Sunday, October 27, 2019

Neighbors in the Desert

Jim was out vacuuming the truck and cleaning the interior late this afternoon.  A lady came by with her dog and told him there was a really big spider behind him. There was!  He's a tarantula.  Apparently this time of year, the males go out searching for a female.  He went trucking down the road, so we shooed him into a box and took him across the street into the desert.  Hopefully he'll stay there.

If one were to flatten out his legs, he'd be about five inches across.  I read on the internet that they make good pets.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Fruit Trees and Driver's Licenses

Owning a house is a lot like owning an RV, except for the whole being on wheels aspect.  While we were gone, something happened to the transformer for the low voltage lights.  There was a burnt terminal and all the lights are fried.  We may out source the installation of a new system.  The ground is just a bear to dig in.  We have a Santa Fe style house, so the roof has very little pitch.  Keeping the roof sealed is critical.  The roofers are on stage two out of three for that process.  There is always upkeep.

The dwarf lime we planted in the spring died.  I think I'm done with fruit trees, too finicky.  The lemon tree that we pruned back last March is much bigger than it was.  As you no doubt recall, the tree had been over run by the root stock and wasn't doing much of anything.  The tall part was the root stock, and the bottom was the fruiting graft.

He's much happier now, and is producing a fair number of lemons.

We also have two orange trees.  Unfortunately, their fruit is not edible, it's really sour.  Our neighbor used to pick some for marmalade.

It's been very windy today.  It'll be that way for the next few days. 

So, today we took the plunge and got AZ driver's licenses and registered to vote.  I have to say, it was painless.  We walked in, got photographed, did the eye test and then walked to the other side to hand over documents for the Real ID compliant license.  We had everything, so it took very little time.   This is the worst license picture ever. I look like an ax murderer.  We're hoping to sell the pickup truck before we have to get plates here.  AZ has really high vehicle licensing fees.  One wonders what they do with all of that money, since clearly they are not paving.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Other Peoples' Weather

It's good to be out of the GPNW.  Two days ago there was a water spout on Hood Canal.  Yesterday there was biblical hail in Issaquah.  Today it's raining everywhere and there are flood watches on almost all of the rivers.  This is the weather map, green is rain.  Yellow is heavier rain.

We did a short hike yesterday.  It was pitiful.  We're out of shape, and our feet are soft.  There will have to be reacquisition of calluses on the feet.  It was a beautiful day.  I will confess to saturating the color a little bit.

I have nothing to write about, other than we went to Costco and Jim saw the dermatologist with predictable results; it was the attack of the cheese grater.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Just Like That

She's gone.  She being the RV we just sold.  The RV is a Beaver Monterey, they're sort of a cult motorhome.  So we sold to a dealer in Bend, OR, because they move a lot of Beavers.  Bend is where the Beavers were produced, prior to their move to Coburg.  Selling to a dealer really cuts in to how much you can realize on the sale, but we just wanted to move product.

They sent a driver to collect her.  We met out at the storage facility this morning, pulled the tire covers and the few remaining items in the RV and he took her away.

Here she is at a local RV park while we were unloading. RV parks are good, they have dumpsters available.

Jim's couch.

Living room, kitchen and bathroom at the back.

My recliner.  I loved that recliner, I spent a lot of time in it.

The kitchen.

The driver is installing a tow bar so he can tow his car back to Bend.

And now we are leaving.

We're a little sad.  We've let go of a life we lived for eleven years.  She was a great bus.

 Here is the blog we did for the RV sales guy to see the interior.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Life in Tucson

Palm trees and bougainvilleas are pretty, but they are messy.  We've spent the last three days cleaning up after the little dears.  We were limited in how long we could stay out there because it was hot and we're out of shape for yard work.  All of that bending over and squatting down is not part of our daily repertoire in the RV lifestyle.  The big cleanup is done now, and we're happy about that.

This is a palm tree blossom.  Eventually they form thousands of little tiny black balls which they drop on the ground.  Then all of this dries out and falls on the ground.  There's a pattern here. 

This is the first time we've seen quail on the wall.  They're so dang cute.  They make a sort of muttering sound.

My Crown of Thorns survived summer in a pot.  We put him on a drip line and he's doubled in size.  That was good, I like that plant.

Yesterday we went to Loya's Courtyard.  We needed something to sit in the corner of the patio.  They sell a lot of big things.  There are three dinosaurs on this trailer, they were made in Mexico.  After they arrived and were put up on Facebook, one sold immediately.  Apparently the people have four acres and are lining the driveway with dinosaurs.

