Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hot times in Phoenix

July 23 - 30, 2013:

Three more dental sessions at the Dental school.  We are now done with the vital signs, photos, X-rays, charting, interpretation, evaluation, bone loss, tartar evaluation, gum measurements, dental action plan and have now moved into the teeth cleaning phase.  

Thursday morning we were awakened by the sound of rain and thunder.  Any amount of rain here causes flooding somewhere and rain is a huge deal, a rarity and the TV stations go nuts with coverage, very funny.  The rain didn't last long and the girls, Twinkles, Tatum and Cindy continued with their planned trip to Wet-N-Wild Water Park, I stayed far away !
Instead, I explored the extremely colorful mural artwork in the Roosevelt Avenue and 16th Street areas.  There is a huge amount of very impressive, but equally strange art work in this area.  I love these old hispanic Phoenix areas, even the run down ones, or scary ones.  I'm so tired of the endless look alike development tract houses and shopping malls in surburban Phoenix.  
I stopped for lunch at a gourmet hot dog place on Roosevelt, "Short Leach Hot Dogs",  that was very crowded and I found out why, good eats !  They also have a food truck, which is a popular and growing street market trend in both Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Church on Grand Avenue, Phoenix

Three birds on Roosevelt Ave

Mural on Roosevelt Ave Phoenix

Mural on Roosevelt Ave

Building off Roosevelt Ave

Alley near Roosevelt Ave

Homeless woman in front of mural, noticed latter that the
snake appears ready to strike her

Interesting Drive-in Liquor store on Van Buren Street

Mural on 16th Street

Mural on 16th Street

Mural on 16th Street

Mural on 16th Street

On Friday Twinkles and I went to an RV show at the Convention Center in downtown Phoenix, there were a few RV of each type to look at, but nothing else, overall a very lame show.  We then decided to take a ride on the light rail for an adventure.  We got on an eastbound train and got off in downtown Tempe to look around.  Tempe is a college town and therefore full of restaurants, bars, pubs and interesting shops.  We stopped when hungry and hot at "Fuzzy's Taco Shop", a very funky taco shop and had a couple of very good taco's, then went back to the light rail stop to continue on to Mesa, the end of the line.  We waited and waited for the train, announcements were saying all trains were delayed a half hour, then after a half hour they announced that service was suspended and busses would be provided a few blocks away to get to your destination. I'm thinking, isn't this a hoot, first time in a year on a train and there is a service disruption, or incident as they called it, deja-vue !  We started to walk for the bus, it was at least 105, then decided we better have a beer for hydration and ended up at a place that had about every beer available in the free world.  We then made it to the bus station and caught a bus west to a rail station where the light rail was still in service.  We found out along the way that the incident was that someone had been hit and killed by a train on the line.  We then got on the train again, went westbound to the end of the line, then returned eastbound to our starting point and the truck.  It was quite the adventure in retrospect !

RV show at Phoenix Convention Center

Getting on the light Rail Train in Phoenix

Waiting for the train in Tempe

So many choices ???

On the train, we overheard a funny conversation between a young black dude, obviously trying to hit on her and a very attractive young black women.  He asked her where she was from, she said Africa and he then asked her, What village ?  She then told him she was from the city of Sierra Leone, of a wealthy family, had maids and such and never wanted for anything.  That sort of deflated his sails, He seemed to be under the impression that everyone in Africa lives in a shack in the jungle. 

Twinkles went to a sports medicine doctor for her knee pain and after X-rays was given a cortisone shot and a list of exercises to do.  The good news is that they saw saw nothing that needs surgery at this time, have to see how the cortisone and exercise works.  I also made a dermatologist appointment to check a few of my old age spots, strange skin growths, etc, I think my days in the sun may be over !  We are falling apart, aging is hell !

The dually needs maintenance also, oil change and a couple of new tires.  We are wearing the truck out fast, we have put 24,400 miles on it in the last year.  Of that mileage, 5,777 was towing the RV.  We are seriously thinking about a used jeep as a daily driver to save the truck and a more mobile smaller Class C Motor Home for the future. 

Saturday evening the family went out for dinner at Texas Roadhouse to celebrate Cindy's past birthday and Twinkles upcoming birthday.  It was excessive food on Saturday as Twinkles and I had gone out for a huge breakfast earlier.  

Sunday it was back to the Heard Museum again for the free Sunday promotion, Thanks Target !

Ancient native American pottery

Indian clothing

Beautiful Indian woman

Happy travels,
Twinkles and Slick 

Monday, July 22, 2013

In the Valley of the Sun and heat

July 15 - 22, 2013:

I almost forgot our RV "On the road" anniversary !  One year full timing as of July 9th but since we have seen deadheading since July 3rd without the RV, I guess we have to subtract some out of service time, (you railroad guys out there will understand) ?  We have made campground reservations for two weeks in the San Francisco Bay area when we return in early August. It is a challenge finding available reasonably priced campgrounds in this area at this time of year, but we are set for a while.  

