Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Beck Sisters Visit

Thursday Jan 24

Nancy’s sisters both arrived today. Joan is staying near us and Connie is visiting a friend on the NE side of the city.

After getting settled in her rental at Rincon RV Park West, Joan came over here for a drink and then we went out to dinner and found a really nice little place right downtown near the convention center - Cushing St Bar & Restaurant. It is in a historic building in Barrio Libre, part of Barrio Viejo, and has been in one family since 1972.

A really nice atmosphere with a very friendly staff, great drinks and appetizers for happy hour and excellent food. We will be back!

Friday Jan 25

Friday morning Connie’s friend took her to see the new aquarium at the Desert Museum. We had seen it already (took the behind the scenes tour) and Joan plans on going back there next week, so we met them at the Museum later in the morning and, after a brief walk around - the hummingbird exhibit was more crowded than we have seen it - had lunch at the Ocotillo Cafe at the museum.

We came back home and visited in the afternoon and then went to Los Portales in South Tucson for dinner. 

Saturday Jan 26

Nancy, Joan and Connie went over to H. F. Coors in the morning and then spent the day shopping, mostly for shoes! Den stayed home and watched the beginning of the 24 hours of Daytona.

We were going to try Borderlands Brewing Co for dinner, but found that they don’t serve food! Just beer tasting. I must have gotten confused when I was looking at the various breweries on line as I thought they had food. So we went on over to Barrio Brewing for dinner. They have excellent hamburgers.

Sunday Jan 27

Connie came over here to the RV park for a hot stone massage from Angel. Joan came along a little later for a massage of her own. We had breakfast and watched the end of the 24 Hours. After Joan and Connie had their massages Nancy made french toast for a brunch for all of us and then Joan took Connie back to the airport.

Sunday evening Joan, Nancy and I went out to Fred’s Arena for pizza. This place is out in the middle of nowhere, eight miles west of here and about six mile south, on a dirt road. We had been here before, they have very good steaks and excellent thin crust pizza.

Came home and watched the Blackhawks win again - 6 and 0 - first time in team history!

Monday Jan 28

We went to the regular Monday morning meeting and then took a short hike in the desert before going over to meet Joan. The three of us then went over to Beyond Bread on Speedway, then spent an hour or so browsing through Bookman's Books and Annabell’s Attic. (Yes, I bought another book! But only one. I restrained myself since on reflection I determined that I am currently in some stage of reading four books on my Kindle, with several more sitting there waiting, and three actual books - with a shelf full in the trailer and a boxful in the storage compartment! Not to mention several magazines.)

After a couple stops for groceries and other stuff we came back to our place for drinks and relaxed to watch the news, then had the second half of our Beyond Bread sandwiches for dinner.

Tuesday Jan 29

Joan is off this morning to visit a friend in Phoenix. We went on a tour of the Tucson Water Southern Avra Valley Storage and Recovery Project (SAVSARP), which is out in the Avra valley west of Desert Trails. Pericles (Desert Trails owner) had arranged for two tours this week, which is something special since the facility is not normally open to the public. The land here was purchased in the 1970’s for the groundwater resources and the city began pumping water out of the aquifer. Around twenty years ago they started to bring in Colorado River water to supplement the ground water in the area, at first mixing it directly into the city water system. 

This mixing created unforeseen problems in the system as the higher Ph of the Colorado River water caused a flaking off of scale and build-up in the relatively old water system, causing problems with pumps and filters, along with breakage and other issues. At that time they decided to use the river water to recharge the aquifer instead of using it directly.

The water comes in through the canals of the Central Arizona Project. The water flows into a series of retention ponds, about twenty of them, from which it percolates into the aquifer at rate high enough that evaporation is not an issue. The ponds are three to four feet deep and one to two acre feet of water seep into the ground water PER DAY. This has replenished the aquifer and interestingly, created a dome of water storage in the area where they are pumping water out for usage by the City of Tucson. The horizontal movement of water within the aquifer is measured in feet per year, so what they are getting from the Colorado and putting into the ground pretty much stays there where they can pump it back out. At current usage and growth rates they have enough water stored to last the city until 2050, even if the flow from the Colorado were to stop completely. Currently they are getting their maximum allotment of Colorado River water as determined by the Law of the River agreements between the various states regulating use of Colorado River water.

As we found out from the curator at the Desert Museum Aquarium, the Colorado used to flow into the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), but virtually none of it gets there anymore as it is all consumed upstream. This is where the portion of Colorado River water used by the City of Tucson ends up before it is pumped into the city water system.

Joan is off to Phoenix today to visit a friend there, so we just relaxed at home in the afternoon.

