Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday 12/19

I had planned on posting this on Friday evening before we left Tucson, but did not get it done. Gives me a chance to tell a funny story. Our flight home on Saturday was uneventful and Sunday we celebrated Nancy's birthday at her sister's house. Sunday evening there was a Hawks game on WGN. Since our Dish Network account now has us in Tucson we do not get the local channels on the other Dish receiver here at home, so we have to use rabbit ears (remember those?) to get a couple local channels. After some experimentation I found we could get channel 9 if I sat at the kitchen table and held the rabbit ears on my head! Well thAt won't work for long, so we put a stepladder next to the table with the antenna on it. Now we can get ABC and WGN and were able to watch the game. Of course now we have an aluminum stepladder with the antenna on it in the kitchen for the next two weeks - actually quite elegant!

Now back to your regular program, already in progress:

As I mentioned in the last post we went to Coyote Pause for dinner Friday evening, it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment as the place was busy and there were only two waitresses working - and they were working their butts off, serving, bussing tables, manning the cash register, etc. As a result our meals were excruciatingly slow and luke warm when they arrived. We let them know what we thought, and if this had been our first time there it would have been our last. We will be giving them another chance.

Saturday 12/10

Finally got out for a morning walk in the desert. Between our colds and the less than ideal weather we had not been walking much so far. Good to get out in the desert in the early morning to see and appreciate the beauty of the desert plants in the early morning light - not to mention getting some good exercise.

After our walk we decided it was time to get to work and clean the road grime from the outside of the trailer. With the two of us working it took about an hour and a half, but it was worth the effort as it really looks a lot better.

Other than that we just relaxed and enjoyed the day and the weather.

Sunday 12/11

Got out for a bit longer walk in the desert this morning, another gorgeous day. After watching Sunday Morning on CBS we drove over Gates Pass and up the road to the overlook on Sentinel Mountain (“A” Mountain - so named for the large stone “A” which is painted each year by the University of Arizona freshman class and visible from throughout the city). Really nice views of the city, and the Tucson Valley, along with the Santa Catalina and RIncon Mountains on the other side of the valley. To the north Tucson spreads out almost as far as the eye can see.

Then we dropped down to the south side to stop at Wal-Mart to pick up another humming bird feeder and a few other things. The palce was jammed as one would expect for a Saturday two weeks before Christmas. What recession?

After shopping we went over to 12th St and hit BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs for lunch.

Back home and relaxed, our regular Sunday evening pizza for dinner. We used to get pizza delivered everyday at home, but last winter we discovered that Wal-Mart (and other store brand) frozen pizza are pretty goos, especially if we add out own Italian sausage to a cheese pizza. So much so that we now eat those pizzas back home in Illinois as well. Just as good and a lot cheaper than delivered pizza.

Monday 12/12

Rain and then more rain! It started raining about four AM this morning, not a heavy rain, but steady. Very unusual for this part of the country from what we have seen. Got ourselves moving first thing and got to the Campground Monday morning meeting.

We thought about taking in a movie this afternoon as it was raining fairly steady all day, but then we recalled that the wine we ordered from Wine Insiders was scheduled for delivery today. So we just took it easy and waited for the delivery - which never came! During the day we checked the FedEx tracking website several times and it showed that our package was loaded on the truck Saturday morning as was out for delivery today. Then, about 5:30 PM it suddenly said “delivery delay” and showed it scheduled for tomorrow! Needless to say we were seriously PO’ed since we specifically stayed home to receive it.

A call to FedEx revealed that their records showed “Office Closed”. Turns out it was no exactly FedEx’s fault as Wine Insiders had failed to put our site number OR our phone number on the shipping label! Never received a reply to the e-mail we sent them complaining about the poor service.

Tuesday 12/13

Still raining! The people here are quite happy about the rain, as it seems to have broken the multi-year drought. Tucson received over 1-1/2 inches of rain this week! Quite a bit actually since the average annual rainfall is just under 12”! Interesting for us since we saw nothing more than a sprinkle or two in the last two winters here. The campground and the desert are full of puddles, not a lot of runoff around here.

We went out to a movie this afternoon and avoided Bopp Rd., which would have been our usual route, as there are a number of washes along that road with signs that say “Do Not Enter When Flooded”. There still were five or six place along San Joaquin Rd where we had to slow to a crawl to drive through shallow water flowing across the road. We went to see “The Descendants” an excellent movie, if a bit of a tear jerker.

Back home for dinner and the rain continued through the evening, although quite obviously tapering off. The local news was full of info about closed roads and there is considerable snow accumulation on all of the local mountain ranges from 3,500 feet on up, with a foot or more above 5,000 feet. We are about 2,500 feet here at Desert Trails, so nothing but liquid precipitation here.

Wednesday 12/14

Out into the desert for our morning walk and it is rather amazing how all of that water from yesterday has just vanished. There are spots where the desert is covered in bright green vegetation that was not there before and the saguaro are obviously swollen with moisture, some of them looking absolutely bloated! We can see snow on the mountains off to the southwest, something we had not seen before. Very pretty. None of the Tucson Mountains to the north and east of us are tall enough to have had any accumulation.

Went to Coyote Pause for lunch and as expected the service and quality was much better than it had been Friday evening. Blackhawks game late this afternoon on Versus. We don’t get a lot of them as we lost our Chicago Comcast Sports Net channel when we changed our Dish Network location to Tucson, necessary to get the local stations since over the air reception is pretty much non-existent here. So the only Blackhawk games we get to see are the ones on Versus, NHL Network, or NBC. I had looked at getting the NHL out-of-market games package but it is pricier than I can justify. We can keep track of the games with my NHL i-Pod apps, or even listen to them with the WGN Radio app.

