Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Sunset Hike and Nancy's Sister Visits

Sunday 1/16

Saturday evening we went to Coyote Pause for dinner. Sunday was a quiet morning at home. Watched the Sunday AM shows and most of the Bears game. In the afternoon we went over to Saguaro National Forest for a sunset hike that we had signed up for in December. It was a beautiful afternoon, shirtsleeve weather on the way up to the ridge to watch the sunset. We meet two volunteer rangers, Dick and Dick, at the trail head, about three miles down a really rough dirt road. There were about ten of us in the group and Lead Dick stopped at several places along the way and told us about the geology and features if the desert in the area.

The first part of the hike we went about 3/4 of a mile on sandy gravel with a mild uphill grade, climbing about 300 feet. The second half was a steeper climb for a total of about 750 feet to the top of the ridge. There we had spectacular views both to the north

and the southwest. We sat and relaxed for about half an hour and were treated to a spectacular sunset.

Like the hat?

On the way back we were down off the steeper part of the climb in the twilight, with the last pat of the hike in the desert by the light of the full moon. Overall about four hours and a very enjoyable hike. As advised we had packed light jackets, which we needed on the way back down.

Back home we had a pizza for dinner.

Monday 1/17

We are both feeling a bit punk this morning, so we slept in and skipped the Monday morning meeting at the campground. We did get out for lunch and tried Todd’s at the little airport just to the west of us - a very good lunch. Otherwise we just relaxed and watched the new Masterpiece Theatre, Downton Abby, that we had taped Sunday evening.

Tuesday 1/18

Still taking it easy and trying to recover from our colds. We had lunch at Coyote Pause and then checked out a health food store near by that another camper had told us about. Then just relaxed. Today was an absolutely beautiful day in the mid-70’s without a cloud in the sky - we are really growing to love Arizona!

Wednesday 1/19

Made a quick trip back to South 12th Ave and hit BK Sonoran Hot Dogs for lunch. This time Nancy had a quesadea. Otherwise a quiet day.


Thursday 1/20

Didn’t make it to yoga this morning as we are still both a bit under the weather, Nancy had a hot rock massage on her neck in the morning. We did manage to get out for a nice hike in the desert in the afternoon, it was warm, but there was a nice breeze so it was very pleasant.

Friday 1/21

Nancy was really under the weather this AM, so we took it easy and hit Todd’s again for lunch. Just at dusk we heard one of the owls that lives in the campground and he sounded really close. We went out and looked and he was about 20 feet up in the palm tree behind out trailer! A Great Horned Owl, he was hooting and another owl on the other side of the park was answering. Really cool!

Did some research on Sirius radio today. The FM radio reception here is about as bad as the TV reception - as in “non-existant”. There are a number of NPR programs that we like to listen to and we like to get NPR news in the morning. Sirius looks like the best bet and Dennis ordered a receiver that can be used both in the trailer and the truck. Also looked at a Best Buy for a tuner to drive the speakers in the trailer without much luck.

Saturday 1/22

Nancy’s sister Joan arrived in town today for a short vacation. After she arrived and got settled in at Starr Pass Golf Suites we headed in to El Charro (Joan's favorite restaurant), but it turned out there was an hour wait! So instead we ended up at Perfecto’s - not as much atmosphere, but good food.

Sunday 1/23

We got together with Joan for lunch at Coyote Pause and then went over to Color Me Mine in a mall on the east side to look at the greenware available for us to choose. Nancy picked up a couple of coupons from Groupon and we are planning on going there on Tuesday.

Nancy stopped at a Clair’s Boutique in the mall and picked up a pair of expensive (not) pearl earrings to replace some that she had lost.

Dennis wanted to check out the Best Buy across the street and, as expected, this one had better stock than the one on the south side - more of an upscale neighborhood. We have ordered a Sirius radio system to use in the trailer and we needed a tuner to drive our surround sound speakers. Tuners that are “Sirius ready” hard to come by and expensive, but we found a fairly reasonably priced one.

From there we came back into the city and had dinner at El Charro.

