes I know, we don't really have winter, but we have been cold and wet as of late.  This was Monday.  We were going to hike until we saw the rain over the mountains in the west, so we thought we'd walk.  After 5 minutes it starting raining on us!  It went downhill from there.  By early afternoon it was just awful, so awful that we spent several hours watching "The Longest Day."

Tuesday was better, but still colder than I wanted to be on a bike.  So we hiked out of the Genser Trailhead.  It was fortuitous, we met Hans and Lisa of Metamorphosis Road.  It was funny, they were consulting a map and a mountain biker trying to determine their location.  I heard Lisa say that every hike they'd done around here was longer than advertised, which is what she told the Good Luck Ducks.  When I heard that, I had to ask "do you have a blog?"  So that was very cool to meet up with fellow hikers, bikers and full timers.

Then there was today.  We had an appointment in Phoenix.  It should have been an easy drive up I10.  But nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!  At midnight, an 18 wheeler carrying coffee creamer overturned, spilling both its load and fuel.  I10 westbound was CLOSED on our route 12 hours after the incident.  See the overturned truck?

Product had to be off loaded from the overturned truck to a new truck.

Much coffee creamer and diesel spilled on the freeway and had to be cleaned off.  They finally reopened the freeway about 2pm.  Fortunately we had the phone AND the netbook AND the phone could be a hotspot so we could consult a map on the internet and the phone maps to chart a course around the blockage.  Note to self, always travel with multiple electronics.

It was a long day in the truck.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tubac Arts Festival

Today was the last day of the Arts Festival at Tubac.  Tubac is a small town that has reinvented itself as an artsy-fartsy little oasis of culture in the desert.  All snarkiness aside, they do have some nice stores with decorative items.  This band was playing when we got there, it was a peppy little tune.

Look at the little boy on the left, his dance style was pretty much up and down, but he was into it.

We saw a fair amount of this kind of yard art.

There was a lot of good photography.  This is a highly Photoshopped picture of a lunch counter.  It's printed on a faux canvas and they're asking $450 for it.  I personally think that perhaps they are pricing themselves out of the market.  Costco is doing prints like this for much less money.

This was the best place we went to today.  If you're in Tubac, make sure you go here.  They have Edward S. Curtis prints and cool stuff from Tibet.  If we still owned a stick frame house, today could have been very expensive.

They also have prints by this woman, Louise Serpa.  We had never heard of her, not being fans of the rodeo.  She died last year; she was the most amazing rodeo photographer.  Here is an obit from the New York Times, that is absolutely worth looking at. She was the first woman to get permission to photograph in the ring with the bucking horses and bulls.

This is one of her photos from Google Images.  It's probably copyrighted, hopefully I won't hear from the internet police.  Her website is here, and is also worth a visit.  We were just amazed by her images.

As is always the case with arts and craft fairs, there is food.  This is food alley.

This vendor was just amazing.  Those bacon wrapped brats were also deep fat fried.  Oy!

We saw a couple of cool looking dogs.

Isn't this one pretty?  Look at the eye color.

The other good store we stumbled up on was La Paloma.  They have pots.  There are many pots.

There is Day of the Dead.

It's a good store.  Definitely worth seeking out.  We bought pots for $6 each.  Now I will have to plant something
That was today, we enjoyed the event. We're hoping tomorrow warms up a little so we can get back on the bikes.