Monday, December 8, 2014

A Rainy Day in the Desert.

Thursday 11/27

Group dinner at Desert Trails today, we opted to join the smaller group in the Sewing Center (used to be the Oasis) rather than the larger group in the rec hall. Supposed to hit 80 today! 

A beautiful Thanksgiving Day, high about 83 with a cloudless blue sky and a light breeze. Had dinner in the early afternoon, group of about 75 in the Sewing Center, I expect there were twice as many, or more, in the Rec Hall. The food was great and a nice variety. Everything was nice and hot and the turkey was moist. Pretty impressive desert table as well.

After dinner I went and picked up Margo. Gary and Karen were with her brother in Green Valley so we were taking care of Margo. Nancy helped with the clean-up and then we sat outside and read the rest of the afternoon. It is amazingly quiet here most of the day and evening, only occasional small planes, no trains, no highway noise. Some mornings we can hear the pop-pop-pop from the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club, but no big deal.

Cleaned out some drawers in the trailer looking for my Desert Museum membership card and my National Parks pass, no luck. Must have left them at home - duh.


Friday 11/28

Drove down to Patagonia with Gary & Karen this morning. Really nice scenery on the way down along the East side of the Santa Rita mountains. Small town with a lot of craft and jewelry stores, art walk this weekend. After Nancy & Karen got their fill of shop browsing we stopped at Velvet Elvis for a pretty good pizza, then we took a drive through Patagonia State Park. Large campground that was full of holiday weekend campers and a pretty man made lake.

Back home we watched the Blackhawks beat the Ducks, a game we recorded earlier in the afternoon. After dinner the Roadrunners were in  the rec. hall. Just two saxophones and a keyboard player, but pretty good. Thin crowd and a lot left during the break as they were expecting Robbie Lee and probably the Ellington Band from the Tucson Jazz Institute. The Roadrunners though are basically a pick-up group of whoever can show up on a given night, students and adults.


Saturday 11/29

Morning walk and then Nancy did some laundry. Fairly quiet day, quite warm. I did get out of the recliner long enough to reassemble the bicycle rack, put it on the truck and load the bikes for Monday’s ride.

Another good game from the Blackhawks in LA tonight, they seem to have finally hit their stride and finished the road trip 5-1.

Sunday 11/30

The last couple of mornings we have heard coyotes howling out in the desert while we were on our morning walk. Been hearing our local owls in the RV Park around dusk every day as well.

Fairly quiet day at home, although we did run over to BK for lunch. Another beautiful warm day, mid 70’s with a nice light breeze. Watched a couple of mysteries in the evening.

Monday 12/1

Monday morning meeting and then off with the bike group. We went along the Santa Cruz river starting at 22nd street. Went South as far as Silverlake, crossed over and rode North as far as Grant where we turned around and returned. We were lagging behind the main group and lost touch with them, they apparently went farther North as they were not back yet when we returned. We were not planning on joining the lunch group anyway. Rode just over 9 miles.

Lovely day in the low 70’s with a light cloud cover so it was a very comfortable day for riding. Had to use the truck to carry the bikes, hopefully the new bracket for the smart will be done this week.

Another quiet afternoon, just taking it easy.

Tuesday 12/2

Tucson Trailer called yesterday afternoon and said our new custom hitch extension was ready, so after our morning walk and breakfast we headed into town. Stopped and picked up the extension which looks really nice and came in about $40 below the estimate. Then we made a stop at Nordstrom Rack where Nancy found a new pair of sneakers and some large tubes of Bliss body lotion which we go through pretty fast here - humidity was 3% over the weekend and zoomed all the way up to 18% today with today’s tropical flow from the Pacific!

Then a stop at Total Wine and Liquor to replenish our Irish and Scotch whiskey supply - always an expensive stop. By now it was lunchtime so ... Beyond Bread! Yeah! Followed by a stop at Trader Joe’s and then back home by early afternoon.

Unloaded the bikes from the truck, disassembled the bike rack and put it on the new hitch extension. Worked great! Took a short drive around the park to check it out, seems to work well. Now the rack hight is equal to the height when on the back of the trailer, although the hitch itself is still only 4” off the ground.

Wednesday 12/3

Up early for our walk, some cloud cover overnight so it was 68 degrees at 6:30 AM. Nancy had her first Spanish class this morning, I did some house cleaning.

Late morning we headed down to Sahuarita for “geezer day” at the Fry’s - they have a nice newer store down there. Very busy as the give 10% for customers over 55 on the first Wednesday of the month.

Stopped at BK for lunch on the way down there. Quiet afternoon after we got back from shopping. Blackhawks game tonight. And they produced a pretty good game against the Blues, finally breaking out with three goals in the third - looks like the scoring slump is behind them and they are on their way back to the front of the pack.

