This year I will try to avoid posting a daily litany of what we are doing as that seems to get a little repetitive, and just try to hit the interesting highlights. This week we did some settling in housekeeping. Nancy got over to the pool and got in a swim on two or three afternoons. It has been in the high 70’s all this week, supposed to cool off a little this weekend, then warm back up next week.
The entertainment here at Desert Trails is right up to par this year. We already missed a couple of performances that were reported as excellent. Tuesday evening we went to see Mariachi de Atzlan, a group of high school students from Tucson High School who put on an outstanding show.
We did get over to Beyond Bread for lunch the first week we were here and have hit BK Sonoran Hot Dogs a couple of times already. There is a new French restaurant in Tucson that we want to try out.
We’ve been to our regular restorative yoga class at Tucson Yoga the last two weeks and made a stop at Food Conspiracy on the way home. We also made a quick visit to the Desert Museum on Wednesday. We can dip in and out since we are members, so it does not have to be an exhaustive visit each time.
We were looking forward to shows at UA Presents at the University of Arizona this winter, but we were disappointed at the mixture of shows they have scheduled, nothing of the quality that we saw last season. Not one show of national stature or any that we would be interested in.
The desert is always changing. We have been taking our regular morning walks in the BLM land just north of us. I have used my new GPS to create a map of all the trails in that section. It will come in handy when we venture out into the web of trails in Tucson Mountain Park.In years past we found it was easy to get confused out there as there is no good map of the trails and they don’t always match the map we have.
I took the GPS with me when we went to the Desert Museum last week and marked a waypoint at the southern end of the pathways there. Turns out that the museum is only 4.25 miles due north of us - however, Brown Mountain (3,064 ft.) is directly between here and there! So the hiking route to the museum would be somewhat longer and circuitous.
The effects of this summers heavy rains are readily apparent in the desert, most obvious being the saguaro which are puffed up with moisture, their folds fully expanded. The palo verde are very green, and all of the various cacti are looking quite healthy. There are places where we can see the scouring of the desert floor by the flowing water, outside of the arroyos. There is one saguaro standing well clear of an arroyo where there is mud plastered 18 inches high! Obviously there was a considerable amount of water flowing across the area.
Monday morning we jumped on line and signed up for next years Prairie Home Companion cruise in August. We skipped the one last year that went from Amsterdam to Barcelona. The one next August will be a ten day cruise going from Barcelona to Venice, with stops in Marseilles, Monte Carlo, Livorno (a port near Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (near Rome), Naples, Montenegro, San Marino, and finishing in Venice. We decided to take this one since almost all of the stops are places we have wanted to see, but will probably not get another chance to do so.
The weather continues really nice, although we did have our first frost of the season last night. Supposed to high sixties today. Just what we love about the climate here, cold clear nights which are great for sleeping and warm sunny days.
Last evening we went to Barrio Brewing for dinner and some good fresh beer. Very good hamburgers and excellent beer. On the way home we came across Gates Pass and stopped near the Iron Mountain picnic area in Tucson Mountain Park to look at the stars. Just an amazing sight for those of us that are usually buried in the light pollution of cities. A great view of the Milky Way and millions of stars.
Last Friday we went to the 4th Ave Winter Street Fair. Walked the entire length of the fair. Many of the downtown streets are blocked off and torn up with the new streetcar construction project. In fact the southern end of 4th Ave was blocked off only a week before the fair. Nancy picked up several items and at the very end, actually after she had almost given up hope, she found her favorite vendor of hand and face creams.
Today we are headed into town with stops planned at Beyond Bread, Bookman’s book store and Trader Joe’s. Not sure why we are going to the book store since we both have a Kindle Paperwhite now, but we are addicted to books and bookstores. In fact I picked up a fascinating book about the Fred Harvey restaurant chain when we were at the Desert Museum. We’ll struggle to keep our money in our pockets today!
So not to bad at the bookstore, we came out with five books, which is light for us, the most expensive was $8. Lunch at Beyond Bread takes care of dinner tonight as well, the sandwiches are big enough for two meals.
Over the weekend we skipped a couple of shows in the rec hall, from what we hear the comedians Friday night were not well received. Apparently the show was a bit raunchy and this is definitely not a a raunchy humor crowd - a very conservative senior crowd.
This evening (Tuesday 12/11) we went to see the Dusty River Boys, a bluegrass group, five guys that put on a really good and entertaining show. The mandolin and banjo players were particularly good.
Wednesday morning we spent at the Desert Museum. It was a beautiful morning, temp in the 60’s and not a cloud in the sky. We spent some time in the aviary and then the hummingbird exhibit. There is a brook running through the aviary and it is a great shady place to sit and just listen to the birds and the water falling over the rocks. Same thing with sitting and watching the hummingbirds. The great thing about weekday mornings at the museum is the lack of crowds, it is almost like our own private preserve.
Late in the morning we made a run down to Green Valley, south of Tucson, to the weekly outdoor market there. Nancy was looking for some special skin cream, but the lady was not there this week, or at least we could not find her. We did pick up a couple of things and I found a nice pair of kidskin work gloves for a very reasonable price.
Thursday morning was our regular yoga class at Tucson Yoga. The in the afternoon we checked out the farmers market at the Mercado on the west side of downtown. Not real big, but better than any of the farmers markets we have found in the area so far.
RAIN IN THE DESERT!
The Tucson area finally got some rain on Thursday evening, started just around dusk and rained lightly off an on through the evening. Notable since this is the first rain they have had since sometime in October!
It rained off an on all evening and through the night. Still raining when we arose Friday morning. Friday was cool, in the fifties with occasional rain mixed with sun. Going over Gates Pass this morning we could see snow on the Rincon Mtns. Northeast of the city.
Stopped at a Barnes and Noble late in the morning and spent an hour or so perusing travel books for next summer’s cruise. Ended up with a half dozen books on the ports we will be visiting. Then lunch at Beyond Bread.
We will be heading home for Christmas tomorrow (12/16) so I won't be updating the blog until after we return on 12/26. Merry Christmas to all.