Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saturday 2/11

We had heard about the Tanque Flea Market meet from some people, so after our morning hike we headed over to check it out. Forunately we determined that it was nowhere near “Tanque Verde Rd”, but actually on Palo Verde Rd south of Ajo. Strange but true.

Anyhow, it turned out to be a pretty large and amazing collection of stuff we have absolutely no interest in! So after a walk through we decided we had seen enough and came back west to S12th Ave and had lunch at BK Sonoran Hot Dogs. Great as usual.

Just did some puttering around the trailer in the afternoon The Blackhawks were playing i n Phoenix so we got to watch them on TV - unfortunately losing their 8th game in a row! After that torture we watched a movie.

Sunday 2/12

After our walk and the morning news shows we decided to take a drive over to Saguaro NP East and check it out. Since that is all the over on the far east side of the city it took us just about an hour to get there. While we were in the visitors center, I got a call from UA Presents. When we went to the Garrison Keillor show on February 1st we had inquired about ticket availability for the Itzhak Perlman appearance on the twelfth. Well it was sold pout, but the lady at the ticket window asked if we wanted to get on the waiting list. We said sure, so she picked up a steno pad and put our name down - at the bottom of the third page of names! OK, not much chance of that.

But here we were at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon and they were calling to say they had two tickets available. Wonderful! Yes, we will take them. So it is 2:30 PM, we are an hour from home and the show is at 6:30 back at the University! So instead of doing the park loop, which looked crowed anyway since there were eight cars on line at the ranger station when we left, we just turned around and drove back across the city home, changed our clothes and back across Gates Pass again to The University.

Had dinner at the Chipotle Mexican Grille on University and then walked over to Centennial Hall on the campus for the show. Was it ever worth the price! We had front row seats, all the way to the left side, but a beautiful sight line to Mr. Perlman. He was accompanied by Rohan de Silva on the piano and it was a masterful performance of Schubert, Brahms, and Prokofiev, plus an encore with several pieces by Fritz Kreisler. A wonderful, mesmerizing show!

Monday 2/13

Monday morning park meeting, then we drove across to the east side where Nancy had a beauty appointment, then lunch at Beyond Bread on East Speedway and a stop for some major shopping at Trader Joe’s. We did resist making a stop at Bookman’s Bookstore since we have a pretty good backlog of unread books going at this point.

We did stop at Summit Hut on the way back and I picked up a pair of Merrill hiking boots on sale. Mine seem to be getting past their prime as my feet hurt quite a bit after (and during) our last hike, so hopefully these will help that situation.

Back home and relaxed and watched the Downton Abby episode that we recorded last evening - that DVR is the greatest thing, should have gotten one a long time ago!

Sometimes on our morning walks we catch sight of a jack rabbit. The pictures do not give any scale, but these guys are pretty good size, probably two feet tall at the top of their ears.

Tuesday 2/14

A very different feeling in the desert this morning. Sky is overcast, there is virtually no wind, and the feeling is one of anticipation. It’s like all the plants are just waiting for the rain, the the mesquite, the jojoba, and all the other plants have their leaves open and turned to the sky.

As much as we are all hoping for rain, the clouds passed over without any rain here, but then later in the morning it clouded over again and we got an hour or more of a nice gentle rain! Just what we needed for the wildflowers!

Already there are some blooming in the desert.

Annual park picnic tomorrow and we volunteered our truck to help move tables. Nancy and I picked up 13 folding tables from the rec center and carried them over to the area for the picnic.

Wednesday 2/15

More and more little wildflowers showing up during our walks in the desert. Some of them are really pretty and we can see the very beginnings of what we expect to be a blanket of flowers. The desert is greener than we have ever seen it.

Beautiful weather for the picnic today, sunny and in the low sixties. We met a nice couple who are full timers and had a nice conversation during lunch. After the picnic we hauled our load of folding trailers back to the rec center and then we made a run into town to do a little shopping. A quick stop at Wal Mart and then the grocery store.

Early in the morning the low angle of the sun makes an amazing difference in the appearance of the desert. This cholla is a good example. This picture is taken looking at the sunny side of the cactus, notice the shadow.

This picture is seconds later with the sun back lighting the cholla. The pictures really don't do it justice, but you get the idea.

Thursday 2/16

Morning class at Tucson Yoga and a quick stop at Food Conspiracy. Back hoe we relaxed and did some housekeeping. I have been working on removing the Red Max 3 sealer that pealed a bit on or dark decals and it is starting to look pretty good.

Got to watch the Blackhawks break out of their loosing streak by beating the Rangers tonight. Hopefully things will get better now.

Friday 2/17

After our morning walk we headed into town. Stopped at Bookman’s Book Store as Nancy wanted to look for a good atlas. While she was doing that I found five more books that I could not live without! Need to stay away from that place. We did, however get $125 plus worth of books for $50!

After lunch at Beyond Bread we drove on over to the Saguaro National Park East to finish the loop drive that we had planned on doing last Sunday. It was a very pretty 8 mile drive through the park. One thing that we noticed is that the Saguaros in this part of the park are considerably different than those over on the west side. Not as plentiful, but there are many, many of them with multiple arms. It is common to see ones with ten, fifteen, or even twenty arms! Very common here, very rare on the west side. Maybe due to more plentiful water here?

Saturday 2/18

Pretty much stuck around home today, we have been successful this year in getting out of “vacation mode” and into “retired and relaxing” mode. Not doing as much running around checking out the sights as we did in the past two years.

Blackhawks won again today! Yeah!

We did get out to Coyote Pause for lunch, but that was about it.

Sunday 2/19

We had planned on watching a Blackhawks game this morning, but the local NBC affiliate chose to carry the Detroit game instead. Can’t blame them considering the Hawks recent record. They did win though and we get the next game Tuesday evening against Detroit at home. Might be a pivotal game for the rest of the season!

Otherwise not much happening today. Nancy spent some time playing with the dogs at the dog run in the afternoon and that was about it.

Monday 2/20

After the Monday morning meeting we ran up to Saguaro National Park for a ranger talk about rattlesnakes. Turned out to be a very interesting talk, with a lot of great information on rattlers. Information makes it a lot less likely that you will be afraid of the snakes if you do encounter them. 90% of rattlesnake bites are categorized as “preventable”, and of those the majority are young males and alcohol is involved. Gee, what are the chances?

We had planned on stopping at the Desert Museum after the talk, but we forgot it was President’s Day. The parking lot was full, so we decided to pass and come back later in the week.

Instead we went into Tucson and had lunch at BK Carne Asada and Hot Dogs. Great as usual. A stop at the grocery store and then back home for the afternoon.

Here are a few more pictures of wildflowers that are starting to bloom in the desert. As you can see by Nancy's fingers they are really quite tiny, but if one looks closely you can see that there are a lot of them getting close to blooming.

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