Wednesday, October 19, 2016

It's Been 3-1/2 Weeks? Say what?

Saturday 9/24 Tucson

58 degrees this AM! Good sleeping last night with the AC off for the first time since we’ve been back at Desert trails. Took a nice walk in the desert, snakes should be lethargic.

Stayed cool, low 80’s most of the day but a pretty day. Relaxing day, ran into Tucson Estates to the little grocery and looked at the house, dry wall all done!

Sunday 9/25

Another cool morning and another walk in the desert. Went into town late in the morning and stopped at Bookman’s looking for a Belgium travel book for next summer’s cruise. No luck.

Had lunch at Beyond Bread, stopped at Trader Joe’s and then a local library. Temps got up into the 90’s later in the day.

Monday 9/26

A bit warmer this morning as we had clouds most of the night. Temps only got into the 70’s with off and on showers most of the day.

Hung around home and took it easy.

Tuesday 9/27

Raining in the AM so we skipped the morning walk. Late in the morning Nancy ran some errands and I finished putting away some of the stuff that had accumulated from our trips. It will be good to get into our house and get stuff back in one place. We have things stashed in odd spots in the trailer, in the truck, and in the storage locker! Not even mentioning the stuff still stored with the moving company back in Chicago!

Had a pack rat in the truck! Chewed through a wire for my solar charger! Fixed that and cleaned put the cats fruit they had stuffed up on top of the radiator!

After lunch Nanc went to pick up her prescriptions and I went over to the truck to put my tools away. Drove by the house, no one working, but a truck came up the street behind me and stopped by the house. I thought it might be our builder, so after grabbing the mail I went around the block and there was a guy just sitting in the truck looking at the house.

So I stopped and went inside and he immediately drove away, hmmm. Only thing different from Friday was that all of the interior and exterior doors were stacked in the garage. Was that what he was looking at? Made me wonder.

Back home I cleaned out a couple of compartments in the trailer, not finding what I was looking for!

After dinner I decided to run by the house again, just to see if the doors were still there and check out how my new lights looked on the road.. Full dark here by 7 PM - we’re too far East to be on Pacific time, but we are since AZ does not do Daylight Saving Time. Sun rose at 6:15 to day and set at 6:12! Crazy! 

Anyway, when we came up the street by the house there was a pickup parked there with both doors open and I could see someone in the house with a flashlight and the doors were no longer in the garage! We drove on by and stopped down the street and called the sheriff.

They said they would have a car out pretty quickly. Told me to wait for them on Tucson Estates Parkway. A few minutes after we stopped there what looked like that pickup went by tailgating another car. Sheriff deputies were there in about 8 minutes! Pretty good response we thought. And there were four of them in four cars! Deputy stopped, I told him the story, he said to wait and he would call.

After a while he called and told us to come on up to the house. The truck was gone when they got there and they checked out the house. Turns out the doors that were in the garage this afternoon were now all hung! Oops. Must have been the installation guys finishing up! Oh well. The deputies said they get very few calls in the neighborhood overall and had never even been up on our street! Good to know they come so fast and not very often.

Wednesday 9/28

Up at the crack of dawn this AM. Nice cool night, good to have the AC off the last few nights! Took a nice walk in the desert. Things are very green, much more so than we have seen in past winters. One of the biggest contributors to the overall green in the desert has been the ocotillos that are covered with green leaves. Now suddenly this morning the ocotillo are turning yellow! Must be the change of seasons, weatherman on TV notes that the official end of the monsoon is the end of September. A beautiful day today, heat built up to 90 then some storms came in from the South in the afternoon, we got a bit of rain, and things cooled off.

Nancy went into Tucson Estates for a haircut this morning, then late in the morning we drove into town. Stopped at Tucson Trailer to pick up the extension bar for the bike rack on the Jeep, Lowes for a piece of hardware I needed, Beyond Bread for lunch and then the Mission branch of the Tucson Library to pick up a book Nancy had ordered.

Swung by the house, but now it is locked up tighter than a drum! Guess we will have to start stopping by the morning while the workers are there. This time of year they start early and knock off in the early afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat.

Back home my new fuel door for the Jeep - to cover the ugly exposed factory fuel cap - arrived. Took less than half an hour to install and it looks a whole lot better!

First Blackhawks pre-season game tonight! Yeah! 

Thursday 9/29

And the game last night did not go so well for the Hawks, but no worries, mostly babies playing for both teams.