Thursday 12/4

Raining, more rain than we have ever seen in Arizona. It rained steadily from early morning until the sun started to poke through around 2 PM. On our way back from town just before noon the clouds were so low we could not see the mountains. Should be good for the wildflowers in the spring. Every year they tell us that the amount of spring flowers depends on how much rain we get in December.

Off to Tucson Yoga this morning for our first class of the winter. Our instructor from the last couple of years was not there this morning and Ann, who we had taken classes from in 2010 was substituting, good to see her again. At the start of class she mentioned that, although she has been doing seminars, this was the first class she has taught since this exact date in 2010 - a class we had attended just before she went on her three year plus retreat! After class I mentioned this to her and said we felt privileged to be in this class since we were in her last one four years ago. She said, “I know, I was so excited when I saw you guys come in!”

After class we made a stop at Food Conspiracy and then a stop at H. F. Coors. Lots of standing water all over town and streams running in the gutters. I can see why they have so much trouble handling the water during the summer monsoons!

Back home we had lunch and relaxed. Nancy spent some time working on her Spanish lessons.


Friday 12/5

Quite a bit of moisture out in the desert this morning, some parts of the trails were almost muddy! We also noted a number of Cholla that had fallen over. Unable to tell if it was from the weight of moisture or if they were pushed by an animal.  

An item Nancy wanted at H. F. Coors was still in the kiln yesterday morning, so this AM she called and found it was ready. So after breakfast we ran across town to pick it up. Went via I-10 and Kino Parkway instead of 22nd and lo & behold, there is a new Culver’s right by the Costco intersection on Kino!! Not far from the In N’ Out Burger on Ajo. So ... after stopping at Coors and Costco we had lunch at Culver’s.

On the way home we stopped at Target and bought gifts to match the tags we took from the Salvation Army giving tree at Desert Trails. The Salvation Army representative was at the Monday meeting and said last year they received 300+ gift from Desert Trails residents.

Blackhawks won again tonight, but only by breaking a tie with 47 seconds left! A nail biter! Local weatherman just said it  feels “sticky” outside this evening ... the humidity is 68%! He does not know “sticky!”


Saturday 12/6

Up early and off to “First Saturday” at H. F. Coors. Got there about 8:20 and line was out into the parking lot! Crowded once the doors opened, but not really too bad. Nancy picked up a several items for herself and gifts. We were back home by 9:30 and then we took a nice hike in the desert, a bit longer than usual. Being Saturday morning there were several ATVs out on the roads in the BLM land.

Nancy spent some time figuring out what we need to do to prepare for the road clean-up a week from Monday, we volunteered to coordinate it last year. Turns out we need to attend a training class and give the county 2 weeks notice, so I guess the project is going to be delayed!

Stayed fairly overcast most of the day, temps in the mid 60’s, actually a pretty nice day.

Blackhawks soundly beat Nashville tonight to move into first place in the division, the slump seems to be definitely over.

Sunday 12/7

A bit cooler this AM, 45 degrees when we headed out into the desert. The desert at dawn is a pretty amazing place - the shadow play on the mountains makes the folds and ravines stand out, the cholla actually seem to fluoresce as they catch the first rays of the morning sun, as do the tops of the saguaros.

Relaxing morning, then after lunch we ran into town primarily to pick up some frozen pizza that Albertson’s had on sale. Back home I checked tire pressures on the bikes, mounted the rack on the smart and loaded the bikes. Tomorrow will be the real test of my redesigned bike rack mount.

Nancy spent a lot of time studying her Spanish while I did basically nothing.


Monday 12/8

Monday AM meeting, updated park owner on status of the road clean-up program and need for a new permit, then we slipped out of the meeting early.

 Bike group went up to Rillito River bike path today. New mount for the bike rack on smart worked great. We cut the ride a bit short and skipped lunch at Sweet Tomatoes because we wanted to go to a ranger lecture on mountain lions at Saguaro National Park at 2:15. While I was loading the bikes Nancy called Beyond Bread and ordered our sandwiches. Stopped and picked up the sandwiches and headed back West. Got to the park 45 minutes before the lecture, sat on an outside bench and ate our sandwiches. Lecture was excellent and very interesting, as they usually are.

Back home a little before 4 PM. Good thing about doing Beyond Bread for lunch is it provides dinner as well!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Bit of a Late Post!

Wow, did not realize I had not updated in two weeks! I write a bit every day and try to post at least once a week. In Tucson now, so here's the latest update:

Thursday 11/13

It just keeps getting worse - 8 below this morning! Amazingly the fiver is holding up with no issues at all, other than using a fair amount of propane. Staying warm and comfortable with no water problems. 

