Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Moved In, First Hike

Greetings Mellow Humans.  The trudge to the finish line of "moving in" seems to be over.  Many things have been ejected and/or replaced.  One of the big deals was emptying out the shed.  I don't think the previous owner ever threw away anything, especially wood.  It took four trips to the dumpster to get it to a state we can live with.  When we lived in West Seattle, with a full, unfinished basement, with way too much shelving, we accumulated more than we needed to.  After three moves between 2006 and 2008, we saw the light on not keeping stuff you weren't actively using.  Here is the first removal trip.

The new kitchen table showed up early, it was a mercifully easy assembly project.  All the holes lined up, it was beautifully packed, and there was no damage.  So, while we have less space on the table, we have more floor space. 

The chairs are a great, flaming disappointment.  They really cheaped out on the foam, and after two days the depressions from our sit bones were evident.  I've ordered a cushion like the one I have for Jim from Amazon, and we will make do.  At least the backs are not killing our spines anymore.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  I went for a ride, and Jim went to Home Depot.  I hate shopping there, the CEO has announced that he will back the orange ectoplasm for president, even if he's in jail.  If the Lowe's here was better, we'd go there.  All of the switch plate covers have been replaced, and they look much better now.

Today was the first hike in Tucson.  Good grief we are out of shape for that.  The trails here are really rocky and until the feet toughen up, they hurt.  However, it was nice to be out looking at the scenery.

Today was Mrs. Carter's funeral.  Mr. Carter was able to attend, which was good.  Judy Woodruff, of NPR,  spoke and recalled the last time she had interviewed the Carters together.  Mr. Carter made mention of many things President Biden had done, Mrs. Carter followed up with “it's a great relief to have him in office.”  That got a chuckle from the members of the audience, except from the wife of the orange ectoplasm.  Melania was wearing baby blue gray, everyone else was in black.  I suppose she gets a little credit for attending.  I will miss the Carters, they were good people.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving After Action Report

Here's hoping yesterday was a good day.  As I previously mentioned, Jim spatchcocked two game hens.  They were good, but I don't think we'll do that again.  It required the 12 inch cast iron skillet, and cleaning that in our teeny tiny sink is just a bear.  The 10 inch is way easier.  They were good, Jim is making friends with the new grill, normally at home we use two burners, it looks like we'll be using three here.  It's a smaller grill.  Here was dinner.  That's not their good side, unfortunately.  Spatchcocking flattens the bird out so it cooks evenly.  We learned it from Alton Brown who puts one in a panini press.

This is the kitchen.  It's not totally small (except for the sinks), but the presence of that round table, and the two chairs makes it extremely difficult for two people to navigate the kitchen. 

Look at this chair!!  These are the most uncomfortable chairs that have ever existed in the history of the world.  Even with the additional seat cushion I brought from Spokane, it was just killing my butt.

Those chairs are gone now, replaced with these chairs.  I got them on Amazon.  While I was not looking, kitchen chairs have started costing multiple hundreds of dollars.  My thought process was that no matter how uncomfortable these might be, they'd be better than what we had.  Reviews on the assembly process were mixed, with many people noting that often the holes for the screws didn't line up.  One chair was relatively easy to put together, the other required enlisting the help of a neighbor who has many tools with him to enlarge two holes so that the screws could go in.  When it came time to put the back on, three out of four screws would work, but not the fourth.  We surrendered - three screws it will be.

With any luck we'll get a couple of years out of them.

Today was really windy.  We had thought about hiking, but between the arrival of the chairs and the blowing dust we bailed on that idea.  Here is a tiny video of the wind blowing.  You can probably tell, I don't have all that much to talk about at present.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Day of the Turkey!

We rode today, started out with a killer tailwind, so we knew it would be a slog back.  It really was, the wind had picked up since we started.  I feel that we built much character.  

Jim spatchcocked two Cornish Game Hens, something that is usually done with kitchen shears.  Did I pack the kitchen shears when we came down here?  No.  Fortunately little birds can be done with a knife.

We visited some friends in the park, it was good to sit and talk.  

Other than that, we have had no giant day of cooking, and given the size of our kitchen sink, I'm pretty happy about that.

