Monday, December 8, 2014

A Rainy Day in the Desert.

Thursday 11/27

Group dinner at Desert Trails today, we opted to join the smaller group in the Sewing Center (used to be the Oasis) rather than the larger group in the rec hall. Supposed to hit 80 today! 

A beautiful Thanksgiving Day, high about 83 with a cloudless blue sky and a light breeze. Had dinner in the early afternoon, group of about 75 in the Sewing Center, I expect there were twice as many, or more, in the Rec Hall. The food was great and a nice variety. Everything was nice and hot and the turkey was moist. Pretty impressive desert table as well.

After dinner I went and picked up Margo. Gary and Karen were with her brother in Green Valley so we were taking care of Margo. Nancy helped with the clean-up and then we sat outside and read the rest of the afternoon. It is amazingly quiet here most of the day and evening, only occasional small planes, no trains, no highway noise. Some mornings we can hear the pop-pop-pop from the Tucson Trap and Skeet Club, but no big deal.

Cleaned out some drawers in the trailer looking for my Desert Museum membership card and my National Parks pass, no luck. Must have left them at home - duh.

Friday 11/28

Drove down to Patagonia with Gary & Karen this morning. Really nice scenery on the way down along the East side of the Santa Rita mountains. Small town with a lot of craft and jewelry stores, art walk this weekend. After Nancy & Karen got their fill of shop browsing we stopped at Velvet Elvis for a pretty good pizza, then we took a drive through Patagonia State Park. Large campground that was full of holiday weekend campers and a pretty man made lake.

Back home we watched the Blackhawks beat the Ducks, a game we recorded earlier in the afternoon. After dinner the Roadrunners were in  the rec. hall. Just two saxophones and a keyboard player, but pretty good. Thin crowd and a lot left during the break as they were expecting Robbie Lee and probably the Ellington Band from the Tucson Jazz Institute. The Roadrunners though are basically a pick-up group of whoever can show up on a given night, students and adults.

Saturday 11/29

Morning walk and then Nancy did some laundry. Fairly quiet day, quite warm. I did get out of the recliner long enough to reassemble the bicycle rack, put it on the truck and load the bikes for Monday’s ride.

Another good game from the Blackhawks in LA tonight, they seem to have finally hit their stride and finished the road trip 5-1.

Sunday 11/30

The last couple of mornings we have heard coyotes howling out in the desert while we were on our morning walk. Been hearing our local owls in the RV Park around dusk every day as well.

Fairly quiet day at home, although we did run over to BK for lunch. Another beautiful warm day, mid 70’s with a nice light breeze. Watched a couple of mysteries in the evening.

Monday 12/1

Monday morning meeting and then off with the bike group. We went along the Santa Cruz river starting at 22nd street. Went South as far as Silverlake, crossed over and rode North as far as Grant where we turned around and returned. We were lagging behind the main group and lost touch with them, they apparently went farther North as they were not back yet when we returned. We were not planning on joining the lunch group anyway. Rode just over 9 miles.

Lovely day in the low 70’s with a light cloud cover so it was a very comfortable day for riding. Had to use the truck to carry the bikes, hopefully the new bracket for the smart will be done this week.

Another quiet afternoon, just taking it easy.

Tuesday 12/2

Tucson Trailer called yesterday afternoon and said our new custom hitch extension was ready, so after our morning walk and breakfast we headed into town. Stopped and picked up the extension which looks really nice and came in about $40 below the estimate. Then we made a stop at Nordstrom Rack where Nancy found a new pair of sneakers and some large tubes of Bliss body lotion which we go through pretty fast here - humidity was 3% over the weekend and zoomed all the way up to 18% today with today’s tropical flow from the Pacific!

Then a stop at Total Wine and Liquor to replenish our Irish and Scotch whiskey supply - always an expensive stop. By now it was lunchtime so ... Beyond Bread! Yeah! Followed by a stop at Trader Joe’s and then back home by early afternoon.

Unloaded the bikes from the truck, disassembled the bike rack and put it on the new hitch extension. Worked great! Took a short drive around the park to check it out, seems to work well. Now the rack hight is equal to the height when on the back of the trailer, although the hitch itself is still only 4” off the ground.

Wednesday 12/3

Up early for our walk, some cloud cover overnight so it was 68 degrees at 6:30 AM. Nancy had her first Spanish class this morning, I did some house cleaning.

Late morning we headed down to Sahuarita for “geezer day” at the Fry’s - they have a nice newer store down there. Very busy as the give 10% for customers over 55 on the first Wednesday of the month.