Friday 11/14

Still cold and snowy. but it did get up to 33 degrees after starting out at 1 below! Nancy spent the day taking care of the kids, I joined her in the afternoon to look after Miles. We played with his new tool belt that we brought him. He is a pretty clever little kid.

In the morning I dumped tanks, filled fresh water and got the snow off our slide covers. 
Out to dinner with Connie and Laurie.

Saturday 11/15

7 degrees this morning, using a lot of propane, but the trailer is holding up well in the bitter cold. Only got up to 24 degrees today and it was down to 8 by the time we went to bed. 5-6 inches of fresh snow this afternoon! Going to need to dump the snow off the slide covers again in the morning.

Sunday 11/16

Warming up a bit today, although it was still 5 degrees this morning. Pushed the snow off the slide covers this morning, then filled the third 40 lb. propane tank of the week! We had two full tanks when we arrived last Thursday, so as of this morning we have gone through three 40 lb. tanks in 10 days. Have not been using the electric heater as we want to keep the furnaces pumping heat into the underbelly. Never would have guessed that we could survive 14 below with no issues. Add the fact that it stayed below freezing for three days running (with a high of 4 on Wednesday!) and I am more than happy with the performance of our fiver.

Now we will see if the Volvo starts when I get ready to load the car tomorrow. I have had the block heater plugged in all week, so it should be OK.

Temps this week:

Mon     12     65
Tues    10     14
Wed     14 below   3 above
Thurs    8 below    9 above
Fri         1 below    33
Sat        7 above    29
Sun       3 below    29



Monday 11/17

Planned on leaving today, but we decided over the weekend to wait until Tuesday as it was supposed to warm up a bit more today and I was a bit concerned about getting the truck started after the deep freeze. I had the block heater plugged in all week and it started right up this morning, cranked a bit slow, but no problem.

I let it idle while I loaded the car, then we went over to Connie’s house for the afternoon. When we got there Nancy got out of the car and said "Is my car running?" Oops, never turned it off after I loaded! With the truck running I never noticed, duh! 

Nancy & Connie have been knitting while we binge-watch the first and second season of Boardwalk Empire. Mid-afternoon I took the truck over so Miles could climb around inside. He loves the “really big truck!” He likes to push and pull all the switches and buttons that make air hiss. At one point he had the directional signals flashing and we had to get out and look at them.

Dinner at Connie’s and then we said our good-byes.

Tuesday 11/18

Hooked up & got on the road about 9:30. Uneventful trip to Albuquerque, good weather all the way, arrived at Enchanted Trails about 6:30.

We had made plans to meet my cousin’s daughter Debbie and her son for dinner. They moved to Albuquerque last summer and seem to be really happy with their new jobs and living here. Had a nice visit  dinner (at Cracker Barrel of course.)

Wednesday 11/19

A little late getting on the road, left a little after ten and finished up at Ft Wilcox Rv in Wilcox, AZ. Only 80 miles out of Tucson, this makes a good stop and a short day tomorrow, been stopping here for several years. Arrived about 6 PM after lunch in Truth or Consequences and a stop at the Flying J in Lordsburg for fuel.


Thursday 11/20

Took our time getting on the road this AM as we were only 80 miles from Tucson. Made our regular stop at the do-it-yourself car wash in Wilcox which has a bay tall enough for the truck & trailer. We were not too dirty, just road grime, but it is good to get there clean.

Stopped and filled both propane tanks at Barnett's Propane in Tucson, easy stop since it is right off the freeway and I can pull in with the truck and trailer.  Then on to Desert Trails, arrived about 12:30. Got parked in our regular space and then headed in to town for lunch at Beyond Bread. Stopped and got the car washed at Royal Car Wash, then back home to finish getting settled.

Blackhawks looked pretty good tonight, hopefully they are finally coming out of their slump.

Friday 11/21

Happy Birthday to my little brother Tim who would have been 65 today, had he made it past 32. Miss him more every year.

The cold I have been fight off and on for a week and a half finally caught up with me this AM so I pretty much vegged out this morning. Nancy took a walk around the park, then we watched F1 practice. After lunch we did some puttering around, unloaded bikes, etc.

Saturday 11/22

Felt much better this AM, we took our first walk in the desert this morning. Everything looks green and healthy, they had a fair amount of rain this year. Met some new neighbors who have two very old labradors, one over 17!

Nancy did some laundry and spent some time visiting with Karen & Gary, then we went to BK for a late lunch and then some grocery shopping. 

Blackhawks broke out big time against the hapless Oilers tonight, perhaps this will help them get over the hump!