Monday through Wednesday mornings this week were spent in the dental chair at Fortis College in Phoenix.  I drive there in rush hour traffic, it feels like going to work !  I'm learning quite a lot by observation but still don't understand why anyone would desire this job ?  Well, maybe if you have sadist tendencies.  Please don't take this wrong Angie, its a great career path, you're helping people and it also pays pretty well. I'm back to college again next week.

While I go to Dental College, Twinkles gets dropped off at my sisters house and spends time with Tatum and my mom.  They have been having a great time doing crafts, making videos, going for pedicures, cooking, making popsicles and cake pops. 

Tatum and Georgio in the pool

Cake Pops

TNT, that's Tatum and Twinkles

I roamed around historic downtown Buckeye some on Thursday, Buckeye is an old town (for Arizona) settled in 1888, it is still predominately agricultural but development is fast encroaching.  It appears that the state has funded some restoration of several old downtown buildings, but they remain unfinished and vacant.  There are a few interesting old buildings, stores and restaurants, but not much to attract a crowd. I stopped at the Wild West Cowboy Steakhouse for lunch, mainly just to see inside, thought that it might be interesting.  Bad idea, should have just peeked through the window ! I don't have a problem drinking in dive bars, but eating in dive restaurants is a different matter. When I picked up my Taco, it was like doing an oil change ! 

Hickman's Family Farms

Corn in the desert

Wonderful things to eat in Buckeye

Grain silos and rail line in Buckeye

Irrigation-makes it all possible

Big farm equipment in Buckeye

Cows in Buckeye

Hay in Buckeye

It's hard to do outside activities like hiking here, it's so hot, unless you get outside at sun rise and Twinkles is not a cheerful early morning riser.  As a result, we are finding the summer climate here to be very unhealthy.  The monsoon season is here, every day this week it has gotten cloudy and stormy in the evening, but only a trace of actual rain in the Phoenix area.  Until Saturday that is, when we did get near a half inch of real rain. The monsoon rain storms are very spotty, some areas get pounded, a few miles away there is nothing.  Areas in Eastern Phoenix had 2 inches of rain and flash flooding. 

I went to a Foot doctor on Friday to check out this nagging soreness in the ball of my foot.  E-rays showed nothing broken and the doctor feels I have a slightly torn ligaments in there.  The recommendation is to tape up the second toe with this KT sports tape to minimize motion, apply ice a couple times a day and wear shoes with firm non flat soles.  Along the way to the doctor I saw many great murals along 16th Street, I stopped to check out a few.

Peace be with you

Let Love in

Keep the devil out

or you go here, the Mortuary Building

What is the meaning ?

Buckeye, AZ Sewer Cover

I always make time for the blues;

The family all went out for dinner Saturday night at Chilli's and we made good use of their special 2 for $20.00 meal and appetizer deal.  We are getting spoiled here with the endless quantity of stores and restaurants in this area, getting fat and lazy, will be ready to get away from it all in a couple of weeks. 

More will be revealed:
Twinkles and Slick 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Phoenix again

July 3 - 14, 2013:

After stowing the RV in the back row at the campground, it was on the road again.  We avoided the most direct route (Route 101) towards LA that could be very congested with holiday traffic.  Instead we went a bit out of our way to Route 5 south and then Route 58 east to Bakersfield.  We made a stop along the way at La Casa Fruita which is a huge fruit and vegetable market with restaurant, deli, kids rides, RV Park, gas station and hundreds of old farm trucks, tractors and implements.  It was way better than we imagined.

Casa de Fruta Tractor, there are hundreds

Display inside the store

Fruit carton label

There is a large agricultural area west of Bakersfield which seems to be in the midst of a huge nasty battle over water rights.  There were road signs about every mile, blaming Congress and assorted politicians for a reduction in water allocations and a dust bowl condition that they have created.  Ironically a few miles away near Bakersfield, we came upon new housing complexes with perfect green well watered grass lawns.  The water situation in the west is really scary with the developers, the farmers and the ranchers all competing for the water and one day there isn't going to be enough to go around.
It had been a hot travel day, the air temperature along Route 5 got up to 108 and it was still over 100 in Bakersfield at 5 PM.  We took a short walk in downtown Bakersfield until we started sweating, then got in the truck and drove around with the AC blasting instead. There are several really cool old theaters and buildings in the downtown arts district.  We then visited Lengthwise Brewing for dinner where I ordered Fish and Chips to prove to Twinkles that I like it, but honestly would have much preferred a burger.  She on the other hand had a really fine looking salad.  This is a trendy Bakersfield micro brewery with finely crafted beers that are pretty much wasted on us, we prefer watered down Coors Light, but the atmosphere was good which counts for half the dinning experience to me.

