Sunday, January 18, 2015

Visit to Barrett Jackson

Sunday 1/11

Beautiful morning with an amazing display of sunlit clouds

After our walk we watched CBS Sunday Morning, but CNN preempted Fareed Zakaria - for the third week in a row! - with wall-to-wall coverage of the activities in Paris. Watched the Packers win against Dallas, then I did some minor maintenance and loaded the bikes on the car while Nancy did some Spanish. 

Blackhawks had a good win against the Wild tonight.

Monday 1/12

Rained during the night and it was spotty looking in the morning. The resident that organizes the bike ride was under the weather and others were leery of the rain so there was no organized bike ride. We already had our bikes loaded on the car and after Nancy talked to Karen at the AM meeting, we decided to go over to the Sam Lena Recreation Area and check out the path there with Karen and Gary.

It turned out to be a really nice day, sunny with temps in the 60‘s, and the path turned out to be a nice ride, well paved loop around the reserve, 2.3 miles around with a spur that headed west in a wash. We did three times around the loop, then went over to Nimbus Brewing, which is quite close, for lunch.

Karen and Gary came over for cocktails in the evening and we finalized plans for our trip to Mesa later in the week for the Barrett Jackson auction.

Tuesday 1/13

The last several days have seen a lot of high, puffy clouds, unusual compared to what we have seen in past years,  but still really nice days. Perfect weather for our morning walks and whatever.

Did a few chores around home, got registered as volunteers for the Tucson Festival of Books in March, the weekend after Escapade. 

Wednesday 1/14

Nancy has Spanish this morning and then we are headed to Mesa with Karen and Gary. Guys are going to Barrett Jackson while the girls shop.

Uneventful trip to Mesa. We took two vehicles so we could go in different directions on Thursday. Nancy & I took the Volvo as it is way more comfortable than the smart car for two hours on the interstate. Karen had made reservations at the Superstition Springs Best Western in Mesa since they allow pets and she brought Margo along. Turned out to be a very nice motel for a relatively reasonable price. 

Went to R. T. O’Sullivan’s Sports Grille just across the expressway for a drink before dinner, spotted a Crispy Cream Doughnuts nearby, but did not stop. Karen want to go to diner at a pizza place she remembered from years ago: Organ Stop Pizza. Turned out to be a pretty amazing place that also happened to have pretty good pizza. The building was custom built as a two story showroom for the world largest pipe organ! In addition to the organ (with nearly 6,000 pipes!) there were numerous peripheral instruments controlled by the organ. The organist did constant shows throughout the evening. Well worth a stop.

Thursday 1/14

Gary and I headed up to Scottsdale early, got there about 8:30 after some stop and go traffic. We took the Volvo and had an interesting experience parking the truck. The exit on Bell Rd., that Google Maps had sent us to, specified it was for parking permits only; next exit the same; third exit north of the auction had sign for general parking. Followed the direction signs and ended up west of the 101 expressway, the auction is on east side. So now we are several miles north on the opposite side of the expressway, only access by shuttle bus - hey it is what it is.

Pulled into lot, attendant says "I can't park that here."

I say, "It will fit in the space of a dually long bed."

He says, "Sorry boss won't let me, you need to go to the semi & trailer lot."

OK, he gives me directions. Another mile west and a ways farther north to the "semi" lot. Attendant says "Where's your pass?"  

"Don't have one."

"OK, park anywhere and pick one up and put it on when you get back."

"How do we get to the auction?"

"Don't know, most people park and someone picks them up."

So, that won't work, after I ask him what to do and he says,

"Go back south to Bell Rd. (where we wanted to go in first place!) and to the  main entrance and they will take care of you."

SO, we go back to Bell Rd and into auction site, past reserved parking and, lo and behold, there is another "general parking". Pull up to attendant and he looks at us, picks up his radio and says,

"Ive got a big RV here, where do you want it?"

Radio replies, "Does he have a trailer?"

"No, just a semi"

"OK be right there"

Attendant, "Pull over there and we'll park you in a couple of minutes."

