Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hiking the Tortolitas

We've been hiking.  Yesterday was from the Genser Trailhead up to the overlook.  It was a good hike. However, it's one we've done a lot lately.  Hidden and Bowen trails are full of rubble, and aren't that much fun for the feet.  That part of the mountains has a lot of pointy rocks that start to hurt after awhile.

Today was overcast and cool.  Jim and I have become such weather wimps, that we decided to hike again.  I suggested Pima Canyon, but Jim demurred, saying it's too rocky.  So, we went up to the Tortolitas at Dove Mountain, because it's much less rocky, right?  HAH!  Double HAH HAH HAH!  We headed out towards Lower Javelina, because it's not as steep as Upper Javelina.  We diverted to the Alamo Springs trail, deciding to do 20 minutes up.  It's so steep!  Much of the trail is piles of big rocks.  This is a benign section of the trail.  For some reason I didn't photograph the piles of rock.  Maybe I was afraid of falling off.

This is the view from where we turned around.  Closer in is the Dove Mountain resort.  Farther out are the mountains.  You can see how overcast it was.

Then we took the Lower Javelina trail.  There is more up on it than we remembered.  We haven't been out there since Christmas 2014.  Check out this saguaro.  There is a lot going on with this cactus.

Look at all of the arms on this guy.

It was a strenuous hike.  We're both feeling somewhat tired, my knees are yelping from all of the stepping up and stepping down.  It's interesting how different the Tortolitas are from the Tucson Mountains.  The Tortolitas have big round rocks, while the Tucson Mountains have small pointy rocks.
Have you seen the national weather forecast for late next week?  There's going to be a cold snap that affects all of the lower 48 states with the exception of southern Florida.  Should be interesting.  The article is here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Doldrums

Ho Hum.  Christmas is over.  Jim and I are remarkably somnolent at the moment.  I'm giving us one more day to be slugs and then we have to go join a gym. The weather this winter has not been great, so there must be the alternative of lifting heavy objects for no good reason.
I will leave you with a picture I took in Joseph, OR this summer.  It's such a lovely area.  At the moment they're having 19 degrees and snow, so they're off the list for the final resting place for us.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to you!  Where ever you are, where ever you're going, we both wish you the best of the season.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve Weather

We went back out to the Genser Trailhead today.  Isn't it just lovely out there?  What you can't see is that the wind was gusting so hard it would push us sideways.  We ended up bailing on the hike and taking the short cut home.  Walking up to the ridge line was just not that appealing.

This is the leading edge of the front.  About 4 pm the wind really picked up and it got dark and now we are having epic rain.  The wind is supposed to drop in a few hours, which will make me very happy.

That's it!  That's all I have, the Christmas Eve weather report.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Days Before Christmas

Greetings Earthlings.  How is your Christmas season progressing?  Monday was delightful, we did the hike out of the Genser Trailhead.  Tuesday Jim had to see the dermatologist for his thrice yearly application of liquid nitrogen on his actinic keratoses.  Too much sun and too many years have taken their toll on his fair skin.  As is always the case, he appears to have been attacked by a cheese grater.  Later that day we went for a bike ride up the trail and back.  It was also delightful.  Winds were calm, temperatures were perfect.  Coming back I sat on Jim's wheel for several miles; it was very quiet, very meditative.

Yesterday we spent the morning vacuuming out the driver's side bay.  Wednesday it rained like heck with winds out of the south west.  That's the kiss of death for leaking in to the storage bay.  Fortunately the sun came out, the winds came up and it dried out quickly.  We also replaced one of the gas pistons that lifts the door to the utilities bay.  Please make a note of this:  Before attempting to install a piston, compress it a few times.  Things will go much easier for us.

This is a Uni-Mog.  It's on a Mercedes chassis.  They're from Germany.  They were originally made for the German army.  Now they're RVs.  Talk about beating swords into plow shares.  I would really like to see the inside of this.

We also saw this yesterday.  Next to the RV park is a mobile home park.  They were doing a story on an alleged home invasion robbery.  Oddly enough, they reported that the homeowner was arrested for discharging a weapon and drug possession, but there was no mention of what happened to the perps.  My personal theory is that it was a drug deal gone bad.

Today we went out to the far east side to pick up my PC from Sagauro PC.  It's been running really hot.  Like many luddites, I had decided to never go to Windows 10 on this laptop.  Here is something for your consideration. My PC will no longer download Windows updates.  The techs tried everything to get it to update.  It's their opinion that Microsoft is gradually making life difficult for Windows 7 users.   I'm very disgruntled about this.  They were supposed to keep it going until 2020, but apparently not.
Traffic was just horrific.  Here is the first accident we saw. 

