The new year started with much action on the house, possibly too much, starting with the installation of a new Heating and AC system. The system starting acting up back in November, the technician blamed a dirty air filter for the problem. A week latter, it failed again and I did some troubleshooting myself finding that the heat pump compressor contacts were burnt. The technician then returned and agreed that it was the problem, but after replacing it a secondary problem developed with a blower fan relay. After replacing it, there was still a problem and the technician practically pulled his hair out trying to find it. Eventually he claimed that the heat pump compressor was failing and that we needed to replace the heating system and we sort of went along with this. Personally, I thought he was missing something and after he left mysteriously the compressor and the system started running good again. As the Heating & AC system is 28 years old, well beyond its life expectancy, we decided to replace it for reliability and peace of mind. The crew did a great one day installation and everything is now working fine and we should be good for another 20 years, at least, I hope so ?
I have been on a low cholesterol diet for a while now and eating is just not as much fun as it once was. The good news is that I’m now close to my ideal weight, the weight listed on my driving license taken at about 17 years of age. This has prompted Twinkles to start dieting and in conjunction we have both joined the local Chuze Gym. I kinda hate the gym, but it’s always fun for people watching and I do feel righteous after a good workout.
I venture to the local Arizona DMV office to see if I could register my 38 Dodge in Arizona, even though I’m still a SD resident with a SD drivers license. I expected some complications, but instead it was no problem at all, all it takes is the the original title, proof of insurance, your drivers license and the required fees. There was no line, the woman at the counter was very efficient, in 10 minutes time I left with an Arizona title, a registration and license plate for only $78. As a result, I am now legal and as I didn’t want the special (ugly) copper historic license plate I can drive everywhere, with no limits. I can also get rid of the ugly front license plate bracket on the car.
After cleaning the RV, replacing a burnt out bathroom light fixture, securing a sagging window blind and cleaning the roof, I decided that no more work would be done, it wasn't going to make any difference and was a waste of time. My original plan was always to take it to a few local RV dealers to see what they would offer on a cash sale. However, when I checked with two dealersI learned that they don’t buy RV’s over 10 years old. I considered the consignment route, but I expect that the patched and aging roof on the RV will be a huge deterrent to getting a good price. I then responded to a “Buy my RV now” website which has a local dealer arrangement in Tucson. On the following day someone came to the house to evaluate the RV, they walked around the exterior and through the interior, started the engine and asked if everything worked. I had electric and water hooked up and was all ready to demonstrate, but they weren’t interested in checking anything. They didn’t even go up on the roof to my amazement ! They called me a few hours later with an offer which I didn’t accept, but left the door open for a second offer. We then decided that if they came back with anything better, we would take it, we really didn’t want to go through a long agonizing consignment process just to get slightly more money, or none. The next day, we accepted their offer and on Monday January 14th, we took it on a final ride to the RV dealership, signed the papers and picked up our check. It was a very painless process, but a little sad, we have had many good adventures in that RV over the past 4 years.
I spent about a full week removing all 24 roof rafters on our Pergola. Many of the rafters were cracked or bowed and I had to replace about six of them. They were all very easy to remove as most of the screws and nails were not holding. I then laid them on sawhorses so I was able to apply a heavy coat of wood stain and then reinstalled them using wood long screws for a more robust connection. This hopefully will extend its life for a few more years, but ultimately all the rafters should be replaced with good pressure treated lumber.
Taking a holiday from working on the house, we traveled across across town to the National Park Store which was having a Hubbell Trading Post “On the Road Show” of authentic Navajo rugs and wall hangings for sale. The National Parks Store is operated by the Western National Parks Association which is a non profit educational partner of the National Park Association. They have been in operation since 1938 and are a great organization. They are currently taking a big hit, along with thousands of citizens, due to our “want to be dictator” president and his “in lock step” political party who insist on holding everyone hostage in order to build an unnecessary border wall that will not solve this highly exaggerated problem.
