Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012:

Another week has flown by at Desert Trails.

We installed a bird feeder to our rear ladder that can be viewed from our big rear window.  Marley (the Cat) really enjoys watching the birds, Twinkles says it is stimulating for him !  At 85 cat years old, he could use some stimulation.  This reasoning does not work for me when Twinkles catches me looking at some young hottie ?  I mounted the feeder on a Cholla cactus branch, the birds like to perch on it, it's natural and it certainly adds a nice touch to the cheap yellow plastic of the feeder. There a number of serious birders here at the campgrounds, the birds are well fed !

Of all the birds here, the "Sun birds" are the most interesting to watch, they migrate from all over the US and Canada, lots of different sounds and flavors.  It's also starting to look a lot like Christmas here at night with all the lights, but it seems so not like Christmas the rest of the time.  

The local high school Mariachi band performed Tuesday night at the campground to a packed house, they were very good and lively.  All the school groups seem to come here to perform.  This group plays here a number of times each year and the school music teacher asked if there was anyone new at the campground this year, one of the guys in the audience yelled out, NO, we are all old.  That got quite a laugh !!!

I did a solo trip to downtown Tucson on Wednesday afternoon, for some photo time exploring the architecture, murals, graffiti, etc.  Downtown Tucson like most downtowns is a bit on the rough side with many vacant buildings and stores, economically depressed you could say.  These rough downtown areas are my favorite, there is a beauty in many of the old run down buildings, that gets lost in restoration and can not be duplicated in new construction.  In Tucson, they are trying to stimulate the downtown area with a new Trolley line connecting the University area, the downtown and the 4th street arts district.  

I also wandered around the 4th Avenue area which is a sort of a mecca for the counter culture / artistic crowd.  It has many colorful, interesting stores, restaurants and bars.  It also has a lot of starving artists, homeless types and other assorted vagabonds.  I was approached by several asking for spare change, they always hit on me, the pony tail is like a magnet. 

Thursday, Twinkles and I went hiking at Saguaro Park East on the Douglass Spring Trail.  It was a beautiful hike into the foothills of the Rincom Mountains with spectacular views (I'm tired of saying that but it's true) of the Tucson valley to the south and the Catalina Mountains to the north. The only missing ingredient is flowing water, the rivers and waterfalls here are all dry.  

Saturday was a another big day in the city, to the 4th Avenue Winter Festival, one of the biggest festivals in Tucson with lots of food, crafts, art, music and people to watch.  I saw a young local band, "Copper and Congress", perform that I immediately liked. We saw much that we wanted to buy but no place to put it, that's the down side of this lifestyle.  We then stopped for a beer at "The Hut" to listen to a band that was playing nothing but Grateful Dead songs.  All the local "Dead Heads" seemed to be there, a very weird group, but it was fun ! 

Sunday we visited the Tucson Museum of Art and discovered their incredible cafe.  Also, an incredible Christmas folk art nativity display (largest in Tucson) done each year by an 86 year old woman, inspiring !  The Art museum had an eclectic mix of modern, abstract, old masters (Matisse), old Chinese objects, old Spanish objects, Western and Latin American art.  A highlight of our visit was an interesting man working at the museum, 75 years old, ex welder/blacksmith who was wearing incredible silver jewelry he had made himself. He started talking to us and showing us details on the chinese exhibits that we would not have noticed on our own.  Then he told us a story about a woman who came up to him and wanted to show him something, (and embarrass him), it was an ancient chinese object with very graphic sexual acts engraved and she asked him if he knew what they were.  His answer was; Yes and I've done them myself, at which point she turned bright red.  Don't know if it's true, but it was a funny story and I'm sure he tells it to many visitors.

We are getting into cooler weather now, down to 36 last night (colder than in Hightstown, NJ) and thinking the insulation in the RV is not quite as advertised. Since we are cheap and don't want to run the heater all night, we pile about three of Twinkles fine handmade quilts on the bed and make it through the night, then crank up the furnace in the morning. Once the sun is out, it warms up quickly however, by early afternoon it is in the mid 70's again and beautiful.  

Keep tuned in, more will be revealed.

Great Mural in Tucson

Mural showing Mission San Xavier del Bac and Indian culture

St. Augustine Cathedral in Tucson

Mural in Tucson

Interesting Hotel sign in Tucson

Mural on side of the Rialto Theater in Tucson

Mural over outside stage entrance to the Rialto Theater in Tucson

A portion of a huge mural on Tucson building

Storefront in Tucson Warehouse Arts District

A spot I don't want to drive the RV through, it looks like others have tried ?

A Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus with a valley view from the trail

Douglass Spring Trail view

A Sotol plant with large flower stalk

Interesting Saguaro cactus from the trail

Our lunch spot on the trail near ancient old tree

A perfect Cane Cholla cactus on the trail

A Prickly Pear Cactus along the trail

Beautiful Saguaro view on the trail

Performer at Sonoran Desert Museum Raptor show

4th Avenue Winter Festival

Dead Heads are still going strong !

Nativity scene at Tucson Museum of Art

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