Sunday, January 18, 2015

Visit to Barrett Jackson

Sunday 1/11

Beautiful morning with an amazing display of sunlit clouds

After our walk we watched CBS Sunday Morning, but CNN preempted Fareed Zakaria - for the third week in a row! - with wall-to-wall coverage of the activities in Paris. Watched the Packers win against Dallas, then I did some minor maintenance and loaded the bikes on the car while Nancy did some Spanish. 

Blackhawks had a good win against the Wild tonight.

Monday 1/12

Rained during the night and it was spotty looking in the morning. The resident that organizes the bike ride was under the weather and others were leery of the rain so there was no organized bike ride. We already had our bikes loaded on the car and after Nancy talked to Karen at the AM meeting, we decided to go over to the Sam Lena Recreation Area and check out the path there with Karen and Gary.

It turned out to be a really nice day, sunny with temps in the 60‘s, and the path turned out to be a nice ride, well paved loop around the reserve, 2.3 miles around with a spur that headed west in a wash. We did three times around the loop, then went over to Nimbus Brewing, which is quite close, for lunch.

Karen and Gary came over for cocktails in the evening and we finalized plans for our trip to Mesa later in the week for the Barrett Jackson auction.

Tuesday 1/13

The last several days have seen a lot of high, puffy clouds, unusual compared to what we have seen in past years,  but still really nice days. Perfect weather for our morning walks and whatever.

Did a few chores around home, got registered as volunteers for the Tucson Festival of Books in March, the weekend after Escapade. 

Wednesday 1/14

Nancy has Spanish this morning and then we are headed to Mesa with Karen and Gary. Guys are going to Barrett Jackson while the girls shop.

Uneventful trip to Mesa. We took two vehicles so we could go in different directions on Thursday. Nancy & I took the Volvo as it is way more comfortable than the smart car for two hours on the interstate. Karen had made reservations at the Superstition Springs Best Western in Mesa since they allow pets and she brought Margo along. Turned out to be a very nice motel for a relatively reasonable price. 

Went to R. T. O’Sullivan’s Sports Grille just across the expressway for a drink before dinner, spotted a Crispy Cream Doughnuts nearby, but did not stop. Karen want to go to diner at a pizza place she remembered from years ago: Organ Stop Pizza. Turned out to be a pretty amazing place that also happened to have pretty good pizza. The building was custom built as a two story showroom for the world largest pipe organ! In addition to the organ (with nearly 6,000 pipes!) there were numerous peripheral instruments controlled by the organ. The organist did constant shows throughout the evening. Well worth a stop.

Thursday 1/14

Gary and I headed up to Scottsdale early, got there about 8:30 after some stop and go traffic. We took the Volvo and had an interesting experience parking the truck. The exit on Bell Rd., that Google Maps had sent us to, specified it was for parking permits only; next exit the same; third exit north of the auction had sign for general parking. Followed the direction signs and ended up west of the 101 expressway, the auction is on east side. So now we are several miles north on the opposite side of the expressway, only access by shuttle bus - hey it is what it is.

Pulled into lot, attendant says "I can't park that here."

I say, "It will fit in the space of a dually long bed."

He says, "Sorry boss won't let me, you need to go to the semi & trailer lot."

OK, he gives me directions. Another mile west and a ways farther north to the "semi" lot. Attendant says "Where's your pass?"  

"Don't have one."

"OK, park anywhere and pick one up and put it on when you get back."

"How do we get to the auction?"

"Don't know, most people park and someone picks them up."

So, that won't work, after I ask him what to do and he says,

"Go back south to Bell Rd. (where we wanted to go in first place!) and to the  main entrance and they will take care of you."

SO, we go back to Bell Rd and into auction site, past reserved parking and, lo and behold, there is another "general parking". Pull up to attendant and he looks at us, picks up his radio and says,

"Ive got a big RV here, where do you want it?"

Radio replies, "Does he have a trailer?"

"No, just a semi"

"OK be right there"

Attendant, "Pull over there and we'll park you in a couple of minutes."

Less than five minutes later a ATV pulls up and signals us to follow. We follow him across a couple of empty lots, where he moves barriers to let us through, finally into a lot right next to the auction arena and tells me to park next to a commercial bob-tail at the back of the lot!

