Saturday, August 6, 2016

A Lot of Rain, Then Hot In Arizona

Sunday 7/24

Recuperation day. Mile and a half walk first thing around a really large city park across the highway from Sundance RV Park.

Watched the F1 race, but for some reason our DVR failed to get CBS Sunday Morning or Fareed Zakaria.

Otherwise we just relaxed.

Monday 7/25

Same walk again first thing this morning, good to get out and get a nice stretch of the legs.

Headed for Canyon of the Ancients mid-morning. 20 miles North  out of Cortez, but when we turned on the approach road it turned out to be nine miles of rough, washboard gravel road! Did not like shaking the truck so much, so we turned around and headed back to Cortez with plans to go out of town to the South to Hovenweep National Monument

Saw a sign towards Hovenweep before we got back to Cortez, so we headed West on a pretty well paved road 25 miles to Hovenweep. Interesting scenery and no traffic all the way across. I think we met four vehicles in the 25 miles!

Also saw a machine in the field picking up and stacking hay bales. Even that task is automated now!

Hovenweep had a very  nice visitors center with an informative movie. We were able to walk 300 yards down a paved path to get  a good view of much of the ruins. There is a two mile hike all the way around the canyon, but too hot for that.

Road back out of Hovenweep (the way we had planned on coming in) was much rougher and twister than the back road we actually came in on! 43 miles back to Cortez. Hovenweep is actually just across the sate line in Utah.

Not much in the way of restaurants in Cortez, so we went back home for lunch. 

Tuesday 7/25

Nice long morning walk around city park. I had looked at a National Geographic book listing all National Parks & Monuments while we were at Hovenweep yesterday, but did not get it. Decided later that I wanted it, but no way was I going to drive all the way back to Hovenweep! We thought we might go out to Mesa Verde to check there, but then we found it for sale in the Visitor’s Center right across the street!

Stuck around home rest of the day, Nancy did laundry and I did some cleaning. Had lunch at restaurant next door to park, Jack & Janellle’s. Cute little place though not much to look at from the outside.

Wednesday 7/26

Fairly short travel day today, so we took our morning walk and took our time getting going. Made a quick trip to Walmart before we left. On the road about 10:30.

Easy trip to Bluff, UT. Cottonwood RV is a nice looking park, mostly dirt and sand (as is most of the town!) Our hostess said if we needed anything she would be up at the cafe on the highway, so we went there for lunch. Nothing fancy, but she has a lot - and I mean a lot! - of native jewelry for sale. Nancy spent a lot of time looking at it and finally selected a couple of nice necklaces.

Bluff, UT comes by it's name honestly! This is the view standing behind our trailer,

And this is the view standing in front of the trailer!

After lunch we decided to drive up to Natural Bridges Monument. Beautiful scenery on the way, through the Vally of the Gods. This whole place if full of sandstone bluffs and towers.

Thwarted once more by a road that could not take the truck! 10k weight limit, gravel, hairpins and 10% grades! As Sister Mary Francis always said, “Discretion is the better part of valor!” Went back to Bluff and then on into Blanding for a stop at the hardware. No stores to speak of in Bluff, population 300!

Dinner at home and relaxed. Seriously hot in Bluff! 100 degrees a couple days, we kept AC on all night.

Thursday 7/27

Off to Monument Valley first thing this morning. First half of the 45 mile drive duplicated where we drove yesterday, but there is so much to see that it was still very interesting. 

Visitor’s Center at Monument Valley had very interesting display room dedicated to the Navajo Code Talkers. 

Great views from the visitors center, once again the truck was too big and heavy to do the drive through the valley.

On the way we saw an intriguing restaurant at a tight turn by one of the bridges over the San Juan River. On the way back we stopped at the San Juan Inn for a pretty good lunch. Again, nothing fancy, but good food.

On the way into Monument Valley we met a car with a movie camera on a boom hanging in our lane! They pulled it back just in time. Later at lunch we parked next to an Audi with a phony license plate painted to match the car, like you see in car ads and commercials and the camera car we had seen was in the Inn parking lot. Apparently filming a car commercial.

Back in Bluff we stopped at Cow Canyon Trading Post to look at Navajo baskets. Very nice lady gave Nancy a lot of information and advice. Then we went across the street to Twin Rocks Trading Post. These were the folks who had the big basket display at the Anasazi Visitor’s Center.

Very informative gentleman who had a lot of knowledge about native baskets. Had a lot of really nice (and REALLY expensive) baskets.

Later in the evening we went to San Juan River Kitchens for a very good dinner. No AC but the building was fairy comfortable.

