Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good News and Some Free Time

2/25 - Things are going well here in Sun City Center. Dennis' mom is making incredible progress with her rehab, visible improvement in her outlook and mental state as well. Between visiting with her, working with rehab people, sorting out financial issues and getting her income taxes prepared we have managed to get away a little bit.

Wednesday we went down to Anna Maria Island. Took a walk out onto the historic Anna Maria Pier and then had lunch at Rotten Ralph's, one of our favorite Florida restaurants. The dining area is actually on pier in a marina that is full of big sport fisherman boats, check out the picture on the website, the eating area is under the blue canopy. Nancy did a little shopping and we stopped at Mixon's for orange swirl ice cream cones and some orange juice, then we were back with Mom later that afternoon.

Weather has turned cold here again, high in the fifties today with a pretty stiff breeze and supposed to be around thirty tonight! I know, I know, some of you are up to your a******s in snow! Florida has had a tough winter, but not bad compared to a lot of places up north! We have decided we definitely like the winter weather in Arizona better than here.

We will post again in a few days.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back in SCC

Dennis' Mom has moved to a rehab facility in Sun City Center close to her home. We have moved from Lazy Days to Sun Lake RV in Ruskin, just down the road from SCC. The owner, Chester, was nice enough to squeeze us into a full park. We will need to move to another space in a few days, but at least we are settled for the duration. This place kind of feels like home since we have stayed here a number of times.

We will be here at least through the end of March and probably into early April. We will be going on the Prairie Home Companion cruise March 14 through March 21. We expect to start doing a few touristy things later this week, so the blog may get more interesting again! One thing we plan on doing is the Plant City Strawberry Festival.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Things are looking up

2/18 - Dennis' mom had surgery on Tuesday and everything went well. She is recovering more rapidly than expected.

We are camped in the Lazy Days RV Campground in Seffner, FL. It is only about eight miles from the hospital in Brandon FL. We expect her to be moved back to Sun City Center for rehab in the next day or two and we will move there with her.

Right now we are spending most of the days with her. Once she goes to rehab we will get out and see a few sights around Tampa. One of the first stops will be Mixon Fruit Farms. Nancy's family has been stopping there since she was a little kid. Nothing like some really fresh Florida orange juice!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In Florida

2/14 - We left Tucson headed for Florida on Friday morning; hit a campground in Pecos, TX Friday night; the Cracker Barrel in Lafayette, LA Saturday night; in a campground Countryside RV Park) an hour north of Tampa, FL at 9:30 PM Sunday night! We sure love that Volvo! It never missed a beat and the computer (which is usually a bit optimistic) shows 8.8 MPG running 70 MPH all the way.

We caught a glimpse of the start of the Mardi Gras parade going through Mobile, AL this AM. Fortunately had good weather all the way, did not even get the truck dirty!

We will be at Dennis' mothers bedside sometime Monday morning. Hoping to find a campground close to where she is tomorrow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Change of Plans

2/10 - First truly rainy day since we have been here. Rained off and on most of the day. We went to the University of Arizona and checked out a small Ansel Adams exhibit, then to the Arizona State History Museum. An excellent pottery exhibit, a nice native jewelry exhibit and an outstanding history of native peoples of the Southwest, tribe by tribe. Kind of depressing when we see what the “white man” did to the rather sophisticated native culture that existed before we arrived, but fascinating nevertheless.

We have had a change of plans. As we mentioned before Dennis’ mom has been ill and she has surgery scheduled for next Tuesday. We were planning on heading for Florida at the end of February and spending eight days on the road. Now we will leave Friday morning and try to get there in four days. We would have left sooner, but there is snow and ice forecast for New Mexico and Texas tonight and into Thursday. Should all be cleared out by Friday.

2/11 - Regular class at Tucson Yoga, then Nancy went to Elements in Balance Spa for a pedicure. We had lunch at the Chocolate Iguana on Fourth St, stopped at the Food Conspiracy, and then went to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show at the Tucson Convention Center. This is the original show which started all the gem and mineral hoo-haa in Tucson. Very interesting and a lot of spectacular jewelry and loose gems. Much better quality than we saw at the Electric Park show last week.

Back home in the afternoon, loaded the car on the truck and did some prep work getting things in the trailer ready to travel. Plan on hitting the road early tomorrow morning and making a banzai run to Florida. It is 2,064 miles and we plan on making it in 3-1/2 to 4 days. Seems like a lot, but 500 miles in a day is a breeze in the Volvo!

We'll let you all know how the trip goes. One other thing - congratulations to our friend Felicia on her new job! Nice work!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brown Mountain Views

2/5 - We took a fairly long walk in the desert this morning and then did some grocery shopping. Relaxed and visited around the campground in the afternoon

2/6 - Loaded our bikes on the truck and drove over to the Tucson Estates area for a bike ride around Tucson Estates, another beautiful day with some high clouds, in the low 70’s. Not a long ride, only about seven miles. We have been disappointed that there are not really any good places to ride around here unless we load the bikes on the truck and take them somewhere, even then most places to ride are just along streets and highways. After the ride we had a late lunch at Coyote Pause.

Went over to the oasis at the campground to watch the Bud Shootout from Daytona late this afternoon, then a late dinner at home.

2/7 - Rain this AM, rained fairly steady most of the morning and I was planning on posting about the first truly rainy day since we arrived in Arizona - BUT, by noon it had cleared off and it was a gorgeous afternoon, low 60‘s, blue skies with some puffy white clouds, and striking views of the mountains in the crystal clear air. Gotta love this weather!