Then we saw another one ten minutes later.  People were just nuts. We saw a lot of red light running. 

I continue to be aghast at the incoming administration.  Did you ever in your wildest imagination think a president elect would be tweeting about engaging in another nuclear arms race?  Didn't you think we'd moved on past that?  CNN did a interesting article on how Trump's constant lying is affecting the nation.

There are always hummingbirds to be observed.

They do go to high alert when a bee approaches.

Jim and I are ready for Christmas.  Socks for all! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Weird Food and Miscellaneous Stuff

Have you ever walked through a grocery store and seen something so weird and strange looking that you just had to buy one, because WTH?  We saw this at Safeway last week.  It was in with the Bob Evans pre-packaged sodium fests.  The numbers don't look too bad, but for 320 calories, $7 seems a bit much.  It was on sale, so it's ok.

Check out the packaging.  It's vacuum sealed. The plastic is tight up against the food.  It has really long shelf life if refrigerated.

As seen from the top.

It microwaves in 1.5 minutes.  While it's cooking the plastic cover sort of bubbles off.   When it's done it's like a tent over the tray.  It was predictably awful.  See, I show you these things so you don't have to buy them yourselves.

This was taken in Christopher Columbus park.  Notice the water bird on the right.  The guy in the float tube caught a trout which he was reeling in.  We've seen that bird on multiple occasions, watching the fisher people.  They walk by him and he doesn't budge.

Here is a random shot of one of the prettiest churches in Tucson.

The hummingbird, as seen from inside the RV.  The tint on the windows makes it difficult to get a good shot.

Yesterday we did a short ride before the winds came up, knowing that today would suck, which it did.  On the way back the front started moving in.  There were some fairly impressive lenticulars.  We were lucky, as soon as we made it through the back gate, the wind was up.

We went out to lunch today, and saw this young coyote sleeping in the sun.  He didn't look so good.  As we approached him, he got up and walked behind the bush.  When we got in the truck, he came back out and returned to his nap.  

Did you seen this on Facebook?  I screen scraped it from there, it's not clear who did the graphic.  I thought it was a nice job of showing where various publications fall on the bias scale.

Have you read the Vanity Fair review of Trump Grille?  It's hysterical.  Trump's tweeting about it has driven their new subscription numbers through the roof.  On Facebook, VF is on sale for $5 a year for print and digital.   I think the New York Times is also on sale.
Other than this paltry mashup of food and wild life, I have zippity doo dah all to report.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

News of the Administration and Hummingbirds

An excellent article from the New Yorker was referenced in Steve Reed's blog this morning, and I thank him for bringing it to our attention. The article addresses the impact of Trump's victory on Mr. Obama's legacy.  It's extremely well written.  Below is a small excerpt.
Still, his triumph, or the idea of it, was not beyond prediction. The fissures and frustrations in the American electorate were nothing new, and some commentators were notably alert to them. Before and after the election, a passage from Richard Rorty’s 1998 book, “Achieving Our Country,” circulated on social media. Rorty, a left-leaning philosopher, who died in 2007, predicted that the neglected working class would not tolerate its marginalization for long.
“Something will crack,” he wrote:  The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. . . . One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. . . . All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.
So, I get why Trump carried non-college educated white males, but I still am at a loss as to why so many women voted for him.

In other news of the administration, Rick Perry (former Texas governor and Dancing With the Stars contestant)  has been named director of the Department of Energy.  As you no doubt recall, the DOE was one of the three departments Perry promised to get rid of if elected.  It was also the department whose name he could not remember during the debates.  The two directors of the DOE under Mr. Obama were both physicists.  One has a Nobel prize, and the other taught at MIT.  Perry has a bachelor's in animal science.  DOE is responsible for many very technical and complicated things, not the least of which is the maintenance of the nuclear arsenal.  They also develop technologies to detect and deter nuclear testing and smuggling, and to support international nonproliferation treaties.  One wonders how on earth the people reporting to Perry will be able to communicate with him.  He doesn't have the vocabulary or the knowledge to follow the technical details.  This appointment is just astonishing to me.

In weather news, tomorrow is the last good climate day for awhile in Tucson.  Tomorrow will bring record breaking warm temperatures, followed by rain on Friday and then highs in the 60s.   Pity us as we suffer through the colder temperatures.  Kidding, just kidding.  I am so happy not to be in the northern tier states right now!

We'll end with hummingbirds because they still make me happy.

Friday, December 9, 2016

More Biking and Tattooing

Greetings Earthlings.  Long time, no real posting. Lately I've had to resort to reading things like "the best 50 tweets from women in 2016" to keep my equanimity.  That was the source of the previous post.  Anyway, there has been much riding.