Hope you all had a wonderful day with you and yours.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Toy Haulers

What is a toy hauler, you wonder.  If you're not an RVer or former, it's not a phrase that carries a lot of meaning.  Basically it's an RV with sufficient internal space to carry "toys."  Things like all terrain vehicles, motorcycles, like that.  The toy is inside the RV right next to your living space.  I personally can not imagine having a gas powered anything inside where I'm living, but some people do.  Many other people like the toy hauler because there is a lot of configurable space available for an office, or a studio, or what ever.

So - that's what that huge thing we saw parking in the RV park is (see previous post.)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Riding and Rain

Yesterday's key learning is this:  If there is rain in the forecast, even though you don't think it will rain, take baggies to keep the cell phones dry.  When we left, it looked like this.  White puffy clouds, no rainish looking clouds.  Just blue skies and white clouds.

We rode up the trail to go see a new construction site.  From the trail all we can see is a large pile of dirt.  After walking the bikes up the stairs to the upper level we could see this.  More apartments.  The Rio Nuevo project has brought money, development,  and businesses into a depressed part of the city.  One giant retail down, renters up complex is completed, and it looks pretty good.  This will be the same.  It's anchored by Mercado St. Augustine, a complex of restaurants and foo foo shops.

 After gawking at this, we went over and looked at our favorite neighborhood in the world.  These town houses are just gorgeous.  Most have interior court yards that are beautiful.

This is the line for Seis, one of the restaurants in the Mercado.  Note the four bicyclists standing in line.  Yesterday was the annual El Tour de Tucson.  Nine thousand people signed up for it, many for the 102 mile loop.  This year's course was down south due to the fact that the frontage roads they usually use are now functioning as a freeway by-pass.

Anyway, after touring the Mission Neighborhood, as its now being called, we continued north on the trail until our turn around point.  The skies got darker, the wind picked up.  It rained like hell right when we got back to the back gate to the RV park.  By the time we reached the park model we were soaked.  I feel so bad for anyone who got caught in the rain.  People pay a lot of money to stay here, eat, and register for the tour, hoping for a sunny day.  Usually it's nice, unless it's not.

Today it was better, albeit remarkably windy.  This is odd for November.  I guess the wind and the heat we've been having are part of the new normal.  Blue skies again.  See the South West Airlines plane, it's on final to the airport.  They are very noisy.

Here is part of the Santa Cruz river that's getting reclaimed water.  Very green.  You can see water under the over pass.

This was parking as we arrived back at the RV park.  That's a big 5th wheel, it's a toy hauler with triple axles, but I'm not convinced it needs that much truck to tow it.  Note the custom graphics on the truck that match the 5th wheel.  They have put a lot of money into this endeavor. 

Finally, here is a brief video from yesterday's rain.  The sound is rain hitting the carport roof.  Note the street filling with water in the background.

Friday, November 17, 2023

A New Appliance and A Small Grass Fire

Wednesday we got a call from the Home Depot driver delivering a gas grill.  He was confused about where to go because there "were two trailer parks right next to each other."  That's true, however, they have different street numbers that are clearly posted on their entry signs.  Since he was confused, he decided to take the grill he was delivering back to the local Home Depot.  We called him and said you were supposed to go through the gate next to the sign with the 4555 written on it, which matches the address on the box.  He said he'd have them try again later.  We went for a ride.

This is the Santa Cruz river.  Parts of it were pretty dry.  Parts of it were burning.  We called 911 and they launched trucks before we even got off the phone.  Fire here is bad.  

We we came back by here, they were still putting the fire out (which had spread) with tamping smothering tools and water.

When we returned home, we found this in the carport.  The grill was supposed to arrive in a box, requiring assembly.  Instead, we got a floor model delivered.  We'll take it!  Jim and I have assembled one gas grill, and that really was enough.  Too many little pieces.

It's good to have a grill.  There are some things that don't want to be cooked in the house.

We got the pilot light in the oven lighted.  The oven was made sometime around 1988.  Apparently insulation was not so important back then.  We ran the oven at 425F for 22 minutes night before last, and it heated up the entire park model.  Jim was closest to it, and it was like sitting next to a roaring fire.  Attempts to find someone who carries Brown Stove Works in Tucson have proved fruitless.  There is a wholesaler in Phoenix, but they can't point me to a local dealer.  There are three outlets in Los Angeles who specialize in apartment appliances, but we're not driving there for a range.  Today we got this.  It's a counter top toaster oven/air fryer/oven.

This is another aspirational photo from the inside of the box.

