Monday, April 29, 2024

Bunnies and Cicadas

 Bunny and quail in the yard this morning.  The quail were herding the bunny.

This just out on the cicada hatching.

This is why I will vote for Biden despite his support of Netanyahu and his cronies.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Butte, Montana to Spokane, Washington

We drove I15 to I90.  We think we're not crazy about I90 through the Bitterroot Mountains.  It rained a lot, clouds were stuck on the trees, it reminded us a great deal of driving over the Cascades from the west side and descending into the terrible weather that is so often in Seattle.  Anyway, there's a lot of up down and twisty roads.  So, maybe something else will be better.  The fundamental problem here is that there is no good way to get from Tucson to here.  Because of  the terrain, like the Grand Canyon, all routes are not a straight shot.  Wah, call me a wahmbulance.

The other issue is that we're old now.  Various and sundry body parts are not enjoying being in a car for hours at a whack.  We think about shorter days, but that is another hotel bill and three more meals out.  Yes, I know, first world problems.

It did rain a bunch, but earlier in the drive it was not bad.  In the agricultural areas, there was the burning of the fields.  Being of the city, I have no idea why this is done.

There was scenery to be admired.

This place is something else.  They have bill boards up for miles, advertising 50,000 Silver $.  There is a huge "gift" store full of worthless crap from China, a bar, a restaurant, RV parking and a motel.  Most importantly there are restrooms.  We ate lunch there in the parking lot standing up and walking around some to get the feeling back in our extremities. 

It's funny being back, we can't remember where stuff goes in the bathroom and kitchen cabinets.  It will probably take awhile for that to be sorted out.  When we left Tucson I photographed all of the shelves, drawers and cabinets so I will not have to reinvent the wheel upon our return.  I think I'll do that here before we go.

We have weeds growing in the lava rock areas.  Some will have to be pulled by hand, they're too big to spray and leave on the ground.  "Gardening" season, other wise known as killing weeds, has begun.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ogden, Utah to Butte, Montana

Today was a faster drive than yesterday, being all freeway.  Probably we could have gone farther, but there wasn't a stopping point that was just right in terms of distance.

Butte is an old mining town, enormous amounts of copper were extracted from the ground.  Three rail lines came into town to haul it all away.  We were here briefly in 2003, but ran away because it was supposed to snow.  That post is here.  Butte is now a poor city.  They're trying to attract tourists, but apart from the possible disaster that is the Berkeley pit, there's just not that much to do and see.   There are, however, sprucing up efforts going on.

This is a mine head frame, from when mining was done underground.  They hoist machines, material and people.  There are several scattered in the area.  In 1955 underground mining ceased and they started strip mining.  The smears are from the dead bugs on the windshield.

We're at the Hampton Inn.  This is a lovely facility.  Rooms are good sized, with horizontal surfaces upon which to put one's stuff.  There is adequate light.  They don't use air freshener in the rooms.  So much better than last night.  If we ever come back this route, we will stay here. 

We have a rotisserie chicken and a bag of salad for dinner.  We managed to avoid Subway this trip.

Tomorrow we are back in Spokane, to begin the gargantuan task of putting it all away.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Page, Arizona to Ogden, Utah

We're at the Ogden Holiday Inn Express and Suites.  It's very old, and it shows.  We're back in the days of really bad lighting.  We would never come back here, we actively hate this hotel. 

The drive on red roads was not too bad.  Between Kanab and the turn off for Bryce Canyon there was a fair amount of RV traffic.  Forward progress was slowed.  We hit Salt Lake City about 4:00, and traffic was horrible.  We may re-think this route because of SLC. 

Here is some scenery. 

There was a fire somewhere behind that ridge line.

I'm tired!  It was a long drive.

Ok, this is the noise the shower makes when it's running.

Actually, it's even worse now.  I'm expecting the pipes to burst through the walls.  This is pathetic. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Page, Arizona

We are in Page, at a Home2 Suites by Hilton.  It's a nice hotel, except there is too much scent in the rooms.  It is beyond me why everything has to be covered in some smell not found in nature.  It's making my eyes burn a little.  

The route was to Flagstaff, then off on 89, which is a red road.  There are passing lanes.  There is a 25 mile stretch through the Navajo reservation which is signed as "rough road" and they are not kidding.  However, the scenery more than makes up for it. 

First I would like to address breakfast we got at McDonalds.  Two egg McMuffins and one medium cappucino for $20.  Twenty dollars!!!  When did this happen?  I guess we should have asked for the senior discount.

Here is some scenery.

I took this out of the window on the fourth floor of the hotel.  It's not a great picture, the sun is in the wrong place.  That's the Glen Canyon dam, which created Lake Powell.  It's a hydro-electric dam, it powers much of the south west.

