Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Rillito Farmer's Market

We rode up to the Rillito Farmer's Market this morning.  First we had a nosh at a Starbucks on River.  It was a very pleasant nosh.  There is outdoor seating on fake grass.  We were able to get a table with enough chairs so it was good.
Then it was on to the farmer's market.

It was somewhat underwhelming.  There were three sustainable growers of meat there but the vegetable selection was not great.  Jamie reports that the Thursday market in south Tucson is way better for vegetables.
However, there was Emu oil, for your squeaking emus.

Sprouts of many sorts.

I love Christmas cacti.

We did encounter Sven the knife sharpener.  He was sort of a pain in the butt to talk to, what with his ear plugs in and the fact that he wouldn't stop reading his book.  We were trying to determine where he would be next Saturday and it was like pulling teeth to get the information out of him.  Some people maybe should not deal with the public.

It was a beautiful, albeit windy, day in the Old Pueblo.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!  We are grateful for the fact that the bike path between Ajo and Silverbell is finally being paved.  This is the Silverbell end and there is pavement there.  Yay!  This section of trail will connect with the trail that runs up behind the RV park.  The official opening will not be until May, apparently they have 10,00 trees that need to be planted in the park.  But as soon as the paving is done, we can ride it on weekends.

This is the Santa Cruz river, which is still being regraded.  Huge piles are dirt are being pushed hither and yon.  They need a web site so that the citizens can understand what is being done.

Speaking of mysterious projects.  We saw this concrete truck in the river a week or so ago.  They're pouring concrete into a round form around a very large man hole cover, and then around the form.  Don was out the other day when they were working on it and asked what it was for.  This is the low point of the entire water system in Tucson.  If work needs to be done in the water mains, the work crews can enter here and go fix what needs to be fixed.  As of today, they've covered the whole thing with dirt.

We did a ride with Don and Jamie today.  It was good, it was a new ride for us.  We went up the trail, and rode east on Orange Grove.  As many times as we have driven Orange Grove, I have never noticed how uphill it is.  After surmounting Orange Grove, we were rewarded with the descent on Campbell.  Starbucks at the UofA Main Gate was closed today; bad for us, good for them.  By the time we arrived home, the wind was up.

Later we went out to dinner with Don and Jamie at Sher e Punjab.  I love this restaurant.  In keeping with the tradition of Thanksgiving, we ate too much until we could not breathe.  Here are Don and Jamie on their side of the table when they could still breathe.

Tomorrow another ride will be required to work off the damage of dinner.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Remove and Replace of the Appliance and Other Stuff

Oy!  Yesterday was a day!  A day and a half kind of day.  As you recall, the over the range microwave/convection oven finally died and stayed dead.  If we so much as plugged it in, it flipped the breaker, immediately.  We ordered a new one from Home Depot (free shipping).  Yesterday we took the bus and the appliance to Premier Motorcoach Services. After our last experience with them, we swore hell would freeze over before we went back.  Our issue with them was shop loading.  We had about 3 days of work which took them eight days.  They would request the RV to be on site at 8:30, and at 11:00 we would drive by and see it hadn't been moved into the shop.  Over all, the work was OK, but their inefficiency totally soured us on them.  However, we knew that they could install the appliance as they had done so before.
After the broken appliance was removed, it was discovered that the back of a cabinet over the microwave prevented the use of the nut set.  That's the silver circle at the back of the microwave. So they drilled through the bottom of the cabinet with a self tapping screw. That's not the way it should have been done.  Erik, the owner, was fairly upset with this.

The back of the cabinet had to be removed but was not going easily.  Here they are using a circular saw to try to make a portal to see how the wood was attached.

Now they are using a small reciprocating saw to try to remove the back of the cabinet.

That's part of the slide behind the cabinet back.  That wood piece is 1/2 inch plywood that was stapled every half inch all the way around.  Thus insuring that it would be difficult to remove, and that no present or future microwaves could be properly installed.  What the heck was Beaver thinking?

We had to take a little time out to go appreciate some nature.  We spent the day in the bus, so our presence would be a reminder that we're full timers, and this task really needed to be completed in one day.  I think if you're not around, it's easy to push your work to the back of the line.  It is, however, incredibly stressful watching them brute force part of your home out.

Eventually holes for the nut set were drilled in the proper place (for the first time in the life of the bus), the proper mounting brackets were used and the thing was installed.  It weighs 72 pounds and was just a bear to get in there.

The bottom set of screws were also a bear. 

There has been a total sea change at Premier.  Everyone there is new, except for the owners.  I'm more favorably inclined towards them these days.  I will say they do one of the best TV installs I've ever seen. 