Sunday 11/23

Early morning walk in the desert and then watched the last F1 race of the season. Planning on going on the bike ride tomorrow, but Nancy’s bike has a flat tire. Found a bike shop open today, Loop Bicycles, so we took the wheel over then and then stopped at the Rillito Park Farmer’s Market. One of the better farmer’s markets we have found in the area, a bit far away, but close to the one in St. Phillip’s Plaza, so we could hit both on another 

There was a Culver’s right around the corner, so of course we had lunch there and then a stop at Trader Joe’s. Back home I got the bikes ready for tomorrow, put the bike rack on the new hitch on the smart so we don’t have to carry the bikes on the truck anymore.

Well the Blackhawk’s stunk up the place in Vancouver tonight, a couple good games then they fizzle.

Monday 11/24

First Monday AM RV Park meeting, planning for Thanksgiving dinner here in the park. Also our first ride of the year with the bike group. Started out with the bikes on the smart, but will have to rethink the hitch arraignment, the bottom of the hitch hits the ground when loaded. Between the low hitch on the small car and the design of our rack it hangs too low. Will need to do some modifications or get a different rack for use on the smart. Need to investigate this week,

Turned around and ran back home, loaded the rack & bikes on the truck and went on to the the ride location, fortunately a nearby one. Had a nice ride along the bike path by the Santa Cruz River (which of course has no water in it this time opt year) on a beautiful, cool day - mid 60’s. We skipped the lunch as they were going to Olive Garden which did not excite either of us.

Back home Nancy did some visiting around the park while I aid the monthly bills. Don’t know if I mentioned it before, but our new WiFi Ranger is working like a dream here, pulling in the park WiFi just great. Thanks again to WiFi Ranger for the great door prize at last spring's Escapade.

Tuesday 11/25

Sorted out what I needed for the bicycle rack to fit on the smart. Stopped at Lowe’s to see if they had anything, but no. Then we went up to Tucson Trailer Co. on Miracle Mile, they said sure they could fabricate what we need. Probably not this week due to the holiday though, so we may need to use the truck to transport the bikes one more time.

Since we were over there we had to stop at Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner.) Then another quick stop at Trader Joe’s, Nancy stopped at a make-up shop, then we stopped at a Super Target for the rest of the needed groceries.

Back home I installed our new automatic door latch, which holds the door open with just a push and then releases it with another push. Now we can latch and unlatch the open door without going outside to release the latch. Anyone who has traveled in an RV will appreciate that.

Karen and Gary stopped by and we had a nice visit and a couple of drinks.

Wednesday 11/26

After our morning walk Nancy spent a a lot of time baking for the dinner tomorrow (and for me!). We had vowed not to go out, but needed a quick run to the closest Food City at Mission and Ajo for a couple of items, traffic not bad this side Mission, but Ajo was sold in both directions East of there.

Took care of Margo in the afternoon while Karen and Gary took care of some business stuff.

Washed the windows on the outside and did a few other small items as we get settled in for the winter.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold Weather in Denver!!

Headed for Denver
Wednesday 11/5/13

Got a good start, on the road a few minutes after 10 AM. Uneventful day with goo weather all the way. Stopped for the night at the Cracker Barrel in Council Bluffs, IA.

Thursday 11/6

Up early, had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and were on the road by 8 AM, an early start for us. Another nice day with good weather, other than a persistent headwind that hurt our fuel mileage both yesterday & today.

By mid-day we were close to our planned stop in Ogalla, NE. We were both feeling pretty fresh so we decided to go on to Cherry Creek. Called the park and verified that we could get in a day early. Stopped just South of Ft. Morgan and filled a propane tank, then on into Denver.

Of course that meant that we arrived on the North side of Denver right at 5 PM and fought stop and go traffic all the way around to Cherry Creek on the Southeast side. Got in and settled by 6:30. Ran over to Casa Vallarta for dinner.

Friday 11/7

Unloaded the car and got registered at the campground, purchased our annual Colorado State Parks vehicle pass. It works out well for us as we get in three visits on one annual pass. This one is good through November 2015, so it covers us for this visit as well as spring and fall next year.

On over to Emily’s house to see the family. Babies are 14 months and close to walking now, Miles is an active 3 year old. Ordered pizza for dinner.

Saturday 11/8

Emily is out of town at a conference and Gregg is on call this weekend, with rounds to do today, Connie, Laurie, Nancy & I are on child watching duty. Laurie and I took Miles to his soccer practice, which was a different and interesting experience. Miles was not in the mood to cooperate this morning so he did a lot of standing around watching.

Quiet afternoon with the kids and then Connie & Laurie went with Nancy & I to Tag Burger Bar for dinner.

Sunday 11/9

Weather forecast says it is going to get REALLY cold this week, predicting lows below 10 degrees! WIll be a good test for our “winter package” on the fiver!