So, one day down, three to go.

Update to post:  Here is the dam in the morning sun.

The hotel was good, with the exception of how much noise the refrigerator made.  There's no off switch, we just lived with it.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Final Day in Tucson

It really is always something.  We're leaving tomorrow morning.  Currently it's 95F (35C).  The air conditioning is down for major servicing.  It started out as being a new thermostat, but evolved into a new capacitor, installation of a surge protector, and washing out of years of dirt from the system.  It's really hot in here.  So, there's that.

Once again we are reminded that we are constitutionally unable to travel light.  We were up early to finish packing and putting it in the car.  It barely fit.  We lost sight of the fact that two boxes came down in the trailer.  Now they're in the car.  We ended up with two garbage bags instead of the 5 or 6 we had coming down here.  We brought too many clothes.  Duh!  In our defense it was freezing last winter, we wore all of the bulky warm jackets and the warm waterproof boots.  This year we did not.  Since winter is always a crap shoot, I guess we'll transporting it all again when we come back down.

We also failed a little on eating down the food stocks.  The non-perishables went to the food bank.  Note to self, do better menu planning towards the end.

For future reference, this is how we got the bikes in the Arizona room.  The shed is now full of an eight foot ladder and the grill.  Plus, we wanted them off their tires, because it's hard on the side walls.

Tomorrow we are up and out for Page, AZ, home of Lake Powell.

Here is a cactus photo for you.

Happy Earth Day to those who celebrate.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Last Ride, Packing and Ukraine Got Funding

After we bought the park model, I had the idea that if Jim died before me, I could go live in the park model.  My interest in running a snow blower, or driving in snow is exactly zero.  Yesterday and today have disabused me of that notion.  Yesterday was brutal, in the 90's.  The R value of 1 park model is hot, even with the air on.  So no, there will be no full time residency in the shoe box.

We were up and out early for the last bike ride of the season.  Today the Tucson Clean and Green people were out doing river bed cleanup.  It's full of trash.  I'm not sure if it's from the homeless camps, or if it gets washed down the flood control channels.  Or maybe it's both, but there is a lot of it.  These are good people to be out doing this.

There were a lot of people out.  There were also food trucks, people playing music and tents for shade by the river.

Jim is defrosting the shed freezer.  It may take more than a day.  The previous owners opened the door, and then left for the summer.  The wood floor in the shed does not like that much water on it.

I feel like all I have done today is walk around in circles and pull stuff out of closets.  The problem with such a small space, is after you pack up stuff, there is no place to put stuff prior to packing the car.  Moves of any size generally require the walking around in circles stage.  This is my new packing paradigm, Space Saver bags.  I bought the Hefty brand, and thus far they are holding a vacuum.  It's amazing how much you can get in there and how small it gets.

These may replace the garbage bag paradigm.  I should have bought more, but I didn't.  Next time, more of these.

We are trying a new route.  Going through Kingman and on to Las Vegas is unpleasant, and out of the way when heading towards Spokane.  So, we're trying the red roads, through Utah.  It's more direct, but will be slower driving.  I think that indicates how much we don't like going to Kingman.  When we had the RV, we drove 89 a fair amount and survived, it should be better in a car.  Except maybe for restroom availability.  I do miss traveling with my own.  Once we leave Flagstaff until we reach I15, it's all red roads, all the time.

The route from 89 to I15 is on UT20.  From the internet we learn the following.

SR-20 begins at I-15, Exit 95, 14 miles (23 km) north of Paragonah, and heads east and southeast through a pass between the Markagunt Plateau and the Tushar Mountains. It ends at an intersection with US-89 at Bear Valley Junction. Trucks are routed from I-15 and US-89 onto SR-20 in preference to SR-9 and SR-14 to avoid steep grades and switchbacks required to cross the Markagunt Plateau. Because of this, SR-20 is included in the National Highway System.[3] SR-20 itself is a difficult route, featuring 7% grades on the approaches to the 7,910-foot (2,410 m) summit, and oversize vehicles are required to have a pilot escort.[1][4]

This should be interesting, if nothing else. 

The wretched speaker of the House finally brought the Ukraine funding fill to a vote, which passed.  Munitions will be flowing very quickly after it's signed, because much is in warehouses on the continent. This should have been done in February.  Johnson said that they'd gotten to it as quickly as they could, but they had been busy.  Yes, busy defeating the bipartisan border bill because the Orange Menace told them to, busy writing bills to protect our appliances, and busy drafting motions to vacate the speaker.