Less than five minutes later a ATV pulls up and signals us to follow. We follow him across a couple of empty lots, where he moves barriers to let us through, finally into a lot right next to the auction arena and tells me to park next to a commercial bob-tail at the back of the lot!

Park the Volvo and we are less than 300 yards from the main entrance to auction!

Not only were we within walking distance, but a guy pulls up with a bicycle rickshaw and gives us a free ride right to the gate!

This turned out to be the biggest car show I have ever been to, there must have been 1,500 to 2,000 cars and almost any one of them would take best of show in a a local car show. Just amazing, eventually it got to where we were just walking past jaw dropping cars! 

Large vendor areas with everything under the sun for sale as well, including Roush Mustangs, custom Corvettes and even airplanes - which were on display! Had a $10 burger for lunch (actually pretty good) and a little after noon we went and sat in the bleacher seats in the auction area for the auction itself. Pretty interesting to watch, we sat there for over an hour. All the seats on the floor of the arena were reserved for bidders. You needed to pay $400 and register a minimum $30k letter of credit to even bid! Prices were pretty strong as far as we could tell.

Walked around the staging lanes and then discovered there were five more huge tents full of cars that had already been across the block out there! Feet wore out before we got even halfway through those tents! Headed back to the motel in Mesa to meet the girls.

Nancy and Karen got going a little later than we did. They visited the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix in the morning, then had lunch at La Santisima in Phoenix, a restaurant Angel had recommended. They agreed it was good, but the drinks were pricey. In the afternoon they visited the Queen Creek Olive Mill and took the very informative tour, as well as sampling the olive oil.

That evening we had a lengthy discussion trying to pick a place for dinner. After a lot of back and forth we decided to go back to R. T. O’Sullivan’s. Turns out that Thursday night all sandwiches were on special and the were quite good. After dinner we walked across the parking lot to Crispy Cream, they bought one each - I bought a dozen!

Friday 1/15

Leisurely breakfast, then the four of us drove up the Apache Trail toward Roosevelt Lake. Apache Junction itself has been pretty much absorbed in metro Phoenix. We stopped and nosed around the Superstition Mountain Museum, shop had a large assortment of interesting books, did not pay to go through the museum, but it did not look like anything to write home about. Then we stopped at Goldfield Ghost Town, just down the road. A bit more interesting and we walked around for an hour or so while the girls nosed around a couple of shops.

Stopped at the Lakeside Restaurant in Canyon Lake Marina for lunch, turned out it was Friday fish fry so the others had fish while I had a burger. Nice place with a good view of the lake. As it turned out this was a good choice since Tortilla Flat, where we had thought of having lunch, was really crowded when we got there. Gary and I relaxed while the girls nosed around some more shops. Margo got a lot of attention from passers by. Quite a nice little free museum there.

Then it was back to Mesa where Karen and Gary dropped us at the motel to pick up the truck. They were staying in Mesa another night in order to go to a flea market on Saturday.

We headed home, going East on US 60 (to avoid Friday afternoon traffic around Phoenix) to AZ 79 into Florence, then 287 into Coolidge where we picked up AZ 87 which runs straight South to I-10 near Picacho Peak. Then in order to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic in Tucson we left I-10 at Arva Valley Rd. and went West to Sandario Rd. which runs straight South on the West side of Saguaro National Park West. Back into the park on Mile Wide Rd. and then Kinney Rd. through Tucson Mountain Park and back home.

Got home in time to watch the Blackhawks lose to the Winnipeg Jets for the third time this season! Only bright spot was Teuvo Teravainen scored his first NHL goal. He has been more and more of a factor over the last few games since he was called up from Rockford, you can see him gaining confidence with every game. Going to be another star for the Hawks.

Saturday 1/17

Another beautiful morning for our walk in the desert. Sometime we just have to stop and soak in the beauty of the desert at dawn, the mountains change appearance constantly as the light changes, the cholla almost fluoresce as they catch the morning sun, the mountains look very pretty in the clear morning air, and the saguaro look beautiful in the morning light. That combined with the quiet, only broken by the singing of the birds and the occasional coyote make for an amazing experience, and we get to do it every morning!