Park the Volvo and we are less than 300 yards from the main entrance to auction!

Not only were we within walking distance, but a guy pulls up with a bicycle rickshaw and gives us a free ride right to the gate!

This turned out to be the biggest car show I have ever been to, there must have been 1,500 to 2,000 cars and almost any one of them would take best of show in a a local car show. Just amazing, eventually it got to where we were just walking past jaw dropping cars! 

Large vendor areas with everything under the sun for sale as well, including Roush Mustangs, custom Corvettes and even airplanes - which were on display! Had a $10 burger for lunch (actually pretty good) and a little after noon we went and sat in the bleacher seats in the auction area for the auction itself. Pretty interesting to watch, we sat there for over an hour. All the seats on the floor of the arena were reserved for bidders. You needed to pay $400 and register a minimum $30k letter of credit to even bid! Prices were pretty strong as far as we could tell.

Walked around the staging lanes and then discovered there were five more huge tents full of cars that had already been across the block out there! Feet wore out before we got even halfway through those tents! Headed back to the motel in Mesa to meet the girls.

Nancy and Karen got going a little later than we did. They visited the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix in the morning, then had lunch at La Santisima in Phoenix, a restaurant Angel had recommended. They agreed it was good, but the drinks were pricey. In the afternoon they visited the Queen Creek Olive Mill and took the very informative tour, as well as sampling the olive oil.

That evening we had a lengthy discussion trying to pick a place for dinner. After a lot of back and forth we decided to go back to R. T. O’Sullivan’s. Turns out that Thursday night all sandwiches were on special and the were quite good. After dinner we walked across the parking lot to Crispy Cream, they bought one each - I bought a dozen!

Friday 1/15

Leisurely breakfast, then the four of us drove up the Apache Trail toward Roosevelt Lake. Apache Junction itself has been pretty much absorbed in metro Phoenix. We stopped and nosed around the Superstition Mountain Museum, shop had a large assortment of interesting books, did not pay to go through the museum, but it did not look like anything to write home about. Then we stopped at Goldfield Ghost Town, just down the road. A bit more interesting and we walked around for an hour or so while the girls nosed around a couple of shops.

Stopped at the Lakeside Restaurant in Canyon Lake Marina for lunch, turned out it was Friday fish fry so the others had fish while I had a burger. Nice place with a good view of the lake. As it turned out this was a good choice since Tortilla Flat, where we had thought of having lunch, was really crowded when we got there. Gary and I relaxed while the girls nosed around some more shops. Margo got a lot of attention from passers by. Quite a nice little free museum there.

Then it was back to Mesa where Karen and Gary dropped us at the motel to pick up the truck. They were staying in Mesa another night in order to go to a flea market on Saturday.

We headed home, going East on US 60 (to avoid Friday afternoon traffic around Phoenix) to AZ 79 into Florence, then 287 into Coolidge where we picked up AZ 87 which runs straight South to I-10 near Picacho Peak. Then in order to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic in Tucson we left I-10 at Arva Valley Rd. and went West to Sandario Rd. which runs straight South on the West side of Saguaro National Park West. Back into the park on Mile Wide Rd. and then Kinney Rd. through Tucson Mountain Park and back home.

Got home in time to watch the Blackhawks lose to the Winnipeg Jets for the third time this season! Only bright spot was Teuvo Teravainen scored his first NHL goal. He has been more and more of a factor over the last few games since he was called up from Rockford, you can see him gaining confidence with every game. Going to be another star for the Hawks.

Saturday 1/17

Another beautiful morning for our walk in the desert. Sometime we just have to stop and soak in the beauty of the desert at dawn, the mountains change appearance constantly as the light changes, the cholla almost fluoresce as they catch the morning sun, the mountains look very pretty in the clear morning air, and the saguaro look beautiful in the morning light. That combined with the quiet, only broken by the singing of the birds and the occasional coyote make for an amazing experience, and we get to do it every morning!

Cleaned up the truck this morning, killed a lot of bugs between here and Mesa; put the covers on the tires and closed the curtains in the cab.