Thursday 12/15

Weather continues to be unusual here (at least from our experience the last two winters). This morning we headed out to Tucson Yoga for our weekly class and it was quite foggy! Yes, fog! Now think about it, fog requires excess moisture in the air right? And what is it that Tucson does not have? Right - excess moisture! But this morning they had it in spades. Poking up above the fog, the mountains to the east and north of the city were showing their snow capped peaks quite spectacularly.

After the Yoga class we drove over to the far east side and stopped at See’s Candies for some Christmas goodies, stopped and picked up a new watchband for Nancy, and then went a bit farther east on Speedway Rd. to Beyond Bread for lunch. Before lunch we visited Annabelle’s Attic and Bookman’s used bookstore, where we did some substantial damage. Good thing this store is quite a distance away from where we are staying!

The afternoon turned out to be quite nice and sunny, more typical Tucson weather.

Friday 12/16

Out for our regular walk in the desert this morning, there is a good mix of trails available in the open land before we even get out into Tucson Mountain park, so we can walk a mile or more before crossing into the park, and so far we have taken a different trail each morning. That along with the variations in the scenery in different lighting conditions means that we are never really looking at the same things each time we go out.

This morning we could see a dusting of snow around Kitt Peak and Baba-Q-Vari Peak off to the Southwest. The Tucson Mountains close to us are not quite high enough to have picked up snow cover. Wasson Peak just NE of us is a bit lees than 3,500 feet and most of the snow accumulation has been above 4,000 feet in the last week.

Getting ready to head back to Chicago tomorrow morning. We will be returning to Tucson on December 30th, so I will resume the blog then.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Better Weather is Here

A bit late with this post due to computer issues, but it's back in business now!

Thursday 12/1/11

A very unusual day for Tucson, cloudy and spitting rain most of the day, became a light rain late in the afternoon. High temperature was still around 60 degrees though, so not to bad really. Nancy has come down with a cold so she pretty much took it easy today. Dennis took a run to the Walgreens in the AM to pick up some cold medicines for her. The afternoon was spent relaxing and reading.

Dennis finished one book and took a walk over to the campground library to leave the old book and find a new one. The library has really shaped up well, we helped in the planning and initial construction in January 2010, and it has turned out to be a very nice amenity - well maintained and well stocked.

Friday 12/2

Still cloudy and cool. We pretty much stayed home and relaxed. Dennis went into Tucson to Beyond Bread to pick up lunch. Dennis’ laptop has conked out! It has been acting up for a couple of days and this morning it refused to turn on. No appointments available at the Apple store today, so we made one for Saturday.

Saturday 12/3

Still very cool weather, 30’s at night and low 50’s during the day. Nancy is still feeling punk, but we went into the Apple store, which of course is way over on the NE side of the city. Turns out the laptop needs a new video card and there is a campaign on those. So, even though they also have to replace the logic board, there will be no charge for the repair! Would have cost over $500 if not for the campaign! Nice to get lucky once in a while. After Apple we stopped at Schlomo’s & Vito’s NY Deli for lunch. Our reward for going all the way to the NE side. Good sandwiches that are large enough to take half home for dinner.

Sunday 12/4

Relaxing around home and a short walk around the campground. Nancy is recovering from her cold, but now Dennis has caught it, so not much going on!

Monday 12/5

Nancy went to the Monday morning campground meeting while Dennis slept late. The RV park has “adopted” a stretch of Bopp Rd. just south of here to keep it clean. We had signed up for the team to go out and pick up trash this AM, but Dennis wimped out and Nancy went and fulfilled our obligation. She spent about an hour with the crew.

Tuesday 12/6

Shopping day today, we stopped at Target and then over to the east side to the new Costco store, which coincidentally is right up the street from the In N’ Out Burger! Which we naturally took advantage of.

Wednesday 12/7

Now Dennis is down with the cold! Nancy is recovering, but we pretty much stuck around home and relaxed. As cold as it has been at night, we have run through a tank of propane, so we switched over to the other tank and Dennis took the truck and ran in to get the empty one refilled. Barnetts Propane is just the other side of the Tucson Mountains, so it is one of the places we can get to easily.

Thursday 12/8

We are both recovered well enough to get out first thing this morning and head off to Tucson Yoga for regular class. We both felt great afterwards, we needed that - to much sitting around for the last week. After class we stopped at the Food Conspiracy on Fourth St to stock up on healthy food. Weather has improved, bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky! Looks like highs in the sixties all this week.

Friday 12/9

Both feeling better so we are able to get out and get with the program. Nancy went over to the activities room first thing this AM for the campground craft show. Picked up a few items. The we went over to the Fourth St Winter Street Fair, which is a huge arts and crafts fair. We spent several hours there and walked the full length of both side a of the booths, which are back to back in the center of the street. Also had lunch at a couple of the food booths and listened to the Tucson HS Steel Drum Band while we were eating.

Dennis called the Apple store and his computer is ready, so we headed up that way. Along the way we stopped at Sarnoff Art to pick up some ink for Nancy’s pen. She had sent her mother’s Waterman pen off to an antique pen specialist in New Hampshire to have refurbished after much searching for someone who could repair it. Now the question was, where do you buy ink these days? Well Sarnoff Art had a great selection.

The we stopped at Beyond Bread and picked up a couple of loaves for sandwiches before we got to the Apple store. After picking up the laptop we stopped at Trader Joe’s, which is right down the street from the shopping center with the Apple store - what a coincidence.

Went to Coyote Pause for dinner, our first visit there this year.