Wednesday  Jan 30

Joan got back to town this afternoon and we decided to look at a couple of places we had heard about on 4th Ave for dinner. We looked at The B Line Cafe, but it was just a counter service place and we wanted a sit down dinner, so we walked south to Lindy’s on Fourth which is famous for it’s hamburgers. A tiny little place with just six or seven tables and the hamburgers were as advertised, overstuffed with additional ingredients - blue cheese, bacon, onion rings, anything you could think of.

Our experience was a bit tainted as the front door would not close fully and there was a cool breeze blowing. Add to that a loud mouthed patron at the next table who seemed unable to speak at any level other than shouting and it was a less than enjoyable experience. 

Back home I watched the Blackhawks game on the DVR. Had to happen I guess, but they lost in overtime, at least they came out with one point. 

Thursday Jan 31

Regular morning yoga today, then Joan met us at home for lunch. Nancy and Joan went up to the Desert Museum in the afternoon and I stayed home to work on installing the new rear fender on the truck now that I had accumulated all of the parts. One of our neighbors helped me with the final installation since it took a couple of pairs of hands.

We went back to our newly discovered favorite restaurant, Cushing Street Bar and Grille for dinner and it was just as good as the first time. 

Friday February 1 

February first?! How the heck did that happen. I have several projects that I had planned on doing “sometime this winter” - better get my butt in gear!

First thing in the morning we went over to Saguaro National Park East, visited the visitors center and took the eight mile drive through the park. Nancy picked up her senior parks pass.

After that we came back into town and had lunch at Little Poca Cosa in downtown. A cute little place with really good Mexican food and loud music.

We then came home and relaxed, cooked brats and chicken here for dinner.  Another Hawks game tonight, another shootout and another shootout loss, got 1 point again though.

Saturday Feb 2

Joan was leaving this afternoon, but she and Nancy wanted to get over to the H F Coors first Saturday seconds sale, so we hustled over to her place first thing in the morning and they went over to Coors. Came home with an impressive number of bargains. We had an early lunch at B K before Joan had to leave for the airport. 

Blackhawks played their worst game of the season tonight and came out with a shootout win that the did not deserve. Three shootouts in a row, they need to start scoring again! Should be interesting Tuesday night as they are leading the league and come up against the second best team in San Jose.

Sunday Feb 3

Got up early again this morning (this is getting to be an unacceptable habit!) and went over to the St Phillips Farmers Market on the north side. This turned out to be one of the better markets we have encountered, not as large as the one in Green Valley, but closer.

Back home I did some work on the truck, cleaning and polishing the taillight bars and replacing all the lights while Nancy did some laundry. 

After our tire debacle in Texas we had two broken taillights (along with the damage to the fender and the smart) and all they had at Flying J to replace them we newer style LED lights. The truck lights are practically universal, they are all common connectors and size, round taillight assemblies that just pop into rubber gaskets in the housings, so they are easy to change. We have two lights on the back of the frame like most semis, but we also have light bars on each side behind the fenders with three lights apiece. 

When I replaced the two broken lights on the left side in Texas I put the new LEDs in the outside positions on both sides, but decided I did not like the appearance. So on the way out to AZ I picked up six more of the LED lights and these are what I installed today.

Of course we watched the Big Game, but we bailed in the third quarter as it was time for Downton Abby!

Monday Feb 4

Stayed close to home today, Monday morning meeting and then a walk in the desert - we have missed that morning exercise over the last week. After lunch Nancy puttered around and I removed the wheel covers on one side of the trailer, cleaned them and replaced the outside tire valve extensions. We had a tire going soft pretty regularly on our trip out here and I finally determined that it was the valve stem extension. I had to take the wheel cover off to remove it and put the Pressure Pro sensor on the short stem, but that meant I could not access the sensor without removing the wheel cover. 

I had replaced the braided hose extensions on the inner tires when we bought new tires last year, but the outer ones were old and the seals were getting dried out. I decided to get new ones. I will do the other side some morning this week as the left side is in the sun in the afternoon. 

Tuesday Feb 5

First time in five days that we did not have to set the alarm and get up with the sun. After a nice hike in the desert I did the wheel covers and valve stems on the left side of the trailer before the sun got over there. Nancy did some laundry and we pretty much just putzed around home, enjoying the fact that we did not have to run off somewhere.

Blackhawks beat San Jose tonight - they are now 8-0-2 and running away from everyone else in the league!

Wednesday Feb 6

Nice walk in the desert this AM and then off to Fry’s Grocery to take advantage of their First Wednesday Senior Discount Day - Geezer Discount!

Tonight we are going over to Centennial Hall on the campus of the University for a talk about the 1918 Flu epidemic. 

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