Cleaned up the truck this morning, killed a lot of bugs between here and Mesa; put the covers on the tires and closed the curtains in the cab.

Had a couple of our day/night shades crap out in the last two days, strings starting to fray. Fairly easy job to restring them and we have the material on hand to do it. Nancy and I (four hands are better than two for this job) did one this afternoon, will do the other tomorrow.

Sunday 1/18

Usual morning walk and then watched Sunday Morning on CBS. A quick run to the Walmart Neighborhood Market to replenish, then home to watch the Packers beat lose to the Seahawks, and then the Blackhawks stink up the United Center for the second game in a row! Just mailing it in the last few games.

During the first half of the football game we restrung the other shade that needed attention. Food truck in the park tonight was Land of Crepes which Nancy wanted to try. Unfortunately the truck comes between 3 and 6 PM (geezers are us!) and when we went over at 6 they were sold out of the ones Nancy wanted, so we had our usual Sunday night pizza.

Downton Abby and a new Masterpiece Mystery tonight.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Sweater Pic

Here is a picture of my new Blackhawks sweater, my Christmas present from Nancy:

Wednesday 12/31

Cold and rainy today, finished up the house cleaning and straightened up - how the heck could I mess the place up so much in one day?!

Karen and Gary knew Nancy would not be home until late this evening, so they invited me over for dinner. Karen put on a great spread with enough snacks laid out for six people instead of three - although we did manage to eat most of it! Then a really nice steak dinner with all the trimmings. We had a nice evening and visit.

When I left Karen & Gary’s house it was snowing! Fairly heavy snow until I got East of the Tucson Mountains, then just rain. Nancy's flight was slightly delayed due to snow squalls. Drove through some more snow on the way home from the airport. No accumulation but the next morning there was still ice on the front of the car..

Thursday 1/1/15

Cold this morning! 30 degrees when we got up. Quiet morning and then we watched the Winter Classic, Blackhawks lost.

Pretty much took it easy the rest of the day and evening. 

Friday 1/2

Another cold morning, high 20s last night. Disconnected our water and ran off our fresh tank last night. Had to run into town for some groceries so we stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch and then stopped at Royal Car Wash at Campbell and Ft. Lowell as the car was pretty dirty from the snow and rain over the last week.

Stopped at Trader Joe’s and Albertsons, then the Desert Museum to renew our membership. Back home and relaxed - with the furnace running! High around 40 today, supposed to warm up over the weekend.

Saturday 1/3

Early start to head over to first Saturday at H F Coors which is when they sell seconds and surplus stuff. Ran into Karen and Gary there. Nancy found a number of sale items and bought a few gifts in the regular store. Stopped at the grocery store and then home. Otherwise an uneventful day, weather still cool.

Sunday 1/4

After a leisurely breakfast we headed towards Saguaro National Park East for a ranger talk on the medicinal value of desert plants. On the way we made a stop at Costco and then a late lunch at Culvers. Then we stopped and took a look at the Kino Environmental Restoration Project. I saw an article about bird watching there and thought it looked like a good spot for bike riding. Looked nice, with a paved path around a man made lake. Not sure if it is long enough for the Monday bike group, but we plan on bring our bikes over and checking it out later in the week.

The ranger talk was very interesting, although we promptly forgot 75% of what he told us about. Kind of like the geology talk we have gone to over and over before it starts to sink in!

Good Blackhawks game tonight - the won in overtime, their first lead of the game!

Monday 1/5 

Picked up our Arizona Daily Star this morning - which we get delivered to our space here in the park - and the lead story contained this sentence: “Since his November election, he’s been vague about how he’ll manage the budget shortfall and has hesitated to fill in the banks left in the talking points of his election stump speech.” Gee, did I get transported back to Illinois? Nope, this is the new Republican governor of AZ they are talking about! Just like home! People in Arizona buy the Republican BS just as much as the folks in Illinois.