Watched the F1 race from Brazil, than off to Connie’s in the afternoon. Laurie made a nice chicken dinner which we took over to Emily & Gregg’s so the family could eat together. Nice evening with a lot of laughter.

BAck home we watched the Blackhawks vs. San Jose on the DVR. Looked like they were going to throw away a 3 goal lead for a while in the 2nd, but they got some mojo back and won 5-3.

Monday 11/10

COLD, COLD weather coming in! It was 62 degrees at 10 AM, I went out and filled out fresh tank, checked things over and plugged in the block heater on the truck. The North wind started howling and by Noon it was 36 degrees! Headed for 12 degrees tonight! Forecast is for daytime temps in the 20’s and lows around 5 for the next three days! Sure will test the cold weather ability of our trailer.

Nancy went off this morning to spend the morning with her sister and the kids. I stayed home to fill our fresh tank and make sure everything was closed up to protect from the cold. We have a sheet of silver, quilted insulation that we put in one window that gets the late afternoon sun in Tucson. Figured that would help against cold as well, so after Nancy came back at lunchtime we went over to Lowe’s and bought another roll.

It was snowing quite hard by that time, big fluffy flakes, but not really sticking as the ground is still warm. Back home we cut the insulation to fit and put it under the pull down shades on the big windows in our living room, which are facing into the North wind. Worked well, we were snug and comfortable all evening. 14 Degrees when we sent to bed!

Tuesday 11/11

10 degrees and 6:15 AM! We survived the cold just fine so far, in fact it was a bit warm for sleeping last night. We usually turn the heat down and crack a window even when it is cold. Last night I left the furnaces both turned up to keep our water tanks and lines warm. 

Wednesday 11/12

Thought 10 degrees was cold yesterday, but this morning it was right at zero when we got up and at Noon it was still only 3 degrees! Also snowed most of the morning. Sure picked a fine week to visit Denver. Trailer is doing fine though, both furnaces are running 24/7. Like I said yesterday, only problem so far is a bit too warm at night.




Monday, April 7, 2014

Tucson to Denver and Some Snow!

Thursday 3/27

Last class at Tucson Yoga this morning and our regular stop at Food Conspiracy. Back home I did some work on the brown bag presentation. Received an e-mail this afternoon asking me to postpone the presentation until May 2015. We had run into a scheduling conflict. It was originally scheduled for May 13th, but we signed up and paid for the Escapee’s Escapade in Elkhart that week without realizing we already had a commitment. The History Center tried to reschedule, but it did not work out.

Blackhawks got shut out by Boston tonight, the slump continues and there are only eight games left in the season. They are pretty well guaranteed to make the playoffs, but at this point their chances do not look very good. Once again they started really strong, dominated the first ten minutes and just could not get the puck in the net in spite of numerous chances. Don’t know what it is, but something needs to change soon!

Friday 3/28

Usually our morning walks in the desert are between 1-1/2 and 2 miles (we do 2 miles a day at home on pavement). We did not get in a long hike or a climb this year, mainly due to us both fighting colds in January and February - prime hiking time - so today we decided to go a little longer. We ended up only doing 4 miles as it was getting a bit hot. We went out through Tucson Mountain Park (if you look at the map on this link Desert Trails is right there at the "D" in San Joaquin Rd., so you can see how easy it is to hike into the park) to the Ironwood Picnic area and then circled back to the trail out of the park.

We found another flowering cactus in the BLM land less than 200 yards from our door
and then we saw that the Saguaro right behind us here in the park has bloomed.

This one is in the BLM land:

This saguaro is about 40 feet behind our trailer:

As you can see it has quite a few buds as well.

On the way into town we saw that the one on Kinney Rd. now has three blooms and four or five more about to burst:


Lunch for the last time at Beyond Bread, we only needed one more visit on the frequent customer program to qualify for an award, which turned out to be a free loaf of bread that had to be redeemed before the end of May. Good thing we got the last one in before we leave town.

Blackhawks continued their slide tonight, losing 5-3 to Ottawa! In the last week they have lost three out of four games, two of them to two of the worst teams in the league. They are self-destructing. 

Saturday 3/29

More cactus blooming in the desert, too bad we are leaving as it looks like a good year for cactus blooms.

Watched F1 qualifying this morning and then we started getting things put away and packed up. spent a couple of hours doing that, then we went to BK Tacos one last time for lunch.

Today was Karen’s birthday, they invited us to join them along with her brother and sister-in-law at Silver Saddle Steakhouse. We had a nice evening and a really good steak dinner.