Had a couple of our day/night shades crap out in the last two days, strings starting to fray. Fairly easy job to restring them and we have the material on hand to do it. Nancy and I (four hands are better than two for this job) did one this afternoon, will do the other tomorrow.

Sunday 1/18

Usual morning walk and then watched Sunday Morning on CBS. A quick run to the Walmart Neighborhood Market to replenish, then home to watch the Packers beat lose to the Seahawks, and then the Blackhawks stink up the United Center for the second game in a row! Just mailing it in the last few games.

During the first half of the football game we restrung the other shade that needed attention. Food truck in the park tonight was Land of Crepes which Nancy wanted to try. Unfortunately the truck comes between 3 and 6 PM (geezers are us!) and when we went over at 6 they were sold out of the ones Nancy wanted, so we had our usual Sunday night pizza.

Downton Abby and a new Masterpiece Mystery tonight.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Sweater Pic

Here is a picture of my new Blackhawks sweater, my Christmas present from Nancy:

Wednesday 12/31

Cold and rainy today, finished up the house cleaning and straightened up - how the heck could I mess the place up so much in one day?!

Karen and Gary knew Nancy would not be home until late this evening, so they invited me over for dinner. Karen put on a great spread with enough snacks laid out for six people instead of three - although we did manage to eat most of it! Then a really nice steak dinner with all the trimmings. We had a nice evening and visit.

When I left Karen & Gary’s house it was snowing! Fairly heavy snow until I got East of the Tucson Mountains, then just rain. Nancy's flight was slightly delayed due to snow squalls. Drove through some more snow on the way home from the airport. No accumulation but the next morning there was still ice on the front of the car..

Thursday 1/1/15

Cold this morning! 30 degrees when we got up. Quiet morning and then we watched the Winter Classic, Blackhawks lost.

Pretty much took it easy the rest of the day and evening. 

Friday 1/2

Another cold morning, high 20s last night. Disconnected our water and ran off our fresh tank last night. Had to run into town for some groceries so we stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch and then stopped at Royal Car Wash at Campbell and Ft. Lowell as the car was pretty dirty from the snow and rain over the last week.

Stopped at Trader Joe’s and Albertsons, then the Desert Museum to renew our membership. Back home and relaxed - with the furnace running! High around 40 today, supposed to warm up over the weekend.

Saturday 1/3

Early start to head over to first Saturday at H F Coors which is when they sell seconds and surplus stuff. Ran into Karen and Gary there. Nancy found a number of sale items and bought a few gifts in the regular store. Stopped at the grocery store and then home. Otherwise an uneventful day, weather still cool.

Sunday 1/4

After a leisurely breakfast we headed towards Saguaro National Park East for a ranger talk on the medicinal value of desert plants. On the way we made a stop at Costco and then a late lunch at Culvers. Then we stopped and took a look at the Kino Environmental Restoration Project. I saw an article about bird watching there and thought it looked like a good spot for bike riding. Looked nice, with a paved path around a man made lake. Not sure if it is long enough for the Monday bike group, but we plan on bring our bikes over and checking it out later in the week.

The ranger talk was very interesting, although we promptly forgot 75% of what he told us about. Kind of like the geology talk we have gone to over and over before it starts to sink in!

Good Blackhawks game tonight - the won in overtime, their first lead of the game!

Monday 1/5 

Picked up our Arizona Daily Star this morning - which we get delivered to our space here in the park - and the lead story contained this sentence: “Since his November election, he’s been vague about how he’ll manage the budget shortfall and has hesitated to fill in the banks left in the talking points of his election stump speech.” Gee, did I get transported back to Illinois? Nope, this is the new Republican governor of AZ they are talking about! Just like home! People in Arizona buy the Republican BS just as much as the folks in Illinois.

Nancy went to the Monday AM meeting while I loaded the bikes on the car, forgot to do it yesterday afternoon. Our new hitch on the smart is working out great for carrying the bikes around, a lot better than loading them on the truck every time.

Bike group went to Marana and rode along the Santa Cruz bike trail and then on bike paths through a nearby neighborhood. We cut the ride a little short, along with Karen, Gary, and Jerry and headed for the restaurant ahead of the group. Nancy said she was tired of being the last in the group to be served. Ate at the Sky Rider Cafe at the Marana airport. Been there before and they have pretty good food.