Trump remains in the court room, complaining bitterly of the cold.  Why doesn't he wear a sweater vest under that jacket if he's cold.  He's also sleeping.  Yesterday it came out that as he's nodding off, he's also farting - a lot.  Ewwwwwwwww.  As you no doubt recall, Jenna Ellis got Covid from sitting next to Giuliani when he was doing the same thing.  Apparently orange is not happy with the art that's being generated about him.

It's weird, it seems like we just got here, now we're leaving.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Lung Doctor and Etc.

I saw the pulmonologist yesterdy.  I like him, I would go back there.  Actually I will be seeing him once a year.  His judgement on the CT scan was "the CT doesn't look bad."  There are two linear scars, they're small.  His theory is they're from when I had pneumonia.  There are also two or three "tree in bud" scars (I think they're scars) but they're tiny.  Everything is tiny. There are a few tiny nodules, just for good measure.  A vast swath of my lungs are clear.  So, he wants to scan once a year and see if anything is changing.

What, you wonder, is a tree in bud, in this context.  It's a small scar that looks like a tree branch with buds on it.  

There are no lung consolidations.  So, I'm not dying immediately.

We were up and out early this morning to ride, before it got hot.  We're in the 90's now.  This is a pano that google made for me.  The concrete sides of the flood control channel that feeds the Santa Cruz river have fallen off the bank.  They did not use any rebar in it, and rain has undermined the whole shebang. 

 It was a nice morning.  Later in the ride there was some cloud cover which was nice.  I'm always amazed at how fast it gets hot.

Today we made heat shields for the front door.  It's a single layer of metal, like a screen door, with a glass top section.  It faces west and admits a lot of heat when the sun is setting, so this will make things better.  It's bubble wrap with aluminum foil on both sides.  The RV was full of Reflectix on the sunny side windows.

This is what's holding it on to the bottom of the door.  We bought a package of  rare earth metal magnets.  Unfortunately, I can't get them apart. I got two separated off, but the other groups of three defy any attempts to pull them apart.  More larger magnets were ordered from Amazon, they came with spacers between them.  It's amazing how strong the little ones are.  After separating one from the stack, I let the remaining ones get too close to the one on the table, and it leaped up to join its brothers, catching part of my finger in between them, and drawing blood.  Now we are very careful to not let them get close to each other.

We had planned to replace the microwave in the fall, it's really old, the display is virtually unreadable.  However, I think the freezer in the shed has become a higher priority.  The seals are shot, and it does this.

So, the departure effort has begun.  We're still on the fence about the house we like.  The interior is perfect, there is enough space for all of our stuff; but there's very little mountain view, and there is the ham radio antenna next door.  That antenna will never leave until the current owners die.  I haven't seen them so I don't know how old they are.  It's been on the market for 80 days, so maybe they'll accept less money.  Ack, what to do, what to do.

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Scenery and Handy People

Today was an early hike.  Could have left a little earlier!  It's not actually that hot, we're just no longer acclimated.  The skies were really clear, which is weird given how windy it was yesterday.  Here is some desert beauty.  The desert is still eerily green.

The ocotillos are having a banner year.  Rain has made them plump and luscious.

Happy brittle bushes.

Today we got rid of the dead TV.  A different handy man from Thumbtack came out and did it.  Took him about 15 minutes.  He does many things, so we can call him next fall.  Part of the shed floor is showing a lot of water damage, he says no problem to cut it out and put new.  For the unhandy, such as ourselves, a good handy man is a treasure beyond rubies. 

Before - the great wall of television screens.


Today was the second day of the Stormy Daniels trial, otherwise known as election interference.  It's not about hush money, it's him tampering with people's perception of him to win the presidency.  Apparently he doesn't find it all that interesting, because he keeps falling asleep.

We should start calling him Sleepy Don.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Health Care and Ukraine

It's warming up.   We're up and out earlier than we really like, but it's getting warm.  We had interesting clouds this morning.  We rode north with a tail wind, and suffered coming back in to the wind.  Leaving early was good.

We've started packing for the return to Spokane.  I'm sort of dreading it.  Somehow all the dentists in Spokane have decided to run monopolistic and predatory practices.  You can't just make an appointment for a cleaning, you have to have an entire lifestyle review; X-rays you don't need, CAT scans you don't want, evaluation of airway and breathing and a comprehensive health evaluation.  Oh yes, and there is a bite analysis, not that people our age would do anything to change our bite.  All of this costs mucho dinero.  Dental practices in Spokane are just the pits.  I only have to go twice a year, so I go in Tucson, but Jim needs more frequent cleaning.  I'm also dreading the yearly physical with the Physician's Assistant, she who doesn't review blood test results, and whose staff is unable to correctly call in prescriptions.  Then there is the substandard dermatology care, which is a big deal for Jim due to his pale British skin.  None of them use enough liquid nitrogen to burn the nasty skin things away.  ENT care is a joke, they book out a year in advance.  I can't have this!  If my ear infects itself, it must be treated ASAP.   Due to these issues, we're thinking about moving back to Tucson.  Yes, I know, global climate change, hotter weather, water, nut bag politicians and all of the negatives.  However, it worries me how terrible medical and dental care is in Eastern Washington.  There is a medical school here, which, I think, elevates the caliber of care due to teaching staff in the area.