Nancy went to the Monday AM meeting while I loaded the bikes on the car, forgot to do it yesterday afternoon. Our new hitch on the smart is working out great for carrying the bikes around, a lot better than loading them on the truck every time.

Bike group went to Marana and rode along the Santa Cruz bike trail and then on bike paths through a nearby neighborhood. We cut the ride a little short, along with Karen, Gary, and Jerry and headed for the restaurant ahead of the group. Nancy said she was tired of being the last in the group to be served. Ate at the Sky Rider Cafe at the Marana airport. Been there before and they have pretty good food.

Back home Nancy went over to Angel’s for her first massage of the season while I went and had a propane tank filled. Been running through some with the cold nights since we got back after Christmas.

The maintenance guys from the park were talking to our next door neighbor this afternoon about needing to dig up a broken water line, seems there is a leak right under their rig! Fortunately they will be able to just back up into the mountain bike training area behind us while the area is dug up. Bad news was they had to pick up all their Christmas decorations, carpet, chairs, etc. before they could move. Roy did not have a long electrical cord, but I have a couple of extras that he can use.

Tuesday 1/6

Well that was embarrassing!! Out for our regular morning walk this AM, when we left Roy next door was moving his trailer back so the park guys could dig up and fix the water leak. When we can back George and his assistant were scraping back the gravel and when we stopped he pointed out that the water leak was actually coming from our hose that I use to flush the black tank!! It is attached to a Y fitting with shut-off at the water spigot and has a shut-off on the end - and both of them were leaking!! That was causing the water to soak into the ground under Roy’s trailer. Bummer!

Gary stopped by with Margo this morning for a visit while Karen was doing her quilting class, which she is going to continue even though she is no longer a park resident. Then we went into the city for lunch at Beyond Bread so we could buy a gift card for Roy and Sharon Lee next door as an apology for the all work they had to do caused by our water leak.

Back home in the afternoon Nancy went off to her Spanish study group and I did some much needed cleaning on the outside of the trailer.

Blackhawks play tonight. And they were shut-out by the Avalanche! Phoned it in and paid for sleepwalking through the first five minutes.

Wednesday 1/7

Nancy had her Spanish class this AM and I did the weekly house cleaning. Stopped at BK for lunch on the way down to Fry’s in Saruhita for our monthly shopping trip to “geezer” day at Fry’s - 10% off for anyone over 65 on the first Wednesday of the month. 20+ MPH wind out of the SE made the trip down I-19 (where the speed limit is 75) a bit of a thrill ride in the smart! Bounces around in the wind like old VWs used to do.

Then a stop at Walmart to pick up my prescriptions. I changed from the AARP/United Healthcare Rx to Humana/Walmart Rx this year as it was $6 a month cheaper, lowest price plan available. Turns out the cost for 90 days of my blood pressure medicine dropped from $20 to $6! What a deal. 

Back home and relaxed.

Thursday 1/8

Warm night, 57 when we arose, but temps dropped through the day with a steady rain all day. We have had two of the rainiest days we have experienced in Arizona this winter, which actually is closer to normal than we have seen in the past and good for the environment.

Off to Tucson Yoga this morning, first class since before Christmas! Back home Nancy studied Spanish and we hibernated all day.

Nancy decided to use her new Crock Pot to cook the pork loin she bought yesterday. The pulled pork recipe called for more barbecue sauce than we had on hand so she also made a batch of homemade barbecue sauce. Both came out fantastic! Enough pulled pork for several more meals as well.

Blackhawks play tonight, hope they get their act back together! and they won in spite of themselves. The Wild out-played them most of the game, especially in the 2nd period, but they hung on to win 4-2.

Friday 1/9

Out for a nice walk this AM, warm - about 60 degrees - and light clouds. After breakfast we went up to the Desert Museum and took a nice walk around. Back home Nancy studied and I did some minor maintenance. 

Blackhawks put in a pretty good game tonight and lost. So I guess it evens out, out-played last night and won, played better tonight and lost. 