Sunday 3/30

Morning walk and then we watched the F1 race, which was certainly more entertaining than the hockey game later in the afternoon! The Hawks continue their slide, played on of the worst games in recent memory, lost Jonathan Toews to what could be a significant injury on an apparently legal but seriously cheap hit. This team is crumbling before our eyes. Some commentators are saying it is exhaustion - between playing late into the summer last season and then sending 10 players to the Olympics. Of course the guys that got a rest during the Olympics have done very little to pick up the slack.

Packing up day. Our neighbors next door left this morning so I was able to load the car without having to move the truck. Did it in the morning as there was a bit of cloud cover. Then I spent the better part of an hour trying to get corroded water hose couplings apart. Had not run into that before, must be something to do with the new hoses I bought in Denver last Nov. I broke the Y fitting I use on the spigot trying to get the hose off, still have the broken part in the hose fitting. Then the coupling between the two hoses under the trailer needed Lime Away to get them apart. Had to soak the ends on CLR to get them cleaned up. Serious PIA. Glad I looked at them today instead of tomorrow morning when we wanted to get going.

Nancy did a laundry and then after it was dry I disassembled the clothes rack and loaded the bikes on the back of the trailer. While I was packing up outside Nancy spent the time packing cupboards and dishes.

We have everything except last minute items pretty well packed up, so we can get on the road early tomorrow morning. We lose and hour right away since we are still on Mountain Standard Time here and Denver is an hour ahead of us. Hoping to make Albuquerque tomorrow evening.

Monday 3/31

Got off to a good start this morning. Gary came by with Margo to wave goodbye. We were on the road shortly after 8 AM and the weather was good all the way, even had a slight tail wind most of the way.

Had lunch at a MacDonald’s in Deming before taking a state highway to cut across to I-25 at Hatch.

Stopped in a rest area along I-25 and there was a gentleman under the back of his motorhome. I walked over and asked if he had the tools he needed, as I carry a pretty comprehensive assortment. Turns out he had a good set of tools, but nothing SMALL enough to get to the bolts on his pressure relief valve, which was stuck open. Got out my set of 1/4” drive sockets and got him one that would work and he got his system fixed, at least temporarily. In the process of moving to park behind him I managed to tangle with a post along the edge of the rest area and put some paint from the post on the end of the bumper we replaced last winter! Bummer, looks like I will be able to clean it up pretty well except for a few scratches.
  
Made Albuquerque right at 6 PM, tuning onto I-40 and stopping on the access bridge! Took us 25 minutes of stop and go traffic to go 9 miles west to the RV park, Enchanted Trails. Nice little park, not as fancy as American RV Park right across the highway where we stayed in the fall, but half the price since it is a Passport America park. A little bit of highway noise, but not bad.

After setting up we ran over to Cracker Barrel for dinner, had not been to one since we were on the road in November, used the gift card that Emily and Gregg gave us last fall. Warm enough tonight to keep the vent fan running in the bedroom as we have been doing for a month or so in Tucson and about 4 AM we both started sneezing! Worse for Nancy than me, but something obviously started pumping out pollen during the night!

Tuesday 4/1

Easier day planned today, 250 miles to Trinidad, CO so no hurry to get going this morning. Stopped at the Cracker Barrel North of Albuquerque for breakfast and Nancy was very disappointed to find that they have discontinued regular oatmeal throughout the chain!!

Uneventful trip over Raton Pass, fairly windy all day, but from the Southwest so we had a bit of a tailwind again.

Sure love this truck, no stress at all over Raton Pass, 7,835 feet above sea level. Maintained an easy 50-55 MPH in 9th gear going up and easy descent in 9th with the engine brake.

Arrived at Trinidad Lake State Park campground at 3 PM and settled in. Decided not to unhitch since we were nice and level and no real need to fully set up. Pretty windy this afternoon so we were doing a bit of rocking, but no big deal. We are sitting at 6,835 feet in the campground.

Weather is supposed to be good into Denver tomorrow, but the forecast is for snow Wednesday afternoon and evening!

Found out a few days later from a post on one of theRV forums that we were fortunate to stop in Trinidad. Another RV'er, who had spent the night before just North of Santa Fe reported that the winds on the Colorado side of the pass were really fierce, causing problems for some RVs, and then they hit a massive traffic jam going through Colorado Springs caused by a tappers block for a North bound accident!

Wednesday 4/2

Uneventful trip on into Denver, weather was good, but a bit windy - no issue for us. Arrived at Cherry Creek State Park about 1:30. Our purchase of an annual Colorado Parks Pass last spring has paid off well. It cost $70 and saves us $9 a day while we are here! Because we bought it in early April 2013 we got 13 months use out of it. Between April 2013, last fall and this month we will have spent 45+ days!

