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.

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