Monday, March 31, 2014

Last Kids at Camp

We're starting to feel like the last kids at camp.  The ranks are really getting thin at Rincon Country West.  Don and Jamie headed out this morning to return to Winnipeg.  Before going, Jamie gave me one of the flower stalks from her orchid, since they can't go into Canada.  I love orchids.

This is Don and Jamie last year.  This year's picture didn't turn out because I had them looking into the sun.  Bad photographer!  Bad!

There they go.  Should we tell them it's snowing in Fargo?

I found this on a thumb drive yesterday.  This was taken Thanksgiving weekend 2006 in Oregon.  This is how we used to spend winters in the GPNW.  I will list for you what I am wearing below the picture.

From the top:
  • A headsock under the helmet, and a helmet cover over it
  • Long sleeved undershirt, long sleeved jersey and jacket
  • Full fingered gloves
  • Bike shorts and heavy tights
  • Toe booties over the bike shoes
Only one fender is on the bike in this picture.  If you could see the entire front wheel, you would also notice the mud flap which prevents water from spraying up onto your shins and then running into the shoes. This is how we spent the winters - putting layer upon layer of clothing on and going out into the wretched weather.  Tucson is so much better.

In other news, there is not too much to report.  It's still windy, so we'll be up and out early tomorrow to begin the mileage goal for April.   We've been here long enough.  It's time to go.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Things Seen From the Bike and the Truck

Friday's ride took us through the Christopher Columbus Park, where we saw this.  These are RC boats, they're about 3 feet in length.  They have gas engines and they are fast.  I think their speeds were around 60 mph.

Look at the rooster tail.  Two of the three boats racing flipped and had to be rescued.  They throw a weighted string at them, and attempt to pull them to shore.  I think they need a rescue kayak.

Today it was windier.  We went north on the trail and south on the frontage road.  It seemed that there was a head wind in both directions, not sure how it does that.  We did notice yet another steenking yellow tree producing pollen.  I have not a clue as to what this is.

Things are blooming in the park.  I can't identify this bush, either, but aren't the blossoms just amazing?  They look like a cross between a lantern and a party hat.


And there are cactus.

This is my favorite.  Notice how the blossoms are different colors on the same plant.

Later we went out to run an errand.  This is Jim in his flowered shorts.  Pretty cute, eh?

Check out the front gate of this house.  I love the color they painted it.  The fence uprights are ocotillo ribs that they stuck into the ground.  Most of them rooted and are growing.

Some of them are blooming.  This photo is a zoom of the blossoms in the fence.

It appears that we're planning to leave Tucson on April 19. At that point my blog may become less boring as we head north.  At least there will be pictures of things we haven't seen for awhile.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Cactus

Yesterday was windy.  So was today, but less so.  Rather than ride in the wind, we opted for a hike.  It was a gorgeous day.  We went up Bowen and down Hidden.  We usually go the opposite direction, but decided change would be good.

The ocotillo are in bloom.  There are a lot of them this year, which is surprising given how dry it's been.  We did notice that not too many of them have leaves.

The Buckhorn cholla are starting to bloom.  This will be really pretty in a week or so.

Another brightly colored flower.

Hopefully tomorrow the winds will subside and we'll be back on the bikes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Weather in the Old Pueblo

We had weather today!  Big clouds moved in, and by 2:30 or so the skies went dark, and there was some lightning and thunder.  It was very monsoon-ish.

We had a little rain, and a fair amount of wind, and then it moved out.  

Phoenix got another haboob.  I am so happy that didn't happen here.  Look at the dust.

That's it!  That's all I have to report.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Allergies and Aggravation

The second wave of allergenic trees is now in bloom.  I believe this is a Palo Verde.  Unlike the previously featured yellow trees (whose blossoms look like yellow cotton balls), these trees are everywhere.  By the end of the day my contact lenses look like someone smeared Vaseline on them.  I think there's one more species of steenking yellow tree yet to bloom.

Saturday we did the Santa Cruz, to Rillito, to Mountain loop.  This is a round tailed ground squirrel next to the trail.  They, too, are everywhere.  This year has just brought a bumper crop of them in Tucson.  They're dumb, they run out on to the trail, freeze, and then run back into your path.  A few years ago we came upon a pair of them running down the trail dragging a dead snake between the two of them.  That would have been a great picture to get.

