Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disney Cactus

Tuesday 2/21

After a nice walk in the desert this AM we spent the day hanging around home as we were dog sitting for Karen. We really enjoy having Margo here, she is a really lovable dog, Nancy particularly enjoys taking her to the dog park to play with the other dogs.

The wildflowers are continuing to multiply in the desert. We are starting to see areas with widespread groupings of tiny, tiny flowers. Looks like it is going to be an incredibly pretty spring in the desert.

It was another beautiful day here, mid-70’s with a slight breeze. We spent much of the afternoon sitting outside and reading. This evening they had a celebration of Fat Tuesday in the rec hall. Featured a great little band playing New Orleans style jazz. Trombone, clarinet, trumpet, banjo, tuba, and drums. The tuba player gave an amazing solo rendition of “Black & Blue”. Never heard that done before and it was pretty incredible.

Recorded the 2nd and 3rd periods of the Blackhawks vs. Detroit, while we went to the band performance (love that DVR!). The Blackhawks won thankfully. I think this game could have been the turning point of the season, a poor performance might have spelled the end for the Hawks, but they stepped up and won it.

Wednesday 2/22

After our regular morning hike in the desert we drove over to the Desert Museum. Turns out it was almost as crowded as it was Monday! Might be that a lot of schools took the whole week off since Monday was President’s Day and Thursday and Friday are school holidays for the 87th Annual La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros (Tucson Rodeo). Yes, they close the schools for the rodeo!

Anyhow, we spent some time walking around the museum, checking out the wildflowers and watching the hummingbirds. There was a volunteer docent with a display of wildflowers picked this morning and some really interesting information. She had a very good guidebook on Arizona Wildflowers. We looked in the bookstore, but did not find it.

After lunch in the cafeteria at the museum we went over to the Saguaro National Park Visitors Center as Nancy needed some postcards (she has found the best selection there) and we found the guidebook there.

After that it was just a quiet afternoon at home. As I mentioned earlier, this year we have managed to get out of “vacation mode” and don’t feel the need to be going and doing every day.

Interesting mail service today. We received a 2011 Form 1099 that was mailed on January 27, forwarded from Geneva on February 17, Received here on February 22! That’s right, 26 days! No wonder the USPS is in such dire straights.

Thursday 2/23

Tucson Yoga first thing this AM. We left a little early and went over Gates Pass into the city. a bit slower that way, but we wanted to avoid traffic headed for the Tucson Rodeo Parade on the south side. They were expecting upwards of 150,000 spectators!

After a stop at Food Conspiracy we came home and watched the Twin 125 qualifying races from Daytona. Disappointed that Mikey wrecked and will not make the race. This will be the first time since 1972 that Michael or Darrel will not be in the 500!

Late in the afternoon we took a nice hike in the desert. Would have been pretty warm except for a nice breeze.

Friday 2/24

On our walk this morning we went by the spot that Nancy calls the “Disney World cactus”. There is a large Saguaro with the archetypical (and relatively rare) pair of arms, an ocotillo and cholla, perfect for picture taking - so we did.

Typical tourist shots with the photogenic cactus (click to enlarge):

A couple we know here in the RV park went to an RV show last week and ended up purchasing a new fifth wheel. They brought it back on Thursday so they had a “house warming” cocktail party this afternoon.

Saturday 2/25

Took an extra long hike this morning, a little over two hours. There are tiny little flowers blooming all over the desert, not what could be called a “carpet” of flowers yet, but the potential is there. Anytime you stop and look closely you can see all of these tiny little, incredible flowers blooming.

The morning paper said there were good wildflower blooms along Picture Rocks Rd., which is the first paved east-west road on the north side of Saguaro Nat’l Forest West, so we decided to take a ride up there and take a look. Other than one area were there really was a carpet of Mexican Poppies on the hillside, it was not any more than we are seeing going over Gates Pass. Since we were so far north we went on across to the Beyond Bread at Ina and Oracle - this is in the shopping center where Gabby Giffords was shot last year. We got take out sandwiches which will serve for dinner tonight and lunch on Sunday!

Weather is warming up, lows in the high forties and highs in the upper seventies this week, that along with the earlier rain is driving the early wildflower bloom.

Sunday 2/26

After our hike this morning we relaxed and watched the morning news shows, planned on watching the Daytona 500, but rained out.

Later in the afternoon we watched the Hawks game, they lost. Things are not looking good this season, they have a string of really good games and then a string where they look like they are just going through the motions. Very frustrating.

Monday 2/27

Other than the weekly morning meeting we did not accomplish a lot today. There are people starting to move out of the campground being the end of the month. We had originally planned on leaving this week, but decided to stick around to see the wildflowers, so far they are living up to expectations.

This afternoon we went up to the visitors center at Saguaro National Park for a couple of ranger talks. The first one was on foods the native peoples found in the area, going back to the first humans known to inhabit the area. Very interesting talk that included a demonstration of the way early man was able to hunt woolly mammoths with only stone tipped spears.

We are always surprised by the few people that take advantage of these talks. When we arrived the visitors center was very crowded, busier than we have seen it, but we were the only two people that went to the talk!

After that talk we went to one about memories of early Mexican settlers in the Tucson area. Also very interesting, and at least there were four of us in this session! The ranger spoke a bit at the beginning of the talk about snakes and scorpions. She said she often found scorpions under the mats by the doors to the visitors center (!!). After the talk we went with her to look and she started lifting the mats INSIDE the doorway! And sure enough, there was a medium size scorpion in the crack in the floor under the mat! She said the small ones have the most painful bites, but none of them are really serious.

Watched the Daytona 500 this evening, a pretty good race and quite eventful.

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