Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back in the COLD!

Friday 12/10

We keep looking at the weather forecasts for Chicago and become less and less enthusiastic about returning home on Monday! Fortunately we have our winter jackets, etc. with us, so we may look foolish leaving here Monday morning, but at least we won’t freeze when we get there!

Regular walk in the desert this morning, and then we went into Tucson to the 4th Ave Winter Street Fair. Articles in the paper have called this the nation’s largest street fair and it sure looked like they were correct! The fair booths are set up in the middle of the street in a double row facing each curb. Good layout as the foot traffic goes around each side and the merchants on the street are included in the festival. It covers six long blocks and had a wide variety of arts and crafts. We spent a good part of the day there and walked the whole thing.

Apparently parking is a real issue, it was crowded on Friday - can’t imagine how it looked on Saturday and Sunday! Anyway, with the smart car parking was no issue, we were able to find a free space at the curb just a couple of blocks away. Too small for most cars to get into!

We also had a chance to take a test drive of the new Nissan Leaf fully electric car. They had a display set up at the street fair, first a description of the concept, a cutaway of the battery pack, etc., then we each got to drive a Leaf for a mile or so around city streets. They are very nice, comfortable, roomy, with good acceleration and drive like any other car - boringly normal in fact.

After the street fair we came home and relaxed for a while and then went to Coyote Pause for dinner before joining the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Assc. for a star gazing event at a picnic area in the Tucson Mountain Park. Unfortunately it started to cloud over just about dusk, which made for a spectacular sunset, but put a bit of a crimp in the star gazing. They had several telescopes set up with good views of the moon, Jupiter and it’s moons and a few other things, but naked eye star gazing was not real good.

Saturday 12/11

Lazy morning after our dawn walk in the desert. We took the truck for a spin to loosen it up and keep the batteries charged. Then we stopped for lunch at Perfecto’s, a cute little family restaurant on South 12th Ave in a area with a lot of Mexican eateries and groceries. Excellent food, we will be back here after the first of the year as there were several dishes we want to try.

Back home we started getting things together for the trip back to Chicago on Monday and took a short walk around the campground.

Sunday 12/12

Early morning walk in the desert. It is amazing how the desert keeps changing in the changing light. Dawn is usually spectacular, the cholla seem to glow as they catch the first light of the sun, the cactus wrens perch on the tallest saguaro and sing. It is breathtaking some mornings.

Finished packing and setting things up for an extended absence, last thing I did Monday morning was to disconnect the water.

Monday 12/13

Well we’re back in Chicago and it is colder than a well diggers you know what! Yeah, I know, most of you don't feel sorry for us at all. Flying was the usual hassle, a bit easier since Tucson is a small airport. I have decided to start carrying some kind of purse when I am flying - maybe a “man bag”? It is a real pain to dig everything out of all my pockets and dump all that stuff in a bin.

We lucked out with the rental car. We had an “intermediate” reserved to get the best price, a Ford Focus. When we got to the car it was filthy, inside and out. The Enterprise guy looked at it and said “this is unacceptable”, he looked around and there was a black Buick parked next to it (shiny clean), “Would a Buick Lucerne be OK” Are you kidding, a three level upgrade for the same price? So we drove out in a nice, full size Buick. However, after two weeks driving the smart this thing is a boat! It feels bigger than the Volvo! It is nice though. On the plus side, it has seat heaters!

So we’re back home for three weeks. I’ll resume the blog when we get back to Tucson on January 1st.

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