Monday 1/24

This morning Joan was scheduled for a hot stone massage here at Desert Trails. Dennis got the new tuner hooked up this morning and it is just what we needed. In addition to the Sirius connection capability it will also connect with and control our I-Pod (where all our music is). If we wanted to it could also control a Blue Ray player, CD, DVR, and TV (we needed a Volkswagen and bought a Ferrari!). It works great and for the first time we have all of our surround sound speakers working! For those who don’t know the story, our Newmar was a repo when we bought it and all of the electronics had been stripped out, wires just cut. Dennis had reconstructed the video portion and we have been using a cheap stereo for a radio, which was less than satisfactory. Here in Tucson we are unable to get the NPR stations, so we are going to put in the Sirius radio so we can listen to our favorite NPR shows wherever we are.

After Joan’s massage we went up to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and had lunch in the cafeteria and then took one of the afternoon tours. While Nancy and Joan finished the tour, Dennis dropped out and went back to the gift shop - and of course bought a new book on Arizona history.

After leaving the museum we stopped at the visitors center in the Saguaro National Forest so Joan could pick up her America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Senior Pass. Dennis got his a couple of years ago and it is a great deal - admission to National parks and monuments for free for the rest of your life! If you are over 62 it is too good a deal to pass up, go get one.

For dinner we tried Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse. A really good reputation for steaks and the food was as advertised. The atmosphere was also as advertised - not much. A couple of problems for us though, when we are paying $25 for a steak we expect utensils that don’t bend when you try to cut your steak and something a little more upscale than plastic plates and cheap paper napkins! But hey, you don’t know if you don’t try and that was a really good rib eye!

Tuesday 1/25

This morning we went to Color Me Mine over on the east side of Tucson. This is one of those places where you paint unfired pottery and then they bake it for you. Nancy had picked up coupons from Groupon so the three of us spent about four hours painting greenware. It was a lot of fun and we are anxious to see how our pieces come out. Joan did a couple of spoon rests, Nancy did a bowl and an expresso cup and saucer, Dennis did a teapot, and together we all, worked on a garden gnome (to put outside our trailer). We cannot pick up the finished pieces until Sunday afternoon. We’ll post some pictures if they turn out OK.

Had lunch at an In ‘N Out Burger in mid-afternoon, stopped and did some grocery shopping and then went back to Joan’s hotel. Had a pizza delivered and watched the State of the Union address.

Just about dusk Joan looked out on the patio and said “There’s a javelina!” It had just walked by, so Joan and Nancy ran out to get a look at it (there had been one on the patio early in the morning a couple of days earlier) and while they were looking left for the javelina that had walked by another one poked it’s head around the corner behind them! You never saw two people move as fast as those two trying to get back in the door! They looked like those cartoon characters whose feet are moving so fast they look like spinning wheels! Joan said “Feet’s don’ fail me now!!”

Unfortunately we did not have a camera with us, since two of the javelinas walked around on the patio looking for a hand-out. We watched for them Wednesday evening camera in hand, but never saw any.

Wednesday 1/26

We met Joan at Coyote Pause for breakfast, then up to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum again. We spent an hour walking around looking at the exhibits, then while Dennis went back to our trailer Joan and Nancy took a docents tour. We met up there again at lunchtime and ate in the cafeteria at the museum. Getting memberships to the museum this year has turned out to be a great idea as this is probably our fifth visit this winter and Joan used two guest passes while she was here.

In the afternoon we went back to the hotel and Nancy and Joan went swimming while Dennis relaxed. After waiting to see if the javelinas would make a return appearance (they did not) we went to El Charro for dinner.

Thursday 1/27

Went to our regular Thursday morning yoga class at Tucson Yoga. Good to get back in the swing as we missed last week. Afterwards we met Joan at a Waffle House near the expressway for brunch. She is headed up to Phoenix to visit a friend for a couple of days before heading back to Chicago (Brrrr!). We are perfectly happy to stay right here where it is warm.

Did a few chores around the trailer in the afternoon and just relaxed.

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