Back home Nancy went over to Angel’s for her first massage of the season while I went and had a propane tank filled. Been running through some with the cold nights since we got back after Christmas.

The maintenance guys from the park were talking to our next door neighbor this afternoon about needing to dig up a broken water line, seems there is a leak right under their rig! Fortunately they will be able to just back up into the mountain bike training area behind us while the area is dug up. Bad news was they had to pick up all their Christmas decorations, carpet, chairs, etc. before they could move. Roy did not have a long electrical cord, but I have a couple of extras that he can use.

Tuesday 1/6

Well that was embarrassing!! Out for our regular morning walk this AM, when we left Roy next door was moving his trailer back so the park guys could dig up and fix the water leak. When we can back George and his assistant were scraping back the gravel and when we stopped he pointed out that the water leak was actually coming from our hose that I use to flush the black tank!! It is attached to a Y fitting with shut-off at the water spigot and has a shut-off on the end - and both of them were leaking!! That was causing the water to soak into the ground under Roy’s trailer. Bummer!

Gary stopped by with Margo this morning for a visit while Karen was doing her quilting class, which she is going to continue even though she is no longer a park resident. Then we went into the city for lunch at Beyond Bread so we could buy a gift card for Roy and Sharon Lee next door as an apology for the all work they had to do caused by our water leak.

Back home in the afternoon Nancy went off to her Spanish study group and I did some much needed cleaning on the outside of the trailer.

Blackhawks play tonight. And they were shut-out by the Avalanche! Phoned it in and paid for sleepwalking through the first five minutes.

Wednesday 1/7

Nancy had her Spanish class this AM and I did the weekly house cleaning. Stopped at BK for lunch on the way down to Fry’s in Saruhita for our monthly shopping trip to “geezer” day at Fry’s - 10% off for anyone over 65 on the first Wednesday of the month. 20+ MPH wind out of the SE made the trip down I-19 (where the speed limit is 75) a bit of a thrill ride in the smart! Bounces around in the wind like old VWs used to do.

Then a stop at Walmart to pick up my prescriptions. I changed from the AARP/United Healthcare Rx to Humana/Walmart Rx this year as it was $6 a month cheaper, lowest price plan available. Turns out the cost for 90 days of my blood pressure medicine dropped from $20 to $6! What a deal. 

Back home and relaxed.

Thursday 1/8

Warm night, 57 when we arose, but temps dropped through the day with a steady rain all day. We have had two of the rainiest days we have experienced in Arizona this winter, which actually is closer to normal than we have seen in the past and good for the environment.

Off to Tucson Yoga this morning, first class since before Christmas! Back home Nancy studied Spanish and we hibernated all day.

Nancy decided to use her new Crock Pot to cook the pork loin she bought yesterday. The pulled pork recipe called for more barbecue sauce than we had on hand so she also made a batch of homemade barbecue sauce. Both came out fantastic! Enough pulled pork for several more meals as well.

Blackhawks play tonight, hope they get their act back together! and they won in spite of themselves. The Wild out-played them most of the game, especially in the 2nd period, but they hung on to win 4-2.

Friday 1/9

Out for a nice walk this AM, warm - about 60 degrees - and light clouds. After breakfast we went up to the Desert Museum and took a nice walk around. Back home Nancy studied and I did some minor maintenance. 

Blackhawks put in a pretty good game tonight and lost. So I guess it evens out, out-played last night and won, played better tonight and lost. 

Saturday 1/10

Very windy this AM and Nancy has trouble with the dust so we skipped the walk. Nanc did laundry and then we headed in to town to the Verizon store. Nancy finally broke down and decided it is time for a new phone. Went to the Verizon store at Speedway & Campbell, where we have had really good service before, and she ended up with an iPhone 6, so she is now the cutting edge in the immediate family.

Lunch at Beyond Bread, how could we not since we were right down the street. Stops at a couple fo grocery stores and back home early afternoon. Then we had to back-up Nancy’s old phone on the laptop and then reload the apps and such into the new phone. Then I had to link her new phone to my laptop so I could reload her ringtones. Some time ago I came across a way to make ringtones from any music in iTunes, so we both have unique ringtones.

Quiet evening as usual.