To make things even better, the ice maker froze up (see what I did there?) while we were at Premier.  Upon arriving at home, we had to defrost the freezer, including the ice bergs that were stuck in the icemaker.
And then, and then, the breaker for the circuit that runs the laptops, phone chargers, wifi modem, TV, satellite receiver and satellite antenna started flipping. If there is anything that pushes me over the edge, it is random electronic weirdness because I'm helpless in the face of electronics that aren't working.  Using the random permutation theory of debugging, we removed the easiest component to change out - the power strip.  We've had it forever, and perhaps it was the problem.  So far the breaker is not popping, so one hopes we have solved the problem.

So that was our day in the glamorous lifestyle that is full time RVing in a Class A.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lunch at Tohono Chul

Yesterday I had lunch with Toni who writes Sailing Down the Road. We went to the tea room at Tohono Chul.  It was just delightful.  Toni travels with her cat, Sigh Me, in a Roadtrek.  It's a great vehicle.  She can park it anywhere.  The interior is like a little boat.  Lunch was good, the conversation was better.
Tohono Chul is a botanical garden in Tucson.  These are tiny little stone crops that have bloomed.  I did not know they did that.  They are happy succulents.

A horse statue surrounded by cactus.

After walking through the park for awhile, we sat on a bench and watched butterflies landing on some flowering bushes.  It was a perfect day in the gardens.  Thank you Toni!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hiking and Riding and the New Appliance

"Winter" is still good here.  We just can not believe what the rest of the country is enduring climate wise.  It's interesting that right after the weather heads said there would be no polar vortex this year, there was. 
There has been hiking.  The local trails are chewed up some from the two tropical storms that went through at the end of August.  A lot of rubble was washed down onto the trails, it's like walking on ball bearings downhill.

The saguaros are looking happy.

Today we rode our bikes out Mission Road to the bridge.  It's a pleasant ride now that the road is paved.  It used to be full of giant pot holes.  Going out is a consistent grade up, and going back is a great descent.  In the picture we have Dave, Jim and Don.  Dave and Don are from Manitoba.

Here we have the view from the bridge.  Those are mine tailings out in the distance.  They go for miles.

This is the cactus in front of Dave's park model.  It's an enormous thing.  Several times frost has made the paddles fall off, but it comes back with vigor.

The over the range microwave/convection oven arrived today.  Jim and I were able to get it in the bus with some difficulty.  I can't believe how heavy that thing is.  We're having it installed at Premier.  They're not our favorite shop, but they installed the last one without dropping it on the cook top, so that's a pretty good record.  As I recall, two very large guys were required to put it up there.
Five pairs of hiking shoes arrived from Zappos.  Four of them are going back for sure.  I hate my feet, truly I do.
In other news, the south end of the Santa Cruz trail is being repaved, which is good.  It was getting pretty rough.  Progress on the new section between Ajo and Silverbell appears to have stalled.  If they ever finish that, we'll be able to get on the trail without having to ride on the road.  That will improve life.
That's it maties, this is all I have to report.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Fabulous Sunset

 Clouds rolled in today, giving us a fantastic sunset. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Second Death of the Microwave/Convection Oven

Aaaargh.  As you no doubt recall, our over the range microwave/convection oven started tripping the circuit breaker last December.  After an extensive search for a different (better) model, we realized that any model other than what we had would require cabinet work.  In order for the door to swing open, the box would have to be moved forward.  We ordered a new one, had it delivered, and lo and behold, it fixed itself; until last night.  If we so much as plug the wretched thing in, it trips the breaker.  It is so aggravating.  So, we've ordered a new one, and we're having it installed even if it miraculously heals itself again.  We're not happy about the timing.  We considered buying a Brevelle counter top oven for use until we can get to Oregon and cabinet work, but we really have no space for it.  Timing is everything.
The weather continues to be good.  The winds are just flukey.  It goes from calm to really windy and then back.  It has quit howling at night which it did the first week, so that's good.  I think so far it's been a better November than last year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Halcyon Days in Tucson

Today was just a spectacular day.  It would have been a perfect day if there had been less wind, but it was still pretty amazing.  We rode up the trail to Mountain and back through the University of Arizona with Don and Jamie.  It was in the low 80's when we got to the campus.  Most of the college kids were in shorts and T shirts.  I loved going to school there.
We stopped at the Main Gate for a nosh.  Like the rest of Tucson, the courtyard is really green.  Their grass is looking good.