No reservations, so we needed to do the two days at a time renewal dance. After we were situated Nancy went on line and found that there were no reservations for our site and that we could book it starting Saturday. So I went on-line and booked it for 10 days starting the 5th. Good thing since I had to stand on line for 20 minutes Friday morning to renew for the one night - not the most efficient process! Of course there were two park rangers standing there whistling Dixie while the volunteer on the desk worked her butt off!

Stopped by Connie’s house and then the three of us walked over to Emily’s, she was out at the park with the kids so we walked over there to join them. Wow! The babies have really grown, double the size they were when we were here last fall. Miles had turned into a little boy. After a few minutes he turned to me and said “Where’s your truck?”. Dinner with Connie and Laurie.

Thursday 4/3

Woke up to 8” + of heavy wet snow! It was raining as we came home last night and the forecasts proved to be right. Finally got to use the nice collapsable shovel I have been carrying around for years!

Family had things going on today, so we hunkered down and relaxed. Went over to Connie’s house late in the day and shared a pizza with Connie & Laurie. I am coming down with a cold, so I need to avoid the babies for a couple of days.

Watched the Hawks win in Minnesota tonight, they put out a better effort tonight.

Friday 4/4

Took Nancy over to Connie’s office this morning as they had some work and shopping to do. I came back home to rest and see if I can throw off this cold.

Miles is spending the night at Connie’s and Nancy is staying there as well. I am staying home to watch the hockey game and keep my cold away from there. Hawks put together a pretty good effort tonight and won. Things are looking up a bit.

 Saturday 4/5

Over to Connie and Laurie’s for a home made French toast breakfast (Laurie is a great cook!)

Ran some errands and then spent some time with the family, looking after the babies while Emily and Greg ran some errands.

Later we went to Tag Burger Bar with Connie and Laurie for dinner.

Sunday 4/6

Stayed home to watch the F1 race, which turned out to be the best and most exciting race we have seen in a couple of years. The new cars have really upset the status quo in F1 and some of the back marker teams are running up front. We recorded the Hawks game to watch later.

Went over to Connie’s and then to Emily and Greg’s where they made a really nice dinner for all of us, they really out-did themselves! Then Laurie supplied delicious home-made ice cream for desert.

Back home late we watched the Blackhawks beat St Louis, they really seem to have found their legs again in the last three games - three games left to the playoffs, fingers crossed!

Monday 4/7

Stopped at Costco for Nancy to get a prescription filled, then we drove up to the North side of the city to make a quick stop at Hammond’s Candies. Did not take the tour, which we have done before, but we did stock up on candy and candy canes. Stopped at Whole Foods, a Car Quest and large bicycle shop that we had seen on the way, Bicycle Village. I have been looking for new biking gloves. Could not find any I liked, but asked if they had any string-back gloves like my old, old ones. Not in stock, but they could order them! And they were cheaper than anything else I have looked at her or in Tucson.
Back to Connie’s for dinner, Nancy made a delicious chicken and peanut salad.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cactus Flowers and Bees!

Thursday 3/20

Tucson Yoga first thing this morning and then a stop at Food Conspiracy. Puttered around in the afternoon and then over to Nimbus Brewery for dinner. One reason for going there was to pick up a six pack of Monkey Shine beer and they were out!

Friday 3/21

After our morning walk we went into town for the Spring Fourth Avenue Fair. They had great weather all weekend and huge crowds. Pulling into the parking garage we ran into Karen and Gary and shopped with them for a while. We always park in the garage on the NE corner of Fourth and Congress, easy access and only a two block walk to the street fair. We spent a couple of hours browsing the stalls and Nancy picked up a number of things including a new hat.

Stopped at BK Tacos for lunch (we've been in a bit of a rut for eating out this year, found a few favorite places), then back home I gave Reid a hand removing the rails for a fifth wheel hitch from one of our neighbor’s trucks. We had to remove the camper shell, then he crawled around underneath undoing the bolts while I laid in the bed and pulled out the occasional bolt - my kind of work!

Then I checked on our batteries, which seemed to have been failing - although they should have been good, the are AGMs and only three years old. It turned out the connections between the two batteries had loosened over time. I cleaned and tightened all the connections the connections and I think they will be OK. We ran on batteries with exhaust fans running and some lights for several hours and they seemed to stand up fine.

Blackhawks played tonight and won again, things are starting to look up.

Saturday 3/22

Slept a bit late and then took our regular walk in the desert. Nancy did some laundry, I reinstalled the battery covers and closed the battery/spare tire slide.

I received an e-mail from Verizon saying that I was eligible to upgrade to an iPhone 5c for free. Nancy wanted to upgrade her iPhone 4 to a 5 so it could be used in Europe this summer. Her phone is not eligible for an upgrade until late November, but in the past we had found that we could swap my upgrade date with hers.