I have read that the larger ovens with larger baskets work better than the dedicated air fryers because there is more space and the food is not so crowded.  The lady in the store said to cut zucchini into strips, dip into egg wash, followed by panko crumbs and air fry with no oil.  That sounds a lot like bar food with fewer calories.  Maybe, just maybe, we'll learn how to cook something new.

It does take more counter top than the toaster oven, but it's the only way we're going to get anything done in an oven, like frozen french fries.

We drove by the really pretty cemetery today.  It's remarkably green there.

There were clouds today.  Apparently there are three weather systems moving through.  It did rain last night, but not for long.

Slowly, but surely we are becoming moved in. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Recent Events - Updated with Univision Policy

Last Saturday and Sunday we finally got out on short rides each day.  Each ride had a screaming head wind on the way back.  When you leave the RV park, there's only one interesting direction in which to go, so you get what you get wind wise.  We're pretending headwinds are like riding hills.  The Santa Cruz is very green, the water treatment plant is releasing treated water to encourage plants and trees to grow, and for animals to come back.  I took exactly one picture on both rides.  I will do better in the future.  The sky is that color in the fall and winter.

Monday Jim had a 9:30 appointment with the Tucson PCP, AKA the good PCP.  She pretty much personifies what good doctoring looks like.  Anyway, there was an accident on I10 west bound involving six cars.  The backups held commuters at a standstill for two hours.  We got off the freeway.  There is a huge construction project that has removed four miles of the freeway, and closed two on/off ramps.  It's not expected to complete until the end of 2024.  Getting to Costco will be impacted by this.

While sitting at a traffic light we saw this.  I have no words.

After the doctor, we went to many places and drove many miles.  Since we were in the north end, we decided just to do all of the north end errands.  We procured a CO monitor.  We bought this because the range burners are engaged in incomplete combustion.  My brand new pot has been sooted.  The tips of the flames are orange.  We're going to have to call the manufacturer and ask for instructions on how to adjust the burners' gas flow.  The manual mentions that it can be done, but not how.  There is exactly nothing on youtube about this range.  I would really like to replace the stove, but we're going to have to do surgery on the drawer fronts next to the stove.  New stoves are bigger than old ones.

Much of this washed off, but not all.  This is just tragic.  It's also on the bottom of my new 10.25 inch Lodge cast iron skillet.

There have been many Amazon trucks bringing us many things.  One of the things was a set of darling bird wine bottle stoppers.  Some of those will be going home with us.

A terrible thing has happened.  Univision, a huge Spanish language television station has changed hands.  The new owners are trumpists.  They have cancelled all of Biden's ad buys in Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Florida.  This is just the pits.  The orange dumpster fire entertained three of the new top execs at Mar a Lardo, gave an on camera interview, and was rewarded with knocking Biden's ads off the channel.  This is bad.  Washington Post has an article up on the subject.  While looking for that link, I saw a headline on the Seattle Times that the Sinclair has ended its association with Univision, I don't know why since I'm paywalled out of their content.  I am once again disconsolate, despite the recent Democratic victories.  Another four years of the dumpster fire will be the end of this country.

The parallels are clear, he wants to be a dictator.

So, enjoy the next year, if Biden loses we're all toast.

Updated:  From a community note on twitter.

The cancellation was NOT for all Biden ads, but only ones scheduled to run during a Trump interview. The new Univision policy prevents opposition ads during single-candidate interviews, meaning that Trump ads would similarly not be allowed to run during a Biden interview.

At this point, I don't know if this is true, of if the original WAPO article is true.

Here is a thread talking about the issue.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Gas Lines and Bougainvilleas

Hola!  It has been a long day.  The man who moved the gas lines showed up bright and early, alone.  It took until mid-afternoon to finish, and we had to stay here.  It did give me time to wash the dust off the fake greenery on the bottom shelf of the TV stand.  There was a walk, and we picked up the mail. 

We have errands to run!  After the gas lines were finished, we got Target and Home Depot out of the way, but not Costco or Home Goods.  I don't like to go into popular stores on weekends, so that will have to wait.  

Here are photos from the gas line.  Many tools were required.

He cleaned up a terrible run of pipes running hither and yon, and it looks a lot better.

This is how a park model is supported and leveled.  They use concrete blocks and wooden shims.  The first time I saw this I was shocked.  I'm still shocked somewhat, but the park model is still standing and it's level.