After riding we went to Camping World and Costco.  I ordered a bunch of disposable contact lenses.  My eyes are not liking the monthly contact lenses these days.   Costco was out of naan which was kind of a bummer.  We've been liking that for breakfast a lot more than toast.  Other than gorgeous weather, we have nothing to report.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

As Seen in Tucson

We saw this in traffic yesterday.  Notice that he has his snake grabber across the back window.  Not a vehicle one should tail gate.

We hiked yesterday, and biked today on the Loop trail.  The desert is amazingly green. All that rain from those two tropical storms really perked up the vegetation.

We have not been on the road bikes for awhile.  I don't remember the bike saddle being so hard!   Other than that maties, we have zippity doo-dah all to report.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Improving the DSL and Almost a Full Moon

When we are in Tucson, we cut our Verizon data plan back to the bare minimum, and suspend the Jetpack.  4G in South Tucson is abysmal.  The RV park power pedestals have phone jacks, thus we can get DSL. In order to get the promotional rate last November, we had to sign up for a one year period; however, we were also allowed to suspend service for 6 months when we left for the summer.  Originally they told us we'd have to pay $10/month while suspended, but I called back, got a different person on the phone who gave it to me for $1/month during the summer.  We get DSL through Century Link.  What we have learned is that if you don't like the first number they give you, keep calling until you get a number you do like.  The absolute miracle of this was that I plugged in the modem yesterday and it worked.  I would not have predicted that.
Anyway, our 40 Mbps was feeling very sluggish.   A speed test showed it running at 25 Mbps.  I called technical support and they confirmed my diagnosis.  It's interesting that they know we're not getting 40, but they don't act on that information.  Anyway, they dispatched a tech guy who was supposed to arrive between 9 am and 1 pm today.  He was here at 8:45.  How often does that happen?  We had two problems.  Our phone line from the power pedestal to the bus is old, and it needed to be replaced.  The second issue was this box.  The one wire from the outside comes in and is split to the various phone jacks in the bus.  He had us unplug 3 of the 4 wires.  Apparently, to get the 40 Mbps the signal needs a straight shot to the modem.  So, in the unlikely event that your DSL is running slowly, these are two trouble shooting tips for you. And so ends my technical discussion for today.
After the tech left, I called customer loyalty and got a new, better price for the DSL while we're here.

The full moon tonight was spectacular.  As the moon rose higher than the dust layer in the air we could see the seas of the moon.

Last night the wind direction changed to a southerly and it was much warmer than yesterday.  We got the lights up on the palm tree and around the concrete pad.  Then there was a run to Target and a massive grocery shopping.  It's still feeling a little surreal to be here and not in Utah.  Tomorrow will either be bike or hike depending on wind speed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Back in Tucson

Greetings from the Old Pueblo.  We got back yesterday.  Our route ended up being from Las Vegas to Blythe, and then Blythe to here.  The Formula 1 race we wanted to see was on at noon, so we stopped in Needles for two hours, and then pressed on to Blythe.  It worked out well.
Lewis Hamilton beat Nico Rosberg despite the fact that Nico had the pole position.  Nico is such a bad sport.  After the race he got out of his car, did not so much as look at Lewis and stomped off.
At present it's cool here.  We were up really early for an 8:00 ear doctor appointment and it was 48 degrees.  That's way too cold.  Hopefully there will be a warming trend.
Other than that, I have zippity doo-dah all to report.  Posting may become a little light, as we have seen it, done it, hiked it, ridden it and blogged about it from Tucson.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Old Las Vegas

This morning we drove down to the Fremont Street Experience in "historic" Las Vegas.  It's a big curved structure erected over some of the old casinos.  The whole curved roof is covered in lights.  They have light shows, concerts and other entertainment there.

One can zipline under the curved roof from the Slotzilla.

Here we see the iconic Golden Nugget. There are several casinos in there.

Outside is the Heart Attack Grill.  This is just sad.

There is some old style neon still in place.

One of the old hotels.

It was very windy and cold today.  Being under that curved roof was like being in a venturi tube.  So here are two young women standing around in their underwear and feathers, waiting to take pictures with the tourists.  All of the male bartenders were fully dressed, all the female bartenders were in their underwear with fringe.  That pisses me off some.

I love the billboard behind the Dino's sign.  Iconic Las Vegas.

On the way out we drove down the strip. It was full of people.  Here we have more freezing young women in their underwear trying to make a buck.  They were having trouble controlling their feathers.

Brian and Leigh came over for drinks tonight.  They have a new pickup truck.  It's very nice.  They brought really good snacks.  They're out by Lake Mead in a great boondock.
Tomorrow we're heading for Needles, after that it's a really long drive to Tucson.