Friday 7/28

Travel day, headed out about 9:30. Easy trip down into AZ and highway 191 South of US 160 was nice new pavement for about 10 miles, then it turned into the worst roller coaster pavement we had ever been on! One big whoop-dee-do after another! For 30 miles! Even slowing down to 50 MPH did not do much good. Stuff in the trailer tossed all over the place and our small table between our recliners (which had been loose from the glue drying out in Tucson) literally fell apart!

Several of the small towns along the way were having flea markets on Friday, a lot more traffic than one would expect. 

Finally got out of the nasty rough stuff, but the rest of the way down to I-40 it was a very narrow two lane. Tiring drive.

Finally got to show Low around 2 PM and stopped at Jalapinos Cafe for lunch. We stopped here on the way North in May. Good food, friendly service and big parking lot.

Hon-Dah Casino RV Park (pronounced Honda) is about a half hour drive from Show Low. Lots of trees, but we had asked for a site with a clear view of the sky so we are parked right in front by the highway. Tight roads, roads and sites are all cinders. Huge park over 300 sites, mostly permanent or seasonal from the looks of it.

Finally out of the Dish Network Denver spot beam. Not close enough to Tucson to switch over and no over the air signal at all. Will have to ask Joan to record Dancing on the Edge for us Sunday evening.

Saturday 7/30

Walked across the street to the Hon-Dah Casino for breakfast. We received vouchers for a discount coupon book which included a 10% discount in the restaurant. Nice breakfast buffet, but nothing to write home about.

Took a walk around the RV park on the way back, nice place with a lot of permanent and seasonal setups. Very few transient rigs other than right around where we are parked.

Later in the AM we drove into Show Low, stopped at Walmart to see if they have the Scotts RV toilet paper that we use and sure enough they did. Lots and lots of RVs in this area. Picked up 10 packages to top up our supply. A bit more expensive that regular paper, but we have kept our black tank healthy for almost 10 years using it along with tank additive, so no reason to mess with success.

Looking for a place to have lunch we did not find much. There was a brew pub along the road to Show Low, but the parking lot was too tight for the truck. Not much on offer in town, thought there would be more eateries.

Finally spotted Sweethearts Cafe on the main drag and there was a large lot for Cattleman’s Steakhouse right next door.  They were not open for lunch, but we thank them for the use of their lot! Sweethearts Cafe turned out to be a good choice. Excellent lunch with large servings.

Stopped at Safeway on the way home to pick up a pizza for dinner tomorrow, then back home. 

Late in the afternoon we took another walk through the park. No one has TV antennas up, confirming our experience of no locals. When we checked in they asked if I want to use their cable TV and I said no figuring we could use our sat dish.

Went back to the office and asked about the cable, turns out they supply a cable box for free! Got one and hooked it up, so we were able to watch the news and will be able to watch CBS Sunday Morning and PBS tomorrow.

Sunday 7/31

Stuck around home today, nice early morning walk around the RV park, then watched some of CBS Sunday Morning. Entire show about guns, so we bailed about halfway through and went back and watched the F1 race.

Rest of the day we did some packing and getting ready to hit the road to Tucson tomorrow morning. Planning on getting an early start as there is rain predicted later in the day.

Able to watch the PBS shows in the evening thanks to the cable box.

Monday 8/1

Up early and on the road at 7:30 AM! May be a new record for us. There was rain predicted for mid-day around Globe and Oracle and we wanted to get ahead of it. We did so successfully, only hit a short, light sprinkle.

We had to go back into Show Low in order to pick up Rt 77 South, we were surprised at the total lack of traffic early on a Monday morning, obviously a vacation/retirement community! 

Uneventful trip to Desert Trails, a lot more downhill than we expected, neither of us recall climbing that much went we went North in May, but the truck climbs so effortlessly that we don’t even notice. Coming back South I was using the engine brake a substantial portion of the trip.

Desert Trails looks weird  with no one here, there are only two or three other residents in the entire park! Rather than taking our traditional spot we took one that has some trees along the Southwest side to try and get some shade.

Got settled in, gave the car a quick clean off and went over to see our new house! It looks great! We are really happy with the layout and the space, actually better than we expected in some ways. Met another of our new neighbors from the street behind us. He was driving by to check out the house and stopped. Then he came back with a jar of home made Prickly Pear jelly as a new house gift!

This is the front of the house, 

The big opening is where there will be 16 feet of windows, two 8 foot sliders, looking out at Golden Gate mountain. Door is center is from porch into kitchen, window on the right is master bedroom.

here is Nancy in the master bedroom,

and in her new kitchen!

We won't really have a pond in the great room, it has been raining a lot since we got to Tucson!

After checking out the house we drove into town for lunch at Beyond Bread. (Of course!) Traffic in town and around here is noticeably lighter this time of year. Although traffic coming down from Oracle this morning was pretty heavy.

Back home we got the satellite dish set up and transferred our location so we could get local stations. Trailer is all settled in for the duration! We will be gone quite a bit during the next two months though.