Another relaxing day, Nancy did a load of laundry in the morning and we took a walk around the campground in the afternoon. Watched some of the Puppy Bowl getting ready to watch the Super Bowl. Fortunately CBS is one the two over the air stations we can get here.

2/8 - Monday morning meeting at the campground, then we took our first real desert hike. We drove up into Tucson Mountain Park and hiked up the Brown Mountain Trail to the top of Brown Mountain. Took about two hours up and back and we climbed 500 or 600 feet. It was a perfect day for the hike, in the low sixties with high puffy clouds providing just enough occasional shade.

The view of the Tucson Mountains to the east was beautiful and once we reached the top there was another great view to the west of the Avra valley, where our campground is located.

This picture is on the way up:

You can see here how high we went, click on the picture to blow it up - that little spot by the road is our smart car!

The trail was pretty good, but as can be seen from this pic there was some climbing to be done. It was not a hard climb, but not a stroll either.

Here is a cute pic of Nancy at the top of the mountain:

This is looking out to the west, into the Avra valley. Our campground is down to the left, behind the side of the mountain.

This pic is also the Avra valley, a little more to the northwest. The square patches of water off in the distance, are the water coming out of the Rio Grande destined for the City of Tucson water supply.

We had between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch of rain Sunday and the desert plants really liked it. Some have opened up leaves,

and some are starting to blossom even though it is a bit early in the season. The local people are saying that the desert wildflowers should be good by March and April.

Calling this a saguaro forest is really appropriate, we never realized just how many saguaro there are in this area. We have really come to appreciate the beauty of the desert (I know, I said that before, but it is really true) there is an incredible variety of plant life thriving in these extreme conditions.

After our hike we went to Jacks BBQ for a late lunch. Pretty good barbecue, but not as good as The Ridgewood which is still our favorite!

2/9 - Another quiet day, did some house cleaning, took a long walk around our campground and the one next door. This afternoon Dennis and Kurt took the Volvo to Home Depot and picked up a stack of sheet rock for the walls in the new library. Watching Blackhawks game tonight.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rock & Gem Show, CPR Class and APHC

1/31 - Dennis is down with a cold, Nancy had breakfast with Joan at Coyote Pause before Joan had to leave for Phoenix to catch her flight home. We just relaxed at home today. Not much more activity on Monday, went to the weekly campground meeting and then grocery shopping. Made like slugs the rest of the day. Guess we are finally getting out of the tourist mode and relaxing a bit.

2/2 - We went to two different Rock and Gem shows at Electric Park. It was quite interesting walking around looking at a lot of rocks. There were all kinds of rocks and gems, petrified wood, geodes, etc. Add to that booths with tie-dye clothing, all kinds of jewelry, tools and equipment for making jewelry, and even a huge tent full of materials for making your own jewelry. More varieties of things than we could have ever imagined, and these are just two of the forty-two rock and gem shows around the city this month! Yes, that is forty-two! Lunch at In & Out Burger again. Back home and did some maintenance. Dennis changed the seals on the toilet, a much easier job than he had anticipated. The hardest part was getting into that tiny bathroom on his hands and knees! We ordered an antenna for the WiFi connection Friday night from Data Alliance and it arrived today. Fairly easy hook-up once we struggled through the computer geek part of the deal. It improved our WiFi signal and speed considerably.

2/3 - We finally got back out in the desert for our morning walk, between spending time with family and both of us having colds we had not been out walking since Friday. Another relaxing day and then we went to the University Medical Center for a class on Continuous Chest Compression CPR put on by the Sarver Heart Center. It was an excellent class and both of us now feel very confident about being able to perform Continuous Chest Compression CPR. Medical experts have determined that chest compression is much more important than assisting with breathing in cases of sudden cardiac arrest. Since the lungs and bloodstream are already fully charged with oxygen the most important thing is to keep that blood pumping until medical help arrives. Since most of us are rarely more than 15 minutes away from medical help, Continuous Chest Compression CPR might just keep someone alive. Assisted breathing would still be needed in cases of respiratory failure like drowning or drunkenness. We recommend that everyone take a class when the opportunity presents itself.

After the class we stopped for dinner at Mosaic Cafe, yet one more excellent Mexican restaurant. The fact is, we have not come across a bad one yet!

2/4 - Off to Tucson Yoga for our Thursday yoga class, then we stopped at Elements in Balance on Fourth Ave so Nancy could make an appointment for a pedicure.

Back home Sue and John Donovan stopped by to take a look at the deck on our Volvo. They have a similar Volvo and are awaiting delivery of their New Horizons fiver before they will be head off to full time RVing. They are thinking about purchasing a smart car and loading it on their Volvo. Good luck Sue and John, hope to see you on the road sometime.

We bought tickets for tonights live HD movie theatre broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion and needed to print our ticket. We don’t have a printer with us, so we stopped at the local Pima County Library where we were able to get on line, access our e-mail account and print the ticket.

Then it was off to the El Con 20 to see the show. We got there a bit early and planned on walking through the El Con Mall until showtime - oops, the mall was virtually deserted, we walked through and did not see one store still in business! The show itself was excellent and the live HD broadcast was better than being there in person. They are going to do an encore of the show February 9th, so check on the Prairie Home Companion website, find a showing near you and go see it, you won’t be sorry. After the movie we stopped at good old In N’ Out Burger for a bite to eat and then back home by 9:30 - geezers are us!