Fox theater in downtown Bakersfield

Mural in downtown Bakersfield

On the road again at 10 AM (we can't seem to do the early start anymore) for another blazing hot day which peaked at 115 degrees.  It was another good uneventful driving day with a museum stop in Boron, California famous for its Borax mine and the 20 mule team and then another pit stop in Barstow for fuel and Del Taco's.  We arrived in Needles around 5 PM and toured the downtown all decked out in it's Route 66 nostalgia. Lots of photo OP's for me there.  We checked into the Days Inn, very nervously due to the horrible bad reviews posted, but the AC is working, that's the main review criteria today.  We then had an excellent meal at Juicy's Famous River Cafe, (the river is dry), salad for me, highly recommended.

I get out early in the AM to wander around Needles and take some Route 66 photos before the 100 + temperatures set in.  Then a big Breakfast at the interesting Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles.  We then take Route 40 east to Route 95 south through the Lake Havasu City area.  There are beautiful areas along this route along the Colorado River, but the beauty is sadly spoiled (to me), by the steady trailer park, RV and water sport development. We stopped in Quartzite which is mostly deserted now, then continued on to our destination in Buckeye, Arizona.  We made a stop near old downtown Buckeye at "Rex's Saloon" for a couple of beers.  It looked like a dive bar from the outside, but inside it was outfitted with beautifully refinished old barn boards and beams and was very nice and clean.

Welcome to Boron, California

Old Borax sign in museum

Old Borax 20 mule team advertisement

Mother Road Mural in Needles, California

Rt. 66 Buick with UFO above

You can get your Econo Smog & Tune on Rt. 66 

Needles take out counter

The old Needles Train Station and Harvey House
Restaurant currently under restoration

Lupe & Fidel's family owned restaurant in Needles

Breakfast at the Wagon Wheel

We are now settled into Cindy's house, quite an nice adjustment being in an actual full size house again, it feels like a vacation.  Cindy's house is actually in the town of Buckeye.  Phoenix is made up of a number of once individual towns, like Glendale, Avondale, Peoria, Goodyear and Buckeye that have since grown together.  Buckeye is now the outer limit of Phoenix and is mostly all real farm land.  Downtown Buckeye looks like something from the 1960's, is very farm oriented, folksy and totally unlike Phoenix.  Phoenix is presently in the "Monsoon season" of the year when there are occasional dust and rain storms.  There have been two dust storm warnings this week, but both storms did not make it to Phoenix.  It has also been fairly cloudy and more humid than normal, but still no rain. 

I escaped everyone for a few hours on Sunday to go to an "old school" blues music event fund raiser at the Rhythm Room in downtown Phoenix.  I say "Old School" as I don't believe they have the need to check many ID's for legal drinking age.  

On Thursday we made a trip to the town of Carefree to the Heard North Museum.  It is a small annex of the famous Heard museum in downtown Phoenix.  It had a very interesting exhibit on Indian ledger art. This art form developed after the Indians were reduced to reservation life, sent to white schools, had no buffalo hides to paint on anymore and substituted old used ledgers to draw scenes depicting former battles and tribal functions.

Indian ledger art exhibit at the Heard North Museum

A new Indian ledger book that I had to purchase

On Friday, I went to the Arizona State Capital museum, my first time there.  The original Capital building is beautiful, but is mostly utilized as a museum now, with an ugly modern Administration Capital building built in front of it.  Many of the original offices and the senate chambers  remain intact with their original furniture.  Also a really good exhibit on the USS Arizona history and what really was unusual was a large display of the silver that was on the ship.  It was incredible to me that the Navy would have a huge quantity of custom engraved silver bowls, cups, pitchers, etc on a war ship that would be more suitable for the royal family. Equally remarkable is the fact that they were saved.

Arizona State Capital rotunda

Model of the French "Friendship Train" 

A Punch bowl set from the USS Arizona

The Arizona Senate chambers
just as they looked in early 1900's

The Arizona State Capital

Saturday evening my brother-on-law John took me to a "Phoenix Rattler's" Arena Football League game. The Rattlers are the 2012 League Champions and are entering the playoff's  in 1st place this year.  It was a colorful, fun, fast paced event event.

The Phoenix Rattler's in action

Sunday we took Tatum to the downtown Heard Museum for a special Indian hoop dance and flute music event followed by dinner at my sisters house.

A sculpture outside the Heard Museum

Indian baskets in the Heard Museum

I report to Fortis College in Phoenix Monday morning to start my dental hygienist session with my niece Angie.  That should be something to talk about, keep following.

Twinkles and Slick