Overcast this morning, head out for our walk, very dark sky off to the Northwest, but right now weather is moving from South - Southeast to the Northwest. About 200 yards out there was a pretty good crack of thunder! So we turned around and went home. Not too long after we got back there was a lightning strike somewhere pretty close. Off and on drizzle for the next few hours.

Cleared off mid-morning, by afternoon it was warm and sunny. Nancy did laundry, I did some more work on the Jeep, removed the ugly rubber bumpers on the hood meant to support the windshield when it is folded. That’s not going to happen, way to much work than what it is worth to fold the windshield on newer Wranglers! Used to be a simple process on the old CJs. The ability to do so is just a vestige left over from the old days.

Then I took the new LED lights out and turned the brackets around so I could aim the lights a little higher. We’ll see tonight is I was successful! Ran down to the storage locker and reassembled the bike rack with the new bar and mounted it on the Jeep and brought the bikes back home.

Friday 9/30

Nice cool nights lately, able to turn off the AC and sleep with fresh air. Nice walk in the desert this morning as well, too cool for much snake activity.

LED lights in place of the fogs were still too low last night! Bummer. Then in attempting to move one higher I pushed it right out of place! So first thing this morning I remounted them again, pushed forward out of the fog light nacelles a bit.

Got a haircut mid-morning, then we drove into town, had lunch at Culver’s on Ina, then visited Water Tec to get some info on water softeners for the new house. After looking at what was available we have decided against a softener due to excessive water usage. We never realized that they use 30 to 40 gallons regenerating! We decided on a bit more expensive system called the Evolution 55 that uses no salt and has no water discharge. 

Then a stop at the Social Security office for Nancy to register for spousal benefits. She can collect half of my full retirement amount until her own benefits max out at 70, then switch to her own benefits.

Back home late afternoon,

Went out after dark and the lights are now working great! Finally got them aimed up where they belong and they really throw some pure white light a long ways.

Saturday 10/1

Getting in our regular morning walks in the desert this week, much cooler at night lately.

Late in the morning we headed up to Marana to the Kohl’s up on Cordero and I-10. Went through Saguaro National Park and took Golden Gate road, ,which is an unpaved, high clearance road across to Picture Rocks Rd. Picked up the sale items at Kohl’s, had lunch at the Cracker Barrel, stopped at Fry’s for groceries, then back home - on paved roads this time.

Nancy wanted to take a swim, so I walked over to the pool with her and sat and relaxed while she did some laps.

Back home and relaxed.

Sunday 10/2

Another beautiful morning for a walk in the desert! High 60’s, blue sky with a few puffy clouds, just pretty. Don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but we were surprised to see the ocotillo covered with green leaves when we got back here. Now in the length of a week the leaves have turned yellow and started dropping. 

Watched the F1 race first thing this morning and pretty much took it easy all day. Nancy did her Spanish lessons, I don’t think she has missed a day since last spring when the classes here at the park ended.

Nancy’s laptop has been acting up, not responding, can’t load websites, etc. Track pad stopped reacting to input today, so we made an appointment for the Apple Genius Bar for Wednesday afternoon. 

Monday 10/3

52 degrees this morning! Great for a nice walk in the desert. We have been noticing that when the teddy bear cholla drop the ends of their branches, blown off or knocked of by animals, if the ends land in soft soil they start putting down roots almost immediately. We try to knock them out of the way when they have landed on the trail and sometimes we have to actually dig them out!

Later we went to BK Tacos for lunch.

Back home my duster cover for the back of the Jeep had arrived, so I removed the soft top and hauled it down to the storage locker; installed the bikini top and the duster over the rear compartment. Looks great! Jeep is now in the configuration I wanted all along. Have to cover it at night now though.

Tuesday 10/4

Morning walk in the desert, beautiful morning. Nancy did laundry and went for a pedicure. Went over to the truck this AM and the pack rats have put back all of the stuff I cleaned out last week! Chewed through another wire on the solar battery charger! Repaired the wires on the solar panel, wrapped the entire length of the wires with electrical tape. Went to blow out the debris in the engine compartment and the truck cranked but would not start! Oh, oh!

Wednesday 10/5

Morning walk in the desert, then I called the Volvo dealer about the truck. They have road guy thankfully. He called and said he could come by this morning, but they are seal coating the roads in Tucson Estates II, so I made an appointment for tomorrow morning.

Nancy’s computer has been acting up so she had an appointment at the Apple Store. We drove into town - in the Jeep with the new top configuration. Very comfortable, finally have a convertible back, except this time it is one with shade! Nancy is a really good sport for putting up with my idiosyncrasies!