Monday we rode south to the Julian Wash Greenway to see if a) the route through South Tucson improved and b) if it would be something to add to the roster of rides we do.  The answers would be no and no.  In South Tucson the trail is a sidewalk that the city painted a stripe on.  It crosses the access points to several large retail parking lots.  Drivers are not expecting to see bikes there and pull out into the lane to exit.  It made us feel like prey items.  Doesn't "Julian Wash" and "Greenway" sound pleasant?  The wash is actually an enormous concrete water control system.  One rides on a shelf on the side of the concrete ditch, or sometimes in the bottom of it.  This is important to know in case it has been raining.  Water and debris are not your friend.  Greenway actually refers to painted sections of road that indicate an on street bike lane.  Until you reach the Lazy Days KOA sign, the trail is not terribly pleasant.  Even then, there is much of this.

Wednesday we rode north on the trail, over to the Rillito trail and then back through the University.  It was very pleasant.  This is a train going over the trail.  There are signs telling you to stop for the trains because large chunks of ballast can be dislodged and fall on one's head.  We stopped.

There was the obligatory stop at Starbuck's for coffee and a scone.  It's 32 miles, which was good for us.

Yesterday we again rode north on the trail, but for fewer miles. 
Last night Jim's laptop was invaded by a virus.  It took control of the cursor and started opening things.  This morning the laptop had to be taken to the far east side of Tucson to have the virus removed.  I hate the people who do stuff like this.
On the way home we decided to divert to the 4th Avenue Street Fair.  We haven't been for a couple of years.  It hasn't changed much.
There is art.

There is bad food.

There is the King of BBQ.  That is one good looking suit.

Turkey legs being smoked.

There is political commentary.

We found ourselves in a tattoo parlor, of all places.  Jim's tattoo has been looking scabrous for some time now, so we inquired as to whether or not they could make it look better.  Why of course they could.  Jim is suffering here.  The black outlining hurts the most.

This is John at Sacred Art Tattoo.  He really enjoys his work.  He's a very pleasant man and a pleasure to talk to.

The tattoo looks much better than it did.  After the inflammation and oozing goes down I will post a picture of it.
Other than this, there is not much on offer.  Although we find ourselves somewhat bored with Tucson, we also see what the weather is doing elsewhere and then we tell ourselves to quit whining!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Today's Thought From the Internet

Today's thought from the internet.  I personally find this amusing.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pima Air Museum Revisit

It's cold!  Yesterday was overcast, so it felt really cold.  We wimped out on riding or hiking.  Jim still has the virus which will not leave him, so we decided to take a day off.  We went to the Pima Air Museum.  We were last there in March of 2015 at which time we were very surprised at how much new stuff they had.  This year they had a new hanger, but not so many new planes.  

This is a P-51.  It was the most successful fighter in WWII. It was built by North American Aviation in response to British requests for prototypes within a 120 day window.  The original version was under powered, but with the addition of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine it became an excellent plane.

We walked through the hangars and then outside.  This is a B52A.  He was used at Edwards AFB in some of the test programs.  This is the oldest B52 in existence. 

This is the second 787 Boeing produced.  It never went in to commercial service, and was only used for flight test.

It is just a lovely airplane.  I love the curve of the wings.

Note the size of the engines. 

The development of the 787 was a radical departure for the Boeing Company.  Prior to the Dreamliner, all design was kept in house.  In order to get the board of directors to approve the new plane, about 60% was outsourced to risk sharing partners.  Here is one article on the subject.
So the Dreamliner’s advocates came up with a development strategy that was supposed to be cheaper and quicker than the traditional approach: outsourcing. And Boeing didn’t outsource just the manufacturing of parts; it turned over the design, the engineering, and the manufacture of entire sections of the plane to some fifty “strategic partners.” Boeing itself ended up building less than forty per cent of the plane.
It did not go well.  The collaborative design software chosen for use by all of the partners was not a total success.  The parts of the airplane from other vendors were supposed to arrive "stuffed" with all of their wiring and tubes and etc. and line up perfectly in final assembly and snap together in three days.  Boeing ended up buying several vendors so they could enforce standards and hope to have a shot of making it work.  Eventually it did work and it's in service.  You can read more here.

Here we have a Convair B36.  Look at the engines.  There are six giant piston driven engines on it.  It was in service 1947 to 1959 as a long range strategic bomber in Strategic Air Command.  Given the number of moving parts in the engines, it's a miracle it ever flew.

This is a Fairey Gannet, a British airborne early warning radar airplane for fleet defense.  It looks like a hedge hog with all of those propellers.

This is such a cool looking little plane.  It's a McDonnell Banshee photo reconnaissance airplane.

If you have any interest at all in planes, go to this museum.  Get the two day pass so you can read all the exhibits and look at all of the planes without having your head explode.