We've been looking hard, it's not going well.  Part of this is self inflicted, we want to be in the neighborhood we used to be in.  Plus we want three bedrooms so we have space for the weight equipment, the rowing machine and the spin bike.  Most of the neighborhood is two bedrooms.  There is a house we like, a lot, but this is next door.

See the antenna on the right, closest to the house.  That extends to a height of 25-30 feet.  He's not supposed to do that during hours of daylight, but on the day of an open house he had it up.  No one really looked at the house, just the antenna.  It's a HAM radio antenna.  It's not going anywhere, the HOA approved it thinking it was an FCC protected antenna, but it is not.  They should not have approved it, but the former HOA president was something of an ass hat, and they did.  It's impacting the current owner's ability to sell.  I feel bad for them, they were there first and then the ugly house was built next door with the huge RV garage, and now this.  We're hoping they'll accept less money than we are willing to offer due to this impediment. 

Ukraine is losing the war with Russia, and it's our fault.  If the US had shipped mass armaments at the start, instead of dribbling out equipment, they wouldn't be in this position.  Last night the US shot down Iranian missiles heading for Israel, but we're not providing the same assistance to Ukraine.  I'm infuriated.  Speaker Johnson will not bring the bill forward to allocate help for Ukraine because the Orange Disaster is telling him not to.  This is what they're taking up tomorrow.

This is not satire, it's a real thing.

I saw this on Facebook.  It's funny.  This may be how the locals in Tucson feel right about now.

So this is some of what is occupying my brain these days.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Flying Monkeys and Foliage

The 162nd Air National Guard Fight Wing is flying today.  At the beginning, you can barely make out the F16 in the lower part of the screen, then I lost him.  We're on their flight path for departures and arrivals.

Today, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the 1864 law that was put in place before AZ was even a state could be enforced now that Roe is over turned.  That would be the law that contains exactly one exception, health of the mother.  Previously, abortion in AZ was legal until 15 weeks.  That's a stupid law as well, but less stupid than the old law.  It's now a felony punishable by two to five years in prison for anyone who performs or helps a woman obtain one.  I really hate these people.  Abortion will most likely be on the ballot in November, there is an organization whose name I forgot who has collected 500,000 signatures to make it so.  Politicians in AZ remind me of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.

Recent losses for the Orange Menace:  Judge Cannon (stolen documents case) ruled that witnesses names won't be published.  The  $175M bond to hold off asset seizures is not accepted, it contains language that the bond won't pay anything.  Did they think no one would notice?  The Stormy Daniels trial appears to be going forward on the 15th, despite his best efforts to delay.  Stormy is a criminal case, he has to be there in person four days a week.  Surely, he'll lose something, sometime.

Yesterday was the eclipse.  It was sort of a non-event here.  The sun darkened slightly, but not a lot.  Our neighbor had glasses, so we went out and looked briefly.  Then I came in and read about all the fake glasses there are on the market, and wondered if we'd wake up with burned retinas.  That's the last one for my lifetime. 

Then we set out for a ride into a vigorous head wind.  It was out of the north.  The wind here has an uncanny ability to switch directions in the afternoon, so head wind going out does not guarantee tail wind coming back.  We did not dawdle on the ride, having to fight the wind in both directions would have been bad.  Here is the back of Jim's head at Christopher Columbus park.  There were nice clouds.

The mallows are just lovely this year.  They're huge, they're everywhere.

Today Jim washed the bikes, I dried the bikes and then he lubricated the bikes.  At present I am waiting for a handy person I found on Thumbtack, a handy man website.  Thus far he has been a total flake, not returning calls, and etc.  He is now one hour late.  I guess the old TV (which is dead) will continue hanging on the wall, and the new one will continue sitting on a console table a little longer.  We have no idea how to de-install or install a wall mounted television, so a new handy man will have to be found.  I know, first world problems.  I was really hoping to get this done before departure.
Update to post:  The handy person never showed up, never called.  Nothing.

Really, I do not have much of anything to say.  OK, here is some desert beauty from two days ago.