Stopped at Total Wine and More to stock up on whiskey, then the Apple store. Lunch at the deli in AJ’s Fine Foods and then back home.

Thursday 10/6

Still nice and cool in the morning and we are enjoying the trails in the desert again.

Met Ramone from Vanguard Truck Center at the storage lot. Turns out the no start was not the fault of the pack rats! The fuel system had lost pressure and bled down. He pumped it up manually and after a lot of cranking the truck fired up and after a couple of tries finally settled down and ran smoothly. He found that the cap on the fuel/water separator was only finger tight and had started leaking air into the system. He fixed that an all is right with the world! Good thing I had the solar charger on, we had to crank it a lot to get it running!

Took the truck over to Tucson Truck Wash and had the engine compartment completely washed, along with the rest of the truck, then filled up at the Pilot truck stop. 

Stopped in the CB shop there buy the truck stop to get a fitting needed for the CB antenna bracket I had planned on buying. Turns out they had the whole MOPAR kit for the spare tire antenna mount! Better than buying on line and a nicer looking chrome bracket.

Brought truck back to Desert Trails. Researching some solar lights to put under the truck and trailer when we take them back to the storage lot!

Monthly meeting of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society tonight.

Friday 10/6

So in spite of washing things out and moving the truck back to the RV park, this morning there was more debris packed on top of the radiator! Bummer.

On line research shows a depressing picture of preventing pack rat infestations, especially once it has happened. Only solution is to get the rat out and thoroughly clean with a Pine-Sol solution.

We went to Tucson Estaters Hardware and picked up some rat traps and Pine-Sol. Then I took the batteries out, most likely place, and sure enough found a nest - appeared to be unoccupied though. 

Cleaned every place we saw evidence of infestation with Pine-Sol and then hosed it all off. In the process I noticed that the fuel/water separator has a small leak! Double bummer! Probably the source of the engine losing prime while sitting in storage.

So I put the batteries in and then buttoned things up and we took the truck over to Vanguard Truck Center. Stopped at BK Tacos for lunch on the way home.

Saturday 10/7

Morning walk in the desert, then we watched F1 qualifying. Ran into town to the grocery store late in the afternoon. Otherwise a quiet day at home.

Sunday 10/8

After our walk we watched the first half of the F1 race. Mid-morning we headed into town for a hockey game - yes, hockey in Tucson! Stopped at Augustin Kitchen for brunch, early enough to browse the shops there for a few minutes. Then we went on over to the Tucson Convention Center.

Our new AHL hockey team, the Tucson Road Runners, had an open scrimmage with the parent team, the Arizona Coyotes. Red and White game with mixed squads form both teams. A fun afternoon and we got a chance to check out the area and decided where we want to sit. Won't buy season tickets this year, but plan on going to a number of the games. The home games start at the end of the month.

Monday 10/9

Quick walk in the morning in order to get back in time to listen to Diane Ream review the debate on Sirius NPR.

Temps headed toward mid-90s today so we decided to head up to Mt Lemon where the high was supposed to be 65 degrees! We had thought about going up to Oracle and taking the “back road to Mt Lemon”, a four wheel drive route up the back side of the mountain. That would involve driving all the way up to Oracle and then 20 plus miles of dirt road before starting the climb up to Summerhaven. We decided to just go up the Catalina Highway and then down the back road for a ways before doubling back.

On the way we “just happened” to drive by Beyond Bread, so of course we stopped for lunch!

Delightful drive up to Summerhaven, which is over 8,000 feet. As predicted it was 66 degrees up there. We turned into the four wheel drive road and went about a mile down. It was pretty rough and, because it was in the pine forest, not very scenic. The Arizona Off Road Trail Guide has said that going down Catalina Highway is more scenic than the climb up the back. So after a mile we wimped out and turned around. 

Pretty drive on a nice day anyway. Made a couple of grocery stops on the way home.

Tuesday 10/11

Athletes are us! A two mile walk in the desert first thing this morning, then after breakfast we loaded the bikes on the Jeep and went over to Tucson Estates and road around the neighborhood. Stopped in at the house, first layer of stucco almost complete, drywall taping done and they are starting the overlay with plaster.

Back at Desert Trails we went for a swim - well, Nancy swam, I walked around in the shallow end up to my waist, the water was COLD! They’re not heating the pool yet and the nights are in the low 60’s, so …

Puttered around the trailer in the afternoon.

Wednesday 10/12

Blackhawks open the season tonight! Yeah! Looks like eight rookies on the opening night roster!

Nice walk in the desert, about 60 degrees this morning.

