Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Hummingbird Guest and a Serious Hike

Wednesday 2/2

COLD here this AM, 25 degrees. Still, it’s sunny and a whole lot better weather than at home (or in a lot of the rest of the country!).

We have a hummingbird feeder hanging outside our back window and it gets a lot of attention - both from hummingbirds and woodpeckers! The feeder is hanging on a rod extended from our ladder and this morning a hummingbird is sitting on the rod in the sun. We think he is getting warmth reflected off of our back window as well as from the sun.

High today was 37 and our little hummingbird friend stuck around all day! He was still there at dusk and filling up from the feeder - hope he makes it through the cold night!

Thursday 2/3

11 Degrees this morning! We were up fairly early and off to Tucson Yoga for our weekly class. Left water running at a trickle all night the last two nights (gray tanks are open) and it kept us from freezing up. Did not know that would work, but the campground suggested it. Normally we would have disconnected our fresh water hose and worked off our fresh water tank, but the spigots here are on pipes above the ground and if we just shut the water off they would freeze.

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had decided to subscribe to Sirius radio in order to get NPR and some news stations while we are in remote areas like here in Arizona. We are unable to pick up either Public Radio station in Tucson due to the shadow of the Tucson mountains immediately East of us.

Well, let me tell you, if you decide to try Sirius do not try to order it on line! I experienced the worst ordering process and the worst follow-up customer service I have ever run into. As briefly as possible: After researching and determining what I wanted, I attempted to order on-line. Deep into the order process it did not want to accept our home address! Finally I got a message that said, “Your order MAY have been placed, please contact customer service”. OK, so I called, 45 minutes later my call was answered and I was told that the order was not in process because of the address, so I went through the whole order process again on the telephone.

The website said orders are shipped by the 2nd or 3rd business day, so I waited until the 5th business day to check on what was happening. This time they answered fairly quickly and I was told that the order was “on hold for inspection”. The first rep put me hold when I asked for a supervisor, after 30 minutes (yes, I can be stubborn!) I was kicked back to the new call queue, the second rep got me to a supervisor reasonably quickly and he said the order was on hold to verify the address!!!! After I went balistic he said they had approval from the credit card company and he was releasing the order. “The release will take 24 to 48 hours (this was on a Friday) and shipping will take 3 to 5 business days”!! What happened to 2 or 3 days? “Oh, the website is wrong, 3 to d working days is the standard shipping time.” Is there anything you can do to speed it up? “No”.

So...I waited another four business days and called to check “I show that order on hold for inspection.” What the??!!!!

At that point I cancelled the order and went to Radio Shack and bought the radio and installation kit I wanted, brought it home and hooked it up that evening. To bad there is no other company offering satellite radio (Sirius owns XM), I would go there in a heartbeat. Sorry for the screed, had to blow off steam.

While we were in the Tucson Mall picking up the radio Nancy stopped in the Verizon store and ended up getting a new cell phone. We were able to switch around our plan so that she will get unlimited data and internet access for about $10 a month more than we were paying before.

Anyhoo... the high today was 42 and we were back below 32 by the time we went to bed.

Friday 2/4

Low last night was 24 and it got up to 59 today so things are improving. Trust me, we are not complaining, we will take bright, sunny, cool days over the nasty weather a lot of the country is seeing - life is good.

Still a cold breeze, so other than going to get a propane tank refilled and doing some grocery shopping we stayed in all day. Got a few things done a round the trailer, cleaning and a couple of minor repairs. Dennis also finished running the wiring for the Sirius radio and the antenna.

Saturday 2/5

Still a bit of a cool breeze today. We went into Tucson to the old Presidio to see their monthly living history reenactment. It was quite interesting in a low key way. We watched a blacksmith make a link for a large chain by hand. We were able to stand right next to him, feeling the heat from the coal fire he was heating the iron in, while he described the process. There were also Spanish soldier re-enactors who were demonstrating firing of flintlock rifles and a brass cannon, along with displays of traditional foods and grains.

Since we were only a couple of blocks away, we just had to stop at El Charro for lunch.

Sunday 2/6

Finally took serious hike today. Headed out about 10 AM, drove up to the trailhead of the King Canyon Trail in the Saguaro National Forest, just past the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. We headed up the trail about twenty after ten, three miles out and three miles back, along with a 1,700 foot climb to the top of Wasson Peak! Whew, it was about all we had in us, but the views were just fantastic, both west into the Avra Valley (where our RV is) and east across the city to the Santa Catalina mountains. Overall it took us almost five hours. The trail up started on an old mining road of large crushed rock, which was tough going on the way up and really brutal on the way out when we were exhausted.

These pictures were taken on the saddle where the King Canyon trail and Sweetwater trail meet. We were sitting side by side on a rock and just passed the camera between pictures, so you get an idea of the views in both directions. Behind Dennis is the Rincon Valley and the Santa Catalinas

Behind Nancy is the Avra Valley with Kitt Peak way in the distance.
On the way back down we finally spotted an example of the iconic Arizona cactus, a Saguaro with two arms like you always see in drawings and very rarely see in the desert!

It really was a really beautiful day, about 70 degrees with thin, high clouds and a light breeze. As we got toward the top we needed a light jacket. A really enjoyable day, although the last couple of miles coming back were really tough!

Made it back home in time to watch the Packers win the Super Bowl while we ate pizza. BTW, we have found that WalMart has some pretty good rising crust frozen pizzas. Combined with the pizza stones that Joan gave us for our RV oven we can make pretty good pizza.

Monday 2/7

Monday morning meeting at the campground was cancelled this morning. We headed in to the city to do some grocery shopping, then decided to go up to the Northeast side to check out the hiking maps available at Summit Hut. Spent some time browsing as it is a very nice hiking/climbing/camping store.

Since we were already in the area (do I detect a pattern here?) we stopped at Beyond Bread for a couple of their excellent sandwiches for lunch - and dinner since we brought half of both our sandwiches home!

In the same shopping center was Annabelle’s Closet, a resale and antique shop that we had heard about. We spent the better part of an hour browsing an eclectic collection of “stuff”. Actually very nicely displayed and a lot of interesting items, although we did not end up buying anything. Found a couple of rugs that looked interesting, but the prices on the ones we liked were a bit high.

After that we stopped in Bookman’s, a nice large used book store in the same shopping center. We were getting a bit worn out by that point, but we may have to stop back here sometime - of course we have two boxes of books in one of our storage compartments on the trailer that are awaiting our attention! We’re not going to run out of reading material any time soon!

Tuesday 2/8

Dog sitting today for Nancy's friend Karen. Her dog Margo is a 9 month old Labrador. We went and took her for a walk around 11 AM and she was wound up tighter than a drum! Running all over the place. After the walk Nancy took her to the dog run where she ran herself out of energy with several other dogs, including our neighbor's Australian Kelpy herding dog. Of course that then required a bath at the dog wash before we could take her home!

Nancy did laundry and we puttered around home the rest of the afternoon.

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