So we went to the Verizon store on Speedway to get set up. We wanted to do it here as we have had very good service at this particular Verizon store and this time was no exception. However, it turns out on this offer we could not switch between accounts, it is to get non-smart phones out of service. So ... I ended up getting the 5c, along with a Mophie battery pack as part of the bundle. We will be able to use my phone in Europe next summer and Nancy can upgrade in the fall. We also changed to a better data plan shared between both phones (this is my first "smart" phone) for only about $8 more than we were paying before. We dropped our land line last summer as it was not being used for anything other than someone trying to sell something.

Lunch at Beyond Bread (yes, we are in a rut), then we stopped at Trader Joe’s and headed home.

Sunday 2/23

After our morning walk we went with Karen and Gary to Cushing Street Bar & Grille for brunch, they had a 20% off coupon to share. Had a really nice time and a great meal. Gary & I had B. L. T. O. E. - an open face BLT with caramelized onions with two eggs over easy on top and cole slaw! It was delicious. Nancy and Karen had omelets.

After breakfast Nancy & Karen headed out for an afternoon of successful shoe shopping. I spent several hours trying to download rings tones for my iPhone, then discovered instructions for creating ringtones from songs already in iTunes. Now I can create a snippet for a ringtone from ANY song in my iTunes library! Now we both have unique ring tones on our phones.

Blackhawks played tonight and played a really strong game ... except once again they could not score! They outplayed and outshot the Predators and lost 2 zip. This is getting to be a serious slump! They are still the highest scoring team in the league, but not since the first of the year. Getting scary.


Monday 2/23

Our last Monday morning meeting for the year. After the meeting we went with the bike group for the last ride of the year. Went to “The Loop” along the Rialto river. Most of the group went East again as we did last time, but Karen, Gary, Nancy & I went West as far as La Cholla Blvd. It was a nice ride and we got to see some different areas, a little over 8 miles round trip. Then we all went to Sweet Tomato’s on North Stone for lunch. 

Back home Nancy did some Spanish and I did some getting ready for the trip North next week and a couple repairs. The furnace in our bedroom has developed a strange vibrating noise on chilly mornings, so I opened up the panel next to it and hopefully found the problem - a piece of plastic sleeve that protected a sharp edge on a panel had dangled  off and was lying partially on top of the furnace, I think creating the vibration. We will see next chilly morning. I also found a couple of items - including a long missing electric toothbrush case! - that had dropped out of the vanity drawers that are right above the furnace compartment!

Tuesday 3/25

Instead of our desert walk we went over to the Desert Museum and did a brisk walk around the desert loop. On the way Nancy spotted a saguaro with a blossom, the first we have ever seen, right along Kinney Rd. We quickly pulled into the Old Tucson parking lot and walked back along the road about 200 feet so we could get a good look and take a picture. The cactus is on the right side of the road on the Northbound side, 400 feet before the entrance to Old Tucson. 

We have seen saguaros with buds on them, but they usually do not bloom until May. This one is right by the road, so it apparently gets extra water from run-off and the buds are on the south facing side of the cactus. Seeing one this early, and for the first time was a real treat.




There were lots of flowers at the Desert Museum as well, here is one on a teddy bear cholla:




and one on a regular cholla:


We also learned a bit about bees. Seems that this area of the Sonoran desert has the largest variety of bees in the world - over 700 species! Bees from the size of hummingbirds to ones as small as mites. We get bees on our hummingbird feeder here occasionally, and they have bee traps around the park, but we don't really see many. According to the docent at the museum a lot of them are solitary bees who nest in wood or in the ground. 

After a short stop at home we headed into town and stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch (yeah, I know). Nancy had a short appointment on the east side and then we came back home. Nancy went to her Spanish study group and I worked on our windmill presentation at the History Center in May.

Blackhawks played tonight and finally looked like themselves and won a good game. Back-to-back games coming up Thursday and Friday in Boston and Ottawa, so we will see. One really bright spot was the debut of Teuvo Teravainen, our 19 year-old prospect from Finland. He looked really good and won seven of seven face-offs!

Wednesday 3/26

Nancy had her last Spanish class this morning. Karen and Gary dropped Margo off for the day and I spent most of the morning working on the History Center presentation. After Nancy returned from her class I went over to the pool hall to get on-line without the WiFi and pay the months bills. Nancy did some laundry - it was quite breezy today and the laundry on our clothes rack dried in about 40 minutes!

I spent most of the afternoon on the windmill presentation and have it pretty well finished, now I just have to check the timing to see if I have enough material.


We are targeting Monday the 31st as our departure date, weather is looking good through New Mexico and over Raton Pass into Denver.