Oh yes, part of today was spent on the phone with Century Link.  They are the DSL provider.  Our internet has been dropping multiple times a day and speeds are about half of what was promised.  The first person I talked to told me that if the problem was in the house it would cost $100, but I could save that money by signing up for "in the wall" protection.  After a month, it can be cancelled.  The second person I talked to said no, that's only for land lines.  Ok, fine.  Then she wanted to upgrade me to 80mbps, for the low low fee of $149, and oh by the way there would be a charge for them to come out and fix their buggy product.  At that point, I asked for a supervisor.  A nice lady called me and allegedly has waived any repair charges and I get the up grade to 80 meg for free.  We'll see.  We're supposed to have 40 now, but the Ookla speed test reveals we're getting 19, which is making watching TV painful with the buffering.  So, that's another two hours of my life that I won't get back.  It really is always something.

The past summer in Tucson was horrible.  It was really hot, and there was a very poor monsoon.  Many of the pyramidalis trees in the park appear to be dead.  It's sad, they were huge and shaded the west side of many park models.  The only happy looking plants are the always cheerful bougainvilleas. 

It was chilly this morning.  I got out the socks I bought from Etsy.  They're acrylic, not wool, but they're warm and comfortable.  They're marketed as hand knit, I think they might be.  Anyway, they coordinate nicely with my mandalorian pants.

We now have a functioning dryer and a furnace.  Life is better.

So that's it, then.  That's all I've got.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

The Process Continues

Greetings from Ye Olde Pueblo.  Today marks the end of pretty much all of the moving in process.  Much has been ejected from the park model, and some stuff has come in.  I still need a three quart pot, which is the one I use most of the time, which will require a trip to Home Goods.  We need to go north anyway, there is a trip to Costco and Trader Joe's in the offing.  Leaving the house yesterday and today has been difficult, and will remain so again tomorrow.

Why, you wonder?  The Arizona legislature does not have enough to do.  Five years ago they passed a law saying that propane tanks had to be located five feet away from all electrical outlets, furnaces, windows and doors.  This, after tanks had been in their current locations for decades.  For three years no one enforced it.  Two years ago it began being enforced.  The way it's enforced is that when the propane truck comes out to fill the tanks, they won't do it until the offending tanks are relocated.  A nice lady from the RV park came out with a tape measure and concluded that there was only one place our tanks could legally be.  Her opinion does not really carry any weight with the guys that deliver the propane.  There is no official department of "where should my tanks be located", so hopefully this will work out.  Yesterday and today was spent waiting for the contractor who will do the work.  Tomorrow they're coming out to run a new gas line and move the tanks.  Then, and only then, can we run the gas fired clothes dryer and the furnace after getting the second tank filled.  We're pretty dang happy about the electric water heater.  People who have the huge tanks have to be 10 feet away from the outlets, furnaces, windows and doors.  The lady behind us has one of them, when her tank needs to be refilled she'll have to get a smaller one or put the existing somewhere else.

We can afford to have this work done.  Many of the park residents are widows that do not have a lot of money, and this is a financial burden for them.  The wealthy legislators don't seem to factor in the human cost of their mandates.

Park models are small, therefore appliances are small.  Ours was built in 1988, and the appliances are original.  We would like to replace the gas stove with something newer, but they're all 26 or so inches deep.  In order to open a bank of drawers without hitting the stove, we can't exceed 24 inches deep.  We figured the manufacturer of our range would be long gone, but they're not.  They still make 24 inch deep stoves.  I think Brown Stove Works dominates that market niche because no one else is building to that spec.  They have a terrible website, you have to call to get prices, dealer locations or anything else a customer might want to know.  We are happy to know that parts can be obtained, should the need arise.  I'm not happy about the presence of pilot lights, but I am just going to have to get over myself.

Here is one of my new enameled cast iron pots I ordered from Costco.  It was here in two days. 

Lisa Brown is still ahead of Nadine Woodward in the race for Spokane mayor.  Ms Brown is a democrat.  This is just unheard of in the red county of Spokane.  I really and truly hope she wins.  The democratic mayoral candidate in Tucson beat the republican challenger by 30 points.  Thirty!

Other than this, I have nothing intelligent to say.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

In Tucson

We are here, we're still tired, and our feet hurt from standing so much.  I think tomorrow will be the last big push towards wedging many items in to small spaces.  It's still in the 90s (in November!) so we're not missing out on any riding opportunities.