Jim poses to provide scale.

I think this horse is good.

We bought a Buddha.  I think he looks nice in the corner.  As soon as the steenking wind dies down we're going to spray him with sealant so the sun doesn't bleach out the colors.

A coyote visited this morning.  He came up the bank of the wash and into the yard.  He's a good looking specimen.  Many small critters have been eaten.

Very typical coyote slink.

Now he's in the front yard, faced with a wall.  Eventually he turned around and exited from the other side of the house.

That's it, that's all I've got.  Yard work and critters.

Monday, October 14, 2019


This is a politics post.  I know some of you don't agree with my views, so feel free to click away rather than be annoyed.  I want to remember this.

Sunday, October 6, Recep Erdogan called the president.  He chose that time because he knew there would be few handlers around to try to steer the conversation.  Erdogan was also known to call when the president was golfing.  That very night the White House issued a statement that all American soldiers were being recalled from Syria.  We abandoned the Kurds.  Many people have made a point that the Kurds weren't fighting ISIS for us, they were fighting an enemy of theirs.  However, for five years, the Kurds destroyed the caliphate with little loss of American lives.  The Kurds paid a heavy price. They did get an area of autonomy near the Turkish border.  For some reason, and I don't know why, prior to the phone call, the US convinced the Kurds to remove their heavy weapons and destroy their fortifications along the border.  They did this trusting the US to keep Turkey at bay.  That went well.

By Tuesday, Turkey was invading Syria. Many of the fighters are not regular military, they're militias and some members are former ISIS.  Air strikes were begun.  Atrocities were begun.  The Kurds, who had been guarding thousands of ISIS prisoners left for the front.  An unknown number of ISIS fighters and their families are now on the loose.

Yesterday, the Kurds switched sides and asked Bashar al-Assad for help.  Syria is sending troops to the cities previously held by the Kurds. Turkey is moving towards the same cities.  American troops are caught in the middle.  The question becomes what is the US response if Turkey, a member of NATO, fires on US soldiers.  Even worse IMHO is what is the NATO response if Syria fires on Turkish troops?  Article Five of  the NATO Alliance reads, in part:
Collective defense means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.
Even worse than that is the fact that there are 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 250 miles from the Syrian border.  This is from a NYT article, it's just chilling.
Those weapons, one senior official said, were now essentially Erdogan’s hostages. To fly them out of Incirlik would be to mark the de facto end of the Turkish-American alliance. To keep them there, though, is to perpetuate a nuclear vulnerability that should have been eliminated years ago.
“I think this is a first — a country with U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in it literally firing artillery at US forces,” Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies wrote last week.
For his part, Mr. Erdogan claims nuclear ambitions of his own: Only a month ago, speaking to supporters, he said he “cannot accept” rules that keep Turkey from possessing nuclear weapons of its own.
The president's actions have benefited Russia, Iran and Assad.  Putin hasn't had to do much more than bomb some hospitals for Assad, and his influence in Syria has increased.  Today, Putin visited Saudi Arabia and was warmly welcomed.  This after our president signed on to send 2,000 US troops to the kingdom.  The Daily 202 had an excellent round up on just how bad all of this is.

I have to wonder if all of this is a distraction from the phone call with Zelensky and the subsequent move to begin an impeachment inquiry.  There's only so much space on the front page, and right now Syria is occupying a lot of it.

Update to post:  This is a good op-ed that I don't want to lose track of.

10/21/2019 update to post:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Back in Tucson

We arrived in Tucson on Wednesday, fairly early in the day.  We immediately parked in front of the house and took out enough stuff so that we could sleep in the house.  Then we did more unloading.  By the end of the day we were just cooked.  Thursday was worse, we did the rest.  It is a testament to the storage capacity of the bedroom drawers that I forgot my bras, underpants and socks and did not notice that they weren't in my dresser. The RV just has too much storage, I never thought that was possible.

Anyway, we're 100% out of the bus.  We're selling.  We full timed for eleven years, then spent another summer in Issaquah, and we're done.  It's time to do something else.  I have no clue what that might be, but it's time.  We're not looking forward to the selling process.  She's an old RV, but she's a good RV.  Jim was marveling at the goodness of the engine on the way back to Arizona.  Never fails, get all the kinks worked out and then it's time to move on to something else.  We're both a little sad about parting with our home since 2011, but it's time.