Almost spooky in Desert Trails. One other trailer in sight is occupied, there are a couple left here for the summer but no one in them.

Tuesday 8/2

Rain most of the night, heavy at times. According to the TV weather last night they are way ahead on water for the year, which is really good news as this area has been in an extended drought. 

Still raining this AM. I had a dentist appointment and Nancy wanted to stop at the Bank of the West in Tucson Estates and open a checking account and get a safe deposit box. Bank and dentist are in the same shopping center so Nancy went with me. We took the truck in case of standing water. Both Bopp Rd. - the road we would normally take - and San Joaquin Rd.  had “road closed” signs up, but traffic seemed to be getting through on both. We took the long way around on San Joaquin as that road has shallower dips. Water was running 6 to 8 inches deep in a number of low spots, no problem for the truck, glad we took that instead of the smart!

After our errands we zipped into town for lunch at BK Tacos, then back home. Rain has stopped and roads are clear, still bit humid though.

Wednesday 8/3

More rain during the night, still have not done a morning hike because it has been raining every morning and then getting too hot. 

Nancy had a dentist appointment late this morning, she had do go a round-about way to avoid roads closed because of high water.

After lunch we went into town to pick up our bathroom lights at Illuminations Lighting. As we came over the pass we could see it was raining downtown! When we got to Oracle and Ft Lowell the first couple blocks of Ft Lowell were flooded. Cars were going through, but we detoured North to Prince and worked our way around the low areas.

Still lots of water on the roads all the way over to the East side. Before picking up our lamps we stopped at Off the Wall Furniture Solutions to look at what might be an option for adding a guest bed in our den. Then picked up our lamps at Illuminations.

Back West of the mountains we stopped at our storage locker to drop off the lamps. We now have all of the hardware for our new house.

Back home I spent some time trying to recover my iTunes music. For some reason, maybe with the hard drive debacle last month, my iTunes had lost all of my music! Managed to recover 4,628 songs! Still some missing though. Have to figure out how to retrieve them from my phone or the iPod.

Thursday 8/4

Dry this AM so we got out for a nice walk in the desert. Only thing that looks really different is that the prickly pear cactus are all covered with large red fruit.

and the Ocotillo all all covered with leaves! This one is right by our trailer,

Very humid though, a bit uncomfortable, even though we were out quite early in the morning.

A lot of back and forth today. We ran into town to drop our little occasional table off at a woodworking shop, Bix Furniture Stripping, for reassembly. The table sits between our recliners in the trailer, we bought it in Amana, IA a number of years ago. The joints had dried out and become loose from seven winters in dry Arizona. The roller coaster road in Utah last week caused it to fall completely apart. I tried to reassemble it, but could not get all the dowels to line up at once.

After lunch we drove back into town to the Farmer’s Insurance office on North Oracle Rd. to meet with the adjuster. Still trying to get everything sorted out from my accident in April.

On the way home we stopped by our house again. All the ductwork for the heating and cooling is in. Making progress! We spent some time trying to place furniture, appears that everything will work out well.

Late in the afternoon we drove back into town again! This time to the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society monthly meeting. Stopped at Costco along the way and Culver’s for dinner.

Interesting meeting and every attendee gets a small, actually tiny, potted cactus. So now we have three little cacti!

Friday 8/5

Walked around the park first thing in the AM, mid-70’s but the humidity has dropped a bit. Still quite warm, head for triple digits the next three or four days!

Nancy cleaned out and defrosted the little freezer in out trailer, then she sorted through the stuff we have in our small safe to pull out the things that we can put in the new safety deposit box we rented on Tuesday. We picked up a small fireproof safe after we sold the house in Geneva. I had located a good spot in the trailer to hide a safe so I carefully found one that fit into that space. My plan had one fatal flaw - in order to put the safe into that space I needed to lay on my belly and reach out at arms length to place the safe in position. HOWEVER, I cannot even lift the safe while lying on my belly, let alone move it out to arms length!

So, plan B, we found a good location for the safe in the truck, which has worked out well.

Later in the morning we ran by The Bank of The West inTucson Estates to put the stuff in the deposit box, then took a look at the RV storage lot in the Foothills. Still some small confusion as to which storage sites are ours. The ones we “think” are ours were open, so we stopped by the office to confirm, but the lady that manages the association was off today. 

Quick run down to the Walgreens to pick up a prescription, than back home. 

Clear and sunny this morning, but as I am sitting here writing this at 2:30 in the afternoon we hear thunder and there is a brief downpour! The Tucson area is almost 50% ahead of normal rain totals year-to-date. Which means of course that we have just over 6” YTD vs. 4” normal!

Most of our errands that we needed to get done in Tucson are taken care of now, relaxing week ahead and then we are off to Alaska on what will most likely be the last Prairie Home Companion cruise.

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