Saturday 1/10

Very windy this AM and Nancy has trouble with the dust so we skipped the walk. Nanc did laundry and then we headed in to town to the Verizon store. Nancy finally broke down and decided it is time for a new phone. Went to the Verizon store at Speedway & Campbell, where we have had really good service before, and she ended up with an iPhone 6, so she is now the cutting edge in the immediate family.

Lunch at Beyond Bread, how could we not since we were right down the street. Stops at a couple fo grocery stores and back home early afternoon. Then we had to back-up Nancy’s old phone on the laptop and then reload the apps and such into the new phone. Then I had to link her new phone to my laptop so I could reload her ringtones. Some time ago I came across a way to make ringtones from any music in iTunes, so we both have unique ringtones.

Quiet evening as usual.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wow, Three Weeks?

How can it have been three weeks since I posted last? Should have put up a post before we headed back home for Christmas. It was fairly warm and dry in Chicago while we were there, no snow, but we got enough of that in Denver in November to get us through the winter! Anyhoo … here's the latest update.

Tuesday 12/9

Nice walk in the desert in the AM, Nancy spent a good portion of the day working on her Spanish. I cleaned out and rearranged the main storage compartment (needs to be done every time we settle in as I tend to just throw stuff in there when I am loading in cold weather) and sorted out the stuff I want to sell in the yard sale on Friday.

We took care of Margo in the afternoon while Karen & Gary went to do some shopping for stuff in the new house.

Hawks won in a shoot-out tonight that they got to in spite of a pretty lackluster performance. All that counts in the standings though is a win.

Wednesday 12/10

Short desert walk this morning as Nancy had her Spanish class at 9 AM. I did some house cleaning while she was in class.

Quiet day otherwise. We went over to see Karen & Gary’s new house in late afternoon. It is really nice with a particularly nice patio with views out over the nearby wash, a nice place to sit and watch the sunset!

Then the four of us went to Taco Grio for dinner.

Thursday 12/11

Off to Tucson Yoga first thing this morning, quite a bit dryer this morning, no rivers running ion the gutters! Good class with Johanna back.

Back home for lunch and then over to Saguaro National Park West for a talk on the geology of the Tucson Mountains, third time we have heard this talk and it is finally starting to sink in so that we can understand and follow what the Ranger is saying. He is an excellent teacher, a retired college proffesor from SUNY, but with our limited background in geology it is taking a while for things to sink in.

We have been thinking we will miss the Blackhawks game on 12/27 as we will be flying back from Chicago because we would not know which Center Ice channel the game would be on to program it before we leave on the 10th. Then I found the Dish Anywhere app that allows us to program our DVR remotely - problem solved! Nor so fast! The Dish Anywhere app does not see the NHL Center Ice stations!!! Trying to work with Dish to get it corrected.

Blackhawks vs. Boston tonight.  Hawks got out to a 3-0 lead, then hung on to win 3-2 even though they lost Toews to a questionable hit in the 2nd period.

Friday 12/12

Yard sale in the RV park this morning. I had several things to sell so we skipped our walk. Turns out the only thing I sold was the washing brush that Gary said he wanted the other evening! Nancy checked out the craft sale at the rec center while I spent time on line communicating with a tech trying to get the Dish Anywhere app show our NHL Center Ice stations so I can program from home while we are away. Update: No luck. After a lot of back and forth with a tech who was really trying to help it never got resolved, so we did miss the game. I was able to use the app to program a Tucson PBS show from home in Geneva that we would have missed otherwise though.

About 11:30 we headed into town to the 4th Ave Winter Street fair. Parking garage was full, but knowing the area from going to Tucson Yoga we were able to find a free spot on  South 4th Ave just a couple of blocks from the garage. Walked the full length of the market and Nancy picked up some of the creams she likes and a couple of gifts.

A stop at Beyond Bread and then Trader Joe’s and we were back home by about 3:30.

Saturday 12/13

Cloud cover kept us warm overnight, 58 when we rose, but that also meant we never got above 60 all day. Dry for our morning walk in the desert, but then it started to drizzle and we had light rain and low clouds most of the day.