Look at the color on those blossoms.  They practically glow in the sun.

A very attractive church on the route home.

I believe this is an agave, unless it's a yucca.  Look at the flower spike.  The blossoms are just spectacular.

So, you wonder, where is the aggravation?   On March 8, 2013 Jim bought a Garmin FR70 heart rate monitor.  It was not inexpensive.  Today we took it in for a new battery, and it was returned to us flashing AVB2.100.  The product forums for this HRM tell is it's an unrecoverable error, and it is not unknown to Garmin.  REI won't take it back because we are 20 days outside of their one year return window.  Garmin will "fix it" (how do you fix a solid state device?) for $89 plus shipping.  So, we are peeved, aggrieved and annoyed.  I bought the women's version in June of last year, and I believe I'm going to return it before the battery dies. 
It's always interesting to me how businesses do not pay attention to social media.  There are many people with keyboards who have plenty of time to voice their opinions on products. 

In other, happier news, today I was again able to ride the vexing hill on Anklam in my middle chain ring today and I felt pretty good in the climbs.  Progress is being made.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fourth Avenue Street Fair

We went to the spring 4th Avenue Street Fair today.  It was a good day for it.  It was warm, but the high thin clouds kept us from being baked.
This is Ukelele Catfish Keith.  We saw him last year, as well.  He also plays the kazoo and sings.  He's quite the musician.

As always, there is meat.

I like the display in front of one of the stores.

This gentleman's sign says "The universe is sending you messages."  It wasn't clear if they were text messages or tweets.

Of all of the art, this was the best.  They're clay pots, after firing they're polished and etched by hand.  Look at the detail.  The artist is Santiago Gutierrez.   He's from Nicaragua.

Here he is, with dental tools etching the design in to the pot.  The detail is just phenomenal.

This dog is wearing sun glasses.  They're called Doggles. It wasn't a good venue to be selling them because dogs aren't allowed.  This is a service dog, and so he was able to attend and buy sun glasses.

We had lunch at the Epic Cafe.  It was good.  It's an eclectic little bistro.  Here is Jim wearing his Panama hat we got in Italy.  Is he not cute in that hat?

That was today.  Tomorrow we're back on our bikes, completing our mileage goal for the month.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Coffee and Cactus

This morning we rode up to Starbucks at the UofA main gate.  It was a pleasant ride with perfect weather.  Yesterday's maelstrom appears to have moved east, and happy we are about that.  Notice the water in the fountain has been tinted blue.  The pigeons and sparrows drink and bathe there.  One wonders if we'll be seeing blue bird poop from this.

I do not know what this tree is.  It is one of the big allergy offenders, it's very fragrant and spreads pollen everywhere.

Cactus blooming season is upon us.  I'm a big fan of the cactus flower, so you may have many opportunities to see photos of them.  These are prickly pears growing in a traffic round-about on 18th street.  Every year the plants put forth a significant bloom.



Other than this puny recounting of our days in Tucson, I have not much to offer.  We're still riding ourselves back into shape, which I think might be getting better.  My climbing is faster, and I feel like my back is getting stronger on the bike.  The 6 weeks on the couch after foot surgery really let things lapse, and they're taking their own sweet time in returning.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lunch Ride, Wind and Rain

The Friday lunch ride revisited Roma Imports.  It was a pleasant ride to the restaurant.  Lunch was good.  When we left the wind was picking up.  We headed out St. Mary's into the wind.  Then we headed south with a very frisky cross wind.  It was weird when we were riding, it was clouding up and looking very monsoon-ish.  Apparently we had a rotating upper-level low steering the weather.  When we got home, we had a heart shaped cloud.

Then it really picked up and it rained.   I would not have predicted that.

It was good, it rained enough to settle the dust and pollen that was stirred up yesterday.  It didn't last long, but it really improved the environment.  It's kind of a bummer, this weekend is the Tucson Festival of Books.  They're setting up in tents on the UofA campus.  It's also the Tucson Bicycle Classic.  Today was the time trial, and I think some of the riders got wet.  Depending on a rider's start time, they had an enormous range of weather conditions.
After the deluge, the sun returned and the birds were happy. 

So that's the report.  Lunch, wind, rain.