Apparently we got some hellacious wind and rain while we were gone.  The yard is littered with palm tree debris, dead bougainvillea petals and the like.  There will be deployment of the blower.  There will also be chopping off of Palo Verde branches.  They grow like weeds.  On a happy note, we spread enough pre-emergent herbicides before leaving that nothing sprouted in our absence.  Not having the bank covered in buffel grass was a good thing.

We're pretty tired.  Here are a couple of pictures. 

Posting may be a little light, we still have stuff to do. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Hitchin’ Post RV Park

While in Las Vegas we stayed at the Hitchin’ Post RV Park.  We chose it based on the fact that it was the closest RV park to Valley of Fire.  There is a campground at Valley of Fire, but it’s first come, first serve and we are too risk aversive for that.  I’m not sure our bus would make it through some of the low spots in the roads.  We have very little ground clearance.

Anyway, we hate the Hitchin’ Post.  We don’t like the layout.  Streets are very narrow.  At first we thought they were one way only, that’s how narrow they are.  The rule against vehicles encroaching into the streets is poorly enforced.  There is a gate through which you must enter and exit.  Getting out requires a sharp turn to make it through the gate.  We made it, but we didn’t like it.

The power pedestal did not have a breaker.  We don’t like plugging in without the breaker turned off.  The cover for the receptacle was broken off, if it rained, it would have been hitting one of the prongs on the plug.

Power was good, water pressure was good.  The Verizon 4G worked well.  No data on laundry or restrooms.  Interior roads used to be paved, now they’re kind of a broken surface with dirt.  Sites are a fine powder sand that tracks everywhere.  There are many trees that want to scratch your RV’s paint.

The park is very close to Nellis AFB.  They do fly at night, all night.  There were many sirens. 
This was not a repeater for us.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Valley of Fire

We went to the Valley of Fire today.  We've driven past it several times and haven't made the trip.  Today we did and I would rate it a "totally worth the effort" experience.  It's a hike from Las Vegas, we were up and out early to avoid the people and the heat.  My pictures are not great, the sun is always where I don't want it to be.  However, it was truly spectacular.

I have never seen Bighorn Sheep in the flesh.  These guys were just past the visitor's center.   

Our first stop was parking lot #3 for the Fire Wave trail. We went straight there to go as early as possible.  Jim slogs up a hill.

It is so beautiful out there.  We were again reduced to "holy crap look at that."  I am so erudite with my adjectives.


We found a tiny slot canyon we had read about.  It's not very long, but it's a cute little canyon. 


Then it was off to Fire Canyon.  This is an amazing thing to see.  There's a pull out with a short trail up to a rise, and you see this.  Notice the color change on the pointy rock on the left.  I love how definite the stripes in the rock are.  This is 150 million years in time.  Sand was deposited when the dinosaurs were here, then squished into rock and eroded.  

A wall of red rock along the road.

A person could spend days here.  We passed on a couple of hikes that would have been good, but I'm still puny and Jim is still on restricted duty.  I'm glad we went.  If you're in the city of sin, you should go!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Ely, NV to Las Vegas

Oy!  Today just seemed to take forever.  We actually arrived at a reasonable hour.  I think when it all pretty much looks the same, there is no sensation of forward motion.  We again went north back to US-6 to NV-318 and then down to US-93.  Taking NV-318 to Hiko knocks off two mountain passes.  There is one on NV-318 but it's very benign.

Again we had a cold departure.  

These are my heat seeking feet.  Yesterday the bus was really cold because it got cold soaked over night, and then all day driving it was cold.  It never really warmed up.  There is heat coming from the dash vents, but there's too much interior volume for it to really be effective.  Today was better, we lost a lot of altitude and it warmed up.  At 5:40 pm I'm wearing shorts and a tee shirt and the air conditioning is running.  Life is better.

There is a lot of this on the route.  Notice how the road goes on forever in a straight line.

I think this was taken coming off Murray Summit but I'm not sure.

Eventually there are some rocks and things to look at.

We're here for two nights.  Tomorrow we're heading out for the Valley of Fire.  There may or may not be hiking, but there will at least be driving around and looking at stuff.  I'm better, but I still feel puny.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Twin Falls, ID to Ely, NV

Today was a fast drive, also aided by getting the hour back that we lost yesterday when we stepped into the Mountain Time Zone.  Now we are back in Pacific.  It was a cold drive, I spent most of it with a blanket.

It's out there.  There were many miles with no cell signal.  We are back at the Ely KOA.  It's sort of a grim park, it's the kind that makes me count my blessings.

Sunset on the mountains across the street.