We took a run over to Tucson Mall to pick up a couple of things, stopped at Culvers for lunch before we got there. This was the most crowded mall I have seen in many, many years! Rainy Saturday less than 2 weeks before Christmas probably explains it, but it was mobbed.

Back home we relaxed and listened to Prairie Home companion before the Hawks game. On WGN tonight, so we get the Islanders broadcast feed on non-HD. Center Ice has been less than satisfactory this season, quite often we have not been able to get the Chicago commentary, just the opponent’s broadcast.

Clouds are breaking up around sunset, hopefully we will be able to see the meteor shower this evening. 

So, no luck on the meteor shower, could see stars, but there seemed to be a high, thin cloud cover and we were not very patient. Hawks played a fairly lackluster game, not as bad as some of the ones earlier in the season, but not up to their standards and they lost to the Islanders.

Sunday 12/14

Cool this AM, 38 degrees, we had breakfast and watched CBS Sunday Morning, then headed out for a bit longer walk in the desert. Went out into Tucson Mountain Park and walked the trail out to the Ironwood Picnic Area and back, only a little over three and half miles. We walk two miles every day at home, but it is a bit slower going on the rough ground out in the desert compared to pavement.

Otherwise a quiet afternoon, Nancy did some Spanish study while I worked on my couch potato skills. Blackhawks play again tonight, I’m betting this will be a stronger game than last night.

Man, that was one fast game. Last night against the Islanders was fast and exciting, tonight’s even more so - plus the Blackhawks won!

Monday 12/15

Monday AM meeting and then off with the biking group. Short trip this morning, just over to Tucson Estates, which is just down the road. We rode around the area, visiting the houses purchased by a number of former Desert Trails residents, including Karen & Gary’s new house. Stopped for lunch at Brat’s Grille, which we had never been to. Nothing to write home about, but the food was good and the group fun to be with.

Did not get back home until close to 3 PM, so that was about it for the day. Getting things packed up for our quick trip home for Christmas, leave early Wednesday morning.

Tuesday 12/16

Held off on morning walk so we could check in for our flight home tomorrow morning, ended up near the back of B group as usual. Took our walk mid-morning. It is rather amazing how we can walk along the same paths every day and always see something new or different every time we go there.

Pretty quiet day, Nancy studied some Spanish and we got things together for the trip home. Blackhawks won tonight, although they did manage to make it a bit of a nail bitter.

Sunday 12/28

Oops, forgot to post to my blog before we headed home for Christmas on the 17th! On the 27th we took the train into the city and stopped at the Blackhawks store on North Michigan where Nancy bought me a great looking Blackhawks sweatshirt for Christmas. Spent the afternoon at the Art Institute then off to the airport. Our cab driver gave us a travelogue slide show about Siri Lanka on his cell phone while driving down the Kennedy Expressway!

Got back to Tucson late Saturday night, cold weather to greet us - 38 degrees when we landed and 30 this morning. Took a nice walk in the desert anyway. Lunch at BK Tacos and then a stop at the grocery store. Afternoon at home.

Monday 12/29

Monday morning meeting and then off with the bike group for a ride along the Aviation Parkway bike trail. Fairly long drive across to the SE side of the city, then rode 7 miles back to North 4th Ave and stopped for lunch at Bumsted’s. Pretty good sandwiches, quite large, but we like the ones at Beyond Bread better. Then bikes back to where we parked the cars. Late afternoon by the time we got home.

Blackhawks managed to come from behind and beat Nashville in a shoot-out. Beginning to look like the Predators are for real this season, we will probably meet them again the playoffs.

Tuesday 12/30

Up before the crack of dawn as Nancy is flying to Denver to help Connie celebrate her birthday on Wednesday. She had a flight at 7:05 AM, so we left home at 5:30! Took only a half hour to get to the airport via Valencia Road. I tried an alternate on the way home, going up to I-10 and across. Took 25 minutes, so it is pretty much a toss-up as to which is best.

Did some house cleaning when I got home. I wanted to take the truck out for a run just to get the fluids moving, so I took it in the BK Tacos for lunch. Then I vegged the rest of the day.

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.