We decided to go down to the Farmers Market in Green Valley this AM. Had a choice of taking the smart and going down I-19 as usual, usually not a real relaxing trip, high speed, lots of traffic and often a good crosswind. Instead we decided to take the Jeep and go down Mission Rd., past Mission San Xavier Del Bac and the open pit mines along the way. Much more relaxing drive, though it took a bit longer.

Unfortunately the lady who sells the skin cream Nancy likes was not there today and the salmon guy we like has not started his season yet. Did pick up a tub of shea butter and a couple small items.

Back to Tucson and a stop at BK Tacos for lunch, Bed Bath & Beyond, and then Walmart for prescriptions and a Prevnar (Pneumonia) shot for each of us. 

Back home mid-afternoon. Hockey game at 5 PM.

Thursday 8/13

Nice walk in the desert this morning. Temps have been right around 60 at dawn this week, beautiful blue sky, really nice for early morning walks. Into the low 90’s every day, but not uncomfortably hot. Speaking of heat, saw a car the other day with two bumper stickers. One said “I’m With Her!” the other said “It’s a Dry Hate!”

Not much happening in the morning, we like to listen to Diane Rehm in the morning and she starts at 7. We turn on the Sirius radio and pause it so we can listen when we get back from our walk.

Late in the morning we decided to go into Tucson to see if we can purchase Roadrunner tickets at the box office at the Tucson Convention Center. Turns out we can and we save $12 on two tickets compared to the TicketMaster rip-off on line!

As long as we were in town we went to Beyond Bread for lunch (and dinner!).

The bikini top on the Jeep has been flapping and snapping at any speed over 40, a bit annoying, but I was more concerned with it ripping. Found a way to hook a light bungie cord from the center rear to the overhead sound bar. That helped but we found that some of the snapping was actually the center of the top slapping against the sound bar over our heads! A small rolled up towel solved that! So now the bikini is silent, at least up to 60 MPH.

Friday 10/14

Cool nights with AC off every night now. Usually right around 60 at dawn. Temps have been getting up around 90 during the day. Regular morning walk.Quick run over to Tucson Estates Hardware, then back home.

Saturday 10/15

After our morning walk we pretty much took it easy all day. Mid-afternoon we ran into town to pick up a few groceries and brats for dinner on the grill.

Sunday 10/16

Early morning walk in the desert, then relaxing watching Sunday AM shows. We planned on going over to the Rilito Farmer Market, then we realized that it is only open until noon! Quick scramble to get ready and we headed over about 10 AM.

Ran into Pericles, the owner of Desert Trails at the market. Happy to see White Cane there with frozen salmon. The had a sign-up for halibut and king carb for later in the season, which Nancy is looking forward to!

Monday 10/17

Headed over to Ten Star Drive first thing in the morning. We wanted to watch where the rising sun hit our great room windows. As we expected the early morning sun hits the East window in the great room until it gets high enough for the front porch to shade it.

The we hiked into the desert there. The trail near our mailbox connects to the Tucson Estates Trail in Tucson Mountain Park and then the Yetman Trail that runs up to Gates Pass. Walked a half mile in and then back. Mild uphill with amazing views out over the Avra Valley. Better views than we get on the trails by Desert Trails. Lots of areas to explore here.

Later in the morning we took a ride up to The Desert Museum and took a short walk around. Since we were going by on the way home we stopped at Coyote Pause for lunch.  

Quiet afternoon at home, Nancy and Joan are doing a lot of research for our trio to Europe next summer.

Tuesday 10/18

Another in a string of beautiful mornings in the desert. Nancy did some laundry in the morning. An early lunch, over to the house to measure windows, then went to the association board meeting in the afternoon. After the meeting we drove around the neighborhood looking at walls and landscaping - our next big project after the house is done!

Wednesday 10/19

Out in the desert just before sunrise, another really pretty morning. Weather forecast for the next seven days is for highs in the low 90’s and lows in the low 60’s! About 10 degrees above normal for this time of year.

Back home we logged on and prepared to sign up for the APHC cruise to Scotland and Norway next June. Tickets went on sale at 12 Noon Eastern, which was 9 AM for us. Jumped in and got our reservations done. As usual the servers were overloaded and kept throwing an error message on submit. Took close to 20 minutes before we were able to get a confirmation, but we were able to get the cabin class (read price level) that we wanted. Joan also got her’s confirmed about the same time.

Joan and Nancy have been burning up the telephone lines (can you still say that? Or does that brand me as a geezer?) selecting places to stay in Belgium and The Netherlands. We will be flying to Brussels nine days before the cruise departs from Rotterdam.