Yesterday was a terrible, awful, no good day for me.  In the morning we opened a window.  Park model windows are metal framed and they weigh a ton.  When I went to close the window, the latches that allow it to move in the track were sticking, and somehow my finger got between the window and the window frame and the window dropped on my digit, trapping it.  Fortunately Jim was standing right there, with me screaming from the pain, and got the window open.  We both thought I had lost the tip of my finger.  Fortunately, I did not, and after an hour or two it quit hurting quite so much.  Here is finger.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, we took several bags of trash to the dumpster.  There is a concrete curb on the road that is flush with the ground beside it, except when there is a eight inch depression.  I didn't see it, my right foot rolled off and I dropped like a stone.  My left side took the brunt of it, because I landed on that side.  It's still fairly sore.  

In news of the good, we have internet, the modem arrived before we did.  It's DSL, there is no cable in the park.  Speeds are pretty good.  We actually got the TV to see the modem, so at least we have Amazon prime available.  Unfortunately, we can't make subtitles work, I do not know why.  The Firestick arrived today, so the two septuagenarians will now try to enter this decade and learn how to stream content.  I really think we need a visit from a 15 year old to do this for us.

Part of the last two days have been spent winnowing out the previous owners' stuff in the kitchen.  With the exception of one drawer, that part is over.  We're still working on the correct setting for the refrigerator, thus far the half and half has been frozen solid for two days, as well as a box of spring mix and a head of lettuce.  Patience will be required as we keep turning the dial down and reach the happy medium of not freezing the vegetables and keeping the milk cold enough.

It appears that Ohio has voted against the abortion ban, despite the best efforts of the GOP.  They're a bunch of lunatics.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Kingman to Tucson, Arizona

We are here.  We are exhausted.  This has been so much harder than I thought it would be.  There are still four garbage bags of bike clothes and regular clothes to be wedged into drawers.  In news of the good, the air conditioner came on after sulking for a bit.  It was 92F today.

This is what it looks like in the Arizona room.  An Arizona room is when they take a single wide park model and add on to it. 

Tomorrow will be spent wedging more stuff into a small space.  We're happy to be here. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Ely to Kingman, AZ

We are staying at the Hampton Inn in Kingman.  They do not levy a (refundable) charge in case you smoke or vape in your room.  Currently there is a citizen with a bull horn down on the street somewhere.  Jim thinks he's talking about Palestine and Israel, but we can't hear him well enough to determine which side he's on.  It's an interesting choice of activity in a place that is as red as this one is.

We read on Restoration Cowboy that US93 from Las Vegas to Kingman was so rough that the hinges on their toy hauler were broken.  Normally we would go that way, but today we took US95 out of Las Vegas, down to NV163 and then to AZ68E to US93 just shy of Kingman.  That route was way more better.  The great percentage was four divided lanes (not limited access) and the road surface was good.  For future reference here is a map snippet.  It's a little bit longer than US93, but the roads are good.  They did get a little lumpy just past Golden Valley, but not too bad.  Once we hit US93 the road surface went to heck in a hand basket.

This is south of Ely.  It's scenic.

We stopped in Pioche, NV for gas.  It's a former mining town built on the side of a hill.  It reminds me of Jerome, but without the tourists.  I was driving after leaving the gas station so I failed to get a photo of the house covered in Trump flags and posters, and an out building with a banner proclaiming "No More Bullshit."  It's a red part of the state.  This is the downtown.  There is a good wiki, which can be found here.

A mine head from back in the day.  Silver was mined there. There was money to be made in mining.

Heading further south.  This and the Joshua Trees were on US93 out of Ely, before we hit Las Vegas.

These are Joshua Trees.  This batch looked really happy, there were many baby trees, so I guess life has been good to them.

Now we are on NV163, south of Las Vegas.  It's a pretty drive.  There is a fair amount of up down on NV163 as well as AZ68E.

So, how is the Hampton Inn?  It's ok.  It's old, and hasn't had much done to the rooms.  The beds are not great, not terrible.  They could be better.  There is too much scent in the rooms, it's irritating my eyes.  There is parking available for vehicles towing trailers, that's why we're here, for the parking lot. The free internet is really slow, uploading a photo takes time.  We would probably come back here if we do this route again. 

That's it!  That's all I have to say about today.