Stopped at BK for lunch on the way down there. Quiet afternoon after we got back from shopping. Blackhawks game tonight. And they produced a pretty good game against the Blues, finally breaking out with three goals in the third - looks like the scoring slump is behind them and they are on their way back to the front of the pack.

Thursday 12/4

Raining, more rain than we have ever seen in Arizona. It rained steadily from early morning until the sun started to poke through around 2 PM. On our way back from town just before noon the clouds were so low we could not see the mountains. Should be good for the wildflowers in the spring. Every year they tell us that the amount of spring flowers depends on how much rain we get in December.

Off to Tucson Yoga this morning for our first class of the winter. Our instructor from the last couple of years was not there this morning and Ann, who we had taken classes from in 2010 was substituting, good to see her again. At the start of class she mentioned that, although she has been doing seminars, this was the first class she has taught since this exact date in 2010 - a class we had attended just before she went on her three year plus retreat! After class I mentioned this to her and said we felt privileged to be in this class since we were in her last one four years ago. She said, “I know, I was so excited when I saw you guys come in!”

After class we made a stop at Food Conspiracy and then a stop at H. F. Coors. Lots of standing water all over town and streams running in the gutters. I can see why they have so much trouble handling the water during the summer monsoons!

Back home we had lunch and relaxed. Nancy spent some time working on her Spanish lessons.

Friday 12/5

Quite a bit of moisture out in the desert this morning, some parts of the trails were almost muddy! We also noted a number of Cholla that had fallen over. Unable to tell if it was from the weight of moisture or if they were pushed by an animal.  

An item Nancy wanted at H. F. Coors was still in the kiln yesterday morning, so this AM she called and found it was ready. So after breakfast we ran across town to pick it up. Went via I-10 and Kino Parkway instead of 22nd and lo & behold, there is a new Culver’s right by the Costco intersection on Kino!! Not far from the In N’ Out Burger on Ajo. So ... after stopping at Coors and Costco we had lunch at Culver’s.

On the way home we stopped at Target and bought gifts to match the tags we took from the Salvation Army giving tree at Desert Trails. The Salvation Army representative was at the Monday meeting and said last year they received 300+ gift from Desert Trails residents.

Blackhawks won again tonight, but only by breaking a tie with 47 seconds left! A nail biter! Local weatherman just said it  feels “sticky” outside this evening ... the humidity is 68%! He does not know “sticky!”

Saturday 12/6

Up early and off to “First Saturday” at H. F. Coors. Got there about 8:20 and line was out into the parking lot! Crowded once the doors opened, but not really too bad. Nancy picked up a several items for herself and gifts. We were back home by 9:30 and then we took a nice hike in the desert, a bit longer than usual. Being Saturday morning there were several ATVs out on the roads in the BLM land.

Nancy spent some time figuring out what we need to do to prepare for the road clean-up a week from Monday, we volunteered to coordinate it last year. Turns out we need to attend a training class and give the county 2 weeks notice, so I guess the project is going to be delayed!

Stayed fairly overcast most of the day, temps in the mid 60’s, actually a pretty nice day.

Blackhawks soundly beat Nashville tonight to move into first place in the division, the slump seems to be definitely over.

Sunday 12/7

A bit cooler this AM, 45 degrees when we headed out into the desert. The desert at dawn is a pretty amazing place - the shadow play on the mountains makes the folds and ravines stand out, the cholla actually seem to fluoresce as they catch the first rays of the morning sun, as do the tops of the saguaros.

Relaxing morning, then after lunch we ran into town primarily to pick up some frozen pizza that Albertson’s had on sale. Back home I checked tire pressures on the bikes, mounted the rack on the smart and loaded the bikes. Tomorrow will be the real test of my redesigned bike rack mount.

Nancy spent a lot of time studying her Spanish while I did basically nothing.

Monday 12/8

Monday AM meeting, updated park owner on status of the road clean-up program and need for a new permit, then we slipped out of the meeting early.

 Bike group went up to Rillito River bike path today. New mount for the bike rack on smart worked great. We cut the ride a bit short and skipped lunch at Sweet Tomatoes because we wanted to go to a ranger lecture on mountain lions at Saguaro National Park at 2:15. While I was loading the bikes Nancy called Beyond Bread and ordered our sandwiches. Stopped and picked up the sandwiches and headed back West. Got to the park 45 minutes before the lecture, sat on an outside bench and ate our sandwiches. Lecture was excellent and very interesting, as they usually are.

Back home a little before 4 PM. Good thing about doing Beyond Bread for lunch is it provides dinner as well!

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