A Navajo rug trader gave an interesting talk about several of the rugs and wall hangings on display and for sale. We have always admired these Navajo woven rugs and the talk inspired me to say, "lets buy one", much to Twinkles surprise. Actually we ended up with small wall hanging, not a rug, still rather pricey, but we like it and I admire the Navajo people.
|We came away with this wall hanging|
My hero of the month was determined after watching a movie called 100 Years on Netflix. It was a sad but inspirational documentary with a somewhat happy ending about the Blackfeet tribe in Montana and the efforts of a determined female tribal leader, Eloise Cobell, resulting in the largest claim settlement against the US government of all time. It was a long challenging ordeal over decades and several presidential administrations, but in the end she was successful. Sadly, she died from cancer shortly after winning the settlement for the tribe. The list of achievements and awards of Eloise Cobell are remarkable !
As usual I've been attending many music events around Tucson such at the Hotel Congress, Sunday Sessions at Borderlands Brewing, the St Charles Tavern, Monterey Court, the Public Brewhouse, the Chicago Bar, La Cocina, the Tap and Bottle and the Exo Roast listening Room.
|Most Sundays I go to church at the Sunday Sessions with the Kevin Pakulis Band|
|Wednesday evenings are often spent at LaCocina with Lana Rebel|
and Kevin Mayfield
My photography has mostly been on hold for the past few months, I took a needed break, but I’m now back in the mood again. In my travels around town, I had been seeing and keeping a list of potential targets. I finally managed to get out for a brief outing in an area that was once a thriving tourist area, sadly not so so much these days, but still interesting.
|An outer space theme to this mural|
|The theme continues around the corner on the same building,|
are those UFO's over the building ?
|Not sure if I want to visit the Meet Rack|
|These beautiful flowers were on an adjacent street corner|
|A notable Tucson Inn sadly boarded up these days|
|A couple of other iconic signs from days past|
|Needed a close up|
|Great bus stop mosaic tile mural|
|The Hacienda Motel is still looking good|
|Love this sign|
|The dinosaur theme on this building is a favorite|
I took a short road trip to Arivaca, Arizona about 55 miles south near the Mexican border. It’s an old Spanish town with a mining and ranching heritage that today is on the front line of the border dispute. They were having a festival called the Arrivaca Memories and Music Festival. The Kevin Pakulis Band was playing with Chuck’s Band Wagon along with several other musicians at the festival. Arivaca is a colorful mix and ranchers, cowboys, aging hippies and characters who outwardly appear to tolerate one another. Kevin and the band played afterwards to a rousing crowd at the La Gitana Cantina. La Gitana claims to be the oldest bar in the oldest continuously inhabited townsite in Arizona. The bar was on Esquires best bars of America list in 2011. I only wish there was a bar like it in Tucson.
|I took the scenic route that passes through the Buenos|
Aires National Wildlife Refuge
|Good BBQ was available|
|The oldest school house in Arizona with a Hippie Kitchen|
and Library display
|A paint a truck event during the festival|
|Real authentic flower power here|
|Vintage chevy "Cowboy" pick up truck|
|My vote for the best tie dye|
|Chuck of Chucks Band wagon and several local musicians|
joined forces with the Kevin Pakulis Band
|Humanitarian aid is now under attack in the US|
|I took a mile walk out into the vast Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge|
just outside of Arivaca
I’ve been seriously searching all month for an escape vehicle to get back (part time) on the road. I would prefer an old panel truck or a step van but they are not so reliable or practical. I ended up compromising on a Chevrolet Express 2500 cargo van. I was looking for a 2011 - 2015 vintage with less that 100,000 miles. I soon found that most were well over 100,000 miles and somewhat beat looking. I utimately I ended up spending more than I wanted to, but that's the way it usually goes. I finally located two vans in Tucson that were acceptable and settled for the newer 2014 van with 84,000 miles. Now my work is cut out for me to prepare it for the road. Twinkles is calling it “snowflake” since it is such an “awfully” plane white vehicle, but that name doesn't feel right to me. Many people who have heard what I am doing think it to be be kind of crazy ? This could be true but if you do a search for “ Van build” on YouTube you will see that that I am not the only one, in fact it has become quite a trend.
Looking back this has been a crazy, busy month with the new house heating system, selling the RV, dieting, going to the gym, house repairs, many music events and buying the Cargo Van. More will be revealed